On February 24, 2019, Los Angeles real estate developer Bruce Makowsky (“Makowsky”) filed a lawsuit against the real estate listings website known as “Zillow,” claiming that Zillow incorrectly reported a massive Bel Air mansion had sold on three separate occasions for much less than its current $150 million price tag. The company further alleges that of this misinformation, the marketability of the real estate was impaired and reduced its value to $60 million, according to the complaint.
Makowsky, the developer who built the mansion located at 924 Bel Air Road, is suing Zillow for for negligence, claiming the website lacks needed safeguards to prevent users from manipulating its system and reporting false information about properties, and claims that Zillow's lack of these safeguards has cost him millions.
For a year after its completion in 2017, Makowsky's Bel Air property was priced at $250 million, making it the most expensive listing in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times. The price dropped to $188 million in early 2018 and then to $150 million earlier this year, the Times reported.
Makowsky's complaint states: “Zillow users repeatedly published inaccurate information about the listing, including that the mansion had been sold for amounts ranging from $110 million down to $91 million.”
“These were not small errors,” the complaint states. “The permanent market perception was that the property is now below $100,000,000. This removed the property out of the elite status of a [$100 million-plus] property to something that was heavily discounted.
It is a very small market in this space…For the property to be labeled sold numerous times, millions of dollars below the listing price, corrupts the listing price dramatically.”
The developer is represented by Ronald Richards and Justin Ibrahim of the Law Offices of Ronald Richards & Associates APC and Morani Stelmach of Stelmach & Stelmach LLP.
Counsel information for Zillow is yet available.
The case is 924 Bel Air Road LLC v. Zillow Group Inc. et al, case number 2:19-cv-01368, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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