The Real Deal New York

Reid Price must pay Town nearly $500K

Judge grants firm’s motion for summary judgment

July 14, 2015 04:50PM
By E.B. Solomont


From left: Reid Price and Wendy Maitland

UPDATED: 12:17 p.m., July 17: Reid Price, Town Residential’s former head of new development, must pay the brokerage $460,000 plus interest, a judge ruled Monday.

Judge Eileen Bransten granted Town’s motion for summary judgment on nearly half a million dollars worth of promissory notes that Price allegedly owed the firm.

In a ruling that signals the legal dispute is ending, Bransten also denied Price’s motion to add an argument to his counterclaim. It’s still unclear if Price will be required to pay Town’s legal fees.

“While it is unfortunate that Mr. Price chose this course of action which resulted in a public dispute, we are very pleased that the court has ruled in our favor,” a Town spokesperson said on Tuesday.

In September 2013, Town sued Price after he left for a position at Douglas Elliman. In the suit, Town alleged that Price violated his noncompete agreement by joining Elliman and that he owed Town $460,000, the amount of future profits he received during his tenure at the brokerage.

Price filed a counterclaim, implying that Town owed him $490,000 in commission payments. But a judge dismissed the counterclaim last year and Price lost his appeal of that decision in April.

Price did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Elliman said it did not comment on litigation.

Town said that in recent months, there seems to be an industry-wide trend of employees “brazenly” breaching noncompetes. “These opportunists then accept an offer from a competitor while attempting to tarnish the reputation of the firm by bringing matters public unless their demands are met,” the firm’s spokesperson said. “With the truth prevailing, we have defended our firm and reputation against those who were clearly not taught the cardinal rule of never biting the hand that feeds you.”

Last year, Town won its noncompete suit against Nicole Oge, the firm’s former director of marketing, who became Elliman’s global head of marketing.

Although Monday’s decision seemingly ends the legal wrangling between Town and Price, the case is not completely over.

Price still has a third-party complaint against Wendy Maitland, Town’s president of sales and Price’s former business partner at Brown Harris Stevens. At BHS, Price and Maitland had an oral agreement to pool commissions and split the money evenly. But while Price said they had the same agreement at Town and failed to turn over commission payments, Maitland denied such an agreement.

“We have a motion to dismiss pending,” said Robert Kaplan, Maitland’s attorney. The motion was scheduled to be submitted July 22, Kaplan said, but Price’s attorney asked the court on Monday to adjourn for an additional two weeks.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized the agreement between Price and Maitland at Town. The nature of any agreement between the two is disputed.