Landmark exec departs charging breach of contract

Gary Stevens has filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut secondaries firm claiming Landmark failed to honour a promise to give him an ‘ownership interest’ in the firm.

Landmark Partners is being sued by its former real estate head, Gary Stevens, over claims the secondaries firm failed to keep a promise to grant him at least a 10 percent ownership in the firm.

Stevens, who joined the private equity and real estate secondaries firm as partner in May 2004 to lead its real estate operations, filed a lawsuit with the District Court of Maryland this week citing a breach of contract. He was terminated by Landmark on November 6, according to court documents.

The dispute allegedly involves Landmark’s offer to provide Stevens with an ownership interest in the whole of Landmark, initially set at 10 percent and to start from the time of his employment. The economic participation plan, as it was referred to, would be drawn up at a later date following Stevens’ appointment.

When the “economic participation plan” was drawn up four years later, according to the suit, it did not provide Stevens with any interest in the “growth in the equity of the entire firm”, the “participation rights in the amount of 10 percent” nor “remuneration of compensation for the increase in the value of the firm” between 2004 and 2008.

Both Stevens and Landmark declined to comment.

Prior to joining Landmark, Stevens was a managing director of The Carlyle Group, leading its real estate fund activities and before that was chief operating officer of JE Robert Companies.

Earlier this week, sister website PERE revealed that Landmark Partners was looking to raise the largest real estate secondaries fund ever, with a target of $750 million.

According to people familiar with the matter, the fund would be known as Landmark Real Estate Fund VI. Landmark declined to comment on the fund.

Landmark, founded in 1989, only invested in private equity until 1996 when it branched out into real estate secondaries. It now has more than $6 billion in capital commitments – a fifth of that in real estate secondary programmes – and has transferred more than 1,100 limited partnership interests in funds managed by more than 400 GPs.

It is run by president Timothy Haviland and chairman and managing partner Francisco Borges. Landmark has raised 14 funds in total, securing capital commitments of $4.8 billion.