Balazs Lower Manhattan purchase hit with commission dispute

New York /
Nov.November 03, 2011 04:49 PM

An independent Manhattan broker who says he brought famed hotelier Andre Balazs to buy the 10-story building 5 Beekman Street in Lower Manhattan, claims that the sellers Bonjour Capital and Chetrit Group are refusing to pay him a 1 percent commission, a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court yesterday shows.

The broker, Neil Gronowetter, chairman of his single-broker shop Multifamily Investor, says in July 2010 he introduced Balazs to representatives of Bonjour Capital, who promised him verbally that he would receive a 1 percent commission, the lawsuit says.

Balazs is reportedly in contract to buy the 128,000-square-foot property built in 1883, which Bonjour and the Chetrits planned to convert to a 200-room hotel after buying it for $61 million in 2008.

The suit accuses Bonjour and a company affiliated with the Chetrits of refusing to pay the commission once the deal closes. The complaint does not name Balazs as a defendant, although it says he agreed to pay a commission of 1.5 percent of the equity paid in the deal. The contract sale price has not been disclosed.

Bonjour’s head, Charles Dayan, disputed the lawsuit’s version of the origination of the deal, including that Gronowetter introduced him to Balazs or even that there was a July 2010 meeting at which Gronowetter told Dayan about Balazs, as the complaint alleges.

Dayan says the company’s outside real estate advisor Hillel Spinner introduced Balazs to the sellers, although Dayan declined to comment beyond that. The Chetrit Group and Balazs did not respond to requests for comment (note: correction appended).

Gronowetter’s attorney, Luigi Rosabianca, a partner at law firm Rosabianca & Associates, said his client had been treated improperly.

“Neil has been victimized by well-known organizations that are looking to deny him what he’s rightfully earned,” Rosabianca said.

However, Gronowetter admits that he is in part to blame for his troubles.

In the court papers, he acknowledges that did not read carefully a document that he believed to be a brokerage contract before signing it. The paper turned out to be a sales document, barely applicable to his situation.

But he stands by his contention that he is due a commission.

“Even if neither an oral contract nor a valid written agreement exists between [Gronowetter] and [Bonjour], [Gronowetter] is still entitled to a commission and/or compensation,” the complaint says.

Gronowetter and Bonjour “entered into a written agreement which was erroneous and contained mutual mistakes, or terms which were intentionally misstated,” the complaint says, including defining Gronowetter as the potential purchaser, and saying Bonjour was entitled to the 1 percent commission.

The case claims that this month Spinner told Gronowetter that he was not due a commission, and furthermore if the sellers or Balazs made a payment, part of that would be split with Spinner. Spinner declined to comment on the suit.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
261 Madison Avenue and 205 East 42nd Street are among the closed locations. (Sapir, Durst, WeWork)
WeWork dumps several Manhattan locations
WeWork dumps several Manhattan locations
From left:  Joseph Chetrit, 404 Fifth Avenue and WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (Photos via Wikipedia Commons; Google Maps)
WeWork battles Chetrit Group over Midtown lease
WeWork battles Chetrit Group over Midtown lease
Joseph Chetrit and 49 Chambers (Getty, 49 Chambers)
Chetrit lands $90M inventory loans for Tribeca condo conversion
Chetrit lands $90M inventory loans for Tribeca condo conversion
Sharif El-Gamal, Joseph Chetrit and 1384 Broadway (Getty; Google Maps)
Chetrit Group sues Sharif El-Gamal for unpaid rent
Chetrit Group sues Sharif El-Gamal for unpaid rent
Andre Balazs  and 158 Mercer Street (Getty; Google Maps)
André Balazs lists lavish Soho condo for $12M
André Balazs lists lavish Soho condo for $12M
2870 Ocean Avenue and Isaac Chetrit, and 936 Home Street (Google Maps) 
Chetrit family’s dev site buy tops weekly mid-market sales
Chetrit family’s dev site buy tops weekly mid-market sales
Chetrit Group principal Michael Chetrit and 850 Third Avenue (850thirdavenue, iStock, Discovery Channel)
Chetrit battles Discovery Channel at 850 3rd Avenue
Chetrit battles Discovery Channel at 850 3rd Avenue
André Balazs and the Chateau Marmont (Getty, Wikimedia) 
André Balazs plans to convert hotels into private clubs
André Balazs plans to convert hotels into private clubs
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...