The honor system is apparently what it all comes down to when the question of whether it’s right or wrong to work as a broker and sit on, or lead, a co-op board.
The issue is coming to a head at one Forest Hills co-op where broker, and owner of Superior Services Realty, Belal Mohd is president of the board and, according to the New York Times, has sold 60 apartments over the past 10 years.
Owners claim they had difficulty selling their apartments when using a broker other than Mohd because the board would turn down buyers and The Times also noted several of Mohd’s listings for the building claimed the building had a “no hassle board.”
Unfortunately for those claiming wrongdoing on the part of Mohd, no law prohibits his actions — although some buildings internally prevent brokers from participating in their boards. That said, the legal community is crystal clear on their stance: don’t work in a building when you’re sitting on the board.
“A bad person can take advantage of the system,” partner Aaron Shmulewitz of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman told the Times.
The Real Estate Board of New York’s counsel, partner Neil B. Garfinkel, agreed telling the Times agents and brokers should not serve on boards if they’re also selling property in the building as a conflict of interest is unavoidable.
Mohd, for his part, wrote the Times an email calling his detractors a minority with “malicious intent” and “false allegations.” [NYT] — Erin Hudson