Illinois law bars licensed real estate agents from advertising property without written permission and bans the “use of URL, domain name, metatag, keyword or other device or method intended to deceptively direct, drive or divert internet traffic or mislead consumers.”
Kale Realty has been on our rental service do-not-call list for years, and I’ve previously called attention to the company’s having employed an agent with multiple criminal convictions and another who appeared to be running a charity scam. We also spotlighted Kale Realty as one of the 10 most prolific rental ad spammers on Craigslist.
An email several days ago prompted me to take a quick look at Kale Realty’s rental advertising. Here’s some of what I found.
Motasim Subzwari, a Kale agent, had created a number of websites with URLs deceptively similar to those of high-rise rental buildings that had not even authorized Kale Realty to advertise.
I sampled about 100 Craigslist ads from Kale Realty and easily identified scores that advertised properties that have a policy of not permitting brokers to advertise. I emailed links to the ads to the companies that manage the properties, and they confirmed that the ads had not been authorized.
One company’s response to my email inquiry about authorization is, I believe, a fair summary of what you can expect from a Kale Realty rental ad:
No and we do not take dogs, have a dry cleaner, say WIFI, off-site assigned parking, or have wall to wall carpet … The ad is total shade.
Based on the ads I sampled, Kale Realty agents appear to routinely engage in the theft of copyrighted images. Several ads from agent Horacio Tristan included copyrighted images stolen from YoChicago.
Kale Realty’s Nick Patterson responded to several emails from me stating that images stolen from YoChicago, and deceptive URLs and unauthorized ads I specifically cited, were being removed. Since that time Kale agents have posted new unauthorized ads containing images pirated from management companies.
From everything I’ve seen, I think it’s fair to conclude that Kale Realty is a scofflaw firm whose agents are knowingly encouraged or directed by management to run ads in violation of the requirements of Illinois law and federal copyright law.
Kale Realty frequently runs Craigslist ads soliciting rookies to join the firm as rental agents. Does Kale management train its new agents to break the law? Does Kale management steal copyrighted images and supply them to agents for use in ads or simply rely on agents to engage in copyright theft?
I’m sending a link to this post to Kale’s Nick Kale Patterson and inviting him to respond in a comment. Our last comment exchange ended with Nick’s not responding to my questions about unlicensed Kale agents.