Hilton & Hyland sues co-founder Rick Hilton’s new agency

Luxe brokerage seeks $341K in back rent based on startup’s office sublease

Hilton & Hyland Sues Co-Founder Rick Hilton’s New Agency
Hilton & Hilton Real Estate's Rick Hilton; 270 N Canon Drive (Getty, Loopnet)

UPDATED JAN. 26 at 11:30 a.m.:

Two companies Rick Hilton founded are engaged in a lawsuit with each other over an office lease in Beverly Hills. 

The entrepreneur and husband of reality TV star Kathy Hilton left Hilton & Hyland — the influential luxury home brokerage he co-founded with the late Jeff Hyland — in December 2022. Widow Lori Hyland now owns the brokerage.

In March 2023, Rick Hilton launched a new agency called Hilton & Hilton Real Estate. Its DBA is Hilton Hilton and the agent roster includes Rick’s son Barron Hilton and Barron’s wife Tessa Hilton. 

The lawsuit of Hilton & Hyland Real Estate versus Hilton & Hilton Real Estate is making its way through the Los Angeles Superior Court system. Filed in October, Hilton & Hyland’s complaint alleges the defendants abandoned their sublease without good cause. On Jan. 25, a Hilton & Hyland spokesman said the firm demands the entire rent owed, $341,000 for the contracted time of August 2023 to June 2024.

The complaint initially demanded back rent of $93,000 from the startup agency.

A dispute over signage spawned the suit. Hilton Hilton wanted to post exterior signage at 270 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, where it subleased the entire second floor with nearly 5,200 square feet from Hilton & Hyland.

In a July letter included in the complaint, Rosemary Ohm, Hilton Hilton’s managing director,  contends that the lease said that her company would have the option to add exterior signs on the Dayton Way side of the building. 

However, Ohm wrote that her firm believes it was misled because it was later informed by the City of Beverly Hills that an exterior sign on Dayton Way would not be allowed according to city code.

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In a separate email sent Aug, 10. Rick Hilton wrote to a Hilton & Hyland representative that “the fact of the matter is that we would have not agreed to the sublease if we had known that signage was not permitted by the city. This is happening after we spent a great deal of time and money renovating the office as well as furnishing it. The lack of signage also interfered with our collaboration with a proposed partner who didn’t like the lack of visibility for the space.”

Michael Williams, an attorney working with Hilton & Hyland, replied that there was no misleading language in the lease or its negotiation, and a termination of rent would not be allowed. 

After Labor Day 2023, Ohm informed Hilton & Hyland that her firm had vacated the building. 

The contract between the two companies started in January 2023. The complaint said that Hilton Hilton signed a lease for a period of a year and five months, which was scheduled to end on June 30, 2024. Base rent was $31,000, according to the complaint from the plaintiff’s law firm Lewitt Hackman Shapiro Marshall & Harlan.

A case management conference is scheduled on March 21. Ohm of Hilton Hilton wrote in an email to The Real Deal: “We have very good reason for defending ourselves in this lawsuit, the results of which will be apparent as soon as the matter is resolved in the appropriate forum.” 

She did not confirm whether the company is represented by an attorney or whether it is working in a new office.

Rick Hilton’s profile on the state’s Department of Real Estate website lists 270 North Canon Drive as his business address. However, the profile notes that the Canon Drive address has been marked as “unreliable.” 

Correction: Previous story didn’t include the update that Hilton & Hyland demands $341,000 for back rent in its lawsuit.

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