In an attempt to stave off a court-appointed receiver, embattled brokerage head Neil Binder told a judge that such a move would put his firm, Bellmarc Realty, out of business by depriving him of income and forcing him to file for bankruptcy.
“Saddling me with a receiver will not only prevent the turnaround of Bellmarc, but will hasten its demise,” he argued in court documents dated March 25.
Earlier this month, Capital One bank asked a Suffolk County judge to appoint a receiver in its attempt to collect nearly $580,000 from the brokerage. Court documents indicate Binder defaulted on a $1.15 million promissory note in 2009, and was fined $557,697 plus interest in December 2014.
In opposing Capital One’s motion, Binder said the bank’s “best hope” for collecting its fee is to allow him to rebuild Bellmarc, which has dwindled to roughly 200 agents from more than 600 in 2013.
In court documents, Binder said the negative publicity surrounding receivership would prompt his sales agents to defect to other firms. “Who would want to be affiliated with or do business with the company if it becomes known that a receiver has been appointed to run my affairs and liquidate my holdings,” he wrote.
Binder said he may have no other choice than to file for bankruptcy if a receiver were appointed. Binder did not respond to a request for comment.
In his motion, Binder also “vehemently” disputed Capital One’s claims that he lives in an expensive apartment paid for by Bellmarc, drives a car owned by his brother-in-law’s company and has refused to turn over relevant financial information. “The dire financial position I find myself in today is not the result of some devious asset protection scheme,” he said, “but rather the consequence of a bitter and highly publicized battle with former partners.”
In December 2014, Binder settled a lawsuit filed by former principals Anthony DeGrotta and Larry Friedman, as The Real Deal previously reported. At that time, DeGrotta and Friedman, who accused Binder of using Bellmarc as his personal piggybank, resigned from the firm and sold their stakes in the company.
Earlier this year, Bellmarc consolidated into a single office in the Flatiron district. Two former agents sued the firm in February, alleging they weren’t paid commissions – a claim Binder denied.