In a classic ‘he-said, he-said,’ AC Lawrence and one-time sales director part ways

By Amy Tennery | October 22, 2010 04:30PM

From left: Antonio Del Rosario, Rosario’s proposed group logo, Kathy Braddock of Charles Rutenberg and Larry Friedman

AC Lawrence has parted ways with its one-time director of sales Antonio Del Rosario — but the parties don’t agree on why.

Rosario was let go from the company, the firm said today, as the residential real estate brokerage focuses more attention on sales, rather than rentals, which had been a bigger part of the company when it began. Larry Friedman, founder and COO of the company, said that former Citi Habitats sales director Greg Young was brought on to provide ongoing training for the staff, while three existing staff managers would cover the day-to-day transactions.

Young had been providing training for the AC Lawrence staff during the weeks prior to Rosario’s departure. Young, who runs his own consulting business, Broker Heaven, will work as a consultant with the firm.

“We brought Greg [Young] in as a supplement because our agents were demanding more. They were craving more knowledge and understanding,” Friedman said.

Ultimately, the firm chose to part ways with Rosario because of “a direction change from a management standpoint,” Friedman said.

Not so, according to Rosario, who said that he has been planning to launch a Douglas Heddings-style property group under the Charles Rutenberg Realty umbrella for the past year-and-a-half. Heddings’ firm, which operated as an independent group within Rutenberg, recently left Rutenberg to become its own firm.

Rosario’s new group, adrnewyork inc. real estate, will launch in January, he said, with an expected roster of 15 agents.

The new group, for which Rosario said he budgeted $200,000 to launch, will be formed as a partnership between himself and one-time AC Lawrence agent Delvis Estrada.

Ruternberg co-founder Kathy Braddock confirmed Rosario’s move to her company.

According to Rosario, he “gave Larry [Friedman] an ultimatum three months ago,” demanding his own sales office and declaring that he would be “outta there” if the condition was not met.

Friedman declined to comment on the alleged conversation, claiming that the move to part ways with Rosario was “100 percent our decision.”

“If this is something that was pre-meditated, then [the group] would be up and running [at Rutenberg] at this point,” Friedman said.

Despite this back and forth, one thing is clear: Rosario and AC Lawrence were not on the same page during the weeks before his departure.

“The rental culture and mentality at AC Lawrence actually clashed with my sensibilities,” Rosario said, claiming that he had been encouraging the firm to pursue more sales, but that the management there resisted his efforts.

“It was really difficult to get the Elliman and Corcoran brokers to join because they would come to the office and it was really a rental culture,” Rosario said of his nearly year-and-a-half tenure at AC Lawrence.

While Friedman said that rentals are important to his firm — its site shows that the company has more rental listings than sales offerings — he denies Rosario’s claims that it was the dominant priority at AC Lawrence.

“The majority of our transactions when we first started [five-and-a-half years ago] were rentals. Over the years we’ve evolved and [now] we’re doing more sales than rentals. It’s become an important focus of our company,” Friedman said. “We’re a hybrid-based model… [but] sales is equally, if not more important, from a dollar standpoint.”