A disgruntled Evergreen couple that sold their 8,000-square-foot mansion for $550,000 below their asking price has turned on their one-time broker and the agent who represented the buyers.
Former Evergreen homeowners Catherine and Robert Ross last week sued agents Caroline Wagner, Sonia Chritton and the brokerage Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, claiming that the agents conspired against them, and shared compromising and confidential information with the buyers that led to a lower sales price.
According to the lawsuit, LIV Sotheby’s International Realty agent Caroline Wagner had a six-month contract with the Rosses to sell their home at 580 Packsaddle Trail in Evergreen. The Rosses listed the 8,700-square-foot, seven-bedroom home at $1.9 million, according the lawsuit.
The 10-year-old house was marketed as having “remarkable snow capped peak views, sumptuous materials and design wrapped in an architectural masterpiece.”
The Rosses claim they told Wagner in confidence about financial difficulties, which required them to refinance the home with a hard-money loan. They claim that only Wagner and the bank knew about their loan.
The lawsuit states that under Wagner’s contract, she was prohibited from disclosing the sellers’ reasons for listing the home without their consent, and that she was required to remain mum even after the termination of the contract.
After seven months of working with the Rosses, Wagner said the couple cut her and hired a different agent.
“When I took the listing, I said, ‘The price you want is too high,’” Wagner said when reached by phone. “They fought me all the way. They didn’t want to budge. They went to somebody else because they thought somebody else could do better than I could.”
The lawsuit states that in May, the Rosses ran out of money, except for the value in their home. According to the complaint, Wagner then told Sonia Chritton, a LIV Sotheby’s agent at the time, about the Rosses’ financial position and their weak negotiating position.
“Defendant Chritton finally admitted to the Rosses’ agent that she received the information about their loan and financial hardships from the Rosses’ ex-selling agent,” the lawsuit alleges.
Chritton allegedly took this information and used it to help her clients, buyers Annette and Stephen Pummel, to make a low ball offer, according to the complaint. The Rosses accepted the offer and sold their home for $1.37 million on May 30 to the Pummels, Clear Creek County property records show. The Rosses originally purchased the property in 2009 for $595,000, according to property records.
“When the Rosses met the buyers in person, they made statements indicating that they knew the information about the loan through information disclosed to them by Defendant Wagner,” the lawsuit states.
Wagner denied the allegations that she communicated with Chritton about the property and the Rosses’ financial difficulties.
“That is bull,” she said. “I looked at my emails and I have never ever had communication with Sonia. The Rosses are trying to fabricate something to make some money.”
Chritton, who worked with Coldwell Banker at the time of the sale, also denied any communication with Wagner.
“They’re falsely accusing me of something I never did, because I never spoke to this woman in my life,” Chritton said.
Chritton said that word about the Rosses’ financial difficulties did get out. But it wasn’t real estate agents who spilled the beans.
Chritton said neighbors told her clients about the Rosses’ loan and financial situation, and told the Pummels to look into the loan.
Henry Baskerville with Fortis Law Partners is representing the Rosses in their complaint. The complaint was filed July 27 in Denver District Court.