Fired Venture Capital Properties brokers flee to new brokerage

Ebi Khalili, Josh Rahmani respond to allegations made by their former partners 
By Kyna Doles | March 27, 2015 09:00AM

UPDATED, March 27, 10:47 a.m.: Brothers Daniel and Joseph Rahmani, who were tossed out of Venture Capital Properties last month, have now joined a new brokerage, Capital Property Partners. The move comes as their battle with their former partners Ebi Khalili and Arash “Josh” Rahmani continues to escalate.

Joseph, who co-owns Venture, and Daniel, who was a top broker there, filed a petition in New York Supreme Court earlier this month to dissolve the company, and accused their first cousins and partners, Khalili and Josh, of mishandling the firm’s funds.

Records show Capital was legally formed on Feb. 20, a day after Joseph received a letter from his cousins telling him he was fired and barred from entering the office. Simon Goltche, a former broker at Venture, also moved over to the new firm.

The Midtown-based Venture is a commercial brokerage with an emphasis on investment sales. It ranked 19th on The Real Deal’s 2013 list of top investment sales firms, with $253 million in transactions, but fell off the list the following year. Khalili and Josh are also principals and managing partners at Empire Capital Holdings, a real estate investment firm founded in 2004.

In an affidavit Khalili and Josh filed Wednesday in response to the petition, the cousins accuse Daniel and Joseph of pocketing “hundred of thousands (if not millions) of dollars rightfully owed to [Venture] in the form of commissions and other compensations obtained through illicit side deals and undisclosed transactions.”

They also claim Daniel instructed Goltche to steal documents from the company’s office and tried to enlist an intern to help with the theft. Goltche denies these allegations.

“Ebi and Josh terminated Joe and Danny because they were wrongly diverting corporate funds to other entities. Establishing another entity the day after their termination is further evidence of Joe’s and Danny’s continued efforts improperly to divert [Venture’s] business and funds even after their termination, ” John Goldman of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, representing Khalili and Josh, said in a statement to The Real Deal.

A lawyer representing Daniel and Joseph was not available for comment Thursday.

Among the deals Khalili and Josh accuse their cousins of concealing is Sitt Asset’s $27 million sale of the Venetian in Brooklyn.

[vision_pullquote style=”1″ align=””] “Daniel arrived in a fit of rage and, among other things, threatened to stab me.” [/vision_pullquote]

As TRD reported in October, Daniel represented the buyer, Time Equities. However, Khalili and Josh allege that because Daniel was required to split his commissions with Venture, unlike Joseph, who could keep all of his commission earnings, Joseph claimed to have brokered the deal with another agent.

Daniel received a $540,000 commission from the sale, and after paying off another broker on the deal, allegedly split the funds with his brother and never reported the sale’s closing to the firm, according to the affidavit.

When Khalili and Josh confronted Daniel and Joseph about who brokered the deal, “Daniel arrived in a fit of rage and, among other things, threatened to stab me,” the affidavit states. The brothers were eventually restrained by co-workers and escorted out of the building, according to the affidavit.

Khalili and Josh accuse Daniel and Joseph of pulling off a similar scheme at 230 East 44th Street, where Daniel brokered the $47 million ground-lease sale on behalf of real estate investor Uri Mermelstein.

Khalili and Joseph claim the deal was brought in by another Venture sales agent, but Daniel and Joseph conducted the deal without telling anyone at the company.

“Caught with their hands in the cookie jar,” the affidavit states, Joseph and Daniel were secretly brokering deals for themselves and were found to have diverted at least 11 deals to other companies.

Although litigation is ongoing to dissolve the company, the affidavit states Venture “continues to successfully carry on its business, employing over 30 salespersons and analysts with several deals in its pipeline.”