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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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The Worst Realtor Ever?

PATERSON, N.J. (CN) - In a lurid lawsuit, a married couple claim a Coldwell Banker Realtor used their listing as a "play pad to have sexual relations," in antics that were caught on the house's security cameras.

Richard and Sandra Weiner sued Coldwell Banker, its Realtor Robert Lindsay and Jeannemarie Phelan, in Passaic County Court.

They claim that Lindsay committed the "ultimate breach of trust" and that Coldwell failed "to adequately supervise Lindsay and Phelan, especially in light of other known similar situations with Lindsay."

The Weiners say they began working with Lindsay in early 2010 to sell their home in Wayne, N.J., and look for a new home.

Lindsay told them their home would sell for $650,000, and they had Lindsay list it for sale in December 2011 because "Coldwell and Lindsay promoted Lindsay as the best Coldwell Realtor in the Wayne area," with "35 years of experience as a real estate sales person," according to the complaint.

He is a former president of a local board of Realtors and "a former instructor in the National Association of Realtors Ethics Training Program," according to the lawsuit.

The Weiners claim he "intentionally listed the house at above market value so that there would be little traffic in the home."

No sooner had they listed it, the Weiners say, than on Dec. 27 "the security cameras in Weiners' home captured Lindsay entering the Weiner's home at 12:49 p.m." A few minutes later, "the security cameras show that Phelan entered the Weiner's home and Phelan and Lindsay kissed and hugged in the kitchen."

Wasting no time, according to the lawsuit, "the security cameras further show that at 1:02 p.m., Lindsay and Phelan entered the master bedroom, undressed and proceeded to have sex on the Weiners' bed."

The Weiners say this conduct continued regularly, that "security cameras captured Lindsay and Phelan making ten additional visits to the home," in December and January.

They say they found out it late January, when "Sandra Weiner happened to be checking the video camera feed at the time and saw strange people in the house with what she thought were flashlights."

The Weiners "called the local police who then went to the house," and, according to the complaint, "The police opened the door to the house and found Lindsay pulling up his pants."

The Weiners say, "Lindsay lied to the police by telling them he was there to prepare the house for an open house" and lied to them again by "telling them that he went to the house with Phelan to 'grab a flyer.'"

Lindsay snuck into the house "by illegally making a duplicate key to the Weiner's home so he could bypass the lockbox system that would have recorded the use of the lockbox key to gain entry to the house," the Weiners say.

"Lindsay used his position at Coldwell to obtain for himself and Phelan a place to have sex," and he "listed the house above market value to avoid Realtor traffic in the home while he and Phelan carried on their trysts," according to the lawsuit.

The Weiners say Lindsay eventually admitted the house was overpriced, writing in an e-mail to them that he "did not want to 'piss on your cupcake' but that the listing price was too high."

After they learned what Lindsay had done, the couple says, "they could no longer use the bedroom or the remainder of the house" and "were uncomfortable and disgusted even being in their house."

They claim that "word of what Lindsay and Phelan had done in the Weiner's home got out," that "other Realtors found out about these facts," and when the house did sell, it was well below the price quoted by Lindsay.

They claim that "while Lindsay no longer works for Coldwell, he is still selling Coldwell-listed properties and generating income for Coldwell" and that "Coldwell still allows Lindsay access and entry into the homes of their clients."

Hal Maxwell, the president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey, and Rockland County, N.Y., said Lindsay and Phelan are no longer with the company.

"Immediately after learning of the allegation of improper behavior at the property by two independent contractors in January 2012, we ceased our affiliation with the agents," Maxwell said in a statement. "These agents have not listed or sold properties on our behalf since the allegation of misconduct at the home was first reported. The alleged misconduct at the home does not in any way represent how we conduct business as a company, and certainly is not reflective of the quality, commitment and integrity of our management or the more than 3,200 sales professionals affiliated with our company. We hold affiliated agents to the highest ethical standards."

Lindsay did not reply to requests for comments and Phelen could not be reached. Lindsay lists ReMax as his employer on his website.

The Weiners seek punitive damages for negligence, breach of contract, trespass, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

They are represented by Ronald Nagle of Morristown.

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