Former Citi Habitats agent the target of state investigation following alleged scam

October 28, 2010 12:30PM

William Cornwell

Update (2:03 pm) The New York Department of State has launched an investigation into an allegedly shady lease deal brokered by a Citi Habitats agent for himself and his father last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. William Cornwell, an 84-year-old retiree, said that Citi Habitats agent Amir Meiri showed units in his West Village townhouse to prospective tenants, before hoodwinking the octogenarian into a lease agreement for far less than the apartments’ market value. The agreements were also for exorbitantly long terms, Cornwell alleges, with some of the lease terms extending up to 20 years. Citi Habitats fired Meiri after Cornwell complained, according to the Wall Street Journal, and a spokesperson for the brokerage said Meiri acted on his own accord when the purportedly unfair deal was closed. “In May, 2009 Amir Meiri rented the two apartments in question for his own personal use and was acting on his own behalf, not as a Citi Habitats agent.  He was not the listing agent for either property,” a Citi Habitats spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Real Deal. “Additionally, Amir Meiri has not been affiliated with our organization since May 2009. Citi Habitats conducts business with the highest levels of integrity and ethics, and we hold our agents to those same standards.” [WSJ]