The Real Deal New York

CushWake broker says firm stiffed him on $1M commission

James Rougan claims he was denied split on deal for Amazon's 470K sf lease at 7 West 34th St.

May 09, 2016 12:37PM
By Katherine Clarke

7 West 34th Street

7 West 34th Street

A commercial real estate broker who says he helped Amazon lease 470,000 square feet of prime Midtown space in 2014 claims he was stiffed on $1 million in commissions he should have earned from the deal.

James Rougan, a 20-year veteran of Cushman & Wakefield, filed suit against the brokerage for awarding 100 percent of the commission on the deal, at 7 West 34th Street, to fellow broker Jeffrey Heller. He says the firm didn’t honor the 50 percent split he was entitled to.

A spokesperson for Cushman said the firm does not comment on pending litigation. Rougan could not be reached.

Heller allegedly brought Rougan onto the deal and had an agreement dating back to 2011 to split any commission on deals arranged for the e-commerce website. The pair had previously secured a space for Amazon’s photo studio at 35 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and split the proceeds 50/50, the lawsuit claims.

But when Heller learned of Amazon’s desire to lease the entire 34th Street building from owner Vornado Realty Trust, he allegedly tried to cut Rougan out of the deal — and Cushman did nothing to stop him, Rougan contends. The broker claims he turned to management at Cushman to help resolve the dispute, but company executives, including tri-state President Ron Lo Russo, were unresponsive and ignored his calls and emails.

“Realizing the enormity of the commission and desiring to keep it all for himself, Heller froze Rougan out of the negotiations,” claims the suit, filed Friday in New York State Supreme Court.

Rougan is seeking his $1 million commission plus an additional $1 million in damages.

Rougan’s recent deals include the sale of a 428,550-square-foot vacant parcel near the Gateway Center in Brooklyn for $40 million to Parkwill Management Corp. and North Carolina-based SunCap Property Group.

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