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Corcoran at center of broker controversy.

One of the city's largest real estate firms is enduring accusations of excluding brokers from showing homes in one of its exclusive-contract buildings at 505 Greenwich St.

And, according to one broker, they won't even let him live there.

Christopher Mathieson, a managing partner of J.C. DeNiro & Associates, had earlier complained in an article published in the New York Times that Corcoran representatives had only allowed his clients to see residences in the building if they came alone, without their brokers. In all, he said, he lost out on about $5 million in sales--about $150,000 in broker commissions.

Brokers were told the building was not open for public viewing yet, according to the article. Other insiders accused Corcoran of acting unethically, if not necessarily illegally.

Traditionally, a buyer's broker splits a commission, paid by the seller, with the seller's broker. But according to Mathieson, he couldn't even buy an apartment there himself, solely because he was a realtor.

"They told me, 'We will not sell you an apartment.'"

Mathieson said he will file a complaint against Corcoran-Feb. 9 with the city's Commission on Human Rights for discriminating against him based on his occupation. An attorney with the commission did not return a call seeking comment.

Pam Liebman, chief executive with the Corcoran Group, did not return calls seeking comment.

According to Mathieson, Corcoran agreed to let buyer's brokers see apartments three days before the Times article came out Jan. 18.

"They knew the article was coming out" and wanted to stop it, Mathieson said. "They originally told me they weren't going to open it till the end of January."

Since the building has been open, Mathieson said he has had some scheduling conflicts with Corcoran, but has been able to set up appointments.

Mathieson also accused Corcoran of using high-pressure sales tactics by trying to pressure buyers to put a 10 percent deposit on a condominium without sending the contract to an attorney first.

Another broker, Michael Shvo, an executive vice president with Douglas Elliman, had told the Times that an agent in his office had lost a commission on an $830,000 apartment.

Shvo told REW that he was "working on" a complaint against Corcoran with the Real Estate Board of New York.

Eileen Spinola, a senior vice president at the board, told the Times that sharing rules applied only to agents selling existing apartments, not those marketing new buildings. She also told the paper that brokers must follow the directions of their selling clients.

Shvo said the practice of shutting buyers' brokers out is "going on everywhere now," adding that the cause was a lack of inventory.

A broker would be told by Corcoran to wait until mid-February, Shvo said. But a buyer? "If you called them, they'd book you tomorrow," he said.
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Article Details
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Author:Moore, Peter
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 4, 2004
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