The lawsuit Instanet vs. REIS and Florida REALTORS has taken an interesting twist this weekend. Instanet launched a public information website about the lawsuit called TransparencyisGood.com.
Before I talk about the website, I would add that REIS is not commenting publicly on this matter. In an informal statement they advise the following:
“Federal litigation is a serious matter and should never be entered into lightly. REIS declines to engage in a public debate about legal matters that are best left for the Court to decide. Anyone interested in reviewing the complete public record, rather than just selected documents, may contact our attorney, Joel Rothman of Arnstein & Lehr LLP for further information at 561.833.9800 or firstname.lastname@example.org“
Here is the positioning for the TransparencyIsGood.com website:
It is important that anyone, whether inside or outside of Florida, who is involved in the real estate industry, knows all the facts surrounding the litigation between Real Estate Industry Solutions (REIS), the Florida Association of Realtors Inc., Florida Realtors Inc. and Concepts In Data Management US Inc (CDM) Federal Court case 6:10-CV-1045-ORL-22-GJK.
All of the documents, emails, motions, depositions made available through this website are NOT CONFIDENTIAL and in fact are available either as part of the record for Federal Court case 10-CV-1045-ORL-GJK through the pacer.gov website or have been made available through the ongoing discovery of this case.
There is a lot of information in the documents. I actually had fun reading the depositions – which at this point are mostly from REIS and Florida REALTORS. There is one from the Instanet CEO Martin Scrocchi, and more are coming soon from Instanet employees and expert witness Matt Cohen of Clareity Consulting.
I wrote a post on this topic a few weeks ago if you want the summary without pouring through the docs. Anyway you look at this, it is not good PR for Florida REALTORS. There are interesting allegations in the suit that would suggest that the corporate veil between Florida REALTORS and their for-profit subsidiary, REIS may have been pierced. I would hate to see REALTOR Associations be limited from creating for profit businesses and generating non-dues revenue as a result of this case. But I also understand that Instanet needs to protect their shareholders.