The Real Deal New York

Brian Meier sues Elliman for allegedly withholding commission

Former agent said firm refusing to release funds as ‘retaliation’ for defecting to Corcoran

June 01, 2015 04:15PM
By E.B. Solomont and Kyna Doles


From left: Brian Meier and Dottie Herman

When sales agent Brian Meier left Douglas Elliman for the Corcoran Group last month, he had 56 pending deals valued at more than $50 million. Terms of his agreement with Elliman dictated that the firm would fork over Meier’s 70 percent commission split when those deals closed.

But Meier is now accusing Elliman of withholding $1.35 million in commission payments, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in New York State Supreme Court.
“In retaliation for leaving,” the suit alleges, Elliman “has deliberately withheld all of plaintiff’s commissions on closed and pending deals and has refused to account to plaintiff for these transactions.”

Meier, who led the Hoffman-Meier team with Dylan Hoffman, resigned from Elliman on May 1, bringing eight team members with him to Corcoran, as The Real Deal reported. According to the suit, 14 sales valued at $10.5 million have since closed, generating some $313,000 in gross commission. Meier says he’s owed nearly $220,000, which he is yet to see.

A spokesperson for Elliman said the firm does not comment on ongoing litigation.

According to the suit, Meier has another 42 in-contract sales pending, valued at $50.8 million. They are set to generate $1.6 million in commission fees, of which Meier says he is owed nearly $1 million. The pending deals include a $6.7 million sale at 11 Beach Street, for which Meier says he’s owed $140,000, as well as a $6.9 million sale at 1200 Broadway, for which he says he’s owed $122,000.

The suit seeks $3 million in punitive damages.

Overall, the Hoffman-Meier team completed 305 deals worth $151.9 million last year, according to the Real Trends/Wall Street Journal ranking of top real estate sales agents nationwide. The team was also Elliman’s top team, by number of transactions, for the past three years.

According to Meier’s employment agreement, which he signed in 2004, he is entitled to a 70 percent share in commission if the deal closes within 90 days of terminating the agreement.