A small real estate brokerage is suing two of its former employees and the massive company they now work for, accusing them of stealing secrets and commissions.
One of the realtors being sued said her former employer is just being “vindictive.”
Colorado Flat Fee Realty, which is based in Castle Rock, offers discount real estate services up and down the Front Range. It is led by CEO John Vizzi, a longtime broker.
On Aug. 25, CFFR sued Kim Niles of Brighton and Rachel Roberds of Thornton, along with eXp Realty, an online brokerage that boasts of 88,000 agents around the world.
CFFR alleges that Niles and Roberds, who were both hired by CFFR in 2019 and left early this year, passed along leads to eXp while employed by CFFR and sold CFFR properties after leaving for eXp. That cost CFFR at least $16,500 in lost commissions, it said.
Reached by email this week, Niles said that her employment contract with CFFR was “extremely vague” and CFFR’s claim that she violated the contract “is a very obscure interpretation of that poorly written document that my counsel feels will not stand up in court.”
“(Vizzi) fails to mention that he did not pay me or Rachel for our three final transactions that we closed prior to the end of our notice period. Failure to pay a contract employee for work performed is surely illegal,” the real estate broker wrote.
“Basically, he is vindictive,” she said of her former boss. “Really sad.”
In its lawsuit, filed in Castle Rock, CFFR alleges that Niles and Roberds have violated their employment contracts and also misappropriated trade secrets: the leads. CFFR said that eXp should now be forced to turn over stolen property: commissions from those leads.
“Without the leads that CFFR spends thousands of dollars a month to procure, the company itself has little to no value,” according to last week’s lawsuit.
Roberds declined to comment on the allegations because she hasn’t spoken to her lawyer about them.
Spokespeople for eXp Realty did not answer requests for comment.
CFFR is represented by attorneys Nathan Osborn and Alyson Evett with the Montgomery Little & Soran law firm in Greenwood Village.
The Colorado Real Estate Commission never has disciplined Niles and Roberds, who have been licensed brokers in Colorado since 2015 and 2019, respectively.
Vizzi, whose license dates back to 1982, was publicly censured and fined $2,000 in 2017 after the commission found that his practice of offering cheap, minimal services fell short of the duties a broker must perform for clients. Vizzi appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which sided against him, and the Colorado Supreme Court, which refused to hear his case.