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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Corporate Realty Advisors faces second suit over business practices

LA tenant rep firm is being sued by competitor Hughes Marino in San Diego
By Dennis Lynch | June 27, 2018 01:15PM

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

It turns out Jeffrey Tabor’s Corporate Realty Advisors is fighting lawsuits on two fronts.

Stone-Miller, the Westside-based commercial tenant representation firm, filed a defamation suit against rival Corporate Realty Advisors in Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this month, but that’s actually the second such suit against CRA over its business practices, The Real Deal has learned.

Tenant rep firm Hughes Marino also filed suit against CRA in August 2017, in San Diego County Superior Court.

The cases illustrate where agencies draw the line with competitors over marketing techniques.

Hughes Marino claims nearly identical violations as Stone-Miller — defamation and violation of California Business and Professional Codes over CRA’s allegedly misleading business practices. The suit point to a number of emails and postings on CRA’s website that claim CRA beat out Hughes Marino numerous times for clients, which Hughes Marino claims are false.

Tabor’s lawyers fired back a month after Hughes Marino filed the suit, denying all charges and claiming that the allegedly defamatory claims were true, opinion, or made in good faith.

One claim on the website from August 2016 says CRA “[beat out] Hughes Marino, once again,” to represent talent agency KMR and claimed the firm was “9-0 against Hughes Marino… and counting!” Another from February 2017 said that a law firm hired CRA to rep them in a deal “following an interview process that also included Hughes Marino.”

Hughes Marino called both claims “patently false,” and said it was never involved with the law firm, as CRA claimed.

CRA made a similar claim in a mass email to commercial tenants in Southern California. The email, presented in the suit, said that Jalmar Properties hired CRA to represent it in a lease negotiation with Douglas Emmett after interviews with Hughes Marino and Cresa Corporate Real Estate. Hughes Marino said that it was never in contact with Jalmar Properties and that the Jalmar confirmed so.

Hughes Marino seeks damages for loss to its reputation, damages for loss of business, and punitive damages.

Stone-Miller made similar claims against CRA in its suit earlier this month, but focused more heavily on Tabor’s own actions. In one case, Stone-Miller claims that Tabor told one of the firm’s clients that his Stone-Miller agent “should lose his license” after the client declined to leave the firm for CRA.