Buyers allege Matt Altman lied to pump up $6M home

Marketing of Pacific Palisades mansion said neighboring parcel was undevelopable: lawsuit

Los Angeles /
Feb.February 22, 2022 09:30 AM
Matt Altman with 17335 Tramonto Drive in Pacific Palisades (Getty, The Altman Brothers)
Matt Altman with 17335 Tramonto Drive in Pacific Palisades (Getty, The Altman Brothers)

Seems that buyers who pay more than $6 million for a house in L.A.’s rugged hills get serious about keeping the views.

A couple who bought a luxury home in Pacific Palisades nearly two years ago allege they were misled about the status of a neighboring lot by the brokers on the deal, including “Million-Dollar Listing” co-star Matthew Altman — one half of the celebrity agent duo The Altman Brothers.

Ahead of the sale, the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges, the brokers claimed the home’s views and privacy would remain intact because the nearby lot could not be developed.

“This claim was false,” it continues, “and its use in marketing materials, online postings and as a selling point was totally inappropriate and misleading.”

The suit alleges the brokers also made “verbal statements” reiterating the same claim.

Paul Urbanek, one of the homebuyers and plaintiffs, declined to comment. Altman said he had not been aware of the suit, but otherwise declined to comment.

The property is located at 17335 Tramonto Drive, in a hilly area near one edge of Topanga State Park and about a half mile north of Pacific Coast Highway. The modern, white rectangular-style house was completed in 2020 and has five bedrooms, glass doors, wood-paneled ceilings and a pool; it also has indoor-outdoor balconies and a 4,000-square-foot rooftop deck.

A listing seen by The Real Deal, from 2020, named both Altman brothers, Matt and Josh, as selling agents. Along with features such as a state-of-the-art kitchen and bookmatched carrara marble, it also explicitly mentioned the adjacent property: “The privacy & views will not be compromised,” it said, “as the neighboring lot can not be developed.”

It’s not clear from the listing or legal filing exactly why that property supposedly couldn’t be developed, but according to the suit that claim was wrong, to the detriment of the buyers, who argue they were deceived into overpaying.

Urbanek and his wife Morgan closed on the property in August 2020 for $6.3 million, buying the home through an LLC. The seller was another LLC; the Urbaneks financed the purchase through multiple bank loans, according to records.

The suit alleges fraud and breach of contract and seeks unspecified damages. In addition to Altman, the selling agent, it also names Chris Carlson, the buying agent, as well as Douglas Elliman and Compass, the agents’ brokerages. Carlson did not respond to a request for comment. A representative for Douglas Elliman, Altman’s brokerage, declined to comment, and a representative for Compass, Carlson’s brokerage, did not respond.

The Altman Brothers, who lead an L.A.-based team of more than two dozen agents, rank among Elliman’s highest-producing luxury sellers — and among real estate’s most recognizable family brands. Younger brother Josh has starred on the hit Bravo show “Million Dollar Listing” for more than a decade and was recently named to star in a spinoff with his longtime reality series rival Josh Flagg; Matthew has also appeared regularly as a co-star.

More than four years ago, both brothers were sued for $3.7 million for allegedly cheating a seller named Peter Kleidman: The Altmans represented the buyer, not Kleidman, but at the time were affiliated with Hilton & Hyland, which did represent Kleidman.

The home got some renovations and flipped for a much higher price, and Kleidman alleged that the Altmans had colluded with the selling agents to keep the first sale price down. A judge rejected the claims.

“Fortunately and unfortunately, when you’re at the top of the real estate game, you’re a target for frivolous lawsuits,” the Altmans told the New York Post in 2017. “This one definitely takes the cake.”

A case management conference over the Pacific Palisades suit is currently scheduled for July.





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