This New York brokerage was just accused of predatory dual agency practices

Class-action lawsuit claims Houlihan Lawrence goes out of its way to hide brokers’ double roles

New York /
Jul.July 16, 2018 08:03 AM

Houlihan Lawrence CEO Stephen Meyers and president Chris Meyers

A Westchester homebuyer is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit accusing Houlihan Lawrence of “predatory behavior” over its dual agency practices.

The lawsuit claims that the 1,300-agent-strong residential brokerage makes dual agency part of its fundamental business plan and obscures its agents’ roles, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Houlihan Lawrence also provides less disclosure than other brokerages about its agents’ dual roles, according to the lawsuit, which says the brokerage represented both sides of the deal in nine out of 10 of Houlihan Lawrence’s biggest Westchester sales.

A spokesperson for Houlihan Lawrence, which Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s HomeServices of America bought last year, told the Journal that the company had just learned of the lawsuit and was still going over it, adding the brokerage “is confident in its business practices.”

Pamela Goldstein, the lead plaintiff in the case, bought a home in White Plains in 2017 for $637,000. She was surprised to find, though, that her broker at Houlihan Lawrence was part of the team that had listed the house for the seller. Her agent, Daniel Cezimbra, is also the brother-in-law of the listing agent.

Brokers in New York are allowed to work on both sides of the deal, so long as they disclose their dual roles. Goldstein said her broker sent her a disclosure only three days after she submitted her initial bid, and that the pre-checked boxes on the form were incorrect.

Cezimbra told the Journal that he worked “solely” on Goldstein’s behalf.

“She was well represented,” he said. “I feel everything we did was up to par. She had every disclosure laid out to her.” [WSJ]Rich Bockmann


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Abraham Edgardo Ortega is one of nine people charged in the laundering scheme. (Getty, Department of Justice)
Former Venezuelan oil exec sentenced in $1B money laundering scheme
Former Venezuelan oil exec sentenced in $1B money laundering scheme
The Montana property with director Robert Redford and star Brad Pitt. (Getty, Swan Land Company)
“A River Runs Through It” Montana ranch lists for $136M
“A River Runs Through It” Montana ranch lists for $136M
From left: 944 Fifth Avenue, 67-69 East 93rd Street and 15 East 88th Street (Google Maps)
Three Manhattan sellers aim high asking $25M+ for luxury pads
Three Manhattan sellers aim high asking $25M+ for luxury pads
FiDi condo supply is through the roof as workers delay office return. (Getty)
FiDi condo glut is through the roof
FiDi condo glut is through the roof
eXp CEO Glenn Sanford (eXp, iStock)
Virtual broker eXp Realty has another record quarter
Virtual broker eXp Realty has another record quarter
Ira Drukier with the Hotel Chelsea (Getty, Patrick McMullan/Getty)
Chelsea Hotel owners sue city for $100M over renovation delays
Chelsea Hotel owners sue city for $100M over renovation delays
RSA's Joseph Strasburg and Judge Lawrence Marks (Getty, Strasburg via Jeffersons Siegel)
Landlord group challenges state eviction ban
Landlord group challenges state eviction ban
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman (Getty, Redfin)
Pocket listings exclude minority homebuyers, Redfin CEO says
Pocket listings exclude minority homebuyers, Redfin CEO says
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...