The Real Deal New York

Dolly Lenz leaving Elliman: sources

By Katherine Clarke | June 12, 2013 10:47AM

UPDATED, 12:51 p.m., June 12: Dolly Lenz, Douglas Elliman’s perpetually top-ranked luxury sales broker, is leaving the firm after a 14-year tenure, The Real Deal has learned.

Lenz was not immediately available for comment on the reason for her departure. Elliman declined to comment.

For years, Lenz and fellow power broker Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group battled for the top spot on TRD‘s list of top Manhattan listing agents. Lenz eventually withdrew from her company’s own competition in 2011 in order to allow other brokers a chance to contend. Instead, she received a newly created Stratosphere award. This year, the brokerage’s top honor was awarded to Brazilian broker Marcos Cohen.

“Dolly’s production and transaction volume speaks for itself over the course of her career as a top producing broker,” said Andrew Heiberger, CEO of residential brokerage Town Residential, of Lenz’s departure. “She is probably pursuing an opportunity where she can leverage her brand, but this is just an outsider’s opinion.”

Kathy Braddock, co-founder of Rutenberg Realty, said Lenz’s departure might mean more of a loss to Elliman from a brand perspective than from a financial point of view. Lenz has recently made several television appearances, including on a one-off CNBC show entitled “Secret Lives of the Super Rich: Mega Homes,” in which she talked about calculating multi-million dollar price tags, six-figure commissions and told real estate war stories.

“I don’t know what [commission] split she’s on,” Braddock said, “but I don’t know if it’s such a monetary thing. [Her listings and connections] give them visibility.”

On his blog, fellow Elliman star broker Leonard Steinberg addressed whispers that Lenz might be set to start her own firm.

“Rumor has it she will be following the footsteps of brokers such as Michael Shvo, Shaun Osher and Wendy Maitland to start her own brokerage firm,” Steinberg said, referring to the independent broker, the CEO of Core and one of Town’s early hires, respectively. “The departure does not come as much of a shock to the industry: the rumor mill has been whispering of Dolly’s departure for some time.”

While Lenz had been consistently the top-producing broker at Elliman for years, Steinberg said her dominance had been somewhat “eroded” more recently by the rise of brokers like Shvo, now a developer, and Elliman star Raphael De Niro.

Still, if Lenz were to open her own company, she’d have a following with which to do so, sources said.

“[Her departure] is surprising but it’s not super shocking,” said top-producing broker Richard Nassimi of the Corcoran Group. “I don’t think she left Douglas Elliman because of Douglas Elliman. She is a name. She could open the Lenz Real Estate Group tomorrow and people would follow her.”

Braddock said it’s not unusual for a top-level broker to get itchy feet after a lengthy stint at one firm. Brokers “max out at a certain time,” she said.

Lenz has worked with celebrities like acting duo Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith as well as rocker Billy Joel and designer Karl Lagerfeld.

She is currently listing a $95 million penthouse at the Sherry Netherland at 781 Fifth Avenue and a three-bedroom residence at 116 East 61st Street, which is asking $12.49 million, according to her Elliman profile page, which has not yet been removed.

Lenz has not been seen around the office in recent months and did not attend the company’s annual awards ceremony earlier this year, according to sources within the firm. Her assistant, Nicholas Polihros, has also departed the firm, they said.

  • Mark woods

    I’m surprised it’s taken her so long to leave. It was obvious a long time ago she didn’t need Elliman. If she opens her own firm I’m sure there will be a ton of defections.

  • Yobaby

    I heard shes joining citi-habitats

  • HouseTaylor

    Keller Williams would be a good fit for dolly!

  • Haywood Jahblowme

    Dolly is an animal and deserves to be treated like one

  • Jay

    who the hell would follow her. she shouldn’t even have a license.

  • DollySucks

    SO… one of the most dishonest brokers in NYC leaves the company that covered her unethical behavior for so long. (typical behavior in that firm).
    I believe she will open her own company and terminate her REBNY membership so she can be finally crowned THE QUEEN OF UNETHICAL!!!!!!
    Let’s be honest…. She is hated by most NYC Brokerage community, not because of her success but for her disgusting behavior.

  • Urbano Barberinni

    Anyone that leaves the mother eventually comes to regret it.

    Proof that no one is a star, and that starts are those that play team.

    Team building is the key to success.

    Dolly Lenz, was not a rocket scientist, nor was Shvo, to the contrary Shvo used his bravado, and fast manners to take advantage of so many people in the early beginnings of his carrier.

    They are not the classy brokers that Douglas Elliman has always counted on to consistently pull revenue. Elliman is by far the best firm in the world, when it comes to real estate.

    Sotheby’s from experience is nothing more than an empty shell.

    Their so called prestigious magazines for example are printed for consumption in sales presentation packages, but they rarely go out to the public at large. No firm does this, except the very venerable and serious Douglas Elliman that produces its own magazine and actually prints and distributes 2.5 million copies, to the wealthiest, and most affluent in the world.
    There is no firm that comes close to the power Elliman has, this firm is modest, quiet, customer centric, and there is no ambiguity about that.

    Everyone else imitates, yes! They imitated, they print their brochures but only in quantities that are sufficient for their brokers to pitch exclusive listings to the consumer.

    I find these small fries imitators, sort of deceiving the public.

    If you did an analysis of business and properties sold, you would clearly understand that Elliman, sells the most beautiful properties, and does it in an unassuming way, where the customer is king or queen.

    There are some very capable brokers at Elliman, and if you look closely, you will find people infinitely better qualified that Lenz and surely Shvo. Lenz and Shvo not to be a snob (as is sensa nobilta) but still, they have not social connections, one grew up in queens, the other in Tel-aviv, what connections these tow ever had, but those provided to them by Douglas Elliman.

    Smoke and mirrors. There is only one king of the market and that is without questions Douglas Elliman.
    However, again, look into who you do business with….. Find out who they are..

    Acronyms like “relocation Expert, “Negotiation Expert”, “certified Bottle Washer” mean little, when what consumers need is real expertise and not puffery.

    • Edward Scalglione Jr.

      Looks like Laura Scott wrote thIs as head cheerleader of Elliman.

    • tommy glade

      looks like you were wrong. 4 listings today

  • Urbano Barberinni

    By the way, let me bite also on some others.

    We will start the list with Sotheby’s who as a firm I know from the inside.

    That is right, from the very inside.

    Did you know that they are nothing more than a licensee of the Sotheby’s Arts and Precious Objects Auction House that is right, there is no relationship there?

    They pay a licensing fee to Sotheby’s that is the real deal, but Sotheby’s Real Estate is owned by the equivalent of the Midas, or Mavis Tires of the real estate industry that also owns Corcoran as a matter of fact and the now defunct Coldwell Bankers (in New York City). The holding company is a national retirement homes management firm, how pathetic and unglamorous is that?
    And they watch every penny, they spend, this is why the brochure machine is so frugal, at both firms, few agents have advertising budgets, few, they poor guys have to deliver their own by hand deliveries, because this gigantic monster that owns them, is cheap to the core, and cut corners on every little thing, so they attract people used to poor treatment, there are no social lights there, Cathy Corte the Sotheby’s Chairman was the secretary of the old Sotheby’s Manager, and she has airs you would not believe, the manager is some Colombian chick that also acts as if she was first cousins with some sort of divinity, and the rest are egg laying chickens (my opinion) that sit there waiting for a referral from the boss, but they are unable to generate their own business.
    Carrie Chiang, whom I have met personally at the Asian Society, barely speaks and if you ask any one of these people to tell you want NPV means in finance, they will be clueless. Go ahead, ask them for the formula, or maybe now that they know, you should ask for something more elevated, like what tools are used to modulate monetary expansion in the United States, all these things, dear reader do affect the price of your real estate investments.

    And pardon me, but, if you will be paying 10 Million for a house or apartment, shouldn’t you demand some cultural patrimony?

    This is what I mean when I say, look under the sheets, go with the best ones, make sure they have credential (remember that guy that was named president of yahoo, and in the end the guy barely finished high school, or something like it). Credentials are very important, so important that universities now print them in anti-forgery paper.

    Require to see credentials…. You will be doing the real due diligence you need to do, and not hiring someone that has (potentially has, my opinion) corrupted some aspects of the system to get listings.
    Trust and estates attorneys, for example, who is keeping the lid on these?
    Whiteout offending the entire profession, let’s remember Madoff, who was he, the actual president of the watch dog self-regulating agency, and the FCC and then 50 Billion went missing.

    Don’t think for a second that small fries don’t do it.
    Let’s talk about Stribling. Stribling gets a disproportionate number of estate listings, why??????

    How did they get them….???? Ok stribling could be considered a connected firm, just because they happen to have a townhouse they bought ions ago, for a song on 73rd Street and Madison and now, they are the TURIST TRAP, a business term used in finance and retail. But does this firm possess the brokers with the required knowledge to deliver and optimal price? I would say questionable.

    Then we go down the line to Brown Harris Stevens, I am sort of reluctant to speak about them, but they do deserve an analysis. So here it goes, 60 some brokers, some are really good, and knowledgeable, but some are just pure, ego, bravado, and attitude, and still people buy it. I guess those self-help tapes that say act as if, and you will, really work, but what about the results, how do we measure them, and lastly is this firm in the nitch of dealing with others that seek to filter who gets housing, in other words, they are the gate keepers to some clubs. That could be. From a moral standing, I think this should not be, from a business standing, this could be a strategy, but in deploying such strategy, many boundaries have to be crossed. Would I be willing to cross them? NO WAY.
    Let’s talk about Bellmarc, Bellmarc has for ions been the training ground for modest secretaries, inexperienced people, and in general second carrier persons, nothing wrong with this, but their offices are so ugly, so are their agents, and the entire dream “Package” is just plain ugly. Nitch, small studios, but ugly ones…. A segment of the market that is going down, as Manhattan becomes a wealthy destination every year that passes.

    Corcoran. Tacky, plain tacky, and more tacky, what can I say, Barbara Corcoran was tacky as tacky comes, so the firm is right there….. Strange looking people, with weird faces, and a plastic demeanor, and they are trained in less that friendly negotiation strategies. On average they sell cheaper than anyone else, for the same properties, why, because they train their agents of how to pull the wool over the eyes of the public (my opinion) from reading their marketing material, in particular a chart with an allegedly statistical curve that depicts that the best offer is the offer that comes right away, when this is far far from the truth. Did you know that real estate brokers actually get the highest prices for their properties? But then they have them on the market the longest.

    In creating excitement, there are some brokers that have this down to a science.
    Look for these brokers…. And don’t buy puffery.

    The comments in this posting are the opinions of the writer, who loves everyone, but would rather see the truth out there, that just plain mysticism and symbolism.

    I realy apologies if I sound like a SNOB (Which my dad told me it came from the Latin, Sensa Nobilta, meaning without nobility) but when I refer to ugliness I mean lack of personal style of cleanliness, more style, and in sales I believe the agent should at least be well groomed, if he or she is to sell anything of enormous value as is real estate.
    Then there is all this hype with reality TV, and here I raise again another topic, why are we idolatrizing people like the Kardacians, and not people like the Warren Buffets, Bill Gates, Bloomberg of the world.

    See my point, shallowness.

    Let’s tell the Truth then
    Regulate the entire industry make them take off those ridiculous titles, like Executive Vice presidents, Senior Vice Presidents, and VP, Directors, and just get plain real and uncover those actors that are just basically some ignoramuses, walking around deceiving the public.

    Trust me, without the titles, they would all be no better that a hot dog stand vendor.

    Look for the real deal…….

    Training, Experience… intelligence, and resources.

    Douglas Elliman may be guilty of the titles thing, but they are the real deal.

    All others imitate…. And this is my opinion of NO BULL TELLING THE TUTH

    I am sure this posting will be deleted, soon.

    Then maybe not…. Faith in journalism, if this publication is not all advertising… right?