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13 more agents leave Bellmarc, head to Halstead

A week after ten Coldwell Banker Bellmarc agents left the firm for City Connections Realty, Halstead Property announced it has welcomed 13 more to its brokerage.

Geri Epstein, Leslie Bettison, Harriet Botwinick, Kim Cowal, Greta Elias, Neil Gallo, Marcia Gershon, Joe Irving, James Lake, Leslie Penny, Seth Price, Arnie Roitman and Richard Topp, joined Halstead three weeks ago the brokerage announced.

The exodus follows allegations of fraud and theft leveled at Bellmarc Group co-founder, Neil Binder, by his business partners.

Larry Friedman and Anthony DeGrotta – who merged their AC Lawrence brokerage with Binder’s firm in 2012  – have accused the veteran broker of using the company as “his personal piggy bank.” They claim in court papers that Binder is a drug abuser who has sexually harassed female agents and funneled money from the firm to his wife and daughter.

An answering machine took calls to Coldwell Banker Bellmarc’s executive offices this morning.

However, Halstead Property announced it was “thrilled” to welcome the agents.


John Wollberg, executive director of sales for Halstead Property, Park Avenue, “I have had the opportunity to work with a number of these agents over the years and always admired their expertise and poise. They are an absolutely fabulous addition to our firm.”

Geri Epstein is an industry veteran with over $250 million in sales and rentals under her belt. She now serves as one of Halstead’s Building Specialists for The Churchill at 300 East 40th Street, The Revere at 400 East 54th Street, and Manhattan Place at 630 First Avenue where she has completed over 185 total transactions.

Leslie Bettison brings a lawyer focus to her real estate practice, having served as counsel at Cravath Swaine & Moore for almost decade prior to entering the real estate industry. She speaks Spanish fluently and her client base includes many Europeans and high profile athletes.

A New York resident for over 20 years, Kim Cowal has leveraged her experience as a fashion executive and business owner into the field of real estate. She has sold a number of apartments at 152 East 35th Street.

A skilled entrepreneur and negotiator, Greta Elias is known for her creative problem-solving skills and often works together with Seth Price. Before joining the New York real estate industry, Greta was the proprietor for nearly two decades of her own bridal boutique.

New York City native Cornelius “Neil” Gallo serves as a Halstead Resident Building Specialist at Sutton House located at 415 East 52nd Street and he also serves as a Building Specialist at Sutton Garden on East 55th Street and The Landmark on East 59th Street. Gallo has a background in marketing and branding in the wine and spirits industry.

After a successful career in the fashion industry, Marcia Gershon entered real estate and is now a seasoned veteran. She is a Building Specialist at Newport East on East 76th Street. Her degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology offers her clients a keen eye for interior design and renovation.

With 35 years experience in the residential and hospitality industries, Joe Irving is an expert in customer service. He serves as a Resident Building Specialist at 50 Sutton Place South. Over the years, Joe has also designed, renovated and created apartment spaces.

James Lake joins Halstead Property as a Resident Building Specialist at Coliseum Park on West 58th/60th Street. He is known as a specialist on the Upper West Side and Midtown West.

An experienced real estate veteran, Harriet Botwinick is a business partner with Leslie Penny. Harriet is licensed in New York, California and DC and brings more than 15 years of experience to the partnership.

Leslie has been in the business for nearly 10 years and was formerly in public relations and talent management. Together, they are the Building Specialists at 357 West 55th Street and occasionally they partner with Seth Price and Greta Elias.

Seth Price has built up an extensive list of satisfied clients. His people skills are equal to his renowned sales skills. Prior to entering real estate, Seth served as a salesperson in the exotic car market.

After representing many major lines and designers, Arnie Roitman went on to become an image consultant. While Arnie still styles socialites and celebrities on occasion, he has successfully parlayed his customer service experience to real estate sales.

Richard Topp is a native New Yorker with a decade of real estate experience. He is extremely proficient in technology, as Topp worked previously as a software designer. His background in sales and consulting has translated into a successful real estate career.

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