Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Lew Geffen Sotheby's Scandal

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    mambo
    Posts
    3
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Lew Geffen Sotheby's Scandal

    NOVEMBER 06, 2011

    Lew Geffen is a traditional street fighter, and anyone crossing his path had better watch out or be well armed. He learnt the ropes of the real estate industry whilst working for his mother Aida Geffen; after six years and a long conflicting relationship he started Lew Geffen Estates. Geffen ended up competing with his mother for nearly twenty years from the early 80s.

    During this time there were several battles between mother and son. Lew Geffen was witnessed throwing chairs across the office when he found out that his mother had beaten him on a deal or had out manoeuvred him yet again, often such acts were done publically which only served to further add fuel to fire, making him more determined and vengeful.

    Lew Geffen started the Sotheby’s franchise in 2003 in Johannesburg, later expanding to the Western Cape; these early franchisees started flourishing under the management of Rod and Ron Hemphill, in later years other franchisees were created in other parts of SA.

    It was not long after the success of some of the franchise operations, that Lew Geffen started engaging in battle with his operators. After identifying a successful operator, he would breach the franchisee on some trumped up charge, often unsubstantiated, simultaneously seizing the franchise, its entire revenue stream, its shop and agents. The franchisee unarmed, and more often than not, not having sufficient resources to fight a minimum court battle of R500,000, was forced to walk away. Lew Geffen, having seized the franchise and staff, then preceded to sell the franchise to a new operator for a handsome profit often making a quick 2 million Rand profit. Alternatively, he would wait for a struggling franchise to close shop and then sell the franchise to a new operator, often retaining the previous operator’s goodwill, staff and premises.

    Street fighting tactics and the lives it has affected

    2005: The Somerset franchise operator is forced out by Geffen due to a personality clash; Hemphill’s take over the franchise.

    2006: Henk and Susanne ran a successful Blouberg franchise; they were forced out by Lew Geffen simply because he did not like them.

    June: 2008: Jackie Cameron, (KZN) fights Geffen’s hostile takeover and manages to sell to Julie Solomon after a court battle.

    June 11, 2008 Maurice Levin - the Lew Geffen Sotheby’s public relations manager, was dismissed after he passed on information that Geffen told him to distribute to the press saying “property prices were set to drop by 40 percent by the end of this year from last year's highs”. Levin took Geffen to court, winning his case with an out of court settlement.

    2009: Julie Solomon from KZN succumbs to a Geffen hostile franchise take over.

    April 2010 Geffen accuses (Atlantic Sea Board) franchisee of not employing enough Jewish Agents, Geffen cites Jankowitz as a problem (did Hitler not say the same thing about the Jews?) Geffen starts a public assault on the Atlantic Sea Board franchise, lasting 18 months.

    May 2010: Savile Row Scandal – Lew Geffen attempts to sell Savile Row after bypassing the company’s shareholders and directors. The matter goes to court, with Geffen losing.

    2010: Conrad Steinhobel, the Hout Bay franchisee operator, goes belly up; Geffen sells the franchise to a new operator in the same week, rather than allowing the previous operator a means of selling the business.

    June 2010: Lew calls a security guard a “f**king kaffir”, an out of court settlement is reached.


    October 2011: Seizure of Atlantic Sea Board franchise by Geffen after he lied to a High Court Judge. The order gives Geffen permission to take full control of franchise business, staff, the agents and all of the assets. The High Court reverses its decision after it is discovered that Geffen lied to the Court – all too late, because by the time the Court overturned its earlier ruling, Geffen had already sold the franchise to a new operator. The process to get it back will last several months due to the complexity of our legal system.

    October 2011: Geffen accused Atlantic Sea Board operators as “gutter snipers”

    November 2011: Geffen is in Contempt of Court after not returning files and papers after raiding franchisee’s office. One of the files was seen in the possession of Geffen’s attorney Thomson outside the Cape Town High Court on 4 November 2011.

    He has bulldozed his way in business affecting the lives and livelihood of hundreds. Does he have any morals or ethics one must ask. Jason Rohde, Geffen’s CEO is also guilty of perjury and contempt of court, and Thomson, Geffen’s attorney is the legal brain behind Geffen’s legal strategy. Sandy Geffen, Lew’s estranged wife is distraught; Geffen’s eldest son Saul was unable available for comment; Tragically Geffen’s other son Barak, committed suicide in September 2009, and those close to Barak knew of the ruthless relationship he had with his father.
    Last edited by Dave A; 11-May-16 at 09:40 AM. Reason: removed offensive image

  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    mambo
    Posts
    3
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Sunday Times | BIÉNNE HUISMAN | 20 November, 2011

    TOMORROW business will resume at a prime real estate office that was literally torn apart in a bruising war for control of South Africa's platinum property strip.

    The Lew Geffen Sotheby's Atlantic seaboard franchise was stripped of branding, computers, files and its estate agents in a legal tussle that has been fought at the High Court in Cape Town since October 17.

    Allegations of a corporate coup by property tycoon Lew Geffen, industrial espionage, character assassination and racist slurs cast a cloud over the lucrative agency, which recorded a recession-trumping turn-over of R500-million in 2010.

    On Wednesday a judgment conditionally restored ownership of the agency to Rob Stefanutto and Hugo Jankowitz following what they described as a "purely insane" business hijacking by Geffen last month.

    The judgment provides for arbitration proceedings to be initiated in the next three weeks. Geffen hopes arbitration will "let all the facts come to light", while Stefanutto is preparing to go sue for damages.

    On Friday Stefanutto pointed at several empty desks inside his office. "Fourteen agents once sat here. I employed a total of 40 people whose lives have been disrupted by this," he said.

    Receptionist Cathy Matiwale said: "I was so shocked I didn't know what to do. It was nerve-racking."

    Stefanutto added: "What's the point of buying a franchise from Lew Geffen if he can just walk in and seize it?"

    The shop's branding was put up again yesterday, and Stefanutto vowed that it would be open for business tomorrow.

    He rejected claims by Geffen that he declined to do business with a Muslim. "I have friends who are Muslim. I attended an opening at a mosque in Athlone just last month," he said, showing cellphone footage of the event.

    Jankowitz and Stefanutto have been running the franchise since 2007. But Geffen, chairman of Sotheby's International Realty in South Africa, reclaimed the franchise through an "ex parte" court order on October 17. An ex parte decision is made by a judge without all the parties involved in the dispute being present.

    Geffen accused Jankowitz and Stefanutto of secretly buying into a leading competitor, Dogon Group Properties, in a blatant conflict of interest.

    Geffen and the court's sheriff then marched into Stefanutto's office and seized records, data and computers.

    They persuaded the 14 agents to move to another office 20m down the road, where the franchise was set to be relaunched under new management.

    Jankowitz accused Geffen of misleading and "hoodwinking" the high court to obtain the order. But Geffen did not budge. "Whatever he may say, Jankowitz's attempts at character assassination are nothing more than a smoke-screen.

    "He and his fellow franchisees did purchase the Dogon Property Group, a direct competitor, in breach of their franchise agreement. I would also like to make it clear that we have the full support of the Sotheby's International global leadership with regard to this matter."

    The drama played out in Sea Point where real estate agencies compete to cash in on SA's most lucrative property belt: the Atlantic seaboard - hugging the Cape coastline from the V&A Waterfront to Hout Bay.

    In an affidavit before court, Stefanutto revealed details of an e-mail he received from Geffen's wife Sandy inferring that he and his staff were "disgusting pigs".

    An affidavit by Jason Rohde, CEO of Geffen International Realty Franchises, also accused the pair of turning down an offer from businessman Farouk Akoojee to buy their franchise for "no apparent reason other than the fact that Akoojee is of the Muslim faith" and their clients were "largely Jewish".

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    mambo
    Posts
    3
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    In an unprecedented case in South African legal history, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International obtained an ex parte order in the Cape Town High Court on Tuesday 17 October 2011, that placed Lew Geffen Sotheby, the Franchisor, in immediate control of the prestigious franchise on the Atlantic Sea Board in Cape Town, which has been running as an independent operation for the past 4 years.

    The High Court order was obtained by not only lying to the Judge, adding insult to injury, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International also failed to present to the Court all the facts as in required by law when such a rare ex parte application is made. The High Court Order gave Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International immediate control of the Atlantic Sea Board franchise, an area from Bakoven to the Water Front, including Camps Bay, Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnay, Sea Point and Green Point. The Court order also gave the applicant full management right to effectively take over the whole franchisee operation, including their books and accounting records, office equipment, their Bank accounts as well as their physical premises in Sea Point Main Road. The Director of the Franchisee Business, Rob Stefanutto was also interdicted from communicating with any of his agents, clients as well as the conveyance attorneys.

    This is the first time in the new South African that a High Court Judge has invoked such an order, giving management control of an independently run company into the hands of a third part, which was granted based on the false testimony submitted to the Courts by Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International.

    The Sheriff of the Court, accompanied by Lew Geffen, Jason Rohde the CEO and several other of Lew’s staff, evicted Rob Stefanutto from the premises, ceasing computers and other confidential records pertaining to the franchise business. In addition, Lew Geffen and his gangsters raided the offices of two other premises not mentioned in the court order, in the traditional gung ho manner Lew Geffen has become accustomed, totally flaunting the Court Order and effectively taking the law into his own hands.

    Lew Geffen and party, ceased the Franchisee’s Bank accounts, diverted trade and business from the Franchise to his own company, simultaneously intimidate the staff and agents.

    Immediately upon being served the Court Order, Rob Stefanutto proceeded to obtain an urgent interdict that restored his position within the business. This process needed to go through the Court, as despite the draconian manner in which the order was first obtained, this was the only course of action. An urgent application was brought before the same court and Judge three days later, on 21 Friday October. Upon being presented with new facts that exposed the malicious and under hand manner in which Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International had sought their ex parte order, the Judge revoked the order without hesitation, ordering Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International to return every item seized from the premises. All costs, including the costs of two counsels were for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International account.

    Lew Geffen’s advocate Stephen Thomson was seen scurrying away from court after the verdict and was not available for comment.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member dfsa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    SA
    Posts
    166
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 31 Times in 24 Posts
    I knew about some of this mafia criminal's antics, but never thought it was to this extend.

    This guy should be criminally investigated. If SARS do a proper investigation on him, they most probebly will find he owe millions in taxes.

    His antics will eventually catch up with him. Another Guy Kebble alike criminal.

  5. #5
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,979
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Please be advised I'm expecting delivery of a court order to take down this page and/or certain content on this page. I will post more details once I have received a copy of the court order.

    UPDATE: The notices received do not contain adequate grounds for removal of any of the content above. I have advised the concerned party that a carefully considered post in reply would probably be their best path forward.

    Social media comes with some special problems when it comes to protecting one's reputation, but at least the ability to reply and present your own viewpoint comes with the territory too.
    Last edited by Dave A; 15-Oct-12 at 02:32 PM. Reason: update
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  6. Thanks given for this post:

    Chrisjan B (15-Oct-12)

  7. #6
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    121 Outerbelt Street
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Well this is a very bad news. The culprit should be taken off the streets and brought to justice.

  8. #7
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,979
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by rafaelsmall94 View Post
    The culprit should be taken off the streets and brought to justice.
    Who do you see as "the culprit"?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  9. #8
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    121 Outerbelt Street
    Posts
    2
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Who do you see as "the culprit"?
    ofcourse the person with mafia and criminal antics, I guess that was pretty easy to understand.

  10. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    durban
    Posts
    413
    Thanks
    121
    Thanked 61 Times in 52 Posts
    Well Dave, if you were 'the culprit", i'm on your side

  11. #10
    Junior Member DeonT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    22
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Wow. It makes for chilling reading. I would love a reply from Lew Geffen Sotheby's on this.

Similar Threads

  1. British media Attack Zuma- But Ignores scandal in their own Backyard
    By sgafc in forum South African Politics Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 09-Mar-10, 08:14 PM

Tags for this Thread

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •