The Real Deal New York

Heiberger, Sitt reach settlement in Town legal battle

Deal provides for both execs to serve as active chairmen of the company
By Katherine Clarke | March 04, 2014 09:07PM

Andrew Heiberger and Joseph Sitt, Town Residential’s top guns, have reached a settlement in their legal battle, bringing an end to an ugly — and public — bust-up between the two real estate executives.

Heiberger announced the settlement in an email sent to Town employees this evening. In the message, he apologized to brokers for the public battle that has plagued the firm since January.

“We know how difficult these last weeks have been for all of you, and we are deeply sorry,” he said. “We recognize we have a great deal to do to earn back your trust, and repay you for this terrible inconvenience, but we are committed to doing so, no matter how long it takes.”

In the next few weeks, he and Sitt will be making a series of office visits and hosting small gatherings with brokers “to discuss Town 2014 and beyond,” he said in the email.

The duo are also planning to dine tonight at Nobu with 30 or 40 of the firm’s staff and clients to celebrate, sources said.

The settlement provides that both Sitt and Heiberger will become active chairmen at the company, sources said. It was not clear if Heiberger would be reinstated as CEO.

Lisa Heiberger, Heiberger’s sister, and Jacqueline Pestana, his executive assistant, have been reinstated effective immediately, he said.

One broker at Town predicted that the news would be extremely well received within the ranks of brokers and staff at Town.

“I think everyone is going to be really happy,” the broker said. “Stability is an important thing. People want to know that they’re in good hands.”

The dispute between the two Town owners began in January, when Sitt refused to renew Heiberger’s contract as CEO. Sitt claimed that Heiberger had failed to meet the financial targets the two agreed to when Thor first invested in 2011. Sitt also claimed he had not seen any return on his investment to date.

Neither parties responded to request for comment on the settlement.

  • Truth Shall Set You Free

    Good to hear. Lotta great brokers at Town who don’t need this hanging over their head. Now everyone can move on and get back to business.

  • All Smiles

    Joe looks happier than Andrew

  • Optimist

    Great news! Congratulations Town – on to reaching number 1 in NYC!

  • LetsBeReal

    So let’s see… Heiberger can go back to running a brokerage, Sitt can go back to development,,, makes sense to me! What took so long

  • all good now?

    Glad to see them work things out but WOW…..lots of dirty laundry aired for the industry to see. I think the most damaging was the fact that they were close to selling after just a couple years. Why would a top broker want to follow these owners to Town knowing a sale and probable change in corporate culture is right around the corner?

  • ron

    Celebrate @ NOBU for what?
    Let’s see how long this will last.
    Town is still on balancing on thin ice and watch all that unnecessary spending on silly perks for agents; health insurance, gym, car services ,candy etc.
    Agents don’t need these things to be productive and successful @Town just great management and support.

    • ChewBaka Flocka

      Silly health insurance….

  • ronburgandy

    joe is a billionaire, he is always smiling !!!

    • trueguy

      H He is running funds with 1Billion in commitment. He institutional investor.e

  • Don’t believe

    Heiberger and Sitt put their agency on such drama alerts. I think they are both selfish idiots. How can anyone trust these fools?
    Joe Sitt tried a hostile take over . Time will tell if the hostility is still part of the culture they so flippantly created. Don’t trust the fools

  • Town Expert

    This is all bull! All for the sake of shameless publicity. Heiberger and Sitt should be ashamed of themselves. Town is and always be a mediocre firm that will never reach the pinnacle of real estate in New York. They are still spending uncontrollably, hence a celebratory dinner at NOBU?? Why?? what is there to celebrate? The fact that both owners publicly tarnished and pissed on the firm? There is nothing to celebrate. Let’s see their balance sheet. They are still operating on very thin margins.

    • Christian

      TOWN got over ambitious with opening way to many offices in NYC and offering silly perks non essentials for agents.
      STOP throwing the money away and tighten up the expenses!
      They need to slow down and not be so greedy and let the business flow naturally.
      They have some top brokers there but the management is a mess, be careful they can easily walk to the completion and why not?
      Maybe they need to hire more engineers from Urban Compass?

  • mk

    haha all a joke, smoke & mirrors – the usual at “town”

  • JacquelynnMorgan

    Its so very good settlement in the town legal battle.

  • anon

    Good for them.

  • Guest

    Pathetic. Let’s put the entire company through hell and then take them out to Nobu for some BS party dinner because life at Town is all party and no business. Great message. As usual, Town is all fluff. The bad press was getting boring, at least the company is giving us something to laugh about again.

  • Lisa

    All of these negative comments about Town show how truly scared the industry’s old brokerages are of the new kid on the block who came in with fresh ideas and a new fun model. It was about time that a company treated their agents with some dignity. I am am proud to work at TOWN and happy this all has worked out!!

    • Char4Dew

      hmmmm. But Karma has its own direction.
      Smart, rich…. but but but……

  • Town

    Well said Lisa!!!

  • bebop

    We fight, we break up. We kiss, we make up (you) You don’t really wanna stay, no (you) But you don’t really wanna go-o.

    • Char4Dew

      Right, but we want to sell and the time is not now, so lets do the right thing and get together again, Com on they know each other before Real Estate, and this is about money…They will sit it out for a while and see what sticks.
      Andrew is no dummy, Sitt has a lot of money and this investment is no big deal. Town investment puts Sitt name in the news. even if he has a lot more money then Andrew, he was not news worthy to much, nobody care who bought the last office building. Residential puts Sitt on the front page. Now Sitt will have both….and Andrew can continue to do whatever it takes to make it all Sell-able.

    • Sticks&Bricks101


  • Observer

    t was like parents getting into a nasty divorce tearing each other and the family apart. Good thing they realized they should wash their dirty laundry indoors. As I am sure the disagreements still exist, hopefully ‪#‎heiberger‬ and ‪#‎sitt‬’s ‪#‎warofthugs‬ can be resolved in a civil and professional manner. Happy ending? I doubt it. However, kudos for the effort. ‪#‎crackiswhack‬

  • I’m a broker bro

    Nothing justifies 6% commissions and 15% broker fees like a 40 person dinner at Nobu

  • Just sayin’

    I find it so interesting that no one is talking about the $100,000 signing bonuses Elliman is paying to everyone who “jumped ship”.

  • Sticks&Bricks101

    Excellent exit srtategy. Creative. Watch out Dolly. Go get em Wendy.

  • Sticks&Bricks101

    Daylight’s burning.

  • Sticks&Bricks101

    ‘Nuff said.

  • Bbop

    The good news is that anyone crazy or smart enough to stick their neck out in order to fill the leadership void, will have the added benefit of open, public scrutiny. Too much heavy lifting otherwise.

    • Sticks&Bricks101