The Real Deal New York

Coldwell Banker Bellmarc Group settles lawsuits

Principals Anthony DeGrotta and Larry Friedman to resign
By Claire Moses | December 01, 2014 09:03AM

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.


  • Raj

    Neil is a nice man and have the utmost respect for him.

  • Bob the Broker

    Agents have known for years that Binder was using Bellmarc as his personal piggy bank. You don’t get paid your commission until 4 weeks after your closing while Neil played with your money.

  • martin johnson

    there is no one in Manhattan with a worse reputation than Neil Binder. The man is a bully and these guys only settled to run for the hills as it was the biggest mistake of their lives. He will be out of business sooner than later as he has more judgements than he has deals pending.

  • Steven Jones
  • JMS

    The media and real estate community is quick to forget that Neil and Bellmarc laid much of the groundwork for the competitive brokerage landscape we see today. The company, with Neil at the helm, pioneered many aspects of the current training methodology and listing models in use today. Neil’s discipline and work ethic are rare and an example of what makes industry thrive. This circumstance consisted of an unfair portrayal. When it comes to business, hard-work will triumph over cheap and frivolous actions. I wish Neil the best and look forward to seeing the next chapter of Bellmarc.

  • JKB

    The dust will never settle.

  • Broker from the heavens

    All of them are CROOKS, they ALL deserve whats coming to them…. This is what happens when you allow GREED to overtake your life… Doing dirty underhanded business transactions are what ALL of them INCLUDING Frank Sanchez (Mr Promise the world but deliver Shit) dealt with on a daily basis. Serves them right, Karma will handle ALL their asses real good.

  • Gerald

    Why does he have so many personal judgements against himself and why are so many people leaving the firm?