The nine-figure sale of a pair of megamansions is at the center of an emerging conflict involving two Hamptons brokerages.
Nest Seekers International is suing the sellers, clothing magnates Arthur and Jason Rabin, for cutting it out of the commission on the $118.5 million deal for their bayfront compound at 70 Cobb Road in Water Mill last month.
Nest Seekers claims that in October 2020, it entered a co-exclusive sale agreement on the property with Hedgerow Exclusive Properties, another top luxury brokerage in the Hamptons.
The deal would last one year, according to the lawsuit, and entitled Nest Seekers to a 2.5 percent commission if the compound sold within six months of the agreement’s expiration. Nest Seekers claims it is owed at least $1.5 million in missed fees.
In the lawsuit, filed last month in Suffolk County Supreme Court, Nest Seekers claims that the Rabins concealed showings to edge the brokerage out of the deal. In particular, the firm alleges the Rabins didn’t tell them about a September showing Hedgerow gave to the eventual buyer.
Nest Seekers claims it spent more than $100,000 on marketing materials for the property and sent agents to pitch deep-pocketed buyers from Monaco and the South of France to Beverly Hills.
People familiar with the situation, however, tell The Real Deal that Nest Seekers was removed from the listing, which was supposed to be off-market, in July after advertising the property in its catalog. The brokerage’s May 2021 international properties portfolio includes a six-page spread on the compound, naming Shawn Elliott as the listing agent.
Nest Seekers denied that it was removed from the listing.
“We would like to congratulate our seller and all parties involved on the successful sale and a true celebratory moment,” said Nest Seekers CEO Eddie Shapiro in a statement. “We took the property on a world tour and worked very hard for the seller for over a year. This is a great win for everyone.”
“Everything else is all lies and defamation by competitors,” Shapiro added. “We’re used to it.”
But his firm’s lawsuit does not name Hedgerow as a defendant.
The Rabins dispute the charges and plan to file a response to the suit shortly, according to their attorney. Nest Seekers is not entitled to any commission, they argue, because it was not involved with the listing by the time the property was shown to its eventual buyer.
“[Nest Seekers] made a material misstatement of fact,” said the Rabins’ lawyer, Errol Margolin of Margolin & Pierce.
“They could lose their license for that kind of deceptive advertising,” Margolin said. “They have absolutely no connection with this property and the transaction. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The deal closed in January, with the compound selling as four separate parcels — the two main pieces ringing in at $60 million and $56.5 million, respectively. Taken together, the deal topped last year’s biggest residential sale in the Hamptons: $105 million for 90 Jule Pond Lane.
Nest Seekers’ Shawn Elliott did not immediately respond to requests for comment. This isn’t his first dust-up; an investigation last year by TRD found Elliott has a history of financial and legal troubles, including disputes over commissions and allegations of misrepresenting sales. Both Elliott and Shapiro denied any wrongdoing.