Before the $118.5 million sale was made publically known late last week, Nest Seekers International filed a suit against the property owners, claiming they are owed a real estate brokerage commission on the biggest trade in 2021.
Clothing apparel businessmen Artie Rabin and his son Jason Rabin sold four contiguous properties they owned between them on Cobb Road in Water Mill right before the new year, in what was not only the top sale of 2021, but the second-highest trade in Hamptons history.
In the January 18 filing in Suffolk Supreme Court, Nest Seekers seeks a $1.5 million commission fee, plus attorneys fees and related costs.
Nest Seekers and Hedgerow Exclusive Properties reportedly entered into a year-long agreement for a co-exclusive right to sell the properties at 70 Cobb Road on October 8, 2020. Hedgerow is rumored to have brought the buyers and closed the deal on December 30.
The Rabins’ attorney, Errol Margolin of Margolin and Pierce, denied any wrongdoing. “Nest Seekers seeks to recover $1.5 million in commission on an expired listing agreement for a sale it had nothing to do with,” he said. “The suit has no merit and will be promptly dismissed.”
Nest Seekers declined to comment.
The claim alleges the agreement stipulated that if a sale occurred within six months following the October 7, 20201, expiration date and the showing of the property occurred during the year-long agreement, then Nest Seekers would be entitled to 2.5% of the gross selling price of the property.
Nest Seekers alleges that during the last week of September 2021, the co-broker showed the property to the eventual purchaser, but did not apprise Nest Seekers.
The suit further alleges that the Rabins not only concealed the showing from Nest Seekers, but “misrepresented to Plaintiff the date that the showing occurred claiming it occurred in December 2021 in an effort to avoid liability for Plaintiff’s brokerage commission.”
Nest Seekers “requested information from defendants concerning the details of the sale, such as the exact date of the showing, the date when an agreement on price was reached, the name of the purchaser, its principals if it was acquired by an entity, the sales price and the amount of commission paid to the co-broker.”
As of the filing, the Rabins had “failed and refused to provide any such information to plaintiff,” the suit says.
In the suit, Nest Seekers estimated the combined sale was in excess of $120 million. Deed transfers show that the properties traded for a total of $118.5 million on December 30 to four different limited liability companies.
The suit asserts that the “defendants have misused the veil of ‘confidentiality’ to cloak their nefarious activities and aid them in attempting to breach the agreement with plaintiff as aforesaid.”
Since Nest Seekers estimated the combined sale in excess of $120 million, the company sought in excess of $1.5 million — half of the 2.5% of the gross selling price of the property after the split with the co-broker. With the sales price at $118.5 million, the total commission was slightly less at $2,962,500.
Nest Seekers says it spent in excess of $100,000 to create marketing materials, including a hard-bound world-class printed editorial book, website, lifestyle video, Matterport and floor plans.
“Plaintiff used drone photography and hired models for scenes that resulted in copyrighted videos including editorial texts,” the suit says. “These photographic and cinematic sessions lasted from dusk to dawn, so that the property could be professionally photographed and depicted during different hours of the day and night to highlight the setting, landscaping and structures.”
Nest Seekers claims its agents traveled to the South of France, Monaco, Beverly Hills, Malibu and Palm Beach to present the marketing materials “to a number of billionaires, all with defendants’ knowledge and consent.”
The agreement reportedly also provides for the award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in any dispute over commissions.