James McClain, a recently laid-off finance manager at Compass, has been outed as the force behind the popular real estate blog, Yolanda’s Little Black Book.
An investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed the true identity behind the so-called “real estate yenta,” putting an end to years of mystery in the celebrity real estate world. But Compass, in the midst of a public relations nightmare, is not showing any remorse for its former employee of nearly two years.
“Last evening we discovered evidence suggesting that we were the victim of a malicious former employee, James McClain,” said Julie Binder, a Compass spokesperson. “We will prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law.”
McClain, using the “Yolanda” persona, has been publishing information about celebrity real estate deals for years, revealing extremely private tidbits of those deal, such as personal information on the parties and financing terms.
“I’m happy he was unmasked because he was putting a lot of escrows in jeopardy,” said Jeff Hyland, co-founder of luxury brokerage Hilton & Hyland. Hyland had many of his deals published on Yolanda, including billionaire Steven Udvar-Házy’s off-market $165 million listing in Beverly Park.
The young finance manager started at Compass in October 2016, roughly eight months after launching the blog. Sources close to the company believe he joined to steal information.
He was terminated in April as part of an internal company restructuring.
McClain likely will face legal prosecution as a result of the revelation, considering all Compass employees are bound by nondisclosure agreements that prohibit them from sharing any confidential information externally. A person familiar with the matter confirmed to The Real Deal that McClain did have to sign an NDA as part of his Compass employment. [LAT] –– Natalie Hoberman