Beverly Hills Estates Claims “Illegal” Escrow Hold on Pay

Matthew Stafford, the quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, may have closed on his new Hidden Hills mansion in December — but the brokers on the deal are now locked in a legal fight over a commission payout, The Real Deal has learned. 

The Beverly Hills Estates, the boutique brokerage run by Branden and Rayni Williams, has claimed the escrow company, Escrow of the West, has refused to pay out 50 percent of $1.12 million in broker commissions upon request of the seller, Ronen Nachum of DOR Homes, according to court records. 

“To try and illegally withhold and extract money from the agent, so the agent can’t immediately have their money — especially in this harder market — it’s highly unethical,” Branden Williams said. “We will not stand for it.”

The deal for 25067 Jim Bridger Road in Hidden Hills closed in December, according to court records. The brokers declined to comment on the buyer, but reports disclosed it was the Rams’ Stafford. 

Michelle Gracie of Beverly Hills Estates represented the buyer.

Escrow of the West, run by Galit Ofengart, claimed that DOR Homes “demanded that EOTW withhold all funds” and “alleged misconduct and damage caused to DOR” by Beverly Hills Estates during the escrow and sale process. 

The escrow company has now asked an L.A. Superior Court to determine “to whom the escrow funds should rightfully be delivered,” according to a court filing earlier this month. 

“Because the parties to the escrow instructions at issue could not resolve the matter on their own, EOTW has complied with California law and filed the interpleader action,” Daniel Krishel, an attorney for Escrow of the West, said in a statement. “EOTW takes no position at all one way or another as to the disposition of the disputed funds and will let the court determine to whom those funds should be tendered.”

The filing came after Beverly Hills Estates filed a complaint against Escrow of the West with the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. 

The Williams’ said the firm signed an “irrevocable commission agreement,” which stated Beverly Hills Estates would receive 50 percent of the total commission, as an agent for the buyer. 

According to the California Association of Realtors, “broker compensation instructions are irrevocable” and “subsequent instructions from principals that contradict the commission instructions submitted by the brokers should not be followed by the escrow holder.”

This story has been updated to include a statement from an attorney representing Escrow of the West.

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