Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

Will you like $25 million to go with that salad?



Lettuce for breakfast

Enough is enough, I have Lechuga and Hollow up to my eyeballs already! (this of course is only my opinion). Because I’m in Miami, every other local blogger is writing about the lawsuit and with every right. Some are scared, some are being extra cautious and adding disclaimers to their sites, and some are in complete awe (I’m one of those).

So here’s my interpretation of the scoop:

Lucas Lechuga, a Miami Realtor who specializes in condos along the Biscayne Corridor from Brickell to Wynwood wrote a post about a particular building (The Opera Tower). In that post he gives his opinion about the building and mentions the developer and bankruptcy (the post HAS been taken down so excuse the missing link). Lechuga’s broker at the time asked him to remove the post or edit it and Lechuga chose to keep the post and find another broker- (read Sellsius’ Real Estate Blogger Says – Take This Job And Shove It, I Ain’t Working Here No More – in my opinion this post was very timely because it was around the time real estate bloggers started discussing broker censorship and control). Then this week Lechuga gets sued by the developer for $25 million and also gets fired from EWM, his new brokerage. THAT’s what I call a couple of months packed with excitement!

Here’s what Miami is saying about the whole ordeal…I wander if we will all get sued at the end.

  • Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal who authors Transit Miami started the ball rolling:

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…

In the growing universe of local bloggers, Miami Realtor Lucas Lechuga carved out an early space. He is a real estate professional who writes a blog to enlighten readers and inquisitive, prospective buyers and sellers of his opinions about the real state of the condo market in one of the nation’s most overbuilt cities.

Seems that an allegation that Developer Tibor Hollo went bankrupt in the 80s is the sticking point, along with some predictions that his current projects are headed for failure. Doesn’t this sort of alternate-revenue-seeking lend credence to the latter assertion, though?

  • Steve from “Klotz” and in “Blood”

Always happy to encounter stories like this one…..Evidently this litigation had nothing to do with his looks, either.

And please don’t miss Joe Ferrara’s legal take on the issue – Those guys from Sellsius are DA BOMB! (opinion again)

So what does this mean for Real Estate Bloggers? Does it mean we have to state “this is my opinion” on every single statement we make? Will a disclaimer be enough? Should we be scared? Should Lechuga run with his tail between his legs?

The fact is that Lechuga has and will get a lot of press from this and it can’t be all THAT bad, although I would not like to be in his shoes.

Don’t be afraid to give your opinion but check the facts. I do think it’s unfortunate that EWM fired Lechuga, especially after I’ve talked to Beth Butler, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of EWM, so many times and she seems to be such an advocate of blogging.

This is the lame statement given by Ron Shuffield, president of EWM to the Miami Herald, “”We just don’t condone making statements, especially negative statements, about anyone, so we have terminated our relationship with our associate.” (please note that calling Mr. Shuffield’s statement “lame” is only my opinion – it is not meant to be a fact or a personal representation of Mr. Shuffield, EWM or any of EWM’s affiliates) GEESH!!! is that what the blogging world will turn to?

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Continue Reading


  1. Carole Cohen

    January 30, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    It is unfortunate. I am so fortunate that the Pres. of Howard Hanna is not only supportive but talks about my blog to others a lot. I’m not going to change my style but I always pretend my Mother and a client are on my shoulders when I blog. I don’t know what else we can do. In my humble opinion, a lawsuit was bound to happen somewhere, they affect all other aspects of our lives.

    Good post, Ines

  2. Chris Griffith

    January 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    You got ’em Ines and they’re brass.

  3. Jason Elder

    January 30, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Jason.

  4. Ines

    January 30, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Carole – the blogging world is too new to know how things will turn out – I think the discussion at Jay’s post is really important for everyone to follow as well…..and unfortunately this will be the first of many.

    Chris – I borrowed them from you 🙂

  5. Sparky

    January 30, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Wherever Ines posts, there go I… I think there are times when we need to be guarded regarding the information we dispense and to whom. Here in WA State, a statutory relationship can be established by simply giving counsel. I wouldn’t want to provide advice to someone who is already under contract with another agent, or is involved in an ‘open’ transaction. But that’s just me….

  6. Ines

    January 30, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Jason – thanks so much for that – I like to hear someone is reading what I write.

    Sparky – did you bring some crab to share? seriously, we get comfortable in our skin and although it’s ok to express our opinion we need to understand that there is malice in this world. I really wish Lucas the best of luck and hope EWM reconsiders.

  7. Ann Cummings

    January 30, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    How very sad that our society is so litigious….. I do wish Lucas the very best in this situation.

  8. Jonathan Dalton

    January 30, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    The first question I asked the owners of my new real estate brokerage is if they have any issue – any issue with a real estate blog as marketing. The answer was no. They actually have their own blog (though they need to cut and paste newspaper articles a little less and link a bit more, but that’s just me.)

    I maintain this suit isn’t about a dollar figure but about the chilling effect on real estate conversation. I keep coming back to that term because it’s appeared in multiple freedom-of-speech, freedom-of-the-press cases over the years. Or so I vaguely remember from Comm Law a billion or so years ago.

  9. Mark A.

    January 30, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    As a blogger, checking the facts prior to breaking a story (or even an opinion) goes without saying. After all, it’s the blogger’s credibility that’s at stake. I don’t know all the facts around LL’s case, although I’ve been reading a number of posts about it, in the past few days. But this case is important, because it will hopefully settle once and for all, where we as bloggers stand: Full transparency for consumers, or forget about Realtor blogging altogether. That is, if the parties to the lawsuit don’t decide to head towards a settlement (which happens all too often).

  10. Ines

    January 30, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Ann – it IS sad and more obvious when I hear kids saying “why don’t you sue him?” – it’s here in the US though, not so much in other countries.

    Jonathan – I’m glad to hear about your new brokerage and the best of luck with you as well. Real Estate conversation is where it’s at, and at the same time, truthful and open real estate conversation can get you in trouble.

    Mark – the case is very important to LL and to all of us – we’ll surely stay tunned to the results.

  11. Robert D. Ashby

    January 30, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I don’t think the good bloggers out there have anything to worry about, at least not yet. Disclaimers are for those who have something to hide (my opinion). I am only concerned in regards to the fact I have lost faith in our legal system. Remember the golden rule: He who has the gold rules. That appears to be the case if this actually goes to court, or even settles out. What am I concerned with; our blgos being told what we can or cannot say as dictated by those who have the most money.

  12. Ines

    January 30, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Robert – that is definitely a legitimate concern – when you look at the scheme of things, one single real estate agent in a sea of hundreds (even thousands) has to go to court because a big dog frowns on what he said. I guess it’s pretty flattering for LL to know that the developer thinks of him as such an influential person, most people would have never even found out about the project if it weren’t for all the mess – concerned about the legal battle or the media strategy?

  13. Larry Yatkowsky

    January 30, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    hey Ines – here’s my blah, blah, blah.

    Blogging needs a little more science. Before you postulate – be absolutely certain of your facts and the source you are quoting. If you are the source, document and keep those documents as safe as possible. Failure to do so may result sometimes years later, in getting a Miami-slap upside the head.

    Really – is it much different from acting as a professional realtor?

    While I am deeply sorry for this poor blogger, I suggest that many merrily go about blogging in a righteous manner thinking that somehow they can say or do what ever the hell they want without consequence. Blogging is not a private tea party where you whisper unkind things about your neighbour and wash it away with Earl Grey. Blogging is very sticky. It is the Full Monty with pants crumpled around your socks. None of us should ever lose sight of the fact that if you say it in a blog the world knows – instantly. Faster if you have high page rank! Blogs bloated with opinion need tempering with reason and compassionate measure.

    On the other hand…………….. .>)

    without reason nor measure, it is without prejudice that I really think the developer is just a cranky old snot who is losing his ass in the market like so many other people in America and is taking his angst out on one of our Miami brothers. He might consider joining the gal in California and do a class action against all realtor bloggers just for sport.


  14. Ines

    January 30, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Larry – You had me cracking up at the end!

    We should keep in mind that what we write is here to stay – there are many eyes on us and our articles will outlive us (scary thought). And for us that make mistakes, it’s better to recognize them, and make the appropriate corrections. I don’t know about you, but it is a never ending learning process.

  15. Lucas Lechuga

    January 30, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you Ines for providing a link to my latest post. I think it brings up a lot of concerns that have been voiced to me by other bloggers within the last couple of days. This court case could have huge ramifications for the blogosphere. I also want to state that I have not been served yet. From what I’ve heard, EWM was served on Friday.

    In case the county is having a difficult time locating me:

    You can find me during recess, outside the gym, underneath the staircase, behind the stack of papers right after lunch. See you there. I’ll try to make sure I have a hall pass to be there.

    If anyone at would like my take on the story then feel free to call me. 786-247-6332.

  16. Larry Yatkowsky

    January 31, 2008 at 12:23 am

    gosh i’m sorry!

    I unconditionally apologize to you personally, all ladies and some men who read that comment. I want to retract the part about the Full Monty. Having now looked in the mirror, I recognize that it is not pretty. Having committed that unfortunate lapse in judgement and upon much reflection, realize that it was not a reasonable action nor was it compassionate for it may have caused heart attacks, throbs, disgust or premature blindness.

    Bartender – Gimme another!

  17. Ines

    January 31, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Lucas – I know you have a lot of support from the blogging world (especially Real Estate Bloggers) and it would be great to get your side of the story. Thank you for the opportunity and I will certainly take you up on that.

    Larry – thanks for your great sense of humor.

  18. Kevin Tomlinson

    February 2, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Hey Ines,

    Did you mean what you said about >>..Enough is enough, I have Lechuga and Hollow up to my eyeballs already?

    I’m super-glad you are fed up with this story. I couldn’t take another one. It would almost be like beating a dead horse.

    All the national media, celebrity bloggers, bubble bloggers have covered the story beautifully.

    I know you wouldn’t compromise your journalistic integrity by boring us with another Lechuga post. I hope not!

    If I was Lucas, I would be completely insulted with the picture you chose. Yes, yes we know his last name means lettuce in spanish –BIG DEAL. It’s like you trash him (oh, I’m tired of hearing about it) AND THEN you post on it. We get it, Ines. Are you going to say you are OVER IT and then write two posts on it? That doesn’t sound like your “over it” at all.

    What you say and what you end up doing, don’t make sense.

  19. Benn Rosales

    February 2, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Hi Kevin, nice to see you around. I think that whatever your problem with Ines might be, that it is better served in private. I can certainly appreciate your feelings on the issue, but we’d like to think that Mr. Lechuga will need all of the support of all of the right now, including our readership that includes members of the NAR.

    I personally asked Ines to fill us in on the details from a local perspective and from what I’ve read the story has been absolutely diluted by the conversation of blog disclaimers, whether Lechuga was wrong, and attacks on him by some in the for not vetting stories- all of which is hearsay as we both know.

    So in the interest of not getting off message in the Lechuga case and a rally around him, supports Lechuga, including Ines, but also see how the intense coverage may be fanning further flames- which is the context in which this post was meant.

    I hope you will take this offline and email Ines directly.

    Hope to meet you at Inman…

    Benn Rosales

  20. Kevin Tomlinson

    February 2, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I don’t have a problem with Ines. The beginning of her post basically says she is “tired” of hearing about it. Further, a picture is added with a person with lettuce stuffed in her mouth; not appropriate or cute, it is demeaning. And finally the comments turn to “let’s interview you for another post.”

    Am I wrong?

  21. Benn Rosales

    February 2, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Because at the time in discussing with Ines directly whether we should take Lechuga up on his offer or not, we actually decided that he probably really shouldn’t say anything (this has been in debate for a few days now). We’ve since decided to wait for his legal council to set the tone for whatever conversation he makes.

    Lechuga had a sense of humor on the header, it got a lot of traction in comments, and more people understand the balance of the story- it simply is her style of writing.

    You’re not wrong, but you are missing the tone element here and I hope you’ll give Ines the benefit of the doubt.

    Lets unite.

  22. Mariana

    February 3, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I imagine that the Miami RE Bloggers MUST be up to their eyeballs in this story, but no one else seems to be. Thank you, Ines, for bringing your local perspective to the rest of the non-Miami world.

  23. Plaxen

    August 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I think it is appropriate to add a disclaimer not because writer is unsure about what he or she has written but there is a fear of misinterpretation. It is good to take precautions.

  24. Ines

    August 27, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Plaxen, it is our responsibility to check facts or quote sources but you are right, misinterpretation is another problem we need to deal with as bloggers….and not to say the responsibility we have with comments as well.

  25. Jonathan Benya

    April 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    What’s sad is that there is no brokerage that is willing to stand behind a guy that specifically said “in my opinion”; not the broker’s, not the company’s, HIS OPINION. Any legal defense fund set up for this guy yet? I’ll contribute!

  26. ines

    April 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    the suit has been dropped, and Lechuga had to write an apology letter and post it statically on his blog for a period of time. The result for him was more exposure and increase in business….and I’m sure tons of stress at the time.

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!