The Real Deal Los Angeles

Stone-Miller sues competing brokerage for trash talking

Corporate Realty Advisors allegedly defamed the firm to lure clients away and generate new business
By Dennis Lynch | June 26, 2018 04:00PM

CRA’s Jeffrey Tabor, Stone-Miller’s Craig Miller and Bradley Stone, and 355 South Grand Avenue, where CRA’s Los Angeles business is headquartered

Stone-Miller is suing Corporate Realty Partners for defamation over the firm’s allegedly deceptive business practices.

The Westside-based company, which represents commercial tenants, says that Corporate Realty Advisors repeatedly made false claims of “beating out” Stone-Miller and other firms for clients, and falsely criticized Stone-Miller’s performance to win over the firm’s clients between 2016 and 2018.

The suit, filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles, claims CRA founder Jeffrey Tabor personally made some of those claims.

In one case in March, when a Stone-Miller client declined to jump to CRA, Tabor allegedly told the client that he had “horrible representation” and that the Stone-Miller representative “should lose his license.”

CRA’s website says Tabor founded the firm after leaving Grubb & Ellis Company and was previously Director of Leasing at the Greater Los Angeles World Trade Center. The clients he represents include Wells Fargo Bank and Allstate Insurance. In the past he has represented Motorola, Nissan Motors, and Cigna Corporation, according to the site.

CRA made false claims about winning clients over from Stone-Miller on its website, via mass emails, phone calls to Stone-Miller clients, and in person, according to the suit. The complaint points to one announcement on the CRA website that the firm was hired despite “competing against” Stone-Miller, Hughes Marino, Avison Young, and Cresa Partners. Stone-Miller said that it never competed for that client, a talent agency called KMR.

The suit also claims that CRA agent Michael Gutierrez tried to bring a client from Stone-Miller to CRA by claiming the firm could “save [the client] thousands of dollars on month-to-month operating expenses,” but would not meet with Stone-Miller agent Jeffrey Lipson upon request.

Stone-Miller also believes that CRA exaggerated the scope of its business, alleging that CRA does not have the “national reach” it claims on its website. The firm lists over 200 U.S. cities and another 100 or so international cities on it’s website, although it does not outright claim it is active in those markets.

Stone-Miller says all of the clients CRA lists on its website are in California and do not have regional offices in those locations.

Along with defamation, Stone-Miller is seeking damages for lost business and legal fees and costs.

CRA representatives could not be reached for comment.