8/28/09 @ David Wilhelm
Recently, Horizon Realty Group made headlines when it sued former tenant Amanda Bonnen for a tweet that suggested her apartment had mold in it. Now Horizon is amping up its campaign against its growing negative image.
In papers filed today with Cook County Circuit Court, the company filed defamation charges against an estimated 5,000 bloggers, twitterers, and internet commenters, many identified only by their screen names.
“I said it before and I’ll say it again,” Jeff Michael of Horizon stated. “We’re a sue first and ask questions later kind of organization.”
The court papers stipulated that the accused had referred to both Horizon’s apartments and management in disparaging terms on a number of public forums including Digg, Reddit, Buzz, Facebook, and Fark as well as the previously cited Twitter.
James Sawyer of Rockford was surprised to find himself among the accused.
“A friend of mine posted the story on Facebook,” Sawyer said. “I saw a couple of their places when I started at Columbia and I mentioned that I thought they were kind of kitch.”
“Horizon prides itself on the modern and up-to-date apartments it offers. To suggest that any of our properties are ‘kitch’ damages our image,” Michael said, responding to Sawyer’s comments.
Other cases were more abstract. One defendant, named in documents only as “monkeydude69,” referred to Horizon as, “a bunch of jerks, corprate suits (sic), and hose-beasts.”
“While it’s true many of us wear suits,” Michael said, “none of us are hose-beasts. And I have sworn affidavits from our friends and significant others stipulating that we are not jerks.”
Michael defended the new wave of lawsuits.
“Horizon has a good reputation in this town that we want to preserve it. Our lawsuit aims to stop those people who are ruining our reputation,” Michael said.
No word yet on whether Horizon will be suing itself on the same grounds.