Sue first, ask questions later

by Joe Zekas on 7/28/09

By now everyone from The Wall Street Journal to the Sun-Times has reported Horizon Realty Group’s lawsuit against a tenant over an allegedly defamatory post on Twitter.

The Sun-Times quotes Horizon’s Jeff Michael as saying that “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization.” The lawsuit was filed, according to the Sun-Times, because Horizon “has a good reputation it wants to preserve.”

It’s been several years since I researched Horizon, but at that time I opined it was “as bad as it gets” and reported on a tenant describing a Horizon property as a “hell hole.” Here are some of my other posts on Horizon:

- Another landlord horror story

- Horizon threatens to arrest me

- Horizon Realty Group sinks even lower

With his “sue first” statement, Jeff Michael may have done more harm to Horizon’s reputation than anyone else possibly could.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

IrishPirate July 28, 2009 at 10:31 PM

From the tone of the story in the Sun Times I would have guessed that Jeff Michael was a “bosses son”.

From your “sinks even lower” link it seems I am likely right. Or perhaps not.

I imagine the family conversations going on right now would be amusing to listen to.

One of the commenters over at Uptown Update posted a link to a Horizon press release.

Apparently the statement the Sun Times posted was “tongue in cheek”.

Snicker. I imagine some cheeks may be getting metaphorically spanked right now in the family business meetings.

When I saw this story yesterday I did an internet search for Horizon and ran across your posts and more. The “tweet” Ms Bonner posted was minor compared to the other negative comments regarding Horizon that was out there prior to this becoming public.

I’m not a PR professional, but I would suggest possibly changing the name of the company after a period of time. Because the uproar over this is likely not going to be helpful to their core business. Which I take it is renting apartments and not providing amusing fodder for journalists and internet commentators.

If their business is providing fodder then I can only compliment them on their approach. Well played, gentlemen.


Bobb B. July 29, 2009 at 12:02 AM

tongue-in-cheek… interesting phrase… Oxford Dictionary says it can mean either being flippant and/or ironic. Hmmm.. so, J Michaels decided that when he spoke to the Sun Times, it was the best opportunity to be flippant? considering that their piss-ant company has become the poster child for the Streisand Effect based on his comment, well, that _is_ ironic.


SheridanB July 29, 2009 at 7:25 AM

Oh god, I’d forgotten about this company. Their reviews on (is that the right name) were pretty horrible. People on the Sun-Times site are posting their horror stories about mold in the sun-times comments section.


dan nguyen July 29, 2009 at 11:25 AM

I read the previous postings and I find Horizon Realty really sucks and arrogant. I hope they’ll go bankrupt or something.


SheridanB July 29, 2009 at 12:48 PM

So then is Horizon’s contention they she sued them first incorrect? That does somewhat change things, but their response is still out of proportion, and frankly, insane. Are they thinking it is free PR?


Joe Zekas July 29, 2009 at 6:02 PM


Thinking? No one I dealt with at Horizon seemed capable of that activity.

According to the WSJ post, Horizon was sued first.


mark July 29, 2009 at 11:19 PM

no she did sue them first.

she sued them on the 24th and moved out about a week later.

a judge in chicago could easily consider Horizon’s actions as retaliatory conduct, which is illegal


SheridanB August 4, 2009 at 8:17 AM

This isn’t a good few weeks for management companies, there were protesters outside of the Kopley Group this morning regarding a new development, 1800 Lofts I think.


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