Years ago, a GAR member got me fired from the newspaper that ran my column by threatening to remove all his firms’ advertising (and wasn’t that a great demonstration of editorial backbone?). I moved over to the Internet and bumped my readership from a few thousand Greenwich residents once a week to a daily worldwide readership of 12,000, so I was grateful for the assistance.
Two weeks ago the GAR moved against this blog by threatening to sanction me for daring to link to its MLS data, and that prompted me to do what I’ve been too lazy to do before: I will have a work-around up within the next few weeks which will allow me to use all that data but will refer readers to my firm instead of to another GAR member. So thanks again.
But last week the GAR crossed the line and filed a complaint against me personally with the Greenwich Police, claiming that I was threatening the life of an employee; more particularly, posting about the new “Zombie Bullet”, a joke product, and my stating that,
Hornady introduces a zombie bullet. I’m off to the shooting range this morning where I intend to fire ordinary ammunition but I’ll be driving past the cave of the Evil GAR Princess so ….
The two detectives I spent an hour with last week were professional, courteous and almost apologetic but as they explained, a complaint of a very serious nature had been filed and they had no choice but to investigate. And I agree – I have no problem with detectives doing their job and indeed I’d expect them to do the same thing on my behalf had a threat been made against me. Of course I actually exist: the GAR Evil Princess is as imaginary as zombies, but that’s a quibble – the complainant withheld that crucial piece of information when speaking to the police.
I hold no special animus against the GAR employee who was apparently the complainant – employees do what they are told to do and clearly the woman was at the very least given permission to do what she did and more likely given both permission and encouragement.
So that leaves us with the Greenwich Association of Realtors itself, a monopoly run by and for the benefit of the small handful of brokerage firms here in town: Sotheby’s, Coldwell Banker, Prudential, Ogilvy and Associates and Greenwich Fine Properties (soon to be swallowed by Sotheby’s rumor has it). Them I don’t like, and their behavior is beyond the pale. Attacking my blog and trying to shut it down because I threaten the hegemony of these firms is just business – trying to destroy me as an individual, placing my name into police investigative files as a dangerous psychopath, that’s personal, and I’m pissed off.
So today I am filing a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department’s Anti-Trust division and our state’s Attorney General. That’s for starters. A private lawsuit against certain GAR members for defamation of character and tortious interference with my business? Depends on how much time I want to waste on pisant little people so desperately trying to hold back the tide, attempting to preserve a business model that became obsolete twenty years ago.
Transparency has arrived in the real estate market. Brokers no longer have a monopoly on information, and the sooner these individuals acknowledge and accept that, the sooner they can begin focusing on justifying their existence by providing service to buyers and sellers, rather than exploiting real estate customers’ (former) ignorance. They can take a lesson from their previous efforts to silence me, which only made me stronger. I’d suggest they re-watch “The Terminator” , but that would probably only generate another complaint filed with the police. Maybe I’ll just send each GAR owner a subscription to NetFlix and let them stumble upon the film themselves.