Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blogger Sued for $25 million

A real-estate blogger in Miami, Florida, has been sued for $25 million by a condominium developer.

This appears to be the case of a struggling businessman, in a down real-estate market, trying to blame his problems on a blogger.

Lucas Lechuga, who worked for the Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell (EWM) real-estate firm, was sued by Tibor Hollo, who heads the Opera Tower development.

Lechuga published a blog, Miami Condo Investments, which said Hollo had gone bankrupt in the 1980s, the development company was delaying closings on the condo project, and the project was likely to have a "high default rate." The statement regarding Hollo's bankruptcy evidently was false, and the developer alleges that it is defamatory.

You would think that demanding a retraction might be a simple way to handle such a problem. But Hollo decided, "Why do that when I can file a $25-million lawsuit?"

Wonder if Hollo's approach has anything to do with the fact that EWM is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. Methinks someone smells deep pockets.

EWM, for its part, fired Lechuga and distanced itself from his comments.

You can check out Lechuga's post about the lawsuit here.

The blogging community has rallied around Lechuga, with one blogger noting that the lawsuit has brought Hollo far more negative publicity than the post ever did.

A CBS newscast about the case can be viewed here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Blogging is one of the last ways how to speak free, but it seems this time is over. On the other hand, I am Vancouver realtor blogging as well and I know what power the blogs can have, especially in business, where reputation and client's trust is extremely important. If your competitors pay few famous bloggers to spread bad word about you, it can have much more disastrous consequences than newspaper articles...