Broker sues R New York for stiffing him on commissions

Ali Raza claims former coworkers violated fee-sharing agreement

R New York’s Ephraim Setton, Troy Gordon and Hillary Barr
R New York’s Ephraim Setton, Troy Gordon and Hillary Barr (R New York, Getty)

Seventeen years after R New York sought to shake up the city’s brokerage scene with a 100 percent commission model, one of its former agents says he got far less from some deals. Nothing, in fact.

Broker Ali Raza is suing the brokerage and three of its employees, claiming they violated a deal between him and another agent at the firm to evenly split their commissions.

In a complaint filed in state court Monday, Raza claims that he and fellow broker Troy Gordon, one of the defendants, reached a written agreement in 2019 to split the commissions from their deals 50-50. Raza alleges he held up his end of the bargain, but Gordon did not.

Corcoran's Ali Raza

Corcoran’s Ali Raza (Corcoran)

Specifically, Raza cites a 54,000-square-foot office lease signed in 2021 by robotics startup Viam at 1900 Broadway in Lincoln Square. By Raza’s estimate, Gordon would have received a $1.2 million commission for brokering the 10-year deal. Raza, the complaint alleges, got zero.

Raza claims that was just one of many deals his former colleagues hid from him to avoid paying him his fair share during his time with R New York.

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The lawsuit also names R New York executives Hillary Barr and Ephraim Setton, who Raza claims were responsible for the distribution of commissions on commercial deals at the brokerage.

Raza accuses Gordon, Setton and Barr of fraudulently inducing him into a contract they never upheld and seeks $600,000 in damages based on his share of the 1900 Broadway commission.

Reached for comment by The Real Deal, Barr called Raza’s accusations “meritless.”

Raza, who had been at R New York since 2018, is now with Corcoran, according to a listing posted Tuesday. Gordon, Setton and Barr are still employed by the firm.

Attorneys for both parties declined to comment.

R New York, formerly known as Charles Rutenberg Realty, opened its first New York office in 2006 with a 100 percent commission format, allowing agents to keep their earnings on deals in exchange for fixed monthly and per-transaction fees. The firm rebranded in 2018 but maintained its commission model.