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
427 Broadway and Robert Frey (HGetty, THCNYC)
Former Vegas club owner bringing cannabis museum to SoHo
Former Vegas club owner bringing cannabis museum to SoHo
The Chetrit Group's Joseph Chetrit and Park West Village on the Upper West Side (Getty Images, Google Maps)
Chetrit, Stellar land $365M refi for UWS luxury apartment complex
Chetrit, Stellar land $365M refi for UWS luxury apartment complex
Joe Chetrit and the Hotel Carter Times Square at 250 West 43rd Street (Getty, Google Maps)
Chetrit gets $185M loan to renovate NYC’s formerly filthiest hotel
Chetrit gets $185M loan to renovate NYC’s formerly filthiest hotel
From left: Vorea Group’s Peter Papamichael, Turnbridge Equities’ Andrew Joblon and Chetrit Group’s Joseph Chetrit
Ranking New York’s most active developers
Ranking New York’s most active developers
A photo illustration of Yorkshire Towers, Lexington Towers, the Fifty Hotel & Suites and 475 Fifth Avenue (Google Maps, LoopNet, iStock)
Manhattan’s biggest loans in May led by rentals
Manhattan’s biggest loans in May led by rentals
Joseph Chetrit: The man from Morocco
Joseph Chetrit: The man from Morocco
Joseph Chetrit: The man from Morocco
(Extell, Ritz Carlton, Gryffindor, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Bank OZK dominated Manhattan’s top real estate loans in February
Bank OZK dominated Manhattan’s top real estate loans in February
From left: Michael Stern and Joseph Chetrit in front of 9 DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn (Getty Images, JDS Development, LoopNet/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)
Chetrit and Stern go toe-to-toe on Downtown Brooklyn supertall
Chetrit and Stern go toe-to-toe on Downtown Brooklyn supertall
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...