The nationwide expansion of SERHANT., the eponymous brokerage of founder Ryan Serhant, has not been met with enthusiasm in Pennsylvania. Rather, the New York City-based brokerage is facing a $10 million lawsuit in the state, as first reported by The Real Deal.
According to a complaint filed by Keller Williams Black Label and the firm’s parent company, the Condo Shop LLC, Serhant, along with his Philadelphia team lead, Andrea Desy Edrei, have “plundered” KW Black Label’s “clients, intellectual property, confidential information and personnel, while crippling its ability to operate.”
The plaintiffs allege that Serhant and Desy Edrei concocted a scheme to “loot” Desy Edrei’s former firm, KW Black Label, in their efforts to expand SERHANT. into Pennsylvania.
Desy Edrei’s team, Societe Select, which focuses on luxury real estate, had been at KW Black Label prior to partnering with Serhant on his firm’s Philadelphia expansion. The complaint claims that W]when the expansion and partnership were announced, several KW Black Label agents resigned, and others put forth funding to support the new team at SERHANT.
In addition, the plaintiffs claim that once the new SERHANT. operation was up and running, brokers who had formerly been with Black Label, took down listings and re-listed them at the new firm. The complaint also alleges that the plaintiffs stole client contact information from KW Black Label’s databases and then wiped the databases clean.
The lawsuit also names Michael Skokowski, Jr., KW Black Label’s former director of marketing, and Kailey Bondiskey, KW Black Label’s former marketing coordinator, and claims that Desy Edrei recruited them to join her in her new venture.
According to the complaint, several defendants used KW Black Label’s proprietary marketing materials to create materials for SERHANT. before officially joining the brokerage, and they “deliberately sabotaged Black Label’s social media accounts while claiming those accounts had been ‘hacked.’”
The plaintiffs claim that the social media account has since been restored, but as an account for Societe Select, and that KW Black Label has been locked out of the accounts.
The lawsuit also alleges that KW Black Label’s proprietary marketing materials were used to create a marketing presentation in November 2022 for a new team at SERHANT. called Societe + Serhant. At this time, the plaintiffs claim that Desy Edrei, Bondiskey and Skokowski were still affiliated with Black Label.
According to the complaint, the presentation names KW Black Label clients as “select VIP clients” for the new team and uses information from Black Label’s marketing materials. The presentation also allegedly contains details about the timeline for the launch of the new team, including when Desy Edrei, Bondiskey and Skokowski would file an LLC and the projected date of the launch party with “Partner Ryan Serhant.”
“With their scheme accomplished, defendants left Black Label as a shattered, empty shell, having stripped it of its clients, assets, and ability to do business,” the firms claim in the complaint.
Through the suit, the plaintiffs are seeking over $10 million in damages, punitive damages from Desy Edrei’s departure from KW Black Label, a preliminary injunction barring Serhant and Desy Edrei from using proprietary information the brokerage claims was taken from the firm at the time of her departure, and the return of KW Black Label’s social media accounts.
SERHANT. did not wish to comment on this story at this time and KW Black Label had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication.