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Tweet Lawsuit: Horizon Realty Issues A Statement

Apologizes for "tongue in cheek comments"

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Just before lunch today, we told you about the Chicago based realty company who had filed a lawsuit against a former tenant for $50,000. News of the lawsuit spread quickly around the Internet, but when Horizon’s Jeffrey Michael was quoted saying, "We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization" things reached a boiling point on Twitter.

Did Horizon Realty caused a PR nightmare for themselves? Tell us.

The term "Horizon Realty" shot up Twitters trending topics list as Twitterers spread word about Mr. Jeffrey’s questionable quote. To help curb further damage to his companies reputation the following statement was released: 

The statement is quick to apologize for the "tongue in cheek" quote, but then begins telling their side of the story. Do you think this statement will cause further harm to Horizon Realty’s name?

Tweet Lawsuit: Horizon Realty Issues A Statement
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  • Guest

    The twitter fiasco sheds light on the importance of qualifying your staments online. By this I mean that when one writes or twitters something, it is a wise to preface a potential loaded statement with

    I don’t know, but it is my opinion that…

    or

    Somehow, I feel or think that

    …or other statements of opinion.

    While the twitterer neglected that golden rule of stating opinion instead of fact Jeffrey ( who I suggest may be affectionately called “a boy named Sue”) Michael also appeared to put his foot in his mouth by stating that, to paraphrase, “We are a sue first, ask questions later kind of organization”.

    That almost sounds to me like the democratic lawmaker who said the health bill has too many pages to read but he will sign it anyway.

    Anyway, the moral of the story is she may have stayed out of trouble had she just put a few more words declaring her opinion. I dunno, Ithink so, it is my personal opinion and the like can’t hurt and may save a lot of grief in the long run.

  • Guest

    I would disagree. I don’t think the letter response is well-written at all. The dates of events are not chronological and that’s potentially misleading. They stated she sued them for mold damage BEFORE she moved out and THEN they assessed the room as mold free. There’s also a previous statement saying that “all tenant grievances were quickly and amicably resolved, EXCEPT Ms. Bonnen’s” (from potential water damage from a third party leak) but two paragraphs later they say that she had been silent. Had it been resolved and then reopened? Or had it never been resolved? If the first, then they should have evidence of that. If the second, then the lawsuit should not be surprising in the least. The letter is at best disjointed and at worst unconvincing (for me personally).

  • Guest

    I’ve already told renter I know to avoid Horizon Realty. If they’ll sue over a silly Twitter message that is here today and gone tomorrow, imagine what they’ll do to you if you accidentally scrape one of their floors. This guy should have thought before he spoke, and his maintenance crew should address tenant complaints. That way, Amanda would have had nothing to Twitter about. The best PR begins with stellar customer service–something Amanda obviously didn’t get. The statement they made in an attempt to clarify the mess they got themselves into just digs them deeper, and most people won’t read it anyway.

    As a PR professional, this is my advice:

    Now that they’ve so thoroughly screwed things up, the best thing Horizon could do, in terms of public relations, is to have a very well publicized “change of heart,” drop the suit in the most public way possible, publicly apologize to Amanda and vow to do better in responsiveness and building maintenance. The only way out of this one is humble pie. Waiting a few months and then quietly changing the name of the company might work, too.

    • Guest

      Spot on! They wouldn’t have had the problem in the first place if they had looked after their tenant. Serves them right!

  • Nick

    Jeremy,

    As the author of this post you posed a question to us asking if the release cause further harm…I’m not sure if it caused further harm but I’d like to ask you…

    If you were shopping for apartments int he Chicago area and came across the Horizon issue while searching them online, would you use them?

    I know I wouldn’t.

    Nick

  • Guest

    I believe this is a common thing to do these days, sue first ask questions later. Its about time this sort of thing was stopped for everyone’s sake.

  • http://www.garycameron.org/ Gary Cameron

    The answer is it depends on what the vacancy rates and demand are in Chicago. Given the fact that most colleges and universities start up soon, I would say there is likely demand. How many of those potential customers will avoid Horizon is hard to tell. I would be curious to find out what the vacancy rate for Horizon is three months from now compared to what it is today.

    Personally I would like to see Horizon take a financial hit for their stupidity.

  • Marty Couch

    It’s amazing that Horizon can explain the “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization” as “tongue and cheek” yet a single post on twitter is worth $50,000.00 in damages to them. I certainly don’t want to call them stupid or irresponsible, because that could get me sued. So, for the record, they are not stupid or irresponsible. We’ll just continue to let their actions prove that, shall we?