After the death of George Floyd, some real estate companies pledged to take a look at whether their own practices perpetuated racism. Some did not.
Employees at two NYC residential brokerages recounted to TRD incidents they felt underscored broader issues of unequal treatment at the firms.
In one incident reported by Sylvia Varnham O’Regan and Erin Hudson, Nooklyn agent Wileen Saint Louis called out the firm for failing to speak out about racial injustice in the industry.
“The silence of this company has spoken volumes to me and has been an utter disgrace,” Saint Louis wrote on June 19 in a company-wide Slack message and mass email. “Are we that invisible? Is this movement not worth a message?”
The Slack message was deleted, which Saint Louis and other colleagues saw as an effort to silence her. Nooklyn CEO Moiz Malik said he deleted the message, but moved it to another channel. He also said he regretted “not making public and company-wide statements.”
The incident prompted other agents at Nooklyn to come forward with allegations that the firm treats minority agents unequally and has ignored agents’ reports about discriminatory landlords, among other issues.
The other incident was at Core Real Estate. An anonymous tipster sent TRD a group email from December that ultimately influenced a Black receptionist, Cacy Shamsid-Deen, to resign. The email chain included an exchange between COO Brittley Wise and the firm’s chief business development officer, Danielle Garofalo, where they referred to a Black agent who left the company.
“Damn, we will have to find another agent that smokes weed with their hordes of cats and doesn’t sell real estate,” wrote Wise, who is married to Shaun Osher, the firm’s CEO.
The agent, Shalinthia Miles, said she believed Wise and Garofalo referred to her CBD treatments as “smoking weed” because she’s Black. Shamsid-Deen said she felt the comments sprung from racial stereotypes.
“As a Black woman — and the agent was a Black woman — it was just saddening to see… that people still have microaggressions like that and beliefs like that they’re comfortable sharing with other people,” she said in an interview.
Core disputed that the comments had anything to do with race.
As firms increasingly look at their own practices and behaviors — and face more scrutiny — we’ll likely see more discussion around whether companies are adequately addressing allegations of inequality.
Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Wednesday was for a condo unit at 347 Bowery in Noho, at $6.58 million.
Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for a one-story retail building at 2533-2541 Broadway in Astoria, at $9.75 million.
The largest new building filing of the day was for a 14,417-square-foot residential building at 2801 Tilden Avenue in East Flatbush. Cesare Perfetto of Perfetto Contracting filed the permit application.
NEW TO THE MARKET
The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo at 838 Fifth Avenue in Lenox Hill, at $18.9 million. Brown Harris Stevens has the listing.
— Research by Orion Jones
A thing we’ve learned…
“Nunc pro tunc” is a Latin legal expression that means “now for then” — to correct something retroactively. For example: Bankrupt mansion owner Leonard Ross, who received stimulus money from the Small Business Administration because of a “misunderstanding,” wants the loan approved nunc pro tunc. Thank you to Kevin Sun for providing this tidbit.
Elsewhere in New York
— NYC schools won’t fully reopen in September, Politico New York reports. Instead, public schools will offer a combination of in-person and online classes. “We can make up learning for students. We cannot bring a student back who is infected and passes away,” said Chancellor Richard Carranza.
— The MTA’s largest union wants the NYPD to assign officers to its buses to enforce mask-wearing, the New York Post reports. “The MTA and the city both should deploy their police to this health hazard. If someone doesn’t have a mask, they should be escorted off the bus and hit with a $100 fine like farebeating,” TWU Local 100 president Tony Utano said in a statement.
— Speaking of masks, New Jersey is now requiring people to wear face coverings outside whenever social distancing isn’t possible, NJ.com reports. “This is absolutely vital when individuals find themselves in a crowded situation — such as when walking down a packed boardwalk or in a line that is not properly spaced apart,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.