(NEW YORK, NEW YORK)— Business publisher Dow Jones has filed a lawsuit against New York real estate firm Keller Williams after the latter allegedly made false claims to dodge $2 million in rent, The Real Deal reports.
Dow Jones sublet to Keller Williams at its former midtown office at 1155 Avenue of the Americas. After defaulting on rent payments in May 2018, the real estate firm claimed that it was on the verge of bankruptcy and closure within the next three months. On those terms, the companies reached a settlement in which Dow Jones forgave a substantial amount of Keller Williams’ debt. Now Dow Jones is claiming that Keller Williams falsely represented its position, as the firm has continued to stay in business at a smaller location, with the aim of “minimizing expenses” according to an internal memo sent out within the company.
Dow Jones seeks $2.36 million compensation for the unpaid rent and damages. In response to the news that Keller Williams NYC would downsize in order to “minimize expenses,” Dow Jones testily replied: “It is easy for Keller Williams to minimize expenses when it does not pay rent.” Keller Williams NYC representatives have vigorously denied the accusations.
Ilan Bracha and Haim Binstock launched the Midtown Branch of KWNYC in 2011. They started subleasing the contested unit at 1155 Avenue of the Americas in 2015 and also opened a new branch in Tribeca, which they sold in 2018 to offset expenses. Although the two partners successfully helmed the firm during its boom years between 2014-2017, when the branch was one of the most lucrative in the country, their tenure was also marked by turmoil and the departure of a slew of agents. At the end of their heyday, when the full tumult of the firm was revealed, Keller Williams Realty International allegedly pushed both to sell the franchise. Bracha and Binstock are currently in talks to sell to Richard Amato, who owns a number of other Keller Williams offices in New York’s Nassau County.