Broker Settles Lawsuit Over Commission on Marcus Samuelsson's $2.9M Home
HARLEM — A Harlem real estate broker has settled his lawsuit against celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and Halstead Realty, which claimed they stiffed him out of the 3 percent commission he was due on the $2.895 million brownstone the chef bought in January 2013.
The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but broker Laurent Delly said he was owed half the 6-percent commission on the property sale, a total that amounted to approximately $86,850.
"The case has been settled amicably," said lawyer Charles Boulbol who represented Delly's company, Delly Group LLC. Halstead broker Kim McKeller and Samuelsson's wife, model Gatensh Haile Samuelsson, were also named in the suit.
Boulbol and Delly declined to discuss details of the settlement.
"People who know me well enough know that this was never about financial gain, rather a matter of principle, respect and dignity," Delly said.
Neal Schwarzfeld, a lawyer for Halstead Realty and McKeller declined comment. Fred Daniels, an attorney for Samuelsson, also had no immediate comment.
Delly said the trouble began when he showed Samuelsson, who owns the popular Red Rooster Harlem, a five-bedroom brownstone in tony Mount Morris Park West. To see the 4,650-square-foot, four-bathroom home with a zen garden, a mutual friend referred Samuelsson to Delly in October 2012.
Delly said he arranged a viewing of the property with McKeller and she was excited when he told her Samuelsson was the client.
"Is Samuelsson serious?" McKeller responded to one of Delly's e-mails.
Samuelsson liked the brownstone, which was once owned by NBA hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Delly arranged to have one of Samuelsson's business associates view the property.
It was after Andrew Chapman, the chief executive officer of the Marcus Samuelsson Group, saw the property, that Delly says he was shut off from the deal.
Delly claimed that Chapman asked him to "stay away" from the sale.
"We don't want too many people in the deal," Delly claims Chapman told him. "We'll take care of you. Don't worry. You'll get your commission."
That never happened, despite Delly's attempts to reach out to McKeller. In emails she claimed Delly was not entitled to a commission.
Delly said he plans to donate some of the money to the Double Discovery Center at Columbia University, which works with low-income and first-generation college bound students, plus the effort to restore the acropolis at Marcus Garvey Park.
Delly said he's happy the lawsuit is resolved.
"Today, I feel fantastic [and] at the same time, humbled, since my reputation as a professional sales person could have easily [been] ruined," he said.