Former Douglas Elliman retail broker Joe Aquino has hired a new lawyer and filed an appeal in his $1 million commission suit against Douglas Elliman.
Aquino’s new lawyer, Ian Blant, filed an appeal to Aquino’s dismissed 2016 suit in the Appellate Division of New York Supreme Court June 29.
In it, he argues that Aquino has legal footing, despite not having a signed contract during his time as executive vice president of the retail sales and leasing division at Douglas Elliman.
Citing several previous cases, the appeal argues that there is evidence that all parties involved intended to be bound by a “standard independent contractor agreement,” a factor that has been cited in a court’s decision before.
“While Aquino never signed this agreement, the fact that all Elliman agents were expected to execute it raises a strong inference that the parties intended it to apply and were operating under its terms,” reads the appeal.
Aquino, who was a business partner of Elliman’s retail chair Faith Hope Consolo, said he was let go from the firm in March of 2016 after 11 years at Elliman and two days after he filed suit against them alleging he was owed more than $1 million in unpaid commissions.
In his initial lawsuit, his attorney Cindy Salvo claimed that the brokerage labeled the items deducted from his commissions anything from advertising to miscellaneous and never gave him any itemized invoice. Aquino claimed that, over the course of his last two years at Elliman, he received a total of $8,000 in commissions.
He alleged that Douglas Elliman chairman Howard Lorber and others at the company said he would be “permanently blackballed” in the industry if he did not stop bringing up his complaints about unpaid commissions.
A spokesperson for Douglas Elliman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Aquino is now running his own eponymous firm.