The Real Deal New York

Warhol muse sues Jungreis over “secret” deal for LES portfolio

By Guelda Voien | October 25, 2013 11:40AM

Whatever happened to Baby Jane’s real estate portfolio? Well, one four-building package was sold in a sweetheart deal deceptively arranged by prolific broker Aaron Jungreis — or at least that’s what Jane Holzer, the real estate developer and star of scads of Andy Warhol films (often referred to as “Baby Jane”), claims in a new lawsuit.

Holzer hired Jungreis, president of Rosewood Realty, to sell her four rental apartment buildings — 60 Avenue B, 159-161 Stanton Street, 193-195 Stanton Street and 343 East 8th Street — in the East Village and on the Lower East Side. He brokered a $40.1 million deal with Manhattan landlord Croman Real Estate, helmed by Steven Croman, which closed this past December.

But Jungreis failed to shop the portfolio “as promised, to a wide net of local players with potential interest in the property,” and instead “steered” Holzer toward Croman, with whom he had an existing relationship and a “secret” deal to get financial compensation, she claimed in a suit filed earlier this month in New York State Supreme Court. The suit alleges breach of fiduciary duty and seeks unspecified damages.

“I adamantly deny the allegations and I intend to vigorously defend myself against this lawsuit,” he told The Real Deal via email. “The allegations are slanderous and I intend to protect my good name.” Jungreis also said the suit was “simply an effort to avoid the payment of a commission,” and that Holzer did not make these allegations at any point during the 10-month contract period for the transaction, bringing the matter up only when the commission came due.

Croman, who was not named as a defendant in the suit, did not respond to a request for comment.

But Raymond Hannigan of law firm Herrick Feinstein, who represents Holzer, said Jungreis failed to market the properties to the appropriate parties.

“We were approached by several large players on the Lower East Side, and they told us that Jungreis had never approached them,” he said. He declined to give the identities of the players, however, or elaborate on the alleged secret deal or what form the alleged compensation from Croman took.

But Jungreis is known for his less than conventional approach to brokerage, a tack that has landed him in the court room previously.

A 2008 deal led to two suits over commissions, with Debrah Lee Charatan and Georgia Malone of separate, eponymous firms accusing him of cutting them out of a $68 million deal for 13 multi-family properties on the far West Side, which he sold to the Orbach Group. He has also freely admitted to investing in deals he has brokered and to preferring to avoid co-broking.

He is currently not involved in any litigation other than with Holzer, however, he said.

The fraught deal has caused Holzer other difficulties.

In August, Croman sued her, alleging she threatened to rent out 18 empty rent-stabilized apartments in the buildings unless he paid her an additional $2.5 million. That suit has been resolved, sources said.

But this is not the former vixen’s first tangle with a real estate broker. Earlier this year, real estate broker Joanna Cutler sued Holzer for allegedly failing to pay her a $700,000 commission on the sale of Holzer’s $16 million Upper East Side townhouse.

  • happy client and big fan

    jungreiss is the best broker in the city. Unlike Rosewood realty there are other brokerage firms who specialize in marketing and exposing a listing to the widest possible audience. Rosewood does not do that and doesn’t claim to. What Rosewood Realty does do is, they make sure that a transaction is successfully completed. They bring real buyers and sellers together and make sure that the deal gets done. Sometimes when selling through Rosewood, money gets left on the table. But most of the landlords who play with Rosewood understand and accept the tradeoff in exchange for being able to conduct they’re business in an efficient and expeditious manner.

    • Graveshift

      Baby Jane is doing exactly that, being a Baby. She’s a rich brat who needs to get over herself. Suing everyone around you doesnt make friends in this business. Aaron has been pretty transparent that he does deals a different way, but unless you instruct a broker to blast an OM to a 1,000 buyers, there shouldn’t have to be more than 10 calls made to top guys to generate a quiet bidding war and avoid OPM waste of timers. Croman stepped up when everyone else was shook in the mid-high 30s, and just because the market exploded during the contract, its nobody’s fault that the portfolio is worth millions more today..

  • How Could you

    A rose will always be a rose

    • Lol

      Lol what

    • Pete


  • kos kesh

    Aaron is clearly the best in this business. This whole thing is a complete joke.

    • Chos Polo

      Aaron is the most honest in the business, Holzer is not your typical fox in the woods

    • Graveshift

      Whats not a joke is what happens if they peel back the Rosewood onion and look into bank activity

      • happy client and big fan

        Your going to have to allege something more specific, in order to be taken any more seriously than the average troll out there.

        • Graveshift

          Would rather be a troll than a fanboy

  • HughGass

    Love the fake candid photo of him. Was he surprised there was a photographer standing in front of him and “look! I’m on the phone AND on my blackberry. See how busy I happen to be at this particular moment? And I’m trying to look like I just happen to notice!”

    • happy client and big fan

      so it may or may not be a staged photo. why is that relevant? haters will always hate

      • HughGass

        because it’s fake and phony, critique is not always hate.

        • guest

          been to his office seen a similar scene but when i was there he had another blkbry on his desk. The guy is just the best in industry. Although he would screw anyone for a dollar.

  • sam

    Get ready for more lawsuits. You will see how he hands out kickbacks to acquisition directors like fat ass Avi Libor and Charlie Kushner himself. Every dog has his day so will this crook.

    • jay

      Well it will be known soon that Avi takes deals from other brokers sends it to Aaron so they go through him, Why? Kickbacks for Avi….seen ot upclose as in intern and how they screw other brokers. Aaron does that with every deal he makes. So is that honest? Think not

  • Brokers Friend

    Dont send deals to avi lebor of Kushner companies he and Aaron are buddies anything you send them he will pass on to Aaron they have a deal together anything Avi gets goes to Kushner.

  • How Could you

    Shes is a common thief. Theft of services is nothing but a petty low life thief.

  • fred

    Quantity does not always mean quality. The fact that they are prolific does not mean they are attaining maximum value for their client, the Seller. As an investor of multi-family buildings I have seen neighboring properties which i would have been interested in (literally abutting) and not even an email. I am an active investor who has acquired buildings in the last few years and I get calls/emails aplenty from other commerical agents for selling or buying. Just not Rosewood. I imagine they have their stable of go-to investors for particular listings. But this strategy rules out the local investor for instance who may want that particular property, or the investor sitting on a 1031 who has to do something. By casting the limited net, it raises the question whether they are truly maximizing value for their client. The quantity of transactions is indeed impressive (as well as the pr machine that supports this) but I am not sure I would give him my listings when the time comes. Whether “baby jane” is correct is beyond me. But her claim I think raises a legitimate question.

    • guest

      A lot of landlords (myself included) would leave money on the table in order not to be bothered with a drawn out sales process. My time is worth too much to be bothered. With jungreiss and berger its 2 phone calls and the building is sold. Also they have a real understanding of what they’re clients are looking to buy. Usually if they call with a deal they are on target and within a short period we have a signed contract. In short if you deal with rosewood you know that there is a real buyer/seller on the other end. That is something that’s invaluable to any real operator in the city.