Scott Sobol, a former real estate agent for Compass in Hell’s Kitchen, has been let go from the brokerage because of video footage showing his insensitive behavior toward homeless people in his neighborhood, the New York Post reported.
In the video, caught by a hotel security camera and shared with Steve Belida, chairman of the Hell’s Kitchen 49-54 Block Alliance, which then found its way to the neighborhood social media platform Nextdoor, Sobol is seen rolling empty beer bottles toward the Washington Jefferson Hotel where a group of homeless individuals have been congregating.
Belida emailed the video clip to members of the 49-54 Block Alliance on June 11, stating, “We were given a video of a person coming out from behind a dumpster and throwing what appears to be bottles at a homeless resident … We will not let hate rule our community.”
“The way in which our agents represent their communities is of utmost importance to us,” a Compass spokesperson said in a statement. “Scott no longer works as an agent at Compass.”
Sobol could not immediately be reached for comment by Inman.
On Nextdoor, Sobol owned up to his identity as the individual who rolled the bottles in the video, and said he was frustrated with the hotel’s and homeless shelter’s mismanagement of the situation.
“On my dog walk the other day … as I passed the WJ there was a pile of 11 beer bottles and in my frustration with the hotel & shelter management being complicit in the destruction of our community, I lost my cool and took three of the bottles and ROLLED THEM ON THE FLOOR back toward the hotel,” Sobol wrote. “I am not throwing them and there is no homeless person outside. The gentleman you see [in the foreground] on the video is the manager you see at the hotel.”
Sobol has also taken to Facebook to distribute videos of homeless people, sometimes tagging City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Johnson’s chief of staff, Erik Bottcher, as a call to action.
“This is a guy … shooting up drugs right here,” Sobol said in one video from March recording a man in a phone booth. “He’s doing drugs right here on our block.”
Later on, a text caption in the video also pointed out the city’s recent increase in crime rates.
In another video filmed outside of the homeless shelter, a caption by Sobol reads, “The guy on the right is s—tfaced drunk and the woman with the walker is leaving the shelter to go do drugs down the block.”
Yet, in other videos, Sobol seems to take a slightly more compassionate — if forceful — approach. In one video Sobol posted in May, he can be heard saying to EMTs walking away with an empty stretcher from a homeless person on the street, “Why is … why are we not helping him?”
“He doesn’t want help,” one EMT replies. “What do you want me to do, drag him to the hospital?”
“Yes, please,” Sobol can be heard saying in reply. “The man needs help.”
Belida, chair of the block association for 12 years, told The Post that Sobol only recently became interested in neighborhood issues and demanded to be made co-chair after attending one meeting.
Hell’s Kitchen Democratic district leader Marisa Redanty also suggested that Sobol was taunting the homeless people with his actions.
“He would make gestures … and then when they would react, he would film it,” Redanty told The Post. “It doesn’t seem like he cares about the homeless. He just doesn’t want them in his backyard.”
Sobol spent over six years working for Compass, and prior to that worked as an agent for Douglas Elliman for about two years.