The Real Deal Los Angeles

Broker Chris Cortazzo’s former clients are suing him for $3.3M

They claim he deliberately failed to sell their house so he could buy and flip it himself

August 11, 2016 08:30AM

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Chris Cortazzo and the house at 33618 Pacific Coast Highway

Chris Cortazzo and the house at 33618 Pacific Coast Highway

Chris Cortazzo, a top Coldwell Banker broker with a rolodex of famous clients, purposefully neglected to properly market his clients’ Watkins Cove home in a bid to buy it for himself at a low-ball price, according to a new lawsuit.

The former clients, Iranian immigrants Zare and Seda Baghdasarian, are alleging fraud and seeking up to $3.3 million in damages, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Cortazzo was tapped to sell the rare, Harry Gesner-designed modernist house in 2011. The couple wanted to sell the beachfront abode, with its 2,450 square feet of living space, for $10 million, but Cortazzo allegedly recommended a more modest asking price of $8.995 million, according to the suit. The house was on the market for 14 months with no solid offers until Cortazzo eventually made a $5.8 million offer to buy it himself. Last winter, after extensive renovations, he resold the home for $15 million.

Now, the Baghdasarians are claiming in the lawsuit that Cortazzo had been playing them all along, and never sincerely made an effort to find them a buyer.

Cortazzo “adamantly denies any allegation of wrongdoing,” according to his attorney, Neil Gunny.

The case will go to trial September 2017. [THR]Cathaleen Chen