By Dan Orlando
Bellmarc Group co-founder, Neil Binder, has allegedly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his business partners and is facing litigation, per court documents.
In a filing to the Manhattan Supreme Court, Larry Friedman and Anthony DeGrotta, claim that Binder used the company’s financial resources as “his personal piggy bank.”
The funds were being used to pay off a $1.8 million balance with Signature Bank, the mortgage on a piece of property in Westhampton, and rent on a nearly $12,000 per month apartment on the Upper East Side, according to the New York Daily News.
The suit also states that some of the stolen monies were drawn from an escrow account used to fund the healthcare premiums of Bellmarc’s employees.
Binder is also believed to have been sliding company money to his wife and daughter via no-show work paychecks.
The suit also points to multiple workplace misconduct violations including examples of sexual harassment. Binder is also accused of offering prescription medications to employees as well as abusing the substances himself.
Friedman and DeGrotta are seeking $2 million in damages, but more could hang in the balance for the firm itself, which struck a franchise agreement with Coldwell Banker nearly a year ago.
The move allowed the massive Coldwell Banker to return to the Manhattan’s residential real estate scene for the first time since 2009 and Bellmarc’s current legal turmoil could potentially sour that relationship.
Coldwell Banker declined the opportunity to comment on the pending litigation.
The legal representation of Friedman and DeGrotta, William Hummell, did not immediately return a request for comment to Real Estate Weekly , but did tell the Daily News that “The brokerage firm will move forward and continue to operate. We expect all good things to happen.”
Binder is a native of Beechurst Queens and describes himself on Bellmarc’s website as an “expert in residential real estate investment and strategy.”
Mr. Binder did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.