Coldwell Banker Bellmarc Group’s President Neil Binder has reached a settlement with two of its principals, dismissing all litigation, according to a statement from Binder. His business partners and fellow principals Anthony DeGrotta and Larry Friedman, who sued him for allegedly embezzling money from the brokerage, have resigned.
“I am pleased that the dispute between myself and Larry and Anthony is now behind us, and that we can move forward as a unified company,” Binder said. Binder called DeGrotta’s and Friedman’s claims “false allegations.” The accusations, Binder said, “will always haunt me as a personal blemish on my 35 years of pursuing the highest standards in the business.”
Friedman and DeGrotta alleged that Binder used the firm’s funds as “his personal piggy bank” and asked for $2 million in damages. Since the lawsuit was filed, 25 agents have left the brokerage to join other firms.
In August, Bellmarc, which is a franchisee of national brokerage Coldwell Banker, was evicted from its Lexington Avenue office, as reported by The Real Deal. Earlier this year, Coldwell Banker, which claims Bellmarc owes the company $270,000, asked a judge to appoint a temporary receiver to oversee the firm’s finances pending the outcome of the litigation.
Friedman and DeGrotta also “transferred their ownership interest to a third party,” Binder noted. He will remain as the sole operating manager of the firm.
DeGrotta and Friedman “have also made financial payment to the company,” Binder said.
Binder co-founded Bellmarc in 1979 and bought A.C. Lawrence from Friedman and DeGrotta in 2012. Bellmarc became a Coldwell Banker franchise last summer. The company’s current structure and branding will remain the same following the settlement.