Judge calls Cushman “wage thief” in decision favoring JLL brokers

The leasing agents sued their former employer for unpaid commissions

New York /
Apr.April 04, 2018 12:00 PM

From left: Paul Glickman, Mitchell Konsker, Matthew Astrachan, Alexander Chudnoff and Mitti Liebersohn

Real estate brokers are in it for the money, and when they don’t get it, they’re often inclined to sue. So in 2011, when a five-man troupe of Cushman and Wakefield leasing agents left an expiring contract to head to competing brokerage JLL, they expected to take their final paychecks with them.

Instead, the agents — Mitchell Konsker, Paul Glickman, Matthew Astrachan, Mitti Liebersohn and Alexander Chudnoff — said they were given short shrift and sued for up to $8 million to recover unpaid wages. Cushman settled in the amount of $1.5 million for owed base commission three years later (plus another $1.4 million in damages), but apparently that settlement was not enough to compensate for all unpaid commissions and attorney fees, a New York Supreme Court judge said in a Monday ruling.

In her decision, Judge Andrea Masley said Cushman’s “purposeful failure to pay employees earned wages renders defendant a wage thief and the loser.”

Masley’s decision, which denied Cushman’s cross-motion for its own attorneys fees to be paid, ordered the brokerage to pay out more than $650,000, including damages.

“Cushman tried to ‘bleed out’ a team of top producing brokers, hoping to get them to take pennies on the dollar on millions in commissions, forced the brokers to sue, and only agreed to settle, in phases, each time Cushman was about to lose,” said Stephen Meister, the attorney for the brokers in the case. “Commissions are wages.”

A representative for Cushman and Wakefield declined to comment.

In April of last year, the company conceded that it still owed the brokers remaining commissions and damages, according to Masley’s written decision.

A source familiar with the litigation told The Real Deal that the remaining unpaid wages stemmed from unpaid bonuses on top of base commissions.

Liebersohn has since left JLL, departing for Avison Young in 2015.

This month, TRD ranked New York’s top office leasing brokerages by total square footage leased in the last year. Cushman placed second with 12 million square feet in completed deals and JLL, with 6.4 million, was third.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Council member Pierina Ana Sanchez and RSA’s Joseph Strasburg (Getty; Twitter)
Citing Bronx fire, Council pushes building violation crackdown
Citing Bronx fire, Council pushes building violation crackdown
SB Development’s Joseph Stern and Northwind’s Ran Eliasaf with rendering of Nova (LinkedIn, NOVA)
SB Development, Hazelton Capital score $62M loan for LIC condo tower
SB Development, Hazelton Capital score $62M loan for LIC condo tower
Illustration of Mayor Eric Adams (Getty; Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Oh, rats! Eric Adams contests summons for infestation
Oh, rats! Eric Adams contests summons for infestation
How CRE brokerages are responding to i-sales slowdown
How CRE brokerages are responding to i-sales slowdown
How CRE brokerages are responding to i-sales slowdown
Libbie Mugrabi and Mitchell Holdings's David Mitchell with 320 East 82nd Street (Getty, Google Maps; Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Park Mansion owner struggles to collect $1.5M in rent from evicted socialite
Park Mansion owner struggles to collect $1.5M in rent from evicted socialite
Former NY Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin skates on developer-linked fraud charges
Former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin skates on developer-linked fraud charges
Brookfield's Bruce Flatt with 1100 Newark Turnpike (Loopnet, Brookfield)
Brookfield buys CSX industrial site in Northern New Jersey for $67M
Brookfield buys CSX industrial site in Northern New Jersey for $67M
Steve Croman with 40 Avenue B
Steve Croman seeks $2.6 million from restaurant he evicted
Steve Croman seeks $2.6 million from restaurant he evicted
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...