Broker under fire! Luis Ortiz, a real estate mogul who stars in Bravo's Million Dollar Listing New York, is being investigated by the New York State Department after he had his brother Photoshop a $7 million apartment during a recent episode.
According to ABC News, the 26-year-old had his twin brother, Daniel, use Photoshop to enhance promotional photos of a five-bedroom home in Greenwich Village by adding marble countertops, hardwood floors, bookshelves, and upgrading the kitchen with a new oven.
"I need to do something with the way [the apartment] looks," the Puerto Rican-native explained in the episode. "If I put the real photos out there, not a single person will ever come inside."
Explaining how Daniel learned Photoshop during college when he made fake IDs, the vice president of Keller Williams NYC said in an on-camera confessional that the photo doctoring wasn't a big deal.
"I know this is a little white lie, but come on," he said. "A harmless lie isn’t going to kill anybody!"
As Daniel worked on the photos, Luis said, "I'm looking at the bigger picture," before joking to his brother, "We're going to hell, man!"
The N.Y. Post reports that the episode sparked an investigation by the N.Y. State Department six days after it aired. According to the paper, Luis said he was unaware of the investigation and that he sent the fake photos in an email to top brokers, but never used them on actual listings.
"I did Photoshop the pictures -- but when the brokers said they weren't real, I pulled them and had an architect do a rendering," he told the Post.
On May 22, Luis addressed the Photoshop controversy on his own Bravo blog, saying that it "was not the best of my moments."
"By doing what I did I learned what not to do in the future and that lesson is worth having done what I did," he wrote. "Sometimes we're told what not do, but it is only after we go through it ourselves that we then understand why it shouldn't have been done. That's when a real lesson is learned."
Explaining why he doctored the photos, he wrote that he was just trying to impress his company and sell it "as fast as possible." He continued, "The problem was that I got overexcited and instead of thinking and making a plan, I did what I thought I needed to do to get people in the door fast. In the end, it was not pretty."
He added, "I know I meant well and to me thats what matters the most … Let's keep moving forward!"