OCAr fails to explain charges, demands IrvineRenter's silence

OCAR has responded to IrvineRenter's response letter of last week. The synopsis is simple: to quote Ring Lardner, “Shut up he explained.”

Irvine Home Address … 11 FALLINGSTAR #20 Irvine, CA 92614

Resale Home Price …… $189,000

They got little hands

Little eyes

They walk around

Tellin' great big lies

Randy Newman — Short People

The little people behind the complaint against me obviously want to silence my free speech. Their latest response letter demanded my silence, and failed to explain the charges against me. Again, they seek to suppress free speech and circumvent due process like a communist regime.

Why is OCAr so insistent on silencing free speech? Do they really believe if I stop telling uncomfortable truths that people won't be wise to their games? Is my voice so powerful and my message so devastating to their goals that they believe my silence will suddenly lead to a turnaround in the real estate market and increased business for the members of OCAr? Do they believe they can return to their deplorable methods of buyer manipulation if I am not here to point out their behavior?

Whatever the reasoning behind OCAr's attempt to silence free speech, such attempts have widely reviled since the Renaissance in Europe, and it isn't casting OCAr's actions in a favorable light today.

Free Speech is a basic human right

Free speech is a fundamental American right encapsulated in the First Amendment to the US Constitution for a reason: our founding fathers recognized free expression of ideas is critical to fight oppression and injustice.

The “marketplace of ideas” is designed in part to defeat offensive speech by giving it fair play. In other words, the Founders believed that the best way to deal with stupid and offensive ideas was not to suppress them, but instead to let them be spoken and debated in public. If they were truly stupid ideas, they would be debated and discredited.

If OCAr truly believes I am wrong and my seditious ideas should be discredited, they should welcome my contribution to the debate, and they should expect me to be quickly disgraced. They should present their side of the story too, for if they are so astute and full of virtue, people should clamor to adopt their wisdom. Doesn't everyone know that real estate only goes up?

Apparently, that isn't what OCAr has in mind.

John Milton, seventeenth century English poet, polemicist, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England, wrote, “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” It's an idea that has gained popularity ever since.

According to Wikipedia:

Concepts of freedom of speech can be found in early human rights documents and the modern concept of freedom of speech emerged gradually during the European Enlightenment (Voltaire). England’s Bill of Rights 1689 granted 'freedom of speech in Parliament' and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted during the French Revolution in 1789, specifically affirmed freedom of speech as an inalienable right. The Declaration provides for freedom of expression in Article 11, which states that:

“The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.”

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states that:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Today freedom of speech, or the freedom of expression, is recognized in international and regional human rights law. The right is enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Based on John Milton's arguments, freedom of speech is understood as a multi-faceted right that includes not only the right to express, or disseminate, information and ideas, but three further distinct aspects:

  • the right to seek information and ideas;
  • the right to receive information and ideas;
  • the right to impart information and ideas.

International, regional and national standards also recognize that freedom of speech, as the freedom of expression, includes any medium, be it orally, in written, in print, through the Internet or through art forms. This means that the protection of freedom of speech as a right includes not only the content, but also the means of expression.

It isn't just OCAr's attempt to silence free speech that has many observers of this case so angry. Many are offended by the procedures adopted by OCAr that circumvent due process of law.

Due process and rules of law

Our modern system of jurisprudence functions on some basic procedural grounds:

  1. The accused has the right to a clear statement of the charges brought against him.
  2. The accused has the right to review the evidence and prepare a defense.
  3. The accused has the right to confront his accusers.
  4. The accused has the right to an unbiased judge or jury.
  5. The accused has the right to trial in a public forum.

OCAr is seeking to deny all five of the enumerated rights in its grievance with me.

The early twentieth century German author, Franz Kafka, wrote a book titled, The Trial that explores the issues related to denial of due process rights. The book tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor the reader. In the story (according to Wikipedia), On the last day of Josef K.'s thirtieth year, two men arrive to execute him. He offers little resistance, suggesting that he has realized this as being inevitable for some time. They lead him to a quarry where he is expected to kill himself, but he cannot. The two men then execute him. His last words describe his own death: “Like a dog!”

Do any of you remember the trial of Captain Kirk in Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country? Or for real Star Trek fans, did you see the Deep Space Nine episode The Tribunal? Denial of due process is an issue we don't think much about here in the United States because it happens so rarely. Our only experience of it is through popular drama or great literature. In countries with totalitarian regimes — or anywhere realtor associations operate like OCAr — denial of due process is a common injustice.

There is only one reason any powerful entity would seek to deny due process of law: the outcome has already been decided.

Attorney: Realtor group violates law on speech

June 13th, 2011, 12:00 pm — posted by Marilyn Kalfus, real estate reporter

A lawyer for an Irvine blogger who has taken on the real estate industry and accused agents of being dishonest says the Orange County Association of Realtors’ formal grievance against the writer is at odds with a California law protecting freedom of speech.


Scott Sims, attorney for Larry Roberts, who writes the IrvineHousingBlog.com, says in a new letter to OCAR that Roberts’ opinions constitute “free speech protected by California’s anti-SLAPP statute.

“If OCAR does not immediately serve notices of dismissal of all charges, we will take the appropriate actions to protect Roberts’ constitutionally protected rights,” states the letter by Sims, a partner at Manderson, Schafer & McKinlay of Newport Beach.

Sims also writes, “OCAR’s efforts to harm Roberts’ business and reputation, and to haul Roberts before a secret kangaroo court pre-disposed to convict him for unknown acts, have no place in American society.”

The OCAR grievance says Roberts and two other people have violated a code of ethics rule stating that “Realtors must not knowingly lie about competitors” as well as a general set of regulations governing how MLS information is used on the Internet.

The grievance doesn’t say specifically what Roberts — who is not a Realtor –or anyone else did, according to Roberts, who showed a copy of it to The Orange County Register.

An OCAR spokeswoman, Rena Budesky, declined to discuss the matter with a reporter, saying grievances are confidential.

California’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) statute provides for a special motion to strike a complaint filed against someone who is exercising free speech. The statute, enacted in 1992, is meant to prevent attempts to intimidate or censor those debating issues of public importance.

In his letter Sims also argues for transparency, stating, “As the accused, Roberts would have a right to waive any confidentiality provision … If this dispute does proceed to a public tribunal, Roberts will insist on a public hearing.” ….

OCAr is refusing to back down and says they are going to set a hearing date so they can secretly persecute me. They have not backed down from their claim that I am a liar. They still think I lied. But since I am not a member of OCAr subject to their “ethics” rules — something they only realized after my lawyer pointed it out to them — they now claim they are going to drop the lying charge and instead come after me on some bogus charge of violating their MLS rules (naturally OCAr won’t tell me how I supposedly violated MLS and has not served me with any notice that the ethics charge has actually been dropped).

Apparently OCAr wants to cut off my MLS access (and who knows what else) because they are pissed off about the content of my speech. OCAr must live by the old adage “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” Their preferred method is to claim they are going to drop one charge, not provide me with proof that actually has been done and then invent some other bogus charge to convict me of.

To top it off, now that OCAr’s frivolous complaint and communist style court have been publically exposed, they apparently want to come after me for violating their “confidentiality” rules. What nonsense.

If OCAr wants to accuse me of something they should stand behind the charges publically and should not complain that I am talking about it. George Washington once said: “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” I will stand with George Washington against groups like OCAr.

My attorney responded on my behalf. (PDF of full letter)

How much longer will OCAr let this go on? Nobody believes I have done anything other than state a true but unpopular truth. I will continue to be true to myself, my readers, and to my view of the market, come what may.

The Court of Public Opinion

Since it is obvious that justice is not what's on OCAr's collective mind, if I appear in front of their disciplinary panel, I will be convicted. They probably will terminate my MLS access and claim victory.

To quote John Rambo in First Blood, “In town you're the law, out here it's me.” OCAr can control the verdict in their Kangaroo Court, but in the real world where people are interested in free speech, due process, and justice, I can expose people to the truth. I'll take my chances in the court of public opinion because facts are on my side. Former US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Are you ready to rumble?

So far OCAr has not scheduled a date for the disciplinary hearing. Can you imagine what will happen if they actually go through with this? The hearing would likely be at OCAr's offices at 25552 La Paz Road, Laguna Hills, CA, in the Mission Hills Plaza Shopping Center.

I could invite all supporters of the IHB to gather at the adjacent Villa Roma restaurant ahead of the meeting. I could supply generic picket signs and supporting lapel pins, and I could sponsor a contest paying $100 for the most creative picket sign criticizing OCAr's actions. I could notify all local news crews to the event and we probably would be on the nightly TV news. This media circus would be the verdict of the court of public opinion.

Stayed tuned. You may have a chance to stand up for free speech, due process, and the American way. I thank you for your support.

$375,000 for a one bedroom condo

One of the most obvious signs of the housing bubble was the prices people were willing to pay for undesirable properties. Dr. Housing Bubble did a hilarious series of posts he titled Real Homes of Genius. Most of these properties are so awful, and the price tags associated with them are so high, that they hit you on a guttural level. You just know those properties couldn't be worth that much.

None of the properties in Irvine are awful enough to make the good Doctor's list, but at the height of the housing bubble, prices for tiny one-bedroom condos exceeded $400,000 in some communities. Today's featured property sold for $375,000 on 12/2/2005.

There are only two reasons someone would pay that much money for a property like that: (1) They feared being priced out forever, so they took what was available (thanks a lot, realtors), or (2) they believed the value would continue to rise quickly, and they could extract home equity to cover their cost of ownership.

These properties still exceed the cost of a comparable rental even with a 50% cut in price and 4.5% interest rates. Condos are supposed to reflect a discount over renting to compensate the owner for taking on the responsibility and limiting their mobility. People being willing to pay nearly double the cost of ownership shows just how insane the market was at the height of the housing bubble.

Irvine House Address … 11 FALLINGSTAR #20 Irvine, CA 92614

Resale House Price …… $189,000

House Purchase Price … $375,000

House Purchase Date …. 12/2/2005

Net Gain (Loss) ………. ($197,340)

Percent Change ………. -52.6%

Annual Appreciation … -11.7%

Cost of House Ownership


$189,000 ………. Asking Price

$6,615 ………. 3.5% Down FHA Financing

4.49% …………… Mortgage Interest Rate

$182,385 ………. 30-Year Mortgage

$39,559 ………. Income Requirement

$0,923 ………. Monthly Mortgage Payment

$164 ………. Property Tax (@1.04%)

$0 ………. Special Taxes and Levies (Mello Roos)

$39 ………. Homeowners Insurance (@ 0.25%)

$210 ………. Private Mortgage Insurance

$337 ………. Homeowners Association Fees


$1,673 ………. Monthly Cash Outlays

$0 ………. Tax Savings (% of Interest and Property Tax)

-$241 ………. Equity Hidden in Payment (Amortization)

$11 ………. Lost Income to Down Payment (net of taxes)

$44 ………. Maintenance and Replacement Reserves


$1,487 ………. Monthly Cost of Ownership

Cash Acquisition Demands


$1,890 ………. Furnishing and Move In @1%

$1,890 ………. Closing Costs @1%

$1,824 ………… Interest Points @1% of Loan

$6,615 ………. Down Payment


$12,219 ………. Total Cash Costs

$22,700 ………… Emergency Cash Reserves


$34,919 ………. Total Savings Needed

Property Details for 11 FALLINGSTAR #20 Irvine, CA 92614


Beds: 1

Baths: 1

Sq. Ft.: 852


Property Type: Residential, Condominium

Style: Two Level, Cape Cod

Year Built: 1984

Community: 0

County: Orange

MLS#: S661352

Source: SoCalMLS

Status: Active


Chase owned property. Usually mis-labeled as a 2 bedroom unit. The loft is a size of a bedroom and most buyers use it as such. Located in the Woodbridge community – this is one of the best priced properties in the IRVINE! Unit is located above the garages like a carriage unit. It's an end unit with a lot of natural light. Property was previously upgraded with Granite surfaces in kitchen and bathroom. Nicely accented back splash surrounds kitchen – kitchen is missing all appliances. Laundry closet is located off kitchen for a stacked washer and dryer. The one car garage is located directly downstairs on the left side. Right side is neighbor s side. Woodbridge has Lakes, Lagoons, Pools, Spas, Tennis, Volley Ball, Basketball Crts, Parks, Walks, Shopping, Banks, Movies Theaters, Restaurants, and all grades of schools K-12. Irvine is one of the best places to live in the world! Property will rent for amount to make investors excited!

203 thoughts on “OCAr fails to explain charges, demands IrvineRenter's silence

  1. awgee

    My question: Will you be able to document and show damges? If so, OCAr may end up providing your down payment.

    1. AZDavidPhx

      They have not backed down from their claim that I am a liar. They still think I lied.

      Imagine if they actually had a case – they might have filed a defamation suit in a real court.

      But since I am not a member of OCAr subject to their “ethics” rules — something they only realized after my lawyer pointed it out to them

      Maybe the term “realtard(s)” does apply in some limited circumstances.

      Since it is obvious that justice is not what’s on OCAr’s collective mind, if I appear in front of their disciplinary panel, I will be convicted. They probably will terminate my MLS access and claim victory.

      Is there some kind MLS terms and conditions that states you shall not disparage a “r”ealtor?

      It sounds like a pretty weak argument. Why would they not have run with that one originally? They must have thought that they had a better shot with the “knowingly lie about other realtors” strategy. Now that it sounds like they are switching gears and attacking the “MLS abuse”, it looks pretty silly.

      It isn’t just OCAr’s attempt to silence free speech

      I am mixed on the “free speech” argument. It’s not an obvious free speech issue to me as they are a private organization and not subject to the same restrictions on free-speech as a Government entity.

      Roberts’ opinions constitute “free speech protected by California’s anti-SLAPP statute

      This sounds like a pretty strong argument if they were actually suing you in a real court. I have no idea how this would translate to their own internal affairs.

      I am mixed on the free-speech argument. If a guy walks into his workplace and screams that he hates all people of some ethnic background – he is more than likely going to be fired. Claiming free-speech is not going to help.

      My bet is that they are going to comb through the MLS agreement and try to find the smallest and most ambiguous infraction equivalent to Jaywalking and use that as their basis and CYA to terminate your access.

      These organizations are a slippery bunch. The fact that this particular group operates with the impunity of a cartel complicates it even more.

    2. Nick

      The irony is that this is having the exact opposite effect of what OCAr had hoped. Their reputation in the court of public opinion is dropping like a rock, “dost though protest too much.”

      Alternative business models like Redfin (and IHB and other related sites in niche areas) are exploding in transactions. The free market is working and truth and integrity are winning out. Smells like a tipping point. I look forward to drawing up my sign. As OCAr will forever be labeled as an entity that suppresses the truth to their advantage and the buyer’s disadvantage. There will come a day when they will deeply regret this. But boy it should be fun.

  2. Planet Reality

    Thanks for keeping us posted on te trial of the century:

    OCAR vs. Ideal Home Brokers

    In a world of lies..Home sellers on both sides battle for the “truth”

    This is sure to go viral

  3. Swiller

    I love the posts of late. I’m glad you aren’t afraid and backing down from the threats, my admiration has increased. Well done, and thanks for putting all the work into the blog.

  4. Oil Can

    Another great post on this issue. OCAR can never explain their charges, we need to keep the pressure up.

  5. Future home buyer

    My first draft picket sign:

    Crazy people

    Sky rocket!

    1. Planet Reality



      Brokers >> realtors
      6% = 6%
      Can’t we all get along


      Realtors Cry
      Brokers Lie
      It’s a Tie

      1. AbroadThankGod


        That’s two comments today implying IR is a liar. You are talking about a guy that has spent years telling people not to buy, saying that prices will continue to drop. And often to his own professional detriment.

        Really showing your colors today, PR. You sure you have nothing to do with the OCAR suit? Or since your perpetual B.S. spewing on this board hasn’t worked out, is your new strategy to try to shut IR up via pseudo-legal wrangling?

        Whatever the case, it’s clear to me that you are not a man of integrity or decency.

        1. Planet Reality

          Why is that, because I say things that force you to
          consider reasoning that you don’t want to change?

          I dislike realtors. I dislike mortgage brokers. That’s reality.

          I like debate that leads to better reasoning. I like ideas, I dislike a “market place” for them.

        2. HenryE

          Umm, I don’t think PR is implying that IR is a liar. Unless I missed something, I took his two posts as supportive or IR, or neutral at least. Certainly not siding with OCAR.

          By the way, I like the first one (copied below). It has a haiku-like quality.

          REALTORS LIE
          BROKERS LIE

  6. TO Renter

    Hi Irvine Renter. I like the ideas you wrote today very much. So I pledge to take off work and drive all the way from Thousand Oaks on the day of the “hearing” to help make a media event and protest against OCAr’s outrageous tactics.

    So many ironies are here on so many levels: to plot a “silencing” and call it a “hearing.” Typical cowardly manipulations by trolls in their highly guarded inner sanctum of darkness where pomposity reigns.

    I write press releases and coordinate media coverage for local events to the daily news budget for syndication. I can stimulate national and international editorial coverage.

    We in Ventura county have nothing but real estate cheerleaders on the web and in newsprint, it’s absolutely banal. Prices have been oddly sticky too and I see sales happening that I wonder who would be so stupid all around me. I think it shows that these used house saleswomen really can mislead us if they can silence us. I’ve been looking for some local real estate truth, vox populi if you will, since I moved here almost 2 years ago and there’s none to be found. –I hate it.

    Fortunately I found a very nice house to rent so we are waiting out the housing correction in grand style here in Thousand Oaks.

    IR, it’s a great great thing that you’ve managed to reach so many people for so long: you and your “honor roll” of links here above under the housing header. My favorite is http://www.patrick.net.

    IR has been a consistently prolific mentor to all that have eyes. I’ve read every thing that IR has written since the very start and many of his readers’ astute observations. IHB has been a major influence on this portion of my life.

    Please everybody keep up the good work because the truth matters like the air that we breathe.

    Trolls, cheerleaders and real estate shills too: BRING IT ON, you serve a purpose and that is to underscore, by stark contrast, the fine qualities which define better people.

    1. Planet Reality

      Let’s be clear on one thing:

      The only reason this is happening is because there is an OCAr brokerage associated with this blog

      If this was a pure blog this would not happen

      It’s similar to being a toyota dealer but running a campaign that says the Toyota dealer has a corner on the corporate truth and can say whatever he/she wants at any expense to build it’s own customer base regardless of Toyota Corp

      Let’s be real

      1. AZDavidPhx

        Your analogy is ridiculous. Yes, let’s be real, PR.

        The correct analogy would be a local Toyota Dealer publishing a blog that stated Toyota Corporation was misleading its customers on the actual MPG of a Prius and that other local dealers were not telling the truth either.

        1. Planet Reality

          I have no problem with your analogy. Both anoligies are accurate but cue the law suit. Toyota Corp would say The local toyota dealer is lying to build trust with a customer base and obtain new revenue at any expense to the greater corporation it is a part of… Get the lawyers and engineers involved. That would be a field day for all.

      2. IrvineRenter

        Your characterization is not accurate. The IHB business model is not a brokerage. We are a referral-based marketing group who happens to refer to a single agent because we could only find one who would treat customers appropriately. Given the behavior of realtors, finding any agent willing to do the right thing is nearly impossible.

        Our business model is more similar to LendingTree.com or other online lead generating businesses in the lending world. Whereas other lead generating sites in real estate propagate the same NAr bullshit, we chose to present facts and fact-based analysis to educate potential clients. Since we are the only ones doing this, we get many contacts from those who don’t want to deal with typical realtor nonsense.

        OCAr is worried about maintaining its control of the flow of information, and they don’t like attention being called to their manipulations — that is the only reason this is happening.

        1. Planet Reality

          So if you were a pure blog and not also a “marketing referral service to a OCAr borkerage” this would be happening?

          Let’s be real

          1. Planet Reality

            I agree, as long as it’s not an entity with a public campaign that has special interest.

          2. Planet Reality

            Its the hypocrisy based revenue that’s getting you in trouble.

            It has nothing to do with freedom of speech

            Let’s be real

          3. IrvineRenter

            “hypocrisy based revenue”

            What are you talking about? It looks like you are opposed to any revenue I may receive for my work.

            What do you call the revenue earned by realtors?

          4. Planet Reality

            I’m only stating the realities. This isn’t the first time someone has attempted to earn revenue in a market by building trust through an opposing campaign. It always leads to this.

          5. jm

            Irvine renter, ” The IHB business model is not a brokerage. We are a referral-based marketing group who happens to refer to a single agent because we could only find one who would treat customers appropriately. Given the behavior of realtors, finding any agent willing to do the right thing is nearly impossible.” be careful you are starting to sound like all the other Brokers, all the other Realtors are liars and no good, but the one that is putting money in my pocket is the good guy. Wrap the gift up anyway you like, you are still a broker that gets income from the work of a Realtor. Like your outlook on the market, but drop the white hoods and cross burning, think you are better than that.

          6. tenmagnet

            I don’t see why it’s an issue for IR to partner with Shevy
            Why can’t he choose someone that he feels comfortable working with?
            This is his blog and he should get to make the call.

          7. zubs

            Writing “finding an agent willing to do the right thing is nearly impossible” is a bit overboard there IR. Tone it down man. There are plenty of honest realtors.

            Although, I don’t know any….cause everyone lies and by lies I mean leave part of the truth out…which is lying in my book.

        2. irvine_home_owner


          We are a referral-based marketing group who happens to refer to a single agent because we could only find one who would treat customers appropriately. Given the behavior of realtors, finding any agent willing to do the right thing is nearly impossible.

          I may take flak for this but this is not exactly true. Shevy was the ONLY agent “willing to do the right thing” that you could find?

          What does “referral-based marketing group” mean? Especially if the referrals only go to one brokerage.

          Since we are on the subject of free speech and honesty, let’s finally get this out… what were the real reasons the IHB forums were silenced?

          Look, I respect your work quite a bit, but please don’t fall into that “spin” that your motives are philanthropic, that will put you on the same ground you are accusing other realtors of. And I don’t fault you one bit because everyone needs to get paid… but it’s not exactly “holier than thou” over here.

          That’s the problem when you try to mix op-ed in with monetization, sometimes the ideals don’t go with the practices.

          1. Planet Reality

            The Irvine Housing Blog forums were silenced and replaced with Ideal Home Brokers because the forums infringed on the free speech of Ideal Home Brokers. They got rid of those Commie bastards.

          2. IrvineRenter

            “I may take flak for this but this is not exactly true. Shevy was the ONLY agent “willing to do the right thing” that you could find?”

            You are right. I did not interview every agent in Southern California for this position. He was the only agent I felt comfortable with referring people to for a variety of reasons. Not every realtor is bad. Some are very good and ethical agents. Some that I interviewed are good and ethical agents, but since I have to feel comfortable with who I work with, I selected Shevy. He was the only one I felt would treat referrals the way I would treat them myself if I were directly working with them.

          3. zubs

            IHO & I and many others realize the great resource the forums had been. It is not the same with the 2 competing forums that popped up after you dismantled yours.

            Your traffic would increase if you opened up your forums again, but then you would lose some leads. I wonder if the increase in traffic would balance the problem with the lead generation getting swiped.

            The old system:
            New people come to IHB because of IRs day in and day out writing. They stay for the forums cause it’s more fun. They realize there are cool realtors on the forums and through months of banter, they come to trust these forum realtors which have no give connection with IHB. IHB loses potential sales to these realtors.

            There probably should be a compensation to IHB from the realtors getting leads from IHB, but that model has not yet been figured out.

          4. nefron

            Ditto that. Please don’t bring the forums back, a lot of it was like being in a food fight in the high school cafeteria.

          5. irvine_home_owner


            So you answered my question about Shevy… but what about closing the IHB forums?

            P.S. I don’t want you to re-open the forums, I just want you to be truthful about why you closed them… especially in light of how much you are claiming realtors are dishonest and that OCAR is restricting your right to free speech. Seems ironic.

          6. Joseph

            Long-time (2006) reader here. I was unaware of the forums closure, which is eyebrow-raising.

            IHO and PlanetReality have made some good points, which is the first time I have ever said this.

          7. winstongator

            You guys don’t understand free speech. Is IR trying to shut down a competing forum? That is what OCaR is trying to do to him. Say OCaR was hosting IR’s blog, would he expect them to maintain his blog no matter what he said? Would it be an infringement of his freedom of speech if they took his blog down?

            Of course not. He’d be free to set up his own domain name, server and blog.

          8. irvine_home_owner


            Maybe you don’t understand the question.

            I asked IR to tell us honestly why he shut down the IHB forums.

            They were a good source of traffic so it didn’t make sense.

            If you read Zovall’s announcement posted above, it seemed like it had to with the business side of the IHB.

            Allow me to connect the dots for you:

            The IHB is a real estate blog, the forums were part of that blog… but because members in the forums aren’t actually part of the IHB business side (like OCAR), “free speech” there may be detrimental to the business therefore they shut them down. And don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say that IR didn’t have the right to do so, but I’m just drawing the parallel here.

            In addition, IR was never really open about why they closed the forums… isn’t that like the OCAR never really saying exactly why they filed a grievance?

            According to IR, he is hurting OCAR’s business, so they want to silence him. The IHB forums were hurting the IHBroker business, so they silenced them. QED?

            And may I add that there wasn’t even any due process or kangaroo court, the IHB forums were closed without any discussion with the many members there who contributed time and knowledge to help make the IHB what it was.

            Now, if IR doesn’t want to be completely honest about why the forums were closed, doesn’t that put him in the same box he’s putting realtors in? Realtors do things for their business… I’m not condoning them, but that’s the nature of sales. Notice how IR avoided the silencing of the forum community question. Do you see an similarities?

          9. IrvineRenter

            “So you answered my question about Shevy… but what about closing the IHB forums?

            P.S. I don’t want you to re-open the forums, I just want you to be truthful about why you closed them… especially in light of how much you are claiming realtors are dishonest and that OCAR is restricting your right to free speech. Seems ironic.”

            I don’t know how you managed to link these issues in your mind considering they have nothing to do with one another.

            The forums closure was not my decision, although I supported it once it was made. The person responsible for maintaining the forums no longer wished to put in the time necessary. The forums were a big drain on my time, but they were a huge drain on his. I have not participated in any forum since the IHB forums have been shut down because I prefer to focus on other things.

            The forums are gone. They aren’t coming back. You guys are lucky you found someone else willing to put in all the time and effort to maintain a forum for nothing. You should be grateful for what we provided for nothing for three years.

          10. irvine_home_owner


            I am not the only one who sees the parallel… and if you think that “drain on time” is the totality of it, maybe you should re-read zovall’s post:

            After much deliberation, we have decided to shut down the forums. There are several reasons for doing so. Part of it has to do with not wanting to spend any more time managing it (and those of you who have been putting out fires for years behind the scenes – Thank You BTW! – know exactly how much time it takes) and another part of it has to do with wanting to make a large number of changes (some of which are business related).

            “The forums are gone. They aren’t coming back.”

            Again… not asking for them. Although, that’s not what Zovall said (and there was more emphasis on the business side of it):

            As for our future plans, IR and I would like to relaunch the forums at some point but there are many things we need to consider before we do. If/When we do, it will be very different from what it is right now and it will be clear that it is an extension of our brokerage business.

            “You guys are lucky you found someone else willing to put in all the time and effort to maintain a forum for nothing. Personally, I find it insulting that rather than be grateful for what we provided for nothing for three years, you choose to cast aspersions on us for stopping.”

            Are you mad? Why are you taking this “personally”… unless there a bit of truth in here somewhere.

            1. I dont’t think the admins of TalkIrvine spend as much time and effort as you are implying, the forum is self-moderated and it’s the community who is putting forth their time and effort to provide content and discussion.

            2. Do you honestly feel that your forums were for nothing for those 3 years? Talk about ungrateful. Those forums drove traffic to your site, provided content (esp non-Irvine related), built relationships, and created informative discussions. It was not just about creating “referrals” but a real community, not just anonymous commenters who don’t even live in Irvine.

            I’m not even sure how you are calling this “casting aspersions”, I am just voicing my opinion, after all, we ALL have the right to free speech, correct?

          11. PoorGuy

            “we ALL have the right to free speech, correct?”

            You don’t seem to understand what free speech means. You could be banned from posting comments on IHB, and yet your right to free speech will still be intact -> because you can talk all you want on your own blog or radio station or web site.

          12. IrvineRenter

            “Are you mad? Why are you taking this “personally””

            Reread the following:

            “I just want you to be truthful about why you closed them”

            I am mad and taking it personally because you are calling me a liar without substantiating evidence. Are you consulting with OCAr?

            Sorry you don’t like my answer. Asking again won’t change it. If you want a different answer, ask Zovall. Perhaps he has different reasons. His reasons are his, and mine are mine.

            “I dont’t think the admins of TalkIrvine spend as much time and effort as you are implying”

            Good for them. Perhaps they are more efficient than we were, or perhaps they don’t mind spending that much time. My time is my own, and if I don’t want to spend it maintaining and participating in a forum, that is my choice, not yours.

            “Do you honestly feel that your forums were for nothing for those 3 years?”

            I never said that. Now you are putting words in my mouth. That’s the kind of thing that also makes me angry.

            “I’m not even sure how you are calling this “casting aspersions””

            Again, reread what you wrote. Calling me a liar is casting aspersions in my view, in case you didn’t notice.

            “I am just voicing my opinion, after all, we ALL have the right to free speech, correct?”

            Yes, you do. And if your free speech makes me angry, I have the right to tell you so.

            And no, I will not ban anyone for making me angry. I have put up with a lot worse from people.

          13. DarthFerret


            I encourage you not to respond to these ridiculous statements by IHO and PR. There are plenty of us willing to engage them, and some of us have been, but having you respond personally only lends them and their ridiculous statements credibility that they do not deserve. Any sane and rational person reading this blog can readily see that you are the one upholding truth and exposing the [r]ealtor lies. It is also readily obvious that IHO and PR are just snake oil salesmen trying to hold on to their 6%.

            You are now in the peculiar, and probably unfamiliar, position of being a lightning rod for the anger that many Americans are feeling towards the OCAr/NAr and [r]ealtors in general. So long as OCAr continues to try to push their ‘grievance’, you will remain a symbol for a movement. You are more than just a private individual now, and part of that role means staying above the fray.

            Please don’t take this as an attempt to give orders, because I certainly don’t mean it that way in the least. I’m just trying to offer what I hope is sound and helpful advice.

            Thanks again for all of the time and effort that you put into this blog. Thank you VERY much for educating me and so many hundreds (thousands?) of others and allowing us to see past the lies of the RE industry.


          14. IrvineRenter


            You are right. I should not respond. People are free to believe what they will about me or my motivations. The negative comments reveal more about them than they do about me.

            BTW, IHO isn’t a realtor, he’s just still angry about the forums closing down — a year and half later.

          15. irvine_home_owner

            I am mad and taking it personally because you are calling me a liar without substantiating evidence. Are you consulting with OCAr?

            Asking someone to be truthful isn’t the same as calling them a liar. I was asking you not to put any spin on that particular answer… not implying that in general you are not truthful. Maybe you are paranoid because of this OCAR grievance and think everyone is accusing you of something (and remember… you’re the one who was saying Realtors are dishonest in the general sense, not I).

            Sorry you don’t like my answer. Asking again won’t change it.

            I wouldn’t have had to ask the question again if you addressed it in the first place… why you avoided it in your first response is indicative of some level of avoidance on your part, but I couldn’t be sure so I re-asked.

            “Do you honestly feel that your forums were for nothing for those 3 years?”

            I never said that. Now you are putting words in my mouth. That’s the kind of thing that also makes me angry.

            I’m not putting words in your mouth, I’m asking you a question in response to your statement. You said that you provided the forums to members for nothing as if we were ungrateful and I asked you if in return for those 3 years did you get anything from it since it cost you so much of your time. You can’t make a this a “we did this all for you for free” argument if you didn’t get anything out of it either. That was my point.

            And your response just illustrates how people feel when they think they are being generalized. Don’t you think any realtors who read this blog feel you are unfairly “casting aspersions” on them… and their industry. Yet at the same time, you are using their resources for your own business.

            Quite frankly, I find this whole OCAR vs. IR thing exaggerated. They claim you are calling them liars (which you aren’t denying) and you claim they are taking away your right to free speech (arguable considering you can still post here no matter what happens).

            Maybe I’m the only one who will call it like I see it… as I’ve said, there are realtors who deserve this criticism but I do think OCAR has a right to pursue complaints that were filed by their members. Is it valid? Probably not… but not knowing the details of the MLS mis-usage complaint… I can’t be sure.

            You’re angry at me for something you misconstrued, I’m sure the realtors who filed the complaint against you are angry at you for calling them liars. Again… a bit of irony in there somewhere.

          16. irvine_home_owner


            BTW, IHO isn’t a realtor, he’s just still angry about the forums closing down—a year and half later.

            See… now who is putting words in whose mouth?

            I’m not angry about you closing them (I don’t waste a strong emotion like anger on such trivial things), I just wanted to hear the REAL reason why they were closed. Zovall was vague in why, I wanted to hear it from you. You say it was time… but you rarely posted in the forums during the last year anyways so I found that a strange answer.

            But please don’t take that as me calling you a liar.


            What am I trying to sell? I’m more bearish on Irvine than IR is (he predicted 2011 5% drops… I’m at 10-15%). And like you, I have a great amount of respect for his knowledge and work. I am still in awe to this day how he is able to continue to put up posts. But at the same time, I will point out anything that is inconsistent with what I observe or with the data I can find. I just call it like I see it, I have no business agenda or profit to make by posting here. I’m just an Irvine home owner.

          17. AZDavidPhx

            Don’t you think any realtors who read this blog feel you are unfairly “casting aspersions” on them

            Them personally? No. Their industry? Yes.

            Yet at the same time, you are using their resources for your own business.

            Irvine HO is absolutely right. Perhaps Irvine Renter should use the resources of a competing organization

            OH WAIT, there are none – the cartel with a corner on the market.

            Silly me.


          18. Patrick Star

            IR said: “You guys are lucky you found someone else willing to put in all the time and effort to maintain a forum for nothing. Personally, I find it insulting that rather than be grateful for what we provided for nothing for three years, you choose to cast aspersions on us for stopping.”

            For nothing? Really? What, are you now the LeBron James of bubble blogging — telling all the unimportant peons to shut up and get a life?

            I guess the former members of the IHB community who did things like who add money to your tip jar (twice I did — and for not insignificant amounts), bought IHB swag, referred friends and families to the discussion, and spent countless hours adding content (which brought traffic to your website) should feel the same as LeBron’s fans who spent their hard earned money buying the tickets that enriched him. Something along the lines of “fuck you very much for your contributions”.

            IHO is dead on with his comparison of closing the forums to what OCAR would like to do to IHB. Your forums were closed down to:

            1. Shut up the dissenting opinions on your brokerage and superfund.

            2. Shut up competition for RE business in the forums.

            Either of those sound familiar? Hey, you have every right to have done whatever you wanted with the forums. It’s your website, and it was stupid of anyone who contributed in ways described above to think they had any stake in it. And there is no “free speech” violation in that. But quit shitting yourself that there is no irony here. I don’t support at all what OCAR is trying to do. But then again, I don’t support any chicken shit ways out of a debate.

            But sorry, I forgot — I was supposed to “don’t come back”.

          19. AZDavidPhx

            There has been plenty of dissent to the superfund and brokerage out here on the main blog. Hell, PR throws at least one stone every few days or so and his posts are never deleted or censored.

            Was there some kind of underground brokerage competing on the forums that I never saw? All I ever saw on those forums were people playing grabass with one-another.

          20. IrvineRenter

            “add money to your tip jar (twice I did—- and for not insignificant amounts)”

            May I give you a refund?

            “Hey, you have every right to have done whatever you wanted with the forums. It’s your website, and it was stupid of anyone who contributed in ways described above to think they had any stake in it. And there is no “free speech” violation in that.”

            Yes, that is correct.

            May I come by your website and talk crap about you? We could both exercise our rights of free speech on even terms.

            “But sorry, I forgot—- I was supposed to “don’t come back”.”

            Why do you? It isn’t anything I encourage.

          21. just some guy

            “What, are you now the LeBron James of bubble blogging—- telling all the unimportant peons to shut up and get a life?”

            we are all witnesses…

          22. zubs

            This is what is wrong with the blog comments section. After a few weeks no one will check back on these comments, and we can’t have further discussion.

            The forums were good because there was history. I know these comments are archived, but no one will look and you can’t have discussion when few people are reading it.

            It’s basically a dead format where u leave ur comment and no one will read it if the blog post is a few days old.

    2. IrvineRenter

      TO Renter,

      Thank you for your support. If we have a hearing/silencing, some of that editorial coverage would be very welcome.

  7. SantaAnaRenter

    Even if they revoke your MLS access, couldn’t your wife or friend or some longtime reader here just sign-up and give you their access?
    Seems like OCAR can’t block everyone you know… No way for them to figure out how your accessing “their” MLS!

    1. Planet Reality

      All he has to do is separate himself from his OCAr based revenue.

      Problem solved.

      He can talk about how realtors lie to his hearts content.

      1. IrvineRenter

        “OCAr based revenue”

        What are you talking about? OCAr has nothing to do with my revenue. You’re really grasping at straws today.

      2. Eat that!

        PR’s post rate is an excellent measure of how close to the bone IR is cutting. Keep it up and thanks for all you do.

    2. *

      IR should stay clean/ethical (unlike the dumb ass realtors), so i doubt he would do that, even if he could.

  8. tlc8386

    The entire grievance is silly –my compliant to them is when are you going to repair/change/ reinvent your way of doing business?

    When are you going to be open to the public?

    It’s buyer beware, play only by our rules, and no questions asked–

  9. Josie

    Keep us posted on when this all goes down. I may drive up from San Diego.
    Maybe a sign that says:

    Speech = Free

    Lies = $$$$

  10. AbroadThankGod

    I’ll come to the hearing, as well. I think this is OCAR suit is blowing up in their faces. They are bullies, but the more they push, the worse they look. Having this story on local news isn’t going to give them the kind of pub they were hoping for…

  11. Jazzman

    Haha! I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. I love all the communist apparatchik references. I think you will find a lot of supporters to your cause.

  12. secrets

    Ever wonder why they always capitalize REALTOR?

    Because at that candlelit ceremony where they don their black robes to paddle and initiate the new members, they tell them all the secrets, including their inside joke of what their name stands for:


    They probably think that one-finger-off handshake thing is still a secret, too, but we know it all:

    The challenge question is:
    “When is a good time to buy?”
    The proper response is:

    I hope I’m not going to be hauled into a hearing now that I’ve given away their secrets in a public forum.

    I’m sure the young agent at the open house I visited a couple weekends ago has already been charged, prosecuted, and executed for sitting at his laptop and surfing the web during our entire visit instead of strictly following the script, starting with the “Have you been looking in the area long?” and finishing with “Make sure you sign in to the guest book so I can email you other properties that you might be interested in.”

  13. mitesh

    LOL this is the best post from you Larry. I can’t stop laughing at all the funny pictures. Excellent work!

    Isn’t there any organization out there that is a watchdog for buyers/sellers against these predators that would take on your cause?

  14. Soylent Green Is People

    P athetic
    R ealtor
    A ssociation
    V endetta
    D readfully
    A bsurd


    N utty
    A ssemblage (of)
    Z ealots
    I ntolerant (of)
    S peech

    My .02c

    S oylent
    G reen
    I s
    P eople

      1. Soylent Green Is People

        Working on a Senryu for you Comrade IrvineRenter-san. Will have to send it once the muse strikes me about the head.

        Soylent Green Is People

  15. Duran

    If OCAR had their way, we would all be poor, dressed in Rags, neither would we beable to afford signs and Banners,only flaming Torches and Pitchforks..

    Wait…I have an idea!!

  16. irvineshadow

    I have serious doubts as to whether or not the OCAr actually catches alot of Star Trek. That’s more of an internet geek type of thing.

  17. HydroCabron

    The Marx bashing is peculiar, since his admittedly flawed post-capitalist vision did explicitly include freedom of speech and the press.

    The other villains in the images were not Marxists in more than a superficial sense. But, then, as Marx himself stated, neither was Marx.

    When an armchair theorist like Marx cooks up a path to a better future laced contradictions, you can pin nearly any accusation on him.

  18. winstongator

    The Sickness

    Professor Case and I have conducted annual spring surveys of home-buyer attitudes for many years. We ask about long-term expectations: “On average over the next 10 years how much do you expect the value of your property to change each year?”

    The survey we conducted in spring 2005, near the end of the bubble, included 407 home buyers. In it, the median expectation for home price appreciation over the next decade — until 2015 — was 7 percent a year. That is substantially less than the 10 percent a year that Americans had recently experienced.

    But expected increases of 7 percent a year still implied another doubling of home prices by 2015. And about a quarter of our respondents in 2005 anticipated increases of at least 15 percent a year for the next decade. Something was very wrong with this picture, but few noticed it.

    1. winstongator

      Shiller: More Expectations Theory, Less Efficient Market Hypothesis

      Bob is far too diplomatic to be blunt, so I will do it for him: Economics failed. The entire profession took a theory that had some value to it, and extrapolated it to the point of magical thinking.

      How badly did the economics profession, academics and market pros alike, fail? Classic economic belief systems could not appropriately anticipate in advance or even identify in real time what was happening with the Residential RE/Housing market. They failed to see the Great Recession coming or even the market collapse.

      The basis for this failure was the erroneous belief that “efficient markets formed by people holding rational expectations could explain virtually all economic activity.”

      If the economics profession, with its PhDs and scholarly journals will not realize and admit some of its deeply held beliefs were not just wrong, but damagingly wrong, would you expect realtors to realize their errors?

      1. HydroCabron

        I am not an economist, but I have great respect for most of the classical economic thinkers. I am a mathematician, and for some reason this makes me leery of chaining the real world to mathematics and worshipping the mathematical model to the detriment of your focus on the real world.

        The economics profession is incredibly guilty of this.

        I love reading the classical economists, but I think that all economic writing should be read principally as entertainment.

        There is an excellent case to be made for revoking the tenure of all economics professors and explicitly placing their departments in the arts division.

        The groupthink among economists has been staggering – probably enabled by a clear understanding of who their paymasters are.

        1. alan

          Removing tenure of economics professors is a bit extreme….

          Economics should be moved out of the sciences and into to the humanities along with history, sociology and psychology where it belongs. The council of economic advisers should be downgraded to the council of business activities advisers.

          Furthermore, they should stop immeadiatly giving away Nobel prizes for economics, it only makes them feel as though they are a real science.

          1. gepetoh

            Ha, alan, I think that is a bit extreme also… I don’t think we can equate Economics with a more softer “science” of literature and history, although I can see the merit in categorizing it with the likes of psychology. Economics do use ton of data as empirical evidence to formulate its theories, much in the same way as physics or medicine. Empirical evidence in economics are a lot more pliable, however, as it can be interpreted in ways that suits the observer.

            As Hydro stated above, I too have great respect for the classical economists. But I tend to believe that theories are academia, not real-life. It explains how things SHOULD work. But applied to real life, it can often turn out different. I think many economists fail to see the distinction.

          2. winstongator

            Economics fell in love with science’s elegant math, but they failed to realize that they were making a lot of assumptions. I’ve linked to a hedge-fund/ratings-agency conference call where the ratings agency admitted that if home price appreciation stopped, AAA ratings would no longer be warranted, and God-forbid, prices fell, there would be pain all throughout the MBS community. Continued appreciation was an ASSUMPTION to their models, not a product of it.

            My fault with economics is that they do so little with real experimentation, and don’t pay attention to history. A 40% top marginal tax rate will destroy the economy…what about the 90’s. The math is so thin, and the assumptions so thick that you get economists working hard to get the results their ideology wants (not all, but many economists). There is a lot of very useful insight that economists provide, but you can also find one to verify any of your preconceived notions.

            Keynes did not call his field economics, but ‘political economy’. Politics is heavily wrapped up with economics, and no matter how you work it, it will always be the case.

          3. The Dark Avenger

            Economics fell in love with science’s elegant math, but they failed to realize that they were making a lot of assumptions.

            Yah think?

            Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street

            For five years, Li’s formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.

            His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched—and was making people so much money—that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.

            Then the model fell apart. Cracks started appearing early on, when financial markets began behaving in ways that users of Li’s formula hadn’t expected. The cracks became full-fledged canyons in 2008—when ruptures in the financial system’s foundation swallowed up trillions of dollars and put the survival of the global banking system in serious peril.

          4. newbie2008

            Much of economics is finding a correlation to an end event and with computer analysis with complex formula’s many correlations can be found. Causality is another ball of wax.

            Most economicists are funded or partially funded by interested parties that have a political agenda. The interest parties know the conlusions even before the contract is signed. More some with political “scientists.”

            WS gets most of the profit on market swings and flow. Most of the models are designed to have large cyclical swings — hopefully not all industies at the same direction at the same time.

  19. Casual Observer

    The term “Realtor” used to mean ONLY those who were licensed as Brokers. That meant they had taken additional college level classes in RE Law, Finance, Principles, Ethics, etc. Those with just a salesperson license were “Associates” Then NAR changed all that. Everyone was able to promote themselves as “Realtor”. I’m not a lawyer, but I fail to see OCAR’s “standing”. They seem to have no basis for a civil suit unless they can prove actual damages. IHB’s analysis goes far beyond anything that is included in MLS listings, over which OCAR exerts no verification of accuracy. The core of IHB’s analysis centers on facts available to the general public. All you need is a street address and some time to spend at the County Recorder’s office. In fact, the MLS is set up so that agents can send, via e-mail, copies of listings to anyone they think might be interested. That makes MLS information public, not priviledged. In addition, agents choose from a number of very public on-line venues (such as Realtor.com) for their listings to appear on as part of a broad spectrum marketing approach. OCAR needs to grow up!

  20. Mark

    Seriously, what is OCAR doing right now to sort this out? They’re probably calling the complainant to inform them, “Hey, remember when we told you everything in your written complaint would be kept completely confidential under OCAR regulations? Well, it no longer can be. Gee, we’re all real sorry down here at the office, I can tell you. Well, good-bye!”

    Pickett signs:

    NAR – It’s German for “Fool”.

    Hey OCAR: We know. Just say you’re sorry.

    How do OCAR members “stay ahead”? By trampling your rights to free speech.

    (Arrow down) Guilty of OCAR thought crime and the free expression of ideas.

  21. newbie2007

    Denial of due process is an issue we don’t think much about here in the United States because it happens so rarely.

    Due process does not unsure the truth, fairness nor justice will result. Just that the evidence PRESENTED will be weighed. As John Wayne said “I seen alot of innocent men get a fair trial and hanging.”

    Maybe the Realtor thing the old CA laws outlawing speech concerning the public saying anything bad about judges and physician apply to them.

    If the code is:
    Not knowning lie, is knowning telling the truth a violation? :}

  22. newbie2008

    Denial of due process is an issue we don’t think much about here in the United States because it happens so rarely.

    Due process does not unsure the truth, fairness nor justice will result. Just that the evidence PRESENTED will be weighed. As John Wayne said “I seen alot of innocent men get a fair trial and hanging.”

    Maybe the Realtor think the old CA laws outlawing speech concerning the public saying anything bad about judges and physician apply to them.

    If the code is:
    Not knowning lie, is knowning telling the truth a violation? :}

  23. 1stMillionAt33

    OCAr is sick.

    IrvineRenter, be careful. No matter how much you think the “laws” are on your side, you’d be surprised on how many cases justice just doesn’t prevail.

    Please post the time for hearing when you have it. Who knows, maybe I could be there.

    Best wishes from a blogger to a blogger.

  24. Jim


    are (the)

    All (others that are)

  25. Just saying

    Are you sure you want to say you add so much to the cost of a home for nothing more than just passing along a name to Shevy?

    1. IrvineRenter

      “you add so much to the cost of a home”

      What are you talking about? I add nothing to the cost of the home, and neither does Shevy.

      Is that the best you realtors can come up with?

  26. Chapulin Colorado in Sacramento

    I love your Blog. Thanks Irvine Renter for educating me. I worked for a rEALTOR for broker here in Sacramento for a year until the crash of 2006-7, and all that you say is true. I can categorically affirm that I witnessed rEALTORS do everything and spin everything to suit their needs. I went back to school and finishing up my MD at UCD now. Thanks for speaking the truth. The truth will set us free.

    I also love DrHousingBubble.com and Patrick.net and the BusinessInsider.com. You are all part of my daily read!

    Keep us posted on the OCAr retards. I am cheering for you. Go Irvine Renter!!!!

  27. CS

    If you read the news and govt documents on mortgage fraud, it’s plain to see the FBI was spot on in it’s early 2000s report that 80% of mortgage fraud is done by industry insiders, including real estate agents, lenders, builders, title agents, and so on. It’s despicable that the trade org’s, who are quick to call consumers’ valid lawsuits frivolous, are abusing the court system to try and deny citizens their constitutional rights.

    The FBI reports correctly predicted that the crime was bad enough, and growing, that it could take out the economy. Nothing was done, and though it’s easy to say part of the reason was that the business friendly administration was at fault, both parties take campaign donations from banksters and others, and that is a big problem with this country. We’re now governed by corporate special interests, thus the economy sucks so that their elites can make millions before the whole thing collapses.

  28. awgee

    Comparing the shutting down of the IHB forums to limiting free speech is stupidity at it’s worst.

    Is shutting down a talk radio station limiting free speech? Shutting down a newspaper with an opinion section? Shutting down a blog? No one is trying to keep anyone from having a voice when they shut down their own forum.

    Trying to close somebody else’s forum, platform, soap box, etc, is trying to limit free speech.

    1. irvine_home_owner


      It was not meant to be a direct comparison, it was more about the general idea of wanting to “silence” one or more people in order to prevent perceived “damage” to your “business model” and “openly” admitting that.

      The term “free speech” can mean so many different things to different people.

      I haven’t read the complaint. Is OCAR trying to close down IHB’s website? Even if they are able to suspend his broker’s license (doubtful) shouldn’t he still be able to post his opinions here?

      I want to know exactly how OCAR is actually taking away IR’s 1st Amendment rights because that sounds a bit extreme to me.

      1. AZDavidPhx

        Is OCAR trying to close down IHB’s website?

        That is their ultimate goal. Of course they are going about it in a slick round-about way by threatening his business. They are basically acting like the mafia – “Hey buddy, we ain’t gonna protect your business if you say mean things about us. Would be an awful shame if somethin bad was to happen to your business. Yup, a real shame….”

      2. awgee

        If you own the website, blog, newspaper, radio station, etc., you also own the content expressed on the blog. If you discontinue the blog, you have not taken away anything from anybody. It was yours. It was not theirs. It was never their speech, free or otherwise. If IR did not want competition on his blog, it is HIS blog. He can stop it or change it however he wants and he takes nothing from anybody. He is not “silencing” anybody. He is using his private property as he sees fit. It was never their platform. They can freely speak on their own platform or even in public within parameters again.

        If however, someone tries to keep you from speaking on your site, they are trying to take away you right to free speech, within parameters, of course.

        Your thinking is wrong. And you have not considered what is a right and what is not.

        1. irvine_home_owner


          “Your thinking is wrong. And you have not considered what is a right and what is not.”

          From your perspective… all I know is I have a right to express my opinion, as do you. Whether it is wrong or not is relative, you are no more of an expert on my thoughts than I am on yours.

          You are looking at this too technically. I’m not trying to define the level of “free speech”, I’m just drawing a parallel between OCAR trying to “silence” IR and the IHB “silencing” the forums. The two events do not need to be exactly similar to illustrate the irony. But that’s just my opinion… feel free to criticize it as much as you want, I won’t get angry.

          1. awgee

            Do you have a “right” to walk into someone’s house who does not want you in their house and then express your opinion? When they keep you out of their house, they have not denied your “right” to free speech, no matter you you may think of it, and it is not relative. It does not matter what you are trying to define. Rights are defined. And not knowing what the definition is does not make them relative, it just makes you wrong. Nor does it make any difference whether or not you get angry.

          2. irvine_home_owner


            That’s your argument? How did this turn into a discussion of the definition of a right? As far as I know, I am allowed to express my opinion in the comments section of this blog. Was there some sign on the IHB doorstep that said “We do not want you here, please don’t express your opinion”? Maybe you are mistaking the IHB for some other blog. If IR doesn’t want me here, he can tell me himself, until then, I am just as welcome as your are.

            P.S. You don’t encourage readership or discussion by stifling opinions, most successful media “owners” recognize that.

          3. awgee

            Are you serious? Go back and read your post. You accused IR of stifling free speech by shutting down the forums because you have not taken the time to understand what free speech is.

            You are only allowed to express your opinion on this blog or the forum because IR allows you to, not because you have a right to free speech. He can not stifle something that never existed in the first place. It is not being too technical. It is understanding what you are accusing him of, and you do not.

            And just because you phrased it as a question does not mean you did not accuse him.

          4. irvine_home_owner


            No… you are TOO serious.

            Since when did comments on a blog become a court of law? There were no “accusations” (or “aspersions”) being made. Just a comparison of events to point out the irony of it all. In fact, go back to IR’s response to me, he edited it because maybe he felt it was a bit too strong to say that I was “casting aspersions”.

            What’s funny is you are highlighting the continued irony here. Are you *OCAR* now? Are *you* now “accusing” me of something? (That was a question, not an accusation)

            I was using the term “free speech” very loosely (as I explained above) and am really not focusing on “rights” or whatever technical jargon you are trying to prove. Again, the situations don’t have to be exactly alike to point out the irony — action was taken to prevent a group from stating their opinions in order to protect a business model (Is that better? No reference to “rights” or “free speech”). And while OCAR’s actions may be overreaching, aren’t they just doing the same thing by trying to protect the business of their members?

            “And just because you phrased it as a question does not mean you did not accuse him.”

            Nor does it mean I accused him of anything. Maybe IR should file a grievance with the Orange County Association of Bloggers against me.

          5. IrvineRenter


            Your comments are always welcome here. I do apologize for reacting in anger. I was wrong.

            I do hope you see awgee’s point because it is exactly how I see it as well. What I allow here is entirely my choice. If I don’t allow some forms of speech here (name calling for instance) I am not infringing on someone’s free speech rights. They are free to spout whatever they want somewhere else, but I do have authority over all speech on this blog.

            I like an open forum that exchanges ideas and points of view other than my own because I learn from that too. If people want to come here to call names and be an ass, I don’t have to tolerate it on my blog. I think my tolerance for people giving me crap is above and beyond what most would put up with. If they don’t want to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way, I am under no obligation to tolerate it.

            If I were trying to prevent people from saying anything outside of this blog, that would be infringing on free speech. I don’t do that. I hope you see the difference.

      3. Chris

        it was more about the general idea of wanting to “silence” one or more people in order to prevent perceived “damage” to your “business model” and “openly” admitting that.

        If he really wanted to do that, you wouldn’t see any post from PR whatsoever.

        1. irvine_home_owner


          “If he really wanted to do that, you wouldn’t see any post from PR whatsoever.”

          Not exactly.

          PR can’t directly take away potential customers or investors.

          PR can’t post his own blog article.

          PR can’t PM other readers.

          There is a difference between forum interaction and blog comment interaction.

          And don’t get me wrong, I understand why the forums were closed and if in the IHBroker position, I might do the same (although I would probably try to figure out a way to make the forums work), I’m merely commenting on the “why”… not the “what”.

          But I do want to add that I have a huge amount of respect for IR for not banning members and allowing their comments to remain. Not many bloggers are as lenient as he is and while we may not agree on some things, I am grateful that he lets me ask the questions I ask (although he may not always reply).

          1. Chris

            IHO, what I meant to say was that IF IR wants to **silence** someone, you wouldn’t see any dissenting voices on the comment section of this blog.

            There is a difference between forum interaction and blog comment interaction.

            Come on, are you serious? Yes I agree the one major difference is that you need a login account for a forum whereas, in a comment section, all you need is to “submit the word you see below” and you got your msg across while having a million aliases if you like. But, seriously, how many Facebook accounts are real? How many E-mail accounts can you get in Yahoo!, Google, etc?

            What we’re doing now (back and forth msgs on this comment section) is practically no different from forum posting except for the fact that we both have no actual forum accounts to share our views/venting/ranting/whatever.

            Forums are hard to maintain and administer (you have to check every single post to see if any violations have been committed) and I’m sure zovall and IR do not want to waste any more of their time maintaining that forum. Yes, it’s probably not a coincidence that the forum’s closing has anything to do with IR’s new business…but so eff*ng what? The forum is his and so is his business. If you don’t like it, don’t patronize anything of his. While you’re at it, create your own blog and show the world how IR wouldn’t respond to your simple question of ‘why’ and let’s see how many followings will YOU have.

            Finally, if IR doesn’t have a lot of following and MSM coverages, do you honestly think OCAr would give a rat’s ass about him and his blog?

          2. irvine_home_owner


            I understand what you are saying but I think you are looking too deeply into what I said.

            Again… it’s the why, not the what.

            And yes, I am serious that forum interaction is different from comment interaction. You may not agree with me, but there are many obvious differences.

            I’m not sure where you are headed with suggesting I start up my own blog or comparing number of followers as that is not the issue here. It’s merely a parallel I observed and pointed out. Ownership doesn’t change the level of irony I think exists… but that’s just my opinion.

            If a boss yells at an employee and I feel that it’s similar to a parent yelling at his child, while the relationships are not exactly the same… can’t I still draw a comparison to the situations?

          3. awgee

            “Ownership doesn’t change the level of irony I think exists… but that’s just my opinion”


            Ok, I have been sitting here for twenty minutes trying to think of how to convey to you …

            Free speech and private property rights are principles, not opinions. They are principles foundational to our treatment of one another, our behavior in society, …

            You do not get to redefine them or relegate them to the backseat for your convenience or because your perception of irony is irrelevant in their presence.

            Again to my house:
            You start telling Mexican jokes in my house. I do not like them. (BTW, I am of Mexican ancestry.) I ask you to stop telling Mexican jokes or leave. And even tell you that you are free to tell Polish jokes.

            Am I stifling your free speech? Why or why not?

          4. irvine_home_owner

            Again with the “free speech” and “rights”.

            Didn’t I already concede it’s not the terminology (the what) but the circumstance (the why)?

            Let me use your analogy:

            In your house you start making jokes about Polish people. If I’m Polish, don’t I have the right to ask you to stop? And if you say, “No… it’s my house, I can do what I want and if you don’t like it, get out”, can I not express some disappointment in your actions? It’s your “right” to act that way, but it doesn’t make it “right” to me.

            I find it hilarious you are using a hint of racism to prove your point… reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon regarding debating on the Internet:


            And last I checked, this comment area is for opinions (IR even said mine are welcome). Who gave you the title of telling me what I can and cannot do? Are you trying to “stifle my free speech”? :cheese:

          5. awgee

            Free speech can not be separated from the right to free speech, so yes, again.

            Stop with the “telling you what you can and cannot do”. I never said that or implied that. I am addressing your accusation. I never said anything about you not being allowed to post your opinions.

            Of course you have the physical ability to express disappointment in whatever you want, but that does not mean you have free speech. Again, free speech is a principle. It is not an ability. It is not absolute. It does not exist everywhere. It does not exist in your house except for the owners of the house and those the owners give it to.

            You think it is “the why” that determines whether or not someone’s free speech is being stifled? The motivations?

            Instead of using my analogy, answer my question.

            And you have the habit of confusing two different meanings of a word like “right” within close proximity, ie. “It’s your “right” to act that way, but it doesn’t make it “right” to me.” At best, that is clever. In reality, it is avoidance and obfuscation.

            To answer your question, no matter how not “right” it is for you, in my house I have a “right” to free speech and you do not. Do you need me to post the two different definitions of “right” to expose your confusion.

          6. irvine_home_owner

            You are totally missing my point.

            The irony has nothing to do with “free speech” or the “right to free speech”. When you figure it out, let me know.

            As for your question, if you weren’t so busy trying to tell me how wrong I am, you would have seen the answer. As I said, yes, it is your “right to free speech”… but it does not make it okay to me even if I don’t have the same “rights” as you, regardless of that, I can express my displeasure if I want to, in your house or not. You invited me in there, you insulted me and I’m supposed to just stay quiet because it’s your house? Because you have the right to free speech and I do not? Get real… this is what I mean by you are too technical… and now you are the one missing the forest for the trees.

            What may be technically correct does not mean it’s politically, socially or racially correct and the irony can exist regardless of the definition of the details.

            And once more… I did not say “the why” determined any “right to free speech”, “the why” illustrates the irony.

            Here’s another question for you (since you didn’t answer my original one about 1st Amendment rights)… if the OCAR manages to strip MLS access from IR, he will still continue to post on this blog (as he mentioned here), so how is his “free speech” taken away?

            I’m with AZDave on this one, I’m not even sure “free speech” belongs in this discussion.

          7. irvine_home_owner

            irvine_home_owner – You sure sound angry for someone who says he isn’t angry.

            This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I find this very amusing actually. Individuals here are making this much more than it should be and are getting very technical about using the correct terms/principles or presenting sufficient evidence.

            On top of that, the Intarwebz isn’t very good at expressing tone or emotion, which is why I usually ask if someone is mad or not because there is no way I can be sure.

            However, I am not going to tell you that your WRONG for thinking I am angry. I can just tell you that I am not (as I’ve said previously, comments on a blog don’t really trigger that type of emotion for me).

  29. awgee

    Saying “free speech” means different things to different people may be true, but the right to free speech is more clearly defined, and some of the meanings people ascribe to free speech are erroneous.

  30. Jason

    I know this is no direct correlation but somehow ocar vs ihb reminds me of the time the meat industry sued Oprah cuz she advised her audience not to eat meat. Hilarious.

  31. JGBellHimself

    In Patrick McGoohan’s TV series The Prison, the episode titled “The Trial”, the prisoner is advised:

    “You have the right to remain silent. But, what you would have said has already been recorded, and will be used against you.”

    We trust that you will never, EVER go into That Trial.

  32. Bill


    I’m a broker and heard of this story from the OC Register.

    I have to say I too am taken aback by both your blog and your stance on this
    grievance.  I don’t like what you do, but agree that as a private person you
    have a right to your opinions.  However, as a broker and MLS subscriber, you
    are 100% in the wrong.  As I see it, there are a whole bunch of MLS rules
    (http://www.ocar.org/pdf/mls/CARETS_Rules_5-1-11.pdf) that you are breaking.
    For brevity’s sake, these will do:

    12.11 Use of MLS Information. In recognition that the purpose of the MLS is
    to market properties and offer compensation to other Broker participants and
    R.E. subscribers for the sole purpose of selling the property, and that
    sellers of properties filed with the MLS have not given permission to
    disseminate the information for any other purpose, participants and
    subscribers are expressly prohibited from using MLS information for any
    purpose other than to market property to bonafide prospective buyers or to
    support market evaluations or appraisals as specifically allowed by Sections
    12.14, 12.15 and 12.16. Any use of MLS information inconsistent with these
    sections is expressly prohibited. Nothing in this section, however, shall
    limit the MLS from entering into licensing agreements with MLS participants
    and subscribers or other third parties for use of the MLS information.

    12.15.2 Information Reproduced. Unless the participant or subscriber obtains
    prior written consent from the listing broker, the information reproduced
    pursuant to this section shall not include the following:

    a. Property owner’s name, phone number, and address (if different than the
    listed property);
    b. Instructions or remarks intended for cooperating brokers, including, but
    not limited to, showing instructions or security references (ex: lock box,
    burglar alarm, or security system, vacancies) regarding the listed property;

    c. Type of listing;
    d. Compensation or bonuses offered to cooperating brokers; and.
    e. Other information which goes beyond a description of the property.

    12.16.8 Display Purpose. Broker Participants and R.E. Subscribers may not
    use IDX-provided listings for any purpose other than display on their

    I hope you don’t waste too much money on legal fees, because there is no way
    you are going to win this one.

    1. IrvineRenter

      OCAr has already quoted the rules. Thanks for sharing.

      Perhaps you can enlighten me on specifically how I have broken these rules?

      You do realize that people have purchased properties they found featured on this blog? Sounds like sales to me which takes out 12.11.

      Nowhere can I find any violation of 12.15.2. Can you?

      12.16.8? Aren’t properties displayed on this website?

      Sorry, but you will have to do better.

      You claim I can’t win, but you don’t seem to understand the rules of engagement. As you fight, I win. Have you been enjoying the positive press coverage?

      It’s obvious you guys don’t like what I do or say, but if you think your say so is going to cause me to lose… oh, wait, are you on the kangaroo court? Maybe your say so will matter….

      1. Bill

        Whoa, why are you so angry? I thought you truly didn’t know the possible violations. I don’t think you have a leg to stand on here. You and your lawyer are not helping your case.

          1. Bill

            Again, sorry. I read that you didn’t know the charges. No need for the sarcasm. You have a real problem here. No use in denying it. As I see it, the best case is you get to choose your brokerage. The worst case is you get to keep your blog.

          2. IrvineRenter

            It’s true that I don’t know the charges for the same reason that it wasn’t any more clear when you posted the rules. The only thing OCAr has provided is some vague reference to some rule I violated somewhere. If there were a real violation, they would point out a specific instance and provide me the opportunity to correct it. They haven’t done that. And they won’t because they are merely using the charges as a means to an end they cannot achieve, shutting down this blog.

            I don’t see that I have a problem here. OCAr is creating opportunity for me, not problems. I obtain exposure and an opportunity to differentiate myself from them. My business works because I operate differently than they do.

            I do see that OCAr is creating a huge public relations problem for themselves trying to squelch free speech. There is nothing they can do about this blog or the content on it. The fact that they are trying reveals how worried they must be about the seditious ideas I present.

            Even if they strip me of my MLS access, it does nothing to hinder this blog or my business. My business is referrals, something I can provide with or without MLS access. From where I’m sitting, OCAr’s best case result has no impact on me, and their worst case benefits my business tremendously.

          3. Bill

            You aren’t thinking clearly. Your referral associations will be terminated. All your traffic and coverage in the local paper won’t amount to much when that happens. Why do you think you aren’t the only one mentioned in the complaint? They don’t care about your blog. They care about kicking you out of the business.

        1. irvine_home_owner

          In all fairness… I do see some gray area here.

          As I’ve stated before, the MLS claims were more my concern.

    2. irvine_home_owner

      I’m waiting for awgee to chime in here since he’s very good at discerning technical details.

      (I am not being sarcastic either)

      1. awgee

        Bill keeps on saying that IR has broken one of the rules, and Bill posts the rules, and repeats the rule name, but he still, like OCAR has not produce the instance in which IR has broken the rule.

        Listing the rule, implying that IR broke the rule, or saying, “Are you joking?”, is not showing an instance that the rule was broken.

        BTW, in my mind, you are mistaken. I do just the opposite of discern the technical details. I am looking at the forest and trying to understand it’s place on the planet. I see the people, the effect, and the fairness or injustice. I think you think they are technical details because you do not understand them. My guess is you see almost everything or everything as relative. In my world, some things are relative, but I allow those things which are black and white to expose themselves. If you only allow only for shades of gray, the blacks and whites must be distorted to fit into your world.

        1. irvine_home_owner

          I think you are wasting your energy trying to characterize me… it won’t change my opinion.

          We disagree.


        2. Honcho

          “Bill keeps on saying that IR has broken one of the rules, and Bill posts the rules, and repeats the rule name, but he still, like OCAR has not produce the instance in which IR has broken the rule.

          Listing the rule, implying that IR broke the rule, or saying, “Are you joking?”, is not showing an instance that the rule was broken.”

          This is my beef with the whole situation. I made a career of dismissing lawsuits with these type of bare assertions in actual judicial settings (there are a couple of fairly recent Supreme Court decisions that say you need more than labels and conclusions to state a claim against someone). A formulaic recitation of the rule will not do. These type of bald claims do not provide notice to anyone of any violation of a rule.

          How can you prepare to defend yourself at a hearing if you don’t know what you stand accused of doing improperly?

          1. awgee

            A guess.

            When OCAR finally does identify whatever instance they think IR broke their rules, they will be correct.


            One time out of five or ten accusations. And in that one instance, it will be obvious how petty and ridiculous their charge is. And it will also be obvious what fools and liars they are. And it will be of their own making.

            IR, just keep on handing them the shovel.

        3. irvine_home_owner


          “Listing the rule, implying that IR broke the rule, or saying, “Are you joking?”, is not showing an instance that the rule was broken.”

          Are YOU joking? Does Bill really need to spell it out, I mean, this is just a blog and not a court of law, but I think it’s reasonable that readers familiar with IR’s daily posts can see a possible issue. Here’s my take:

          12.15.2 Information Reproduced. Unless the participant or subscriber obtains
          prior written consent from the listing broker, the information reproduced
          pursuant to this section shall not include the following:
          e. Other information which goes beyond a description of the property.

          After almost every property listing, IR makes commentary on various typos, capitalization, usage of canned terminology etc that the listing agent uses in their property description. Some are insulting, others could be considered appropriate. In addition to the listing information, he provides the loan information, any suspected HELOC activity (complete with a report cardd) and commentary on what the possible motivations of the seller are.

          Now, while some of that is public information, the MLS data is property of the MLS and a broker reproducing it is supposed to follow the rules regarding it. When IR was not a broker, you could argue that he is not bound by those rules… and even then, if someone totally unrelated to the real estate industry were to use MLS data in such a manner, I would think that there would still be an argument on how it can be used. After all, it is their house right?

          1. honcho

            You mean to tell me this is about IR pointing out that certain realtors can’t spell, capitalize properly, or otherwise proof read their listings?

            Now I can see why the OCAR must act so swiftly and with their full authority and force. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated. I can only imaginet he backlog of grievances waiting to be heard if this type of injustice is severe enough to warrant a full hearing.

          2. awgee

            “Does Bill really need to spell it out”

            Yes. Read Honcho’s response. It is not about a court. It is about fair. It is about a standard of decency rather than what a person or group of persons does not like.

          3. Honcho

            At the end of the day, all anyone can ask for is to be treated fairly in the process. All who are part of the OCAR should feel that way (whether they like IR and his postings or not).

            I wouldn’t want to be part of a group who arbitrarily applies rules and/or penalties. What is being done to IR sets a dangerous precedent for anyone subject to OCAR’s jurisdiction.

            Anyone at the OCAR care to chinme in about past grievances involving a violation of Rule 12.15.2(e)? What conduct was so egregious to run afoul of this provision? What were the penalties that were handed out? Or, is the OCAR attempting to use the broadest/vaguest rule on the books to issue the death penalty (yanking MLS access) in IR’s situation (without actually telling him what specific conduct he engaged in to violate the rule)?

          4. Bill

            Isn’t that why they him the statutes and a hearing? I’ll bet you”ll find this type if thing hasn’t been done by another broker before. I certainly have never seen anything like it. Playing coy isn’t going to work here and neither is trash talking. He’ll be very lucky to salvage the brokerage activity (which I really doubt will happen). I’m not seeing a real defense here. It’s their system and their right to police it.

          5. Honcho

            You just don’t get it, and that’s ok. In the real legal world, you have to be told what it is that you did to get sued. A conclusory statement that you violated “X” isn’t sufficient.

            You still haven’t stated what specific behavior IR did that was so egregious to warrant the death penalty. Commenting on poor spelling and trite expressions?

            Give the man notice of what he has done wrong. I suspect the outcome here has been predetermined so what is the harm of giving him notice of the alleged violation(s)? Perhaps the OCAR is worried that IR will air the ticky-tack nature of the claim(s) against him that result in a harsh penalty. That is what should worry other OCAR members. Great job taking something away from him. Not so great the next time an anonymous claim is made against you or another member (not that I would advocate IR exposing your IP address and naming you so someone could anonymously file a complaint for your righteous indignation on this blog and against another member of the OCAR).

            And, you want to talk about egregious behavior, how about the profile IR had earlier this week about the OCAR member who pled guilty to stealing his clients’ money? If that guy hasn’t had his status revoked, how are you going to string up IR for doing whatever it is that he is accused of doing wrong? Consistency in application. Otherwise, I am afraid that IR is right and the OCAR is guilty of arbitrary and capricious action aimed solely at getting him to shut up.

          6. IrvineRenter


            I think your observations express the wishful thinking of OCAr.

            Honcho, who is an attorney (not mine), and others are pointing out that OCAr hasn’t established an offense, yet you claim you don’t see a defense.

            Well, I suppose you are correct that it is impossible to defend oneself against nebulous charges OCAr is making up as they go. That is why my attorneys and I are characterizing this as a kangaroo court, which it is. If they are to police the MLS, they must have evenly applied rules. They can’t make up rule interpretations to serve a hidden agenda without expecting legal challenge.

            Further, as I pointed out, they can’t hinder a brokerage activity based on referral because it isn’t a brokerage. You won’t find a transaction where I am broker of record. I can’t see how I’ll be “very lucky” to salvage my activities. I also can’t see how OCAr can salvage either their reputation or anything they can call victory.

          7. Planet Reality

            ME ME ME , it’s always about you right?

            It has nothing to do with you or your freedom speech.

            It has to do with brokers conforming to their agreement. You can say whatever you want, it’s their brokers that can’t work with you. Pretty simple.

          8. Bill

            Again, why do you think others were named? There is no workaround for you, I’m afraid. Did you or did you not agree to be bound by MLS rules? There is no way for your two endeavors to peacefully coexist, IMHO.

          9. irvine_home_owner


            “You mean to tell me this is about IR pointing out that certain realtors can’t spell, capitalize properly, or otherwise proof read their listings?”

            I have no idea what it is about. I’m just theorizing how 12.5.2.e can be applied here. Plus you left out the HELOC abuse conjecture which I’m sure every person who is selling their house likes to have advertised on the Internet.

            Presenting the rules that IR “might” be breaking is one thing, to actually think he did isn’t really in mine (or Bill’s authority). I do think Bill overstepped by already proclaiming IR “guilty”… but I do find some merit in the rules that are in question and it concerns me because I value IR’s work here on the IHB.

            Personally, I think OCAR is also being too technical, but I do think they have some level of responsibility to their members to pursue a grievance if it’s been filed. They can’t just say “Oh… it’s a blog, just ignore it”, they do need to look out for their business… similar to how the IHB can decide to protect their business model by closing the forums.

          10. Planet Reality

            You don’t even have to show up in Kangaroo court or have any legal defense.

            You can continue to say whatever the hell you want.

            Apparently you have some special interest which has nothing to do with free speech.

          11. Honcho

            I don’t see how posting publicly available info related to financing on the property has any bearing on the rule cited. He isn’t reproducing info from the MLS listing when he discusses HELOC abuse/speculation. A broader interpretation of that rule, IMO, would preclude any broker/agent from ever commenting on a property, even to their prospective buyer (maybe that’s what the OCAR and it’s members want, no pointing out that the property backs to a busy street or that their is street noise (something frequently pointed out in agent comment/feedback sections on Redfin: http://www.redfin.com/CA/Irvine/8-Blackbird-92618/home/4746443#agent_insight)).

            I have no problem with the OCAR pursuing grievances. However, they should do so in a consistent manner. That is where OCAR members should be concerned. Arbitrary and capricious enforcement of rules/regulations does nothing for the legitimacy of the association.

          12. irvine_home_owner

            I agree it’s a stretch. Again, I’m not speaking for the OCAR but I can see where publishing loan data information could be interpreted as “providing information beyond the property description”.

            And you bring up an excellent point, is Redfin’s Agent Insight feature the same type of “rule breaking”?

          13. Honcho

            Anxiously awaiting Judge/Jury/Executioner Bill’s anonymous grievance against:

            “Choppy floor plan. Needs some updating.”

            “Needs a new paint job.”

            “Some street noise.”

            “This is a large home that appears to need upgrades. There is older carpet and pink wallpaper. Street noise.”

          14. Honcho

            “And you bring up an excellent point, is Redfin’s Agent Insight feature the same type of “rule breaking”?”

            I don’t see how you can draw any principled distinction between the two. And, if the OCAR applies the rules in a consistent manner (and in accordance with Bill’s verdict), Redfin would have their MLS access revoked. That result would be a shame for the consumer. This type of info is not only relevant, but important to my decision on whether or not I would go see a particular property. It’s terrible that the OCAR would stifle relevant and important information and instead limit dissemination to whatever garbarge the listing agent says can be made available. Sounds like a group that I would want to put my homebuying decision in the hands of.

          15. IrvineRenter

            “Apparently you have some special interest which has nothing to do with free speech.”

            As usual, you have no idea what you are talking about.

          16. Planet Reality

            Really? You are saying you must show up to Kangaroo court?

            If you are legally required then you are correct I don’t know what I’m talking about.

            If not… then as usual I’m correct.

          17. Planet Reality

            Redfin wouldn’t have their MLS access revoked. They would either stop providing those comments on listings or operate within the guidelines, assuming they aren’t already operating within the guidelines.

            Redfin isn’t stupid.

          18. Honcho

            “They would either stop providing those comments on listings or operate within the guidelines, assuming they aren’t already operating within the guidelines.”

            So, either way, the consumer loses out. Nice work OCAR.

          19. Planet Reality


            IR has bad judgement in that OCAr has nothing to lose reputation wise. People hate realtors already. Similar to big tobacco there is nothing to lose except revenues. Also they have a legal budget to use.

            There have been times when IR clearly violated those regulations combining too much information and speculation. JMO but some of the Redfin comments you posted are clearly within the guidelines others are close and maybe debatable.

          20. Bill

            Redfin paid a $50,00 fine in 2007 for a version of a comments section. They made some changes to come into compliance but the story is still bring written. The public can’t comment. Only bonafide agents who have toured the property. I font think you can extend that to personal financial disclosures. They are completely different things.

          21. Honcho

            “JMO but some of the Redfin comments you posted are clearly within the guidelines others are close and maybe debatable.”

            If you are going to have a rule based upon what another agent/broker/blogger can say about a property, shouldn’t that be defined explicilty rather than the overly broad nature of the current rule. 10 different people will have 10 different readings of the rule and what can or can’t be said under the rule. And that is supposed to give agents/brokers/bloggers guidance about what can or can’t be said about a property?

            It goes to the arbitrary and capricious nature of this specific regulation (12.15.2(e)) that it can be read so broadly as to penalize someone for saying something that someone else disagrees with (and that we can’t all agree would be in/out of the guidelines). HOw are you supposed to know what you can or can’t say about a property if there are no clearly defined guidelines. It is why speach related regulations generally must be narrowly tailored to address the specific type of speech sought to be regulated. This rule, as written is overbroad and vague and doesn’t give anyone notice of what would constitute a violation.

            Again, if I were an OCAR member, I would be very troubled that this rule could be applied in such a way to penalize me (of my MLS access or subject to a $50,000 fine as Bill would have it) for something I say about a particular property. I would be especially troubled if IR’s situation becomes a precedent the OCAR can point to in applying this rule in the future.

          22. Planet Reality

            I’m not a lawyer but I like to use the:

            “Whould I feel comfortable doing that test”

            Would I feel comfortable posting in public the MLS data AND financial information AND speculate on personal financial matters.

            No, I wouldn’t feel comforable.

            Would you feel comfortable doing that?

            Then throw in having that public forum lead to personal income to boot, in a special interest and simple conflict of interest manner

            The Redfin comments are benign. I’d have no problem with that. I would be interested to see the comments that cost Redfin $50,000.

          23. Honcho

            A minute ago you thought the redfin comments I cut&pasted; were possibly in a gray area. The fact that a gray area exists means that this rule is overbroad/vague/ambiguous. So, I’ll say it again: if you are going to have a rule about what someone can/can’t say about a property, it should be clearly defined. Otherwise, anyone could be called in front of the committee because we all have a different opinion on what falls into the gray area.

            As to my opinion, I don’t think posting publicly available information about a property (and even speculating about why the owners HELOC’d themselves to death) is harmful to anyone. It goes to show a pattern/practice of activities that led to the housing bubble (or deflation of the housing bubble, if you are so inclined) that is a central theme here at IHB. Is it embarrasing to the person who owns the property? Probably, but I don’t think the purpose of the rule is to avoid seller embarassment.

          24. Planet Reality

            Just because you think it’s unclear doesn’t mean it is. Same goes for my opinion of the rule. Do they go beyond information that describes the property? I know I wouldnt have a problem posting those Redfin comments. They pass the “would I feel comfortable test”.

            I didn’t ask for your legal opinion on combining legal pieces of information in a public forum with personal speculation about the information in that public forum … I asked if you would feel comfortable doing the same?

          25. Honcho

            I’ll give a very lawyerly answer and say I don’t have a blog or any other occasion to post about HELOC abuse, so I can’t really tell you whether I would or wouldn’t feel comfortable as I sit here now. However, if I ran a blog where the central theme is the Irvine housing market, and over the last three years I had documented case after case of HELOC abuse, I would feel comfortable posting about it.

            With respect to IHB, there are no names posted and IR doesn’t presume to know what led to the need/desire to go HELOC-ing (I have never gotten the sense that IR is proclaiming to know what led to the HELOC abuse). I honestly have no problem with what is stated in IR’s posts (or any of the Redfin comments).

            “Just because you think it’s unclear doesn’t mean it is. Same goes for my opinion of the rule.”

            The fact that reasonable minds can differ as to what is or isn’t permissible under the rule means that it is overbroad/vague/ambiguous. At some point, even under your “am I comfotable test,” there will need to be line drawing about what is and isn’t permitted. How can you penalize someone without setting forth a clear standard about what could land them in trouble and possibly subject to severe penalties (revocation of MLS access/$50,000 fine)? (And, don’t feel compelled to respond, the question isn’t meant to get your feedback or be a shot at your opinion, just provoke thought — but you can respond if you would like to keep the conversation going…)

          26. irvine_home_owner


            I appreciate your viewpoints here.

            But I have a question regarding this:

            “However, if I ran a blog where the central theme is the Irvine housing market, and over the last three years I had documented case after case of HELOC abuse, I would feel comfortable posting about it.”

            Prior to IR becoming a broker, I would agree with this sentiment. But since he is one now, isn’t there some different rule of conduct he has to abide by in regards to using MLS information? That’s what my read is of the MLS document via Bill’s link.

            I don’t see licensed brokers criticizing other listing agents’ property descriptions on public websites/blogs… but I must admit I don’t visit many other real estate sites.

          27. Planet Reality

            You answered the question perfectly since you didn’t simply say: Yes I would feel comfortable. Clearly you wouldn’t feel comfortable unless you some how detach yourself in a theoretical manner.

            I would feel comfortable presenting the bulk data on the Irvine
            market if HELOC abuse really was rampant from the bulk debt to equity ratio in Irvine. I definitely would not
            feel comfortable showing specific address details
            with further speculation.

            Furthermore income that resulted would throw it
            over the top in the “would I feel comfortable test”

          28. Honcho


            As a “broker” I assume that IR has agreed to be bound by certain rules (I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know what the rules/regs are for becoming a broker or what code of conduct a broker agrees to be bound by). The question for me is, what rules is IR bound by and how are those rules applied? The specific rule we have been discussing is (IMO) too broad/vague/ambiguous to be enforceable, even against those who have agreed to be bound by it. If you don’t clearly tell people what conduct they must abide by, how can you then hold them accountable?

            It seems like the OCAR just wants to make up rules as they go right now. Again, that would be very concerning to me if I was subject to their rules/regs (what is to stop them from using their arbitrary rules/enforcement mechanisms against me next?).

            Certainly, if some agent feels IR has improperly disparaged their listing, that agent is free to bring a grievance. But, the sense that I get is that there is no one particular agent out there who feels harmed by IR based on his comments in a particular post. Rather, it seems that there is an industry based aversion to his daily posts/opinions.

          29. Bill

            I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. First of all the Redfin thing is new and may yet be challenged. There was specific legislation drawn up by the DOJ and this blog doesn’t comply with it. It isn’t grey at all as I see it.

          30. Bill

            It looks like MLS participants have to sell (like Redfin does) and not just be a marketing referral service.  This really is the wild west scenario the DOJ settlement was about.  I dont think OCAR has any choice but to proceed.  Larry needs a paid real estate attorney, not the one he’s using.  But even then there have to be changes here to make it work.  This business model as it is doesn’t work. Here is a link to the press release;

          31. needlenose

            You’re quoting a guy named “Dick Gaylord” and I’m supposed to take you seriously? I wonder what kind of childhood that kid had, and he chose to hock Real Estate as a profession – priceless.

            The only thing that sounds dangerous for Larry on that is the paragraph which reads, “…Around the same time, we modified our model MLS rules to say that REALTOR® MLSs could require their participants to be bona fide brokers. We were concerned about third-party companies obtaining brokers’ licenses and joining the MLS without any intention of engaging in real estate brokerage. They’d use our listings to attract buyers to their Web sites — and sell those buyers back to us in the form of ‘qualified leads.'”

            If that is the case than IR might have a problem, but I’m not sure that this is even a legitimate article.

          32. Michael

            “No, I wouldn’t feel comforable.”

            And that’s why you are a troll wasting time on someone’s blog, rather than someone providing a useful service to consumers, like IR.

          33. Honcho


            Before dispensing legal advice, you may actually want to read the Order that is subject to the spin you linked to. BTW, it was the NAR that was sued by the DOJ and entered into the agreement explicity preventing them from trying to shut someone like him down.

            Of note:

            “[A]n MLS may not prohibit Participants from enhancing their [websites] by prohibiting information obtained from other sources other than the MLS . . .” It sounds to me like the OCAR is running afoul of the DsOJ/NAR settlement on this one if they are after IR because of additional commentary involving publicly available information (including financing info)….. hmmmm……

            “An MLS may not prohibit, restrict, or impede a Participant from referring Registrants to any person or obtaining a fee for such a referral.” Again, if the OCAR is trying to cut off the referrral that IR runs with/to Shevy, it sounds like the OCAR is the one violating the law, here……..

            I think the tides may have turned…. Nothing like treble damages that are available with an anti-trust violation……………

          34. Bill

            Larry isn’t a bonafide broker, or “participant” at all. Well see how this plays out.

          35. Honcho

            You did read the definitions of the Final Judgment, right?

            “Broker”: “This term includes any person who possesses a Broker’s license.”

            IR has a broker’s license. Hence, IR is a “Participant” as defined by the Final Judgment bewteen the NAR and the DOJ.

            Perhaps someone should alert the DOJ (maybe even anonymously?) about the OCARs attempt to violate the Final Judgment from the anti-trust lawsuit…….

            You are right. We’ll see how this plays out.

          36. Bill

            It’s been very well established that Larry operates a marketing referral service and does not sell houses.  On top of that this site lacks compliance for a VOW in several other ways.  The best case is thus site is given the chance to comply.  The worst case is not as good as that.

          37. IrvineRenter

            This thread is a classic.

            Honcho is an attorney. He is educated in law. He passed the bar exam and argues legal interpretation and application in front of real judges in real courtrooms. He has kindly explained the real legal issues behind the OCAr grievance as clearly as possible.

            Then we have realtor offering his legal opinion on the case, telling me my rights, trying to frighten me with my inevitable losses, stating my business model doesn’t work, suggesting I change my legal council, and offering his judgment on why I will lose. Great stuff.

            And don’t overlook the IHB troll putting in his 2 cents worth. His agenda is exposed and his lack of credibility is reinforced with every utterance.

            Everyone has an opinion, and one of the benefits of operating an open forum like this one is that we can all read the opinions and decide for ourselves.

            Thank you all for participating. This thread is priceless.

          38. Honcho

            I always hate discussing legal issues with people who are not lawyers because they often don’t grasp legal concepts or I have to used too much reasoning and explanation to full set forth why something “is the way it is” legally speaking. I’ll try to be as concise as possible here:

            IR is a Broker as defined in the DOJ v NAR settlement. Despite the best spin of the NAR, a “BROKER” merely has to have a broker’s license. A Broker, as defined in the settlement can include those who also don’t have a broker’s license as long as they “sell houses.” I don’t know how else to explain it other than to ask you/anyone to simply read the settlement agreement. Since he is a broker, the arrangement he has with Shevy is permissible (as explicitly spelled out in the settlement) and CANNOT be attacked as improper. In fact, it is the OCAR who is engaging in improper action if they believe this is a foundation for a claim against IR.

            The fact that IR’s web-site might not comply with the settlement has no bearing on whether he is operating a web-site in compliance with the local MLSs rules. If the OCAR believes he isn’t, they are free to raise those claims and attempt to bring him into complaince. The settlement does not set forth the applicable requirements to a web-site. It merely states what an MLS may require without running afoul of anti-trust regulations.

            As for the regulations that you claimed IR was violating earlier: these regulations appear to be improper under the DOJ/NAR settlement. That means that it is the OCAR who is in the wrong with these rules and potentially subject to anti-trust penalties (triple damages).

            I don’t know how else to explain this in clearer terms.

          39. Bill

            It’s obvious that there was no real planning in slapping this site together. It’s ok, we’ll play along. We’ll ee what, if anything, it becomes in the future.

          40. awgee

            Bill, I do not think I have ever seen anyone ever so thoroughly lose an argument. Honcho handed you the shovel and you just kept on digging.

            Honcho, in your opinion, after OCAR gets it’s butt kicked, will IR have any basis for lawsuit that could get him some bucks?

          41. Honcho


            I don’t have enough info about IR’s situation and the grievance to be able to give an opinion on the subject. At this point, I’m in the dark about what the factual basis for the grievance brought by the OCAR. Similarly, I’m in the dark about what claims, if any, IR would have against the OCAR. (As IR noted, I am not his attorney, nor have we ever had any conversation or other communication about the grievance outside of commenting on this thread)

            Much of the “asture observations” have centered on our speculation about the grievance and the factual foundation of whatever claims have been made in connection with the grievance. We are all just giving thoughts/comments without knowing much of anything so it is hard to give a definitive answer to anything without having more information available.

            ****This is not meant to prod IR into posting the grievance or revealing any more information than he feels comfortable with. He is dealing with a pending legal issue and it is certainly his call about how best to handle certain strategic aspects of his response both in a public forum and in a formal legal proceeding.****

          42. Planet Reality

            Honcho, I’d have to agree seemed like a pretty casual debate.

            I guess we’re both wrong set straight by awgee and IR. I’m glad this is such a one sided argument clearly IR will continue business as usual no money lost. For IRs sake it’s great he won’t lose this case or any money. It’s guaranteed, so IR can continue to dump the dirt here and not worry about anything..

          43. IrvineRenter

            When he first came to the blog, he was certain of his point of view, and he was righteous and vociferous in pointing out the errors of my ways. Of course, he was wrong, and events have borne that out, but I responded more pointedly than I should have at the time, so he decided to become a troll.

            By his own admission, he is a foreign cash buyer who purchased in early 2009 here in Irvine (or he is an Irvine Company shill). So he comes here in an attempt to pump the market to maintain the value of his own property and comfort himself that he made a wise investment decision when he bought the house. Since his goals are at odds with what I see happening in the market, he seeks to undermine me with every post.

            He is actually a skilled blog troll, except for one problem: as a blog troll he has no credibility, so even when he makes a good point, it becomes discounted by the readership. If he were to limit his comments to his more well-reasoned points backed by data, he would be far more effective at getting his point across.

            He is one of the few who posits an alternate market view, so I tolerate his bullshit to hear arguments and points of view contrary to my own so I can consider them to verify my own point of view. Plus, he does stimulate conversation in the comments which has value.

            Like most readers, I ignore most of his comments, but sometimes I laugh at some of the cringe-worthy nonsense he tries to convince the readership. When he gets particularly nasty, I feel a bit sorry for him because those comments don’t speak well of him. Some of the stuff he says would only be said by someone posting anonymously. Sometimes I wonder what his family would think of the really nasty stuff.

          44. Bill

            Your say so isn’t good enough.  It’s obvious that Larry and his attorney knew nothing of the Department of Justice requirements, or at least one of them would be implemented here.  An attorney fighting for free speech in front of a kangaroo court seems to be par for the course for this fiasco.  OCAR has no choice but to make an example out of this case, which is why they are moving forward.

          45. awgee

            “By his own admission, he is a foreign cash buyer who purchased in early 2009 here in Irvine”


  33. Chapulin Colorado in Sacramento

    GO Irvine Renter!

    On a personal note:
    Boycott OCAr, don’t buy a house, especially from them. Realtrolls are only looking out for their self interests.

    Does anyone really believe that OCAr is doing this to protect MLS? Or buyers? They are doing this for the reason of trying to shut IR up. IR just presents an opinion which many share but more importantly presents a good source of information. Even if MLS was used improperly, OCAr does not own MLS nor should they be policing others but themselves. If I wan’t to use MLS and give it the finger on my facebook, I can do so. I use MLS all the time through other websites. OCAr is nothing but a vigilante.

    OCAr, I give you the finger!

  34. jason

    “Realtrolls”! Hahaha. As any over saturated industry goes.. real estate is now 20% agents, 80% trolls.. don’t be mad.. ihb has not taken ur business.. technology has.. be mad at redfin ..

  35. Casual Observer

    All you “Perry Mason’s” out there….OCAR doesn’t own the MLS. The MLS doesn’t own the data that comes to it. The data is actually the property of the Listing Broker. Backup data, such as previous sales prices, school info is available to MLS subscribers on a program supplied by CoreLogic aka, First American. It can also be obtained by any agent, and probably should be prior to said agent taking a listing. OCAR, MLS are services that charge agents fees for access to information and to disseminate information about their listings to other agents. Redfin, Trulia, etc. are services available to the public that serve as advertising vehicles (rather than newspapers, etc.)and are designed to refer prospects back to the listing agent. Being and/or running a “Brokerage” is a matter of California Real Estate Law. You must have a current state license. Being a member of MLS is an option. It runs much like your local Teamster’s Union. If you want to earn your living driving a truck that supplies beer to grocery stores, you must pay dues to the Teamster’s Union. In return, they send you newsletters telling you who to vote for in local, state and national elections, negotiate your pay and health insurance benefits. OCAR must receive a “grievance complaint” from a member to act on another member. That complaint must be specific, documented, and stated in a hearing notice.

  36. Casual Observer

    One of the most important standards a “Broker” is held to by the State of CA, is that they give FULL DISCLOSURE. What IR does is inform his audience about the history of the real estate bubble (which many are still scratching their heads and trying to figure out), the potential fraudlent financing that has gone on in the past, and the way it happened. These would all be items of concern if you were interested in purchasing any property and its relative value, yet most of this information never appears in MLS
    listings. If you are a ‘reasonable person’ that information would probably factor in what price you might offer for a property. IR does not give personal information about the owners, only facts about the financing relative to specific properties in order to illustrate the condition of the marketplace. Obviously, many members of the US Congress recognized these problems during many days of hearings and ultimately produced the Dodd-Frank bill which has been signed into law.

  37. Property Owner

    Larry profiled my home (the crooked house) on here a few years ago when I was selling it. He said several positive and negative things about my finances/property. At no time did I feel attacked or picked on by his blog of my home (AzDave tried). I actually found it very interesting and learned a few things about the design of my neighborhood.
    As a seller and/or buyer I would not want an outside third party trying to stifle the dissemination of information about a property/situation.
    As a seller I would not want a potential buyer to waste my time by pulling out after being in escrow because they discovered something. I would rather they know up front and if still interested proceed with the transaction.
    As a buyer I would want to know everything I can about the property/situation so I can make an educated decision on my next step.
    I think ocar has rung a bell they may wish they could unring in the not to distant future.

  38. irvine_lawguy

    Roberts’ blog post is just ridiculous propaganda. I lost count of how many communist dictators he was photoshopping to play the role of OCAR after a while. His whole argument made no sense, so I read through a bunch of the comments to actually figure out what was going on.

    First, the OCAR is a private organization, and has no power over Roberts. It can’t arrest him, freeze his assets, or anything else. As Roberts’ attorney wrote, “any disciplinary action taken by an OCAR grievance panel would carry no legal force and effect” as to Roberts. So then, why is Roberts straining to cast himself as a free speech martyr in some kind of david-and-goliath power struggle? Simple: you see, Roberts sells his readers to a Realtor, Shevy Akason. He uses the blog to slam realtors in general, but then says “this one realtor, Shevy Akason, he is cool, he isn’t like all the rest, he gets the IrvineRenter seal of approval.” People who read his blog and believe that Roberts can be trusted but realtors can’t, therefore are likely to choose to do business with Shevy Akason. But Roberts doesn’t send people to Shevy Akason because he is truly looking out for everyone, he does it for money. He gets paid for the people he funnels to Shevy Akason, either in the form of a kickback, or up-front for the referral.

    Bear in mind that Roberts admitted all this in these comments. He actually compared himself to Lendingtree in that he “sold leads” (“leads” means his readers) to Shevy Akason. However, Lendingtree’s model was to comparison shop loans for the benefit of the consumer, not to funnel leads to one guy. Roberts doesn’t get realtors to compete for the blog’s readers and lower their commissions.

    The real reason for all Roberts’ uproar is that that OCAR is going after Shevy Akason, a realtor, and therefore a member of the club of realtors OCAR can actually wield some power over. Roberts knows OCAR can’t hurt him directly, but if OCAR disciplines Shevy Akason, it would mean Roberts could no longer make money selling leads to realtors. That is why Roberts is so mad. Not free speech. OCAR can’t stop Roberts from writing whatever he wishes in the blog, but they can take steps to prevent him from using their own members to profit off of his realtor-slamming.

    In a perfect world, Roberts would denounce the OCAR and stop selling leads to realtors. However, this is not a perfect world, and Roberts is not going to let go of that money so easily, hence the current confrontation. This is not about rights, or principles, or anything else high-minded for Roberts, it is simply about money.

    The main problem I have with Roberts, and why he is wrong here, is that OCAR is not suing him, and has not threatened to do so. By contrast, Roberts has threatened to sue OCAR repeatedly, as well as waging a media campaign against them and threatening to escalate it (the comment about staging a media event outside their office if they held a hearing).

    Apparently the irony of invoking SLAPP, a law designed to stop people from threatening lawsuits in order to control others, to impose his will on the internal workings of the OCAR and how they choose to deal with their members, is lost on Roberts and his attorney. Roberts invokes SLAPP frivolously, which clearly only applies to lawsuits, not internal deliberations of private organizations, to claim his free speech is being stifled, when OCAR has done nothing whatsoever to stifle it. By Roberts’ own admission “any disciplinary action taken by an OCAR grievance panel would carry no legal force and effect”. Therefore, what is really going on is simply that Roberts is trying to coerce OCAR and tell them how to run their business. He is doing this with (1) repeated, veiled threats of litigation, and (2) a media campaign, with one (apparently very bored and lacking in real news) OC Register reporter already posting a story, and his threat to “invite all supporters of the IHB to gather at the adjacent Villa Roma restaurant ahead of the meeting. I could supply generic picket signs and supporting lapel pins, and I could sponsor a contest paying $100 for the most creative picket sign criticizing OCAr’s actions. I could notify all local news crews to the event and we probably would be on the nightly TV news. This media circus would be the verdict of the court of public opinion.”

    Because the underlying blog post was dishonest and misrepresented the underlying issues, as well as engaging in what can only be called rather hysterical propaganda, Roberts has lost a lot of credibility in my eyes. However, I still trust him more than I would realtors to give honest opinions about the state of the Irvine housing market. As long as he is selling his readers off for profit, though, I will look at all his blog posts with a healthy amount of skepticism.

    1. IrvineRenter

      “So then, why is Roberts straining to cast himself as a free speech martyr in some kind of david-and-goliath power struggle?”

      The issue at heart has always been free speech. They are attempting to shut down the blog by whatever means they can. At first, they thought they could sanction me for breaking some ethics violation when I am not a member. Then they tried to invoke some MLS violation which they can’t identify. They are not pressuring me to stop doing business with realtors, they are pressuring me to shut up.

      You have boiled the entire issue down to money. It’s not. I could easily refer leads to non-realtors (I don’t sell them as you suggested), and Shevy could simply opt out of OCAr. If he did that, do you really think OCAr would drop the entire matter? I don’t. My attorneys don’t. If it were really that simple, and if OCAr proposed that as a back-door solution, I imagine Shevy would strongly consider that. None of us see that as a likely solution because OCAr isn’t interested in preventing me from dealing with their members. I wish it were that simple.

      I couldn’t care less what OCAr does internally as long as it doesn’t impact me. When they reach out and attempt to restrict what I can do or say, I will defend my turf. You said this post was “dishonest and misrepresented the underlying issues.” You are wrong. What you characterize as “hysterical propaganda” is indeed “hysterical,” but I think you and I are defining the term differently. I think it was hilarious.

      1. Bill

        You keep saying you have an OCAR problem, and yes that is the entity coming after you. But what you really have is an MLS problem. See, you need to be a member to play on either side. You could go non-OCAR, but still be excluded by the listing brokers because of it. You could also be blocked from showing online listings at all because of your defiance of the rules coupled with your active brokers license. As I said before, your endeavors appear incompatible.

        1. Bill

          Correct that to say exclude from MLS commissions due to lack of MLS membership, not lack of OCAR membership. There’s also that little issue of your business model being invalid because you do not sell houses.

  39. Renter in SD

    “Roberts sells his readers to a Realtor, Shevy Akason”.

    Larry, have you “sold” me without my knowledge?

    I ask because I have been a “reader” for about 3 months. 🙄

    I really doubt you have made any money off me, as a “reader”, so I’m calling BS on the irvine_lawguy’s statement above.

    And if you care to share more about the business model here, I’m curious about the “referral” relationship between you and Shevy – is this more like advertising, than “selling leads”?

  40. irvine_lawguy

    Roberts sells leads. All leads are readers. Therefore Roberts sells readers. It is simply more descriptive to say he sells readers, because not everyone knows what a “lead” is, since it is a sales term. Not all readers are leads, but the leads are obtained from the pool of readers.

    So then, “Renter in SD”, do you honestly believe that I intended to say that Roberts literally rounds his readers up with whips and nets, then sells their persons to Shevy Akason as slaves? Hahahah. Come on.

    As for your curiosity regarding his business arrangement with Shevy, that is private business information. According to the news article, which is based on Roberts’ discussion with the reporter, Shevy is paid for referrals. This implies up-front payment for each person he sends to Shevy, regardless of whether Shevy closes. The blog is well known, so I’m sure this arrangement is lucrative for them both. I don’t begrudge Roberts for cashing in on the blog, but the way he represented the issues in this post obviously rubbed me the wrong way.

    I have nothing personal against Roberts. I liked the blog mostly because I happened to agree with pretty much everything he said for years. I’ve worked in real estate and was always a bear surrounded by delusional bulls. I have a dim view of realtors in general, and I think Roberts’ opinions of them is dead-on. I simply do not agree with how he is handling this whole situation. I see it as bullying, and I see some of the things he is doing as hypocritical. Considering how naturally biased I am in Roberts’ favor, I did not come to that conclusion lightly. I think retaining counsel and sending those letters was a mistake, one he probably paid quite a bit for.

    In terms of outcome, I do not think OCAR will actually be able to go so far as to completely prevent Roberts from continuing acting as a lead generator. Im sure someone over there wants to, I just doubt they can pull it off. OCAR would have to be able to really nail Shevy and I don’t really see, from whats been published so far, how they can. The worst that could happen, is that Roberts can’t have a single realtor he funnels leads to publicly. If he used multiple realtors, or he did it without putting the person’s name all over the site, I doubt the OCAR could do much of anything.

    1. Bill

      Very interesting post. What is your take on the misuse of MLS data (since he does not sell real estate and is not following VOW rules)?

    2. winstongator

      You are equating leads with readers in an incorrect fashion. Is Shevy paying for pageviews? In that case, IR is acting like an exclusive advertising medium. I would imagine that Shevy is only paying for people who contact him. Leads and readers are necessarily different.

      Also, if it was just about money, why wouldn’t IR open up his ‘leads’ to other realtors? What happens to the price of a good when you have two people trying to buy it versus just one?

      You have the bullying backwards. (Speaking as an outsider) the OCaR is the dominant real estate agent force, and IR and Shevy are the small fish. The dominant force trying to get the small fish to change their behavior is the bullying. But what do you do when you get bullied? If you back down, you’ll only get more bullying. You say to the bully – let’s fight now and get this over with.

  41. irvine_lawguy

    Hi Bill,

    Roberts/IR doesn’t have direct access to MLS, I wouldn’t think, if he isn’t a realtor, so the only issue seems to be whether OCAR can punish Shevy for what Roberts does with what is presumably Shevy’s MLS access.

    Now, given how easy it is to get into MLS information online, or by using the access of friends, Roberts wouldn’t HAVE to use Shevy’s MLS to get the data he uses for his blog posts. I’d be focused on how it is unfair to punish Shevy for what Roberts’ says, when Shevy’s only crime is that he happened to be the only realtor that Roberts wanted to refer readers to.

    The MLS rules are extremely broad. The listing information isn’t posted on the blog for marketing purposes, which is the only purpose technically permitted by the rules. Most people would intuitively say “what about fair use?”, but that applies to intellectual property infringement, not the issue of whether a member can be somehow punished for supposed misuse.

    So it seems like OCAR is just using the MLS issue as a means to do what they want to do on a separate issue they might not have any direct, technical, internal authority on: slapping down a member who partners up with someone they really don’t like, who is deemed to be “bad for business” for the realtors as a group. Kinda like the whole Al Capone tax evasion thing.

    This is all speculation, though, because I don’t know the internal rules, policies, and procedures of the OCAR, and I don’t know whether they bother to really even follow their own rules (they might not).

    1. Bill

      You could be right about Shevy’s access, but MLS uses a security feature that can tell one person from another (it analyzes keystrokes). Regardless of whose access is used, this is VOW brokerage that doesn’t comply with what were presumably very well thought out rules imposed by the DOJ.

  42. irvine_lawguy

    Hi winstongator,

    Please read what I wrote: “Not all readers are leads, but the leads are obtained from the pool of readers.” Draw a Venn diagram with a big circle called “readers” and a small circle inside it called “leads”. That should sort it for you.

    Selling leads to 1 person exclusively can be more profitable than selling them on the open market, it depends what the arrangement is.

    OCAR is a big fish in the realtor pool, which Roberts is not even in, and it isn’t like the entire OCAR is coming after Roberts in a big way, this is just some internal complaint which could have been filed by one anonymous realtor. OCAR has not taken any action yet. There is no basis to support the belief that OCAR as coming after Roberts and this blog. That is like saying the entire California juidical system is coming after you simply because someone filed a lawsuit against you. I know Roberts strongly believes this is institutional OCAR retaliation for comments he has made against realtors, but that is nothing but speculation at this point.

  43. irvine_lawguy

    Hi Mr. Roberts (IrvineRenter),

    I want to believe you, it just doesn’t make sense. Thing is, OCAR hasn’t done anything except let you know that some realtor filed an internal complaint against you and the realtor you’re partnered with. OCAR can’t do anything at all to you, as your lawyer correctly stated in his letter, so that means the worst that OCAR could do is revoke Shevy’s MLS, and I’m not even sure they can go that far, or that they want to. So if you are saying that Shevy doesn’t even care, and would resign his OCAR membership, then you should be laughing off OCAR’s little complaint as a nothing. Instead, you’re going nuclear on OCAR. It doesn’t make sense.

    So either you know what I’m saying is right, and you’re giving OCAR both barrels to intimidate them into backing down, OR you honestly believe OCAR is out to get you and you’re overreacting by escalating things when the OCAR hasn’t really done anything yet.

    I just don’t see why you’re breaking out the Rambo pic and threatening to give them a war they wont believe. If they had filed a lawsuit against you in court, I think your response would be appropriate, albeit dramatic, however they haven’t done anything remotely that serious. So I just don’t understand why you got so serious and lawyered up, which probably cost you several thousand dollars at least, when you could have just laughed this off.

    Try to remember that lawyers, like realtors, have an incentive to get themselves paid.

    1. IrvineRenter

      Perhaps you missed the first post on this subject.

      OC realtors seek to silence free speech by accusing IrvineRenter of lying

      OCAr is doing something. They are trying to revoke my MLS access in an attempt to stop me from doing daily property profiles (not that it will succeed). When they first filed their complaint, I did laugh it off, but when they didn’t drop their complaint and actually expanded it, that’s when I had a choice to make: either surrender my MLS access and let them dictate to me how I can operate my blog and my business, or I could confront them. Why should I let them revoke my MLS access when I have done nothing wrong? It doesn’t matter whether or not I use it (I don’t very often), it’s the principle of them taking it away for no reason other than they don’t like what I say on my blog.

      The analogy winstongator makes is apt. They are being a bully, and I am punching them in the nose. If I don’t respond, and if I let them attempt to undermine me, it just emboldens them to reach further. Have I overreacted? Maybe. But if they drop their complaint and leave me alone, then my action was necessary and appropriate. I doubt they would try it again.

      Further, beyond the opportunity for funny cartoons, if you read the first post, you see that their foolish complaint is an opportunity for me to make a clear distinction between how I operate and how they do. When I first announced I was going to help people buy homes, I was lambasted by the readers who thought I was going to become one of them. That association has tarnished me more than anything I have written on this blog. It has taken two years for people to finally see that I haven’t sold out. Any opportunity to show how I am not them benefits me.

Comments are closed.