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Weeks after announcing a national brokerage expansion, Ryan Serhant and his business partners are facing a lawsuit and allegations of concocting a scheme to “loot” a Philadelphia-based brokerage in their efforts to expand into Pennsylvania, according to The Real Deal.
The complaint filed in Philadelphia Commerce Court by Keller Williams Black Label and parent company the Condo Shop LLC accuses Serhant and his new Philadelphia team lead, Andrea Desy Edrei, of “plundering its clients, intellectual property, confidential information and personnel, while crippling its ability to operate.”
SERHANT. representatives declined to comment on the matter to Inman.
The companies are seeking more than $10 million in damages, plus punitive damages from Desy Edrei’s departure from Black Label in order to lead SERHANT.’s expansion in the state. In addition, plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction barring Serhant and Desy Edrei from using proprietary information the brokerages claim was taken with her departure, and a return of Black Label social media accounts that the firms say were “sabotaged.”
The complaint also names Michael Skokowski, Jr. and Kailey Bondiskey, Black Label’s former director of marketing and marketing coordinator, respectively, in the lawsuit, noting that Desy Edrei recruited the marketing staff to “join the scheme.”
Several defendants used Black Label’s proprietary marketing materials to create materials for Serhant months before officially joining SERHANT., according to the complaint, and “deliberately sabotaged Black Label’s social media accounts while claiming those accounts had been ‘hacked.'”
When it was announced that Serhant would be partnering with the Societe Select luxury team led by Edrei to launch in Pennsylvania, several agents resigned, the complaint states, as others put forth funding to support the new team at SERHANT.
Plaintiffs also allege that once the team was off the ground at SERHANT., brokers took down a number of Black Label listings and then re-listed them with SERHANT. In addition, plaintiffs claim the defendants restored Black Label social media accounts as Societe Select accounts, then locked Black Label out of the accounts.
Black Label also claims that defendants stole client contact and other information from databases, then wiped databases of that information.
Plaintiffs also highlight in the complaint a marketing presentation prepared in November 2022 for a new team at SERHANT. called “Societe + Serhant.” Compiled when Desy Edrei, Bondiskey and Skokowski were still affiliated with Black Label, the complaint says the presentation names Black Label clients as “Select VIP Clients” for the new team, and uses information from Black Label’s marketing materials.
The presentation details a timeline in which Desy Edrei, Bondiskey and Skokowski were to finalize broker and agent agreements with Serhant between November to December, as well as open bank accounts and file LLCs and business licenses. The presentation included a start-up contribution of $600,000 to SERHANT., as well as the launch of a new office in January, and launch party with “Partner Ryan Serhant.”
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