The Real Deal New York

Binder’s Bellmarc Realty unable to pay bills after TD Bank freezes accounts

New lawsuit claims says bank took action “without providing adequate explanation or cause”
By Claire Moses | April 20, 2015 06:00PM

TD Bank has frozen all of Bellmarc Realty’s bank accounts, leaving the brokerage unable to handle core business operations and pay out commissions, according to a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court on Friday.

As a result of the freeze — which Bellmarc’s president Neil Binder claims in the lawsuit against the bank is being done “without providing adequate explanation or cause” — the brokerage is unable to take care of payroll, pay rent for its offices and dole out commissions to its roughly 300 agents.

The suit also states that the freeze —which applies to eight Bellmarc-related bank accounts — is done “in an arbitrary manner.”

Steven Beispel, Binder’s attorney, declined to comment and a TD Bank representative did not return a request for comment.

During a brief phone call on Monday afternoon, Binder would only say he was “sad” about the matter.

A bank employee told Binder that his accounts at the bank were frozen and that Binder wasn’t able to deposit anything into his accounts until the bank could “verify the funds,” according to court documents.

On April 9, Binder attempted to deposit a check for $33,000 into the Bellmarc Insurance Agency account, he claims in the suit. After that deposit, Binder planned to transfer $32,000 of that money into the Bellmarc Realty operating account. The very next day, however, he learned about the freeze, when the money he had tried to deposit wasn’t available, but still “pending.”

In the suit, Binder calls the freeze a “traumatic event” that would have “serious adverse implications” on his business. It adds to the serious issues Bellmarc has been hit with in recent months, including the departure of Binder’s partners, a mass agent exodus, a breakup with franchise giant Coldwell Banker, and allegations of embezzlement.

While the freeze would normally last between five and seven business days, the matter was transferred to TD Bank’s fraud department, according to the suit. An employee of the TD Bank branch at 21st Street and Park Avenue South told Binder that the bank would assign an investigator, the suit claims. When that would happen, however, remained unclear.

Both parties were scheduled to appear in court on Monday afternoon.

Bellmarc currently has five offices in the city and about 30 full-time staff, excluding agents.