The Real Deal New York

Shlomi Reuveni barred from working in Manhattan new development after judge upholds noncompete

Former Town exec plans to appeal ruling
By Katherine Clarke | May 05, 2017 06:24PM

Shlomi Reuveni and Andrew Heiberger

Shlomi Reuveni will be barred from working in the Manhattan new development space for a two-year period, after a judge upheld his noncompete agreement with Town Residential.

Town hit Reuveni with a $25 million lawsuit last month, alleging that Reuveni, formerly the brokerage’s head of new development, breached the terms of his noncompete agreement by trying to steal away clients and Town brokers for his own new venture, Reuveni Real Estate. 

In the decision issued Friday, the judge ruled to uphold Reuveni ‘s noncompete, calling Town CEO Andrew Heiberger’s testimony “credible” and saying the firm had a strong likelihood of success in its suit. The noncompete allows Revueni to work as a real estate broker in Manhattan, but prohibits him from working on Manhattan new development projects and from hiring any Town agents or employees. It does not restrict him from working on new developments in Brooklyn and Queens.

The decision will mean Reuveni will have to rethink plans for his new development brokerage, which he said in April would focus on high-end development projects for local and foreign private clients and institutions.

In a statement, Reuveni stated his intention to appeal the ruling and said: “I am profoundly disappointed by the court’s decision, which I believe contains many significant errors.”

Heiberger, however, applauded the decision.

“These covenants and restrictions are fully enforceable and necessary,” he said. “Reuveni caused Town New Development and its clients and customers serious damages and I am thrilled that the judge agrees.”

Reuveni resigned last year from his position at Town, where he was making an annual salary of $900,000 plus a 15-to-20 percent share of any gross profits on new development contracts executed during his tenure.

Town brought its suit two months after Reuveni sued the company, alleging he’d been forced to terminate his employment contract due to the company’s “numerous breaches and other inappropriate conduct.”

Elaine Diratz currently leads Town’s new development division.