She positioned herself as a child of privilege, a product of the right schools and someone very much at home in the tony world of luxury New York City real estate.
But in reality, Faith Hope Consolo grew up on a dead-end street in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay, born to a father with an extensive criminal background and a mother who was a hairdresser, according to the New York Times. And Consolo, who chaired Douglas Elliman’s retail division until her death in 2018 and brought top global brands to the city’s real estate market, fiercely guarded those secrets from nearly everyone in her life, including her close friends and business partners.
Her father was not a real estate executive who died when she was a toddler but a serial swindler who lived to 94 and did time in a federal penitentiary in Kansas and at Alcatraz for gambling, armed robbery and dealing heroin, the Times reported. Her mother was not an acclaimed child psychiatrist as Consolo claimed, but a hairdresser at a Downtown Brooklyn department store.
She also claimed that she had started both a modeling agency and an interior design business on the West Coast in the 1970s. The newspaper could find no records to corroborate that.
Joseph Aquino, Consolo’s longtime business partner at Elliman, never knew the truth about his “work wife” — including that the two grew up just blocks from each other and that Consolo attended the school of the church where Aquino had his confirmation.
In 2016, Aquino and Consolo got into a bitter legal dispute over what he claimed was her lavish spending. (The suit was settled.) And throughout her career, Consolo was dogged by accusations from competitors that she was addicted to the press and often took credit for others’ deals.
The Times was alerted to the fabrication by a childhood friend of the late broker.
Although Consolo’s pedigree was fake, many of her achievements were real: She brokered deals for top international brands such as Cartier, Zara and Louis Vuitton, and represented landlords such as Harry Helmsley, Larry Silverstein and Donald Trump.
“She really changed the retail marketplace,” Rudin Management’s Bill Rudin told the newspaper. “Her street smarts and entrepreneurial spirit and flair — even the way she dressed and communicated — attracted an amazing clientele, some of the great international brands, to New York.” [NYT] — Georgia Kromrei