Apparently blogging your opinion on a local condo development could get you fired, sued, or both! Lucas Lechuga, of Miami Condo Investments, was the lucky recipient of a $25 million defamation lawsuit from Miami developer Tibor Hollo for writing:
”My opinion is that this development is doomed…”

And:

“This developer went bankrupt in the 1980′s and I think we’ll see a repeat performance within the next 6 months. What do I know, though? I’m no real estate oracle.”

Apparently Hollo didn’t go bankrupt in the 80′s and wants to set the record straight. Meanwhile EWM’s Ron Shuffield felt the blog illustrated a negative connotation and plans to review with their 800+ Realtor staff the do’s and don’t of blogging…

I believe this whole thing has been blown disproportionately out of the water, starting with an exorbitant $25 million for defamation. How can anyone quantify that much in damages to begin with? Luckily for Lechuga, the lawsuit likely won’t hold much water in court according to herald interviews with local attorneys. From what I can tell, this has the appearance of a glorified publicity stunt amid a crumbling housing market. Who am I to say anyway? Only time will tell…

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6 Responses to What Empty Condos?

  1. Lucas Lechuga says:

    Great Post Gabriel! I guess time WILL tell.

    We all have to remember that the word “Blog” comes from two words, “web” and “log”. I was merely creating a web log of my thoughts and opinions about the Miami condo market. I know that these opinions may not be favorable to some, but these opinions were unbiased. I had no malicious intent against the developer, nor his condo development. I was merely relaying the concerns of others. Time will tell though whether I was right or wrong.

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  2. ines says:

    Hi Gabriel - I wrote a long response and the message did not take.

    Real estate blogging is being threated by brokers who want control, brokers who don’t want real estate professionals giving “unbiassed opinions” on the market. They want to keep painting pretty pictures and the reality is that it is not honest and it gives our industry an even worst name.

    I wish Lucas the best of luck because he is doing a service to his market and his customers by being open.

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  3. Carlos Miller says:

    Lucas,

    I’ve been thinking about this case, and I’ve just seen the CBS video, so I’ll give you my take on it, for whatever it’s worth:

    If Holla never filed bankruptcy, then obviously you were incorrect, no matter how bad his business was back then.

    However, Holla is going to have to prove “actual malice” on your part and I don’t think he will be able to do that.

    Basically, you made a mistake, which is something newspapers do every single day. And the only thing they end up doing is running a small little correction, and they’re not even required to do that.

    The rest of what you said is just your opinion, so how is that any different than a newspaper columnist covering real estate?

    The courts have ruled that professional bloggers are entitled to the same protections are journalists. And considering you were using your blog as part of your profession, then you are defined as a “professional blogger”.

    Holla is considered a public figure, so he cannot expect the same levels of privacy as your average citizen, who cannot even afford a condo at Opera, much less build the damn building.

    I’m glad you’re going to keep blogging. Best of luck to you.

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  4. Carlos Miller says:

    Ines,

    Why not rewrite your long response for your blog?

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  5. Carlos Miller says:

    I meant Hollo, not Holla.

    What the hella. I hope I don’t get sued now.

       0 likes

  6. Usdating says:

    Great info on link building.. It will guide many in building good links on the Web

       0 likes

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