UPDATED: Aug. 10, 4:55 p.m.: It’s gone from bad to worse for Neil Binder. After being evicted from its last remaining Manhattan office in June, impecunious Bellmarc Realty resorted to moving its brokerage operations to its founder’s Upper East Side rental apartment. But now, Binder’s landlord is giving him the boot.
The unit’s owners, Hani and Dania Abuali, filed a petition to evict Binder and his wife from the $12,000-a-month condominium they rent at 181 East 90th Street, according to court documents. The Binders allegedly owe two months worth of rent — for June and July — plus late fees, documents show.
“We’re seeking to enforce the landlord’s rights, pursuant to the lease,” said attorney Jeff Kaplan of SLK Law, which filed the petition against Bellmarc Realty LLC, whose name appears on the lease for the three-bedroom pad.
In court documents Binder’s attorney argued that claims against Neil and Nina Binder lack jurisdiction because they are not signatories on the lease. And in an email to The Real Deal, Binder also stressed that distinction.
“The lease is in the name of Bellmarc Realty LLC and as you know, Bellmarc Realty is currently having difficulty with meeting all its financial obligations,” Binder said. “As a result of this condition, we are moving out of the apartment. My wife and I are mentioned because we were the occupants even though we weren’t the tenant.”
According to property records, the Abualis paid $2.99 million for the ninth-floor unit in 2013. The 2,077-square-foot apartment, managed by First Service Residential, is currently on the rental market for $13,950 a month with listing agent Robb Saar of the Corcoran Group. The petition filed by the Abualis only focuses on the unpaid rent.
In a June email to its agents, Binder described “transitional plans” for the brokerage after its eviction from 936 Broadway. “Bellmarc Realty is not going out of business,” he wrote, according to a copy of the email obtained by The Real Deal. He said the firm would temporarily operate out of his apartment on East 90th Street but will look for a new location and “intends to move to that facility by the end of the summer.”
Bellmarc vacated its sole brokerage office at 936 Broadway in the Flatiron District in June after the landlord there sued for nonpayment of rent. At that time, several agents told TRD that Binder was issuing IOUs to agents in lieu of commissions. The so-called promissory notes were in the form of bad checks that Binder told agents not to cash until the firm became liquid.
“Bellmarc is awaiting receipt of outstanding funds on commissions receivable, to address commission obligations,” a spokesperson for the firm told TRD in a statement at the time.