Legally, you have to sue, that is the only remedy you have against him. Enforcement of oral contracts
in NY is difficult because all contracts are to be in writing to be enforceable under the Statute of Frauds. There is an exception to the statute of frauds which you are arguing here in that when a party to the contract has partial performance (you made sales) in reliance on the contract, then this is an exception to the Statute of Frauds for oral contracts. Under NY law you have 6 years to sue for breach of contract.
I am afraid a case of this value has to go to the supreme court civil division and cannot go to small claims court, which means you need an attorney. Just because one attorney gave you such a high retainer does not mean all attorneys will want that much, so you need to shop around to find an attorney you can afford, because court is your only recourse I am afraid if you want to get your money.
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