Urban Compass picks up top team from Citi Habitats

Firm to open Brooklyn office within six months

Eugene Litvak and Robert Reffkin
Eugene Litvak and Robert Reffkin

Citi Habitats’ top-producing broker team has decamped to Urban Compass.

The 10-person Litvak Team, led by Eugene Litvak, will help spearhead the opening of a Brooklyn office for Urban Compass within the next six months, CEO Robert Reffkin told The Real Deal. “We plan to invest a lot in growing Brooklyn,” he said. Of Litvak, he added, “We’ll start growing Brooklyn around him and other agents.”

The move coincides with a spate of new hires for Urban Compass. But it also comes as Urban Compass faces a lawsuit filed brought by Citi Habitats, in which the rival brokerage accused Urban Compass of accessing its proprietary listings database and possibly using the data to poach top agents.

The Litvak Team, formed in 2009, closed 250 deals last year – both sales and rental transactions – and was named the top team at Citi in 2013 for both overall production and for rental deals.

Along with Litvak, the group includes Sarah Katz, Ana Weisberger, Metar Catalan, Janah Cox, Geoff Pantonel, Joshua Thissell, Audrey Ryals, Calon Alpar and Mercy Diaz.

“Citi Habitats is like family,” Litvak said in a statement.

He also explained the move to Urban Compass: “Since its inception, I have been consistently impressed with the company’s technology, marketing, growth, culture and general attitude.”

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A spokesperson for Citi Habitats didn’t immediately comment.

Reffkin declined to say where, or how big, Urban Compass’ Brooklyn office would be, adding that it would be up to Litvak and others to weigh in on those decisions.

Reffkin said he met with members of the Litvak Team late this summer to discuss joining Urban Compass.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit filed by Citi Habitats’ is moving forward. A judge ruled in August that Urban Compass may not access Citi Habitats’ listings database going forward, and both sides are set to appear in court Oct. 2.

In a letter sent Tuesday, a lawyer for Citi Habitats objected to Urban Compass’ choice of who should review highly confidential documents as part of the legal discovery process. Urban Compass suggested that either its COO David Snider or head of human resources, attorney Laurice Thrasher, go over the material.

“Given that one of the allegations in the Complaint is that Urban Compass improperly used Citi Habitats’ proprietary data to aid in its recruiting away Citi Habitats’ people, it seems clear that Urban Compass’s Head of HR, who focuses on… recruiting, should not be allowed to view Citi Habitats’ Highly Confidential Information,” the letter said.