CRE brokers wrestle over $900K commission for 650 Madison

Avison Young asks court to settle dispute between Keith Caggiano, Roshan Shah

Avison Young’s Keith Caggiano and Roshan Shah with 650 Madison Avenue (Avison Young, Vornado Realty Trust, Getty)
Avison Young’s Keith Caggiano and Roshan Shah with 650 Madison Avenue (Avison Young, Vornado Realty Trust, Getty)

Two brokers can’t seem to agree on how to split commission from an office lease, and Avison Young has no interest in trying to settle the dispute any further.

The commercial real estate brokerage filed an interpleader action in Manhattan on Wednesday, asking the New York Supreme Court to weigh in and resolve the matter between brokers Keith Caggiano and Roshan Shah.

Caggiano and Shah are at odds over a roughly $900,000 commission from a deal at Vornado Realty Trust and Oxford Properties’ 650 Madison Avenue in the Plaza District. Avison Young represented BC Partners in its acquisition of additional office space at the property.

Caggiano and Shah, who jumped from CBRE to Avison Young in 2018, had an established relationship with BC Partners and began working with the investment advisory firm to acquire more office space in 2019.

It was in February 2020 when things between the two brokers began to go sideways, according to the filing. Shah accused Caggiano in multiple emails to Avison Young leadership of attempting to cut him out of the deal. One month later, Shah raised a commission dispute and said he expected a 50-50 split with Caggiano despite allegedly being cut out of the deal.

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Avison Young opened an internal investigation into the dispute this past April. Company policy required Caggiano and Shah to submit their positions and proposed solutions in writing, followed by oral arguments.

Shah argued he and Caggiano should split the commissions in half. Caggiano, however, said there was no disputed fee over the deal and pointed to the transaction having not closed at the time of the proceedings.

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The managing directors who oversaw the arbitration sided with Shah in June and said the two brokers should evenly split the commission.

But Caggiano said in a letter to the firm in July that he intended to dispute the decision and told Avison Young not to distribute any commissions while the matter was pending.

Shah responded two months later, writing in an email to the firm that he would not accept anything less than a 50-50 commission split on the deal, which closed in September.

Any attempts to resolve the dispute have been futile, according to Avison Young. Shah has maintained that he’s owed half of the commission, citing the internal arbitration process, while Caggiano continues to dispute the decision and is threatening to sue the firm.

Avison Young has asked for permission to hand over the roughly $900,000 commission to the court, saying that it has no claim to the disputed money owed to the brokers and no interest in the fight between Caggiano and Shah. The firm held onto the commission until the dispute was resolved, according to company policy.

The firm has also asked the court to remove it from any future liability and to prevent Caggiano and Shah from suing the company.

Caggiano and Shah, who both continue to work at Avison Young, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Caggiano’s attorney declined to comment and Shah’s legal representation could not be determined.

Attorneys representing Avison Young did not immediately respond to a request for comment.