Douglas Elliman sues Taylor Swift for breach of contract

One of the brokerage's Manhattan-based agents is seeking $1.1 million

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Douglas Elliman has filed a suit against three companies owned by pop star Taylor Swift — Firefly Entertainment Inc, 13 Management LLC and Euro Tribeca LLC. One of the brokerage’s Manhattan-based agents, Andrew Azoulay of The Azoulay Miles Team, claims that Swift is in breach of contract, and he’s looking for a settlement to the tune of $1.1 million.

The agent says Swift’s management gave him a “written exclusive promise” to represent Swift in the purchase of a property, but in the end, another broker was used to close the deal in October.

The Douglas Elliman agent is seeking a $1,080,000 settlement, part of which is the six percent commission he would have been paid at the end of the deal.

In the court documents, the agent says he began working with Swift’s management teams to find the pop singer a new home in New York City. He showed them the first potential property on 15 Leonard Street in December 2016, and about a month later, he showed the team a townhouse on 153 Franklin Street for the possibility of an off-market deal.

Later that month, the agent received an email from Swift’s Firefly Entertainment/13 Management team saying they would “solely” work with him for the purchase of the 5,148 square-foot townhouse.

Screen shot of written promise emailed to agent. Courtesy of New York County Clerk’s office.

After the receipt of the email, the agent says he proceeded to get a blueprint of the 5,148-square-foot Franklin home, which is next door to a property Swift already owns and resides in, according to a report by Daily Mail. Lastly, the agent allegedly introduced Swift’s team to the then-owner in February, apparently to begin negotiating a selling price.

Then, silence — the agent says he stopped receiving correspondence from Swift’s team in March 2017, as if they’d decided on another property. But then, seven months later, the agent found out that Swift had actually purchased 153 Franklin using another broker.

The deal was closed on October 25, 2017, and Swift bought the property through her company, Euro Tribeca.

Screen shot from page 9 of 12 of the legal complaint.

The agent is asking that Firefly Entertainment, 13 Management and Euro Tribeca pay him $1,080,000 (the six percent commission he would have received from the sale) for breach of contract and “tortious interference with contract damages.”

Screen shot from page 10 of 12 of the legal complaint.

Lastly, he’s asking Swift’s companies to pay judgment interests and costs, and “such other and further” relief that may be deemed fair.

Real estate legal expert Russ Cofano says emails such as the one between the agent and Swift’s management team can “form the basis of a contract,” and depending on state laws, the agent may need to provide further evidence of the conversations that led up to the email.

“Under most state law, contract formation requires three things — Offer, Acceptance and Consideration,” Cofano said in an emailed statement to Inman. “Unless the contract is one covered by the Statute of Frauds (buyer agency agreements are not covered) which requires that they be in writing, even oral conversations can form a contract.”

“There is also a concept called Promissory Estoppel. This is where no actual contract was formed, but one person led another person to rely to their detriment on representations by that person, and the court can impose contract-like obligations on the person who relied and took action,” he added. “Not sure if that is the case here.”

The complaint was filed on January 25, and there’s no word on when a court date will be set.

Email Marian McPherson.