- Michael E. Kanell The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A national retail mattress chain has sued an Atlanta-based commercial real estate broker for an alleged scheme of fraud and kickbacks.
Mattress Firm, a 3,500-store chain, charged Colliers International’s Atlanta office, a former senior vice president and two former executives in the office, with inflating rents paid by the company stores, as well as “bribes, high-priced gifts and kickbacks from developers,” according to Bisnow, an Internet web site devoted to news about commercial real estate.
More than 800 stores were allegedly involved, according to Bisnow, which reported that the executives included in the suit are Bruce Levy and Ryan Vinson.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle has also reported the suit.
An attorney for Alexander Deitch, the former senior vice president, told Bisnow that his client denied the charges. The attorney said that he expected the two other executives to deny the charges as well.
Deitch no longer works for the company, according to an email to the AJC from Jodi Selvey, a senior vice president with Colliers.
The suit was filed in a filed in Texas court last month.
The charges revolve around an alleged arrangement in which many properties were owned by a small group of developers who received inflated rents from Mattress Firm and then paid kickbacks to Colliers, Levy and Vinson.
Mattress Firm has not named a dollar figure for the damages it believes it sustained and wishes in compensation, but the suit mentions payments amounting to more than $40 million beyond the true market value of the properties, Bisnow reported.
The web site said Levy and Vinson were fired last year as an inquiry into the deals began.
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