Douglas Elliman, new to the publishing space, is already ruffling feathers.
Nikolai Fedak, the founder and editor-in-chief of pro-development blog New York YIMBY, is suing the firm, alleging the brokerage giant failed to pay him for five months of consulting and content production services.
Fedak, who’s been a fixture on the real estate scene since he launched his blog in 2011, claims Elliman stiffed him on $40,000. His contract, inked last September, called for him to be paid $8,000 a month, or $96,000 a year, for his work for the brokerage, according to the suit, filed Friday in New York State Supreme Court.
Among the stories he provided to Elliman was a piece on new development surrounding Times Square. The piece, entitled “Expanding Times Square,” ran on Elliman Media’s website. He also provided consulting services relating to the firm’s real estate marketing materials, he said in the suit.
Elliman “utilized Mr. Fedak’s name and likeness without his consent or authorization,” the suit claims.
Both Elliman and Fedak declined to comment on the suit.
Nicole Oge, Elliman’s chief marketing officer, has committed significant resources to get the brokerage into the the editorial and branded content game in a big way over the past two years. Elliman has recruited other well-known freelance writers to contribute to their products, including Vanity Fair contributing editor George Wayne and New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis. The company has rolled out two new quarterly luxe magazines — Elliman and Elevate – and regularly publishes on the Elliman Media website.
YIMBY, which is an acronym for Yes in my Backyard, is partly funded by Fedak’s business partner Dan George, according to news reports. It’s perhaps best known for publishing new renderings of developments around town and construction updates on some of the city’s biggest projects.