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NAR should defend Lechuga

Use of NAR funds for blogger’s legal defense could turn the into NAR advocates

miami condo investment blog header
photo credit: Lechuga’s blog

If NAR ever had a chance to turn the legions of REALTOR bloggers who loathe its existence into raving NAR fans in one fell swoop, this is it. Defend Lucas Lechuga.

When cases against its members and boards go to the appeals process, NAR often advocates for them if it is determined that prevailing in the case will establish legal precedent favoring REALTORS. In November, NAR’s board approved an expenditure of $475,000 to support REALTOR interests in five separate cases. This suit against Lechuga has profound implications for the growing number of REALTOR bloggers, and it deserves NAR’s attention.

Of course, NAR’s lawyers may determine that Lechuga doesn’t stand a chance in this suit and decide that their resources would be better devoted to a future similar case that might promise a better outcome. Nonetheless, I do hope that NAR will give this case its full attention.

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Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.



  1. Jonathan Dalton

    January 29, 2008 at 9:48 am

    It at least would be a further litmus test of whether NAR realized the exists.

    And there likely will be more cases like this rather than less as time moves on.

  2. Jim Duncan

    January 29, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I’m torn on this one, and need to read more into it. My question is this –

    Did he present something as fact that turned out to be inaccurate? If so, did he correct the inaccuracy with a retraction?

    NAR may or may want to jump into this, but it’s an example of a couple things –

    1) the Developers’ desperation in this new market
    2) We all have a responsibility to be accurate, truthful, honest and transparent in all that we do, say and write.
    3) When one’s wrong – admit it.
    4) When one’s right – stick to your guns.

    Clearly, this is going to be interesting to follow.

  3. Bob Carney

    January 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Would this be an Errors & Omissions claim? I hate to say after reading and seeing what transpired…His 1st amendment rights should be defended. However, it should be accurate information. He even stammers on the definition of Bankruptcy…the owner said the never filed bankruptcy. I would believe the case is about slander or defamation of character not freedom of speech.

  4. Benn Rosales

    January 29, 2008 at 10:11 am

    “1) the Developers’ desperation in this new market”

    Jim, according to the Miami Herald Article, the dev. is sold out.
    source Miami Herald “Tibor Hollo has deemed Opera Tower a success, with the entire project sold out.”

    This just goes to show that mistakes happen.

  5. Jim Duncan

    January 29, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Thanks, Benn. My mistake (see how easy that was? 🙂 )

  6. Benn Rosales

    January 29, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Well played, well played.

  7. Robert D. Ashby

    January 29, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Everyone in the needs to be following this. Why? It may set precedent on what bloggers can be held liable. It could also pave the way for more lawsuits in the future.

  8. Kevin Tomlinson

    January 29, 2008 at 2:35 pm


    Working condos here in Miami, I can assure you that the developers are NOT happy with this “transparency” thing.

    Lucas is a good guy and made those comments without malice.

    I argree that the community should follow this because consumers now demand “unspun” information — and this case could scare bloggers which is what the developers would like.

  9. Jim Duncan

    January 29, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Kevin –

    Why should consumers’ demand of “unspun” information scare real estate bloggers? That seems to be what many of us have been working for for years.

  10. Kevin Tomlinson

    January 29, 2008 at 4:41 pm


    Just as a “focus group” scenario — go into ActiveRain. FEAR is the prevalent emotion.

    I’m with you 100%

  11. John

    January 29, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve been following this story very closely and have been reading the various blog posts about the matter at hand. Take a look at the link below. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has decided to cover the story. However, in their blog post they stated that “On Monday, Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell fired Hollo”. As some of you may already know by following this story, Hollo is the developer. He was not fired by EWM. Lechuga, the local Miami Realtor, was fired by EWM. This, in itself, could become a cause for a lawsuit against NAR. It was likely just a typo but one that could potentially mean a lawsuit against NAR for defamation of character by the developer. This blogging thing could get out of hand very quickly.

  12. Jonathan Dalton

    January 29, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    John Peter Zenger.

    The vast majority of writers have little to fear. But because so few have writing backgrounds, it doesn’t take much to instill fear. Which is what I believe the real intent of the suit to be – to create a chilling effect on real estate blogs, etc.

  13. Kevin Tomlinson

    January 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm


    Exactly. I think the days of “scaring people into submission” are over….hopefully!

  14. Benn Rosales

    January 29, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    NAR hates bloggers, why would they even touch this if it serves the purpose of getting their membership under control?

  15. Scott Brunner

    January 30, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Benn — “NAR hates bloggers”? Gimme a break. What a ridiculous, unsubstantiated thing to say. You may not like a lot about NAR, the ad campaign, their failure to engage the blogger community, etc — and perhaps your criticism is justified — but you squander your credibility with your readers and with NAR when you make exaggerated statements like the one above.

  16. Jonathan Dalton

    January 30, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I don’t believe NAR hates bloggers. I believe NAR doesn’t know what to make of us as a group. They know we’re there. They acknowledged that at the convention. But I don’t think they have the slightest idea whether our presence is good or bad, useful or a threat.

  17. Benn Rosales

    January 30, 2008 at 11:44 am

    (Hi Scott, welcome… I’m allowing your comment to remain, because I want to demonstrate to you this is a dialogue. No one here is under attack for anything they say, think, or feel and I would appreciate that same courtesy, thanks. )

    Now, we have all heard around the for over a year now that NAR was going to attempt to censor bloggers, force this or that change, pressure brokers to pressure agents to stop, or somehow keep us under control- the biggest evidence of this perception was around the time of the 07 convention.

    Now, do I believe personally that NAR hates bloggers? Maybe some annoy some of them at NAR, but honestly you’re the closest thing to a NAR representative we’ve seen engage the on any issue, so how would I know?

    So, add together the thread above about condo developers wanting to shut bloggers up, with the perception of NAR wanting to shut bloggers up, and you’ll see that I’m only pointing out and asking the question:

    If NAR truly hates the, why would they get involved? Please note the question mark.

  18. scott

    January 30, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Benn- I wasn’t aiming to be uncourteous, and I sure don’t represent NAR…but your blanket comment was over the top, in my opinion. You mentioned in a previous post how folks are finding blogs to be more credible, then you assert later that ‘NAR hates bloggers’. It’s not a credible statement…but is certainly deserving of discussion. I agree with Dalton: NAR doesn’t know what to do with bloggers’.

  19. Benn Rosales

    January 30, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Again, my credibility has nothing to do with the perceptions NAR has allowed to become mainstream. I realize it is hard to swallow, but I am not the enemy of NAR. My job is simply to point out perceptions, and opine on those perceptions. I invite any member of NAR to challenge any perception I write about and I will in reply post you reams of comments, statements, and blogs.

    This is an open discussion, and I reserve the right to challenge the conversation, I resent your calling anything with a question mark a statement, sir. Please be in context.

  20. Charles Woodall

    January 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    “legions of REALTOR bloggers” you say? A few hundred bloggers out of over 1 million members does not make a ripple at this point. Now I think that will change, but NAR is just now beginning to notice the And even though more and more REALTORS start “blogging” everyday, it will be some time before NAR will start to really notice the wave. Especially if the quality of the new ones is not as good as the elders 🙂

  21. Scott Rogers

    January 30, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Benn —

    You said “Now, we have all heard around the for over a year now that NAR was going to attempt to censor bloggers, force this or that change, pressure brokers to pressure agents to stop, or somehow keep us under control- the biggest evidence of this perception was around the time of the 07 convention.”

    I have just recently entered the blogging world, and thus wasn’t in tune to any of those issues at the time. What was the basis for thinking that NAR was going to attempt to censor bloggers? Was there some communication or indication from NAR that this was going to take place?

  22. Benn Rosales

    January 30, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    This is where it went nuts: this was when I first sat up and payed attention- follow the comments and notice how they spin slowly towards nar. A few days later this was posted:

    This went on for some time. I won’t waste my time hunting it all down.

    Scott, I rarely really pay attention to what I read on re blogs when it comes to nar, I was numb to it in oct when I read Brian’s posts, still am today- I am more interested in comments, but I do know it has been one of those off the cuff comments and mentions in blogs since last year around this time.

    Now, ask me if I believe its actually true… no, I don’t. Ask me if I think it’s worthy of your time investigating… No, I don’t. I posed the question above as more food for conversation as apparently there is now some vast conspiracy by condo developers to silence bloggers, I was simply pointing out that just a few months ago, it was nar who was conspiring.

    There seems to be this under the surface fear that someone is out to destroy the I think the developer wants this guy to shut up about his projects he is trying to sell.

    Should nar defend this guy, absolutely- two days ago.

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