The Real Deal New York

Compass shows broker Meg Salem the door

Brokerage hit by restraining order Dec. 7, after Salem was accused of stealing listings from her former firm Saunders

December 17, 2015 05:35PM
By E.B. Solomont


From left: Robert Reffkin, Meg Salem and Andrew Saunders

A fortnight after being slammed with a restraining order by rival brokerage Saunders & Associates, Compass fired ex-Saunders broker and Hamptons ace Meg Salem, who was accused of stealing more than 11,000 listings from her former firm.

A Compass spokesperson confirmed the firm “parted ways” with Salem and her teammate Vanessa Bogan. “Compass holds its agents to the very highest standards and has very clear company rules that are essential in building a company and culture with consistent values,” the brokerage said in a statement.

Salem’s photo was removed from Compass’ website Thursday afternoon.

Saunders CEO Andrew Saunders told The Real Deal that Salem’s departure validates his claim that the former top agent allegedly stole thousands of listings when she resigned in November.

“Look, if she has been fired – which appears to be the case – it corroborates our claim that she engaged in a massive theft of Saunders’ proprietary information,” he said. “If she didn’t do anything wrong, she’d still be there.”

Earlier this month, a federal judge hit Compass with a restraining order, after Saunders accused Salem of stealing thousands of listings from its password-protected database and sharing the data with Compass. According to court documents, Salem allegedly used another employee’s login credentials to access Saunders’ listings database and copied 11,600 active and inactive listings and other confidential data.

At the time, a Compass spokesperson criticized Saunders’ “rush to sue its former agent.”

Salem earned $1.2 million in commission with Saunders & Associates last year, according to the brokerage’s lawsuit. The suit named brokers Salem, Bogan and Jesse Spooner, as well as a marketing administrator.

It’s unclear if Salem’s departure from Compass will lead to a settlement between Compass and Saunders. Andrew Saunders said Compass indicated that it received his firm’s listings from Salem, but wasn’t sure why Compass hadn’t returned the data yet.

“We’re hoping to receive it very soon,” he said.

Compass debuted in Bridgehampton in September and quickly opened a second office in East Hampton. In November, Brown Harris Stevens sued former manager Ed Reale for allegedly violating his noncompete by joining Compass’ Hamptons operation.

On Thursday, Compass announced it had removed noncompetes from its agent contracts. “We believe that eliminating restriction and increasing opportunity for agents and employees is the right thing to do,” CEO Robert Reffkin posted on Instagram.

Since launching in Manhattan in 2013, the firm – which has raised $123 million from investors and is valued at $800 million – has opened offices in Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Boston, Miami and Los Angeles.