Former owners of Sedona Choppers seek $1.2 million in lawsuit against Remax Sedona and related party
Sedona, AZ - A recent lawsuit filed by Robert Wasserman and his partner Clarisse Heller on 12/04/2007 in the Coconino County Superior Court demonstrates how the recently completed Uptown construction project and a new competitor next door possibly had serious human and business consequences; and also the potential pitfalls of a dual broker real estate relationship.
In 2005, Robert Wasserman, a software developer for 20 years in downtown New York City, and his partner Clarisse Heller, decided to move West after the terrible events at the World Trade Center complex on 9/11. According to Mr. Wasserman, the "move was very significant for both of us leaving family and children, and what followed was nothing short of a nightmare."
In 2005, Mr. Wasserman purchased Sedona Choppers at 252 N. Hwy 89A that, according to its website, specialized in supplying Northern Arizona’s Red Rock Country with the finest in motorcycle clothing, leathers, gifts and accessories.
Said Mr. Wasserman, "On January 5,, only five days after our closing, construction fences began to appear across the street on 89A. From April 1st until October 15th there were construction fences, no parking or sidewalks and the constant sound of construction equipment in front of Sedona Choppers. Needless to say this had a catastrophic affect on our business, our relationship and our mental well-being."
While the construction alone could have put them out of business (see Red Rock News article entitled: Uptown Woes by Chelsea DeWeese), Mr. Wasserman is claiming that not only did the previous owner of Sedona Choppers (not a named party in this lawsuit) and his dual broker from Remax Sedona know about the construction, but that they also knew that a Harley-Davidson competitor shop would be opening in Sedona. (The shop ended up being the Harley-Davidson MotorClothes® and Accessories Shop in Sinagua Plaza at 320 N. Highway 89A.) The prior owner is not named in the lawsuit because, according to Mr. Wasserman, the prior owner settled the matter without admitting to any wrongdoing.
As for Remax and the broker, the heart of the lawsuit focuses on the conflict of interest that can potentially arise from a dual broker relationship. A dual broker relationship occurs when one broker individually, or two salespeople within the same brokerage firm, represent both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. Dual representation is lawful in Arizona with prior written consent, and so long as dual brokers exercise reasonable skill and care in the performance of their duties. However, Mr. Wasserman contends that the dual broker relationship created a conflict of interest that erred on the side of the seller since that's who paid the broker.
Mr. Wasserman says that he put his faith and trust in his dual broker and the prior owner to fully disclose their knowledge, if any, of the Uptown construction project and that Harley-Davidson might be opening a store in Sedona.
It is Mr. Wasserman's and Ms. Heller's contention that Remax Sedona and the dual broker withheld this information, and they are seeking to have their original purchase/sale contract of Sedona Chopper nullified.
Mr. Wasserman goes on to say, "We are challenging the unethical dual broker conflict of interest and how consumers like myself are at risk by trusting someone being paid by the other side."
Mr. Wasserman says he is seeking $1.2 million in damages.
It is now up to the Coconino County Superior Court to decide the case.