Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

Blogger Sued – $25 Million



Real Estate Blogger Leveled With Huge Lawsuit


image: miami sun post

Pictured above is Mega Developer Tibor Hollo in the Miami Sun Post last year, who has leveled a $25 Million Defamation Suit against a Florida real estate blogger.

source Miami Herald: read full article

The Good, Bad, The Blogger

Developer Tibor Hollo has filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit against a Miami real estate agent who blogged that the octogenarian went bankrupt in the 1980s and is headed for a fall with the upheaval in the condo market.

What did the agent say?

”My opinion is that this development is doomed,” he wrote on Jan. 10.

What does the expert say?

Robert Jarvis, a constitutional law and ethics professor at Nova Southeastern University, who isn’t involved in the case, said he doubts Lechuga will be held liable.

”Courts understand [blogs] are written in unedited, unvetted fashion,” Jarvis said. “There’s a lot of hyperbole. That’s why it’s so difficult to win defamation lawsuits.”

What does the so-called defamed say?

”I guess when you’re running a blog [you] think [you] can say anything about anybody, and that’s just not true,” Hollo said. He called the postings “plain, unadulterated lies.”

Who Wins?

I predict the agent will get off the hook, but the developer is already winning. The agent has already lost his job, and because the agent was fired is left to financially defend himself against a huge developer. This is a sad day for free speech, but a great day for the Obviously those that would minimize the have failed if the reality is people are paying attention enough to care what a blogger has to say.

The Lesson?

Be careful what charge you lead. You may be right, but right is only as deep as your back pocket.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

Continue Reading


  1. Mariana

    January 29, 2008 at 8:53 am

    …Yeah. Stick with market reports, neighborhood profiles, resturant reviews and surface-only opinions. Save the “plain, unadulturated lies” for when you run for President.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    January 29, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I’ve read the article and found it interesting that the Broker terminated him for making negative comments and goes on to say that he wishes to be a positve source of informaiton. I feel that there are times when the information is just plain negative. The condition of the market being bad, is well…. what it is. I try to keep my articles informative and up with the current trends and sometimes that just bad. I’ve said in a recent post that our local market will probably get worst before it gets better. If Brokerage Firms were to firm “negative people” they would be empty!

    I do think the incorrect information regarding the BK was a bit much and he should have researched it, but even newspapers get a change to write retractions when they are incorrect.

    I don’t know… there seem to be a lot of elements here. I think sharing your opinion is ok, but you have to make sure that your supportive data (BK) is correct!

  3. Robert D. Ashby

    January 29, 2008 at 9:26 am

    If the agent did make “plain, unadulterated lies”, then he deserves everything he gets. If it was opinion, it goes kind of along with the Andy Kaufman issue. Sometimes one’s opinion and lies are along a thin line, but stating a BK that didn’t exist is black and white lying. A simple public records search should show the BK as truth or outright lie.

  4. Benn Rosales

    January 29, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Robert, unless the BK was an urban legend and the author can prove a direct source for his understanding of the facts as he stated them.

    I cannot comment on who is right or who is wrong, but I can say that my larger point was the cannot be minimized and this suit proves it. What we say not only is vital, but because it is so vital we as bloggers must be cautious.

  5. Robert D. Ashby

    January 29, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Benn, you are absolutely correct. The has grown to the point we can, and will, police those blogging within it.

    I am actually planning to do a post on the “issue” as well, after I do the PR search.

  6. ines

    January 29, 2008 at 9:52 am

    You beat me to it Benn – nice reporting!! I was just going to post the whole ordeal from the beginning. The guy was fired for stating his opinion then was refired when the law suit came up. It’s an interesting turn of events because we ARE liable for what we write in our blogs but at the same time it is also our opinion.
    Do we have to write **this is our opinion** in every single line – maybe we should consider writing a release on all our blogs.

  7. Robert D. Ashby

    January 29, 2008 at 11:12 am

    BTW, I need to write a corrective note. It was not Andy Kaufman, but Todd Kaufman I meant. Sorry, but I want to avoid a lawsuit myself.

  8. Robert D. Ashby

    January 29, 2008 at 11:39 am

    PS – Sorry Andy, didn’t mean to defame you.

  9. Rhonda Porter

    January 29, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Aren’t bankruptcy’s public record? If so, hind sight being crystal clear, shouldn’t the blogger have linked the BK to support his statement? If you’re going to make a bold statement, I think you need to back it up.

  10. Ines

    January 29, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Rhonda – the issue is that companies come and go with obscure officials and agents of record. Not that I am implying that it happened in this situation, but I totally agree with you that heresay is not good when you make a statement of that magnitude.

  11. Principal Broker

    January 30, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING! RUMORS, RUMORS AND MORE RUMORS. Anyone can have, and is entitled to, an opinion! What we have here is merely a difference of opinions.

    Some people ought to get a life of their own

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion Editorials

6 skills humans have that AI doesn’t… yet

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s not unreasonable to be concerned about the growing power and skill of AI, but here are a few skills where we have the upper hand.



Man drawing on a roll of butcher paper, where AI cannot express themselves yet.

AI is taking over the workforce as we know it. Burgers are already being flipped by robotic arms (and being flipped better), and it’s only a matter of time before commercial trucks and cars will be driven by robots (and, probably, be driven better).

It may feel unnerving to think about the shrinking number of job possibilities for future humans – what jobs will be around for humans when AI can do almost everything better than we can?

To our relief (exhale!), there are a few select skills that humans will (hopefully) always be better at than AI. The strengths that we have over AI fall into 3 general categories: Ability to convey emotion, management over others, and creativity.

Let’s break it down: Here are 6 skills that we as humans should be focusing on right now.

Our ability to undertake non-verbal communication

What does this mean for humans? We need to develop our ability to understand and communicate body language, knowing looks, and other non-verbal cues. Additionally, we need to refine our ability to make others feel warm and heard – if you work in the hospitality industry, mastering these abilities will give you an edge over the AI technologies that might replace you.

Our ability to show deep empathy to customers

Unlike AI, we share experiences with other humans and can therefore show empathy to customers. Never underestimate how powerful your deep understanding of being human will be when you’re pitted against a robot for a job. It might just be the thing that gives you a cutting edge.

Our ability to undertake growth management

As of this moment, humans are superior to AI when it comes to managing others. We are able to support organization members in developing their skillsets and, due to our coaching ability, we are able to help others to grow professionally. Take that, AI!

Our ability to employ mind management

What this essentially means is that we can support others. Humans have counseling skills, which means we are able to help someone in distress, whether that stems from interpersonal relationships or professional problems. Can you imagine an AI therapist?

Our ability to perform collective intelligence management

Human creativity, especially as it relates to putting individual ideas together to form an innovative new one, gives us a leg up when competing against AI. Humans are able to foster group thought, to manage and channel it, to create something bigger and better than what existed before. Like, when we created AI in the first place.

Our ability to realize new ideas in an organization

Think: Elevator pitch. Humans are masters of marketing new ideas and are completely in-tune with how to propose new concepts to an organization because, you guessed it, we too are human. If the manager remains human in the future (fingers crossed!), then we know what to say to them to best sell our point of view.

Using what we know, it’s essential for almost all of us to retrain for an AI-driven economy that is most likely just a few years away. My advice for my fellow humans? Develop the parts of you that make you human. Practice eye contact and listening. Think about big pictures and the best way to manage others. Sharpen your mind with practicing creative processes. And do stay up to date with current trends in AI tech. Sooner or later, these babies are bound to be your co-workers.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Your business model doesn’t have to be a unicorn or a camel to succeed

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s not unusual for people to suggest a new business model analogy, but this latest “camel” suggestion isn’t new or helpful.



Camels walking in desert, not the best business model.

This year in 2020 I’ve seen a great deal of unique takes on how our system works. From 45 all the way down to children instructing adults on how to wear masks properly. However, after reading this new article published by the Harvard Business Review, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so out of touch with the rest of the business world. Here’s a brief synopsis on this article on business model.

The author has decided that now of all times it’s drastically important for startups and entrepreneurs to switch their business tactics. Changing from a heavy front-end investment or “startups worth over a billion dollars” colloquially called “Unicorns” to a more financially reserved business model. One he has tried to coin as the “Camel”, using references to the animal’s ability to survive “long periods of time without sustenance, withstand the scorching desert heat, and adapt to extreme variations in climate.”

The author then goes on to outline best practices for this new business plan: “Balance instead of burn”, “Camels are built for the long haul”, “Breadth and depth for resilience”.

Now I will admit that he’s not wrong on his take. It’s a well thought-out adjustment to a very short-term solution. You want to know why I’m sure of that? Because people figured this out decades ago.

The only place that a “Unicorn” system worked was in something like the Silicon Valley software companies. Where people can start with their billions of dollars and expect “blitzscaling” (a rapid building-up tactic) to actually succeed. The rest of the world knows that a slow and resilient pace is better suited for long term investments and growth. This ‘new’ business realization is almost as outdated as the 2000 Olympics.

The other reason I’m not thrilled with this analogy is that they’ve chosen an animal that doesn’t really work well. Camels are temperamental creatures that actually need a great deal of sustenance to survive those conditions they’ve mentioned. It’s water that they don’t need for long periods, once they stock up. They have to have many other resources up front to survive those harsh conditions the article writer mentioned. So by this analogy, it’s not that different than Silicon Valley’s strongly backed “startups.”

If he wanted to actually use the correct animal for this analogy, then he should call it a tortoise business plan. Actually, any type of reptile or shark would work. It would probably be a better comparison in temperament as well, if we’re talking ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ Whatever you do, consider your angle, and settle in for the long haul.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

10 tips for anyone looking to up their professional game

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s easy to get bogged down by the details, procrastinate, and feel unproductive. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and crush your professional goals.



work productivity

Self-reflection is critical to a growth mindset, which you must have if you want to grow and improve. If you are ready to take your professional game to the next level, here are some stories and tips to help you remain focused on killing your goals.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the quote goes. And, in the workplace it’s bound to make you second guess yourself and your abilities. This story explains when comparison can be useful, when to avoid it, and how to change your focus if it’s sucking the life out of you.

2. Burnout is real and the harder you work, the less productive you are. It’s an inverse relationship. But, there are ways to work smarter and have better life balance. Here are some tips to prioritize your workload and find more ease.

3. Stop procrastinating and start getting sh@t done. The reason we procrastinate may be less about not wanting to do something and more about the emotions underlying the task. Ready to get going and stop hemming and hawing, you got this and here’s the way to push through.

4. Perfection is impossible and if you seek this in your work and life, it’s likely you are very frustrated. Let that desire go and learn to be happy with excellence over perfection.

5. If you think you’re really awesome and seriously deserve more money, more responsibility, more of anything and are ready to drop the knowledge on your supervisor or boss, you may want to check this story out to see if your spinning in the right direction.

6. Technology makes it so easy to get answers so quickly, it’s hard to wait around for things to happen. We like instant gratification. Yet, that is another reason procrastination is a problem for some of us, but every person has a different way/reason for procrastinating. Learn what’s up with that.

7. Making choices can be a challenge for some of us (me included) who worry we are making the wrong choice. If you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you know it can be paralyzing and then you either make no decision or choose the safest option. What we have here is the Ambiguity Effect and it can be a real time suck. Kick ambiguity to the curb.

8. If you are having trouble interacting with colleagues or wondering why you don’t hear back from contacts it could be you are creeping folks out unintentionally (we hope). Here’s how to #belesscreepy.

9. In the social media era building your brand and marketing are critical, yet, if you’re posting to the usual suspects and seeing very little engagement, you’ve got a problem. Wharton Business School even did a study on how to fix the situation and be more shareable.

10. Every time you do a presentation that one co-worker butts in and calls you out. Dang. If you aren’t earning respect on the job, you will be limited in your ability to get to the next level. Respect is critical to any leadership position, as well as to making a difference in any role you may have within an organization, but actions can be misconstrued. There are ways to take what may be negative situations and use them to your advantage, building mutual respect.

You have the tools you need, now get out there, work hard, play hard and make sh*t happen. Oh, and remember, growth requires continual reflection and action, but you got this.

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!