Concierge Auctions facing accusations of fraudulent bids

Lawsuits accuse luxury RE company of using fake bidders to juice home prices

National /
Feb.February 11, 2019 10:00 AM

Concierge Auctions founder Laura Brady (Credit: iStock and Twitter)

Concierge Auctions, the market leader in luxury real estate auctions, has faced accusations that it manipulates bids to juice up its business.

Since 2014, the company has been a defendant in 10 lawsuits, half of which accused Concierge of using some type of fake bidder to increase the price of homes or to make sellers think there was more interest in their properties than there really was, according to a review of suits on Courthouse News by the Wall Street Journal.

In one suit, Joanne Brown accused the company of not telling her about the two lowest bids for her apartment in Telluride, Colo., which were around $2 million and $3 million. This gave her a false impression of how much the property would sell for—executives advised her that it could go for between $10 million and $14 million, but the winning bid was for about $7 million (Brown later paid to settle the case, and the suit was dismissed). Half of the lawsuits filed against Concierge accuse the firm of not disclosing registered bidders who had proffered lowball bids or using some type of shill bidder to convince clients to work with them.

Concierge denied all the lawsuits’ allegations, saying many were dismissed, and added that four of the suits led to payments to Concierge. Four lawsuits are still ongoing.

“Concierge Auctions does not and has never used shill or fake bidders,” the firm’s president, Laura Brady, told the Journal. “Any accusation to the contrary is false. The bidding for our auctions can be viewed online in real time, and our software maintains records of every bid placed and by whom.”

The company has been trying to rebrand the auction business as just another way to sell luxury properties, rather than a last-ditch strategy for distressed homeowners. In January, it set a record for the priciest U.S. home ever sold at auction, an estate in Hillsboro Beach, Fla. that sold for $42.5 million. Brady told the newspaper that the firm closed $390 million worth of deals in 2018, up from $340 million in 2017. [WSJ] – Eddie Small


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Clockwise from left: John D. Rockefeller, Izzy Englander, Steven Mnuchin, David Koch, Jacqueline Bouvier, and William Zeckendorf (Credit: Getty Images and StreetEasy)
For 15 years, David Koch lived at the world’s “richest building”
For 15 years, David Koch lived at the world’s “richest building”
Seattle Seahawks receiver and newly-licensed realtor Tyler Lockett along with 812 245th Place Northeast in Sammamish, Washington (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images and Redfin)
NFL star earns his real estate wings
NFL star earns his real estate wings
Toll Brothers' Douglas Yearly and property at Sparks, Nevada (Toll Brothers)
“Honey, I bought the town:” Buyer ends up with big chunk of subdivision
“Honey, I bought the town:” Buyer ends up with big chunk of subdivision
75 Park Lane South (Plaza Construction)
This year’s top-selling Hudson County homes
This year’s top-selling Hudson County homes
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
Housing affordability hits 33-year low
Housing affordability hits 33-year low
Daniel Grollo and 106 Central Park South (Photo Illustration by Steven DIlakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Trump Parc condo tied to embattled Australian construction magnate hits market
Trump Parc condo tied to embattled Australian construction magnate hits market
Richard Gere and Ryan Murphy with 81 Lyndel Road (Redfin, Getty)
Celeb buyer of Richard Gere’s Westchester estate revealed
Celeb buyer of Richard Gere’s Westchester estate revealed
REAL NY's Louis Adler, Compass' Eugene Litvak, and ROART's Ran Oron with the Milk Factory (REAL New York, Compass, ROART, Milk Factory)
East Williamsburg’s resi market reaches new heights
East Williamsburg’s resi market reaches new heights
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...