Concierge Auctions Files Motion For Injunction Against Grand Estates In Florida Alleges "Unrelenting Commitment to Damaging the Reputation of Concierge Auctions" Through Defamation and Unlawful Business Practices

NEW YORK, May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Robert S. Wolf, of Moses and Singer LLP, attorney for Concierge Auctions, stated, "We have served a motion for injunctive relief to stop Grand Estates and its CEO Valaria Devine from tortiously interfering with Concierge Auctions' existing and prospective business relations, from defaming Concierge and its executives, and from engaging in unlawful business practices." Concierge Auctions v. 4K&D Corporation dba Grand Estates Auction Company and Valaria Devine, in the Circuit Court, of Palm Beach Co. Florida (2012 CA 19297XXX).

Robert S. Wolf stated, "Concierge Auctions, the nation's foremost luxury real estate auction firm, has been victimized by a disgruntled competitor, Grand Estates Auction Company and its CEO, Valaria Devine, who have conspired with unidentified third parties using fictitious names to interfere with Concierge's preferred provider relationship with Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates and to maliciously defame Concierge's good reputation through a pattern of false, malicious and malevolent illegal activity, fraudulent business practices and inappropriate business behavior.  Grand Estates has commenced meritless lawsuits based on false and scandalous allegations to create negative press concerning Concierge Auctions."

Mr. Wolf continued, "Concierge Auctions was named a defendant in a complaint filed last week in New York federal court by Grand Estates.  This New York filing is a retaliatory and transparent attempt to divert attention from Concierge Auctions' lawsuit against Grand Estates in Palm Beach County, Florida. In fact, Grand Estates has concealed the existence of the Florida action against it from the federal court and deliberately fails to mention it anywhere in its New York complaint."

According to Mr. Wolf, "In the New York filing against Concierge Auctions, Grand Estates has used John and Nancy Bloeser and Deborah and Sherwyn Jarol, former clients of Concierge Auctions, as pawns in their conspiracy against Concierge Auctions.  In depositions of John and Nancy Bloeser, they made it clear that they were barely aware of the New York filing, that they never read it, that they never met the attorney who filed it and that they were not suing Concierge Auctions for monetary damages.  The claim by the Jarols is equally suspect, as they had not complained about Concierge Auctions in the nearly two years since their auction took place.

The New York complaint is riddled with demonstrably false allegations, misrepresentations and half-truths, many of which are stated 'upon information and belief' – a weak excuse to compensate for the lack of any factual support. Grand Estates engaged in forum shopping in order to file this frivolous complaint in the New York federal court."

Wolf continued, "Grand Estates and Valaria Devine have demonstrated an unrelenting commitment to damaging the reputation of Concierge by abusing the courts and using the press to undermine Concierge Auctions' success in the luxury real estate auction marketplace.  The New York filing demonstrates Grand Estates' recognition that it is losing in the marketplace, that it is losing in the courts, and that it is desperate to gain some artificial leverage through these patently false and baseless claims." 

Grand Estates has been accused of fraud and dubious business practices in lawsuits around the country, including:

  • In Melissa J. Lackey-Oremus and James T. Oremus vs. Grand Estates et al. in the Court of Common Pleas, State of South Carolina, County of Aiken, (Civil Action WO: 2010CP-02-03055) Grand Estates, Valaria Devine, Stacy Kirk, Scott Kirk (Devine's children) and 4 K&D Corporation were accused of civil conspiracy, fraud and willful breach of duty by the high bidder at an auction that was advertised by Grand Estates as absolute, but who was prevented from purchasing the property when Grand Estates accepted a bid from a phantom, unregistered, (shill) telephone bidder, who never closed. The Complaint involves "The Balcony," a real estate property situated in Aiken County, South Carolina.  Grand Estates is based in North Carolina and is authorized to do business in South Carolina. The case is scheduled to go to trial in December.
  • In Barry Nathanson vs. Grand Estates Co. in United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, (10-CV 2643) Grand Estates, was accused of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, deceptive business practices, unfair completion, false advertising, tortious interference with business relations, and breach of contract after accepting a fictitious bid from a fictitious bidder in order to prevent the actual high bidder from purchasing the property in an auction that had been billed as one without reserve.  
  • In New Mexico, in Christie's Inc. and Christie's Great Estates, Inc. vs. Great Estates Auction Company in the United States District Court, (No Civ 03-1078) Grand Estates, then known as Great Estates Auction Company, was charged with using the Christie's mark to create a false association with Christie's goods and services. Christie's asked Great Estates to cease and desist from using these marks on at least three separate occasions and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office refused to register Great Estates' mark for Great Estates Auction Company. However, Great Estates continued to use the marks.

According to Mr. Wolf, "In sum, the recent New York legal filing, and Grand Estates' previous legal maneuvers are nothing more than a vindictive and baseless attempt to damage the reputation of Concierge Auctions.  We expect the New York complaint will be dismissed promptly by the Court and our intention is to seek the imposition of sanctions for the damage done to our client caused by the bogus lawsuits and negative publicity. 

While lawful competition is central to modern business, unlawful competition is prohibited, and courts regularly sanction violators.  An injunction is in the Public Interest." 

SOURCE Concierge Auctions


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