ONE Sotheby’s International Realty agent Jessica Adams is under fire after TechCrunch co-founder and crypto investor, Michael Arrington took to Twitter on Tuesday alleging that Adams had leaked information about his purchase of a Miami waterfront mansion to the press, creating security concerns that forced him and his family to relocate.
Despite their best efforts, typically, the locations and addresses of celebrity homes eventually become public knowledge, but Arrington’s eight-part Twitter thread titled, “A thread about doxxing [sic], how it harms people and how it harmed my family” brings into focus the ethics of agents leaking information, photos and videos to the press, a decades-old tactic that generates buzz for a listing and credibility for the agent, but one that Arrington claims violated his privacy and threatened his family’s security.
“If you’re a big celebrity, the press is going to find out,” Michael Nourmand, president of Beverly Hills-based brokerage Nourmand & Associates Realtors, told RealTrends. “Between all the eyeballs that look over the paperwork for the sale, from the bankers, to the escrow and title companies and the real estate agents, and all the people who come into the home, like the gardener or the internet people, it isn’t a question of if the location of your new home will be leaked, it is a question of when: before you close, after your close, or a short time after that.”
Arrington tweeted that Adams’s reason for leaking the information about the home sale was “increased marketing exposure.” Nourmand said that this is a commonly cited reason for going to the press about a celebrity home sale or purchase.
“The more people talk about a home sale; the better it is for your publicity,” Nourmand. “It is usually very challenging to pinpoint exactly who did the leaking and the risk that the clients get truly upset is fairly slim.”
Arrington began the Twitter thread by discussing his move to Miami last spring and stating that due to “the unique and violent security threats against people in crypto,” the family took “extreme measures” to protect their privacy. According to Arrington, the family purchased the home, located in the gated Old Cutler Bay community through a blind trust, meaning that an attorney for the family or a business manager sets up a trust with a generic name for the funds for the house to go through, and had a confidentiality agreement in place.
For your average Joe or Jane buyer, this level of privacy protection may seem a bit excessive, but Nourmand says that these types of precautions are pretty standard when dealing with high-profile clients.
The six-bedroom, 8,300 square foot home was listed on the local multiple listing service by Adams on April 10 as a “pending sale,” suggesting that she had already found a buyer for the home when it hit the MLS. The home officially sold on May 14, 2021, for $16 million.
On Twitter, Arrington wrote that the home purchase was leaked to the press by Adams, and while the exact location was not shared, based on the information that was disclosed it was “trivial to determine [its] exact location.”
Initially, Adams denied leaking the information, but after her quotes appeared in several articles discussing the sale of the home, she admitted to going to the press, claiming that the confidentiality agreement was not valid. In an email to RealTrends she wrote: “I handled this listing and there was no confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement in place.”
Arrington also alleges that Adams did a walkthrough video tour of the house on her personal Instagram account after the sale officially closed, exposing the home’s various security features and their locations.
As a result of this leak, Arrington tweeted that he and his family have been forced to move out of the house as their security team “could not find a way to make it work” and that they are taking ongoing legal action.
“There is usually more bark than bite,” Nourmand said. “You get the stuff where people send nasty letters saying, ‘we’re going to do this and that.’ But in my experience, you don’t see it where it goes the distance, and somebody sues. Usually, it is just a threatening letter to scare you into stopping.”
The home was originally designed in 2015 by Florida-based architect Cesar Molina. The sellers that Arrington bought the home from, purchased the home in November 2018 for $10.4 million, according to property records. Most of the homes in the Old Cutler Bay are priced above $10 million, however, at the time, the home’s $16 million purchase price was the highest price seen in the neighborhood, according to Adams.
Adams sold $34.6 million worth of Florida real estate last year, good for #173 in RealTrends’ 2021 ranking of the top individual agents in Florida.