The Villages is alleging salespeople who went rogue still have sensitive spreadsheets containing customer information important to the highly successful sales arm of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.
A lawsuit filed by Properties of The Villages in U.S. District Court in Ocala targets former salespeople Christopher Day, Jason and Angela Kranz, Cynthia Hughes, Nanette Elliott, Jan Hickerson and Angie Taylor. The suit states that all of the salespeople had signed independent contractor agreements with The Villages that would prevent them from competing against Properties of The Villages for 24 months after their departure. The agreements state they would “not directly or indirectly solicit or accept real estate business from any current or former customer of The Villages entities (including Properties of The Villages) or any potential customer being solicited for business at the time of the applicable agreement is terminated.”
Day and Jason Kranz had been top performers for Properties of The Villages and set off an office bombshell on Dec. 16 when they announced their abrupt departure in an email to their colleagues. Day and Kranz on Dec. 9 had formed KD Premier Realty based in Sorrento in Lake County.
The Villages said the men were claiming their independent contractor agreements had “expired” and revealed that they had no intention of honoring their deal.
“(Kranz) even went so far as to say that he ‘buttered up’ his customers before he departed Properties of The Villages and intended to continue selling in ‘Florida’s Friendliest Hometown,’” The Villages said in a court document.
The Villages also claims that “Day wrote on Facebook that he was ‘in the process of calling all 600+ of my customers,” according to a court document.
It is also claimed that the former salespeople walked out the door with sensitive information.
“Mr. Kranz misappropriated an electronic spreadsheet containing customer data for residents of The Villages, most of which he had no previous relationship with. This information was taken from The Villages customer relationship system, and included residents’ names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses,” according to a court document.
It is also claimed that Elliott’s personal assistant at Properties of The Villages sent an electronic spreadsheet containing customer information “to a personal email.” The Villages further claims that Hickerson, who bills herself on LinkedIn as a “real estate guru in The Villages,” also has protected information to which she is not entitled.
“Two days prior to leaving Properties of The Villages, Hickerson misappropriated two electronic spreadsheets containing information about Properties of The Villages customers,” the suit alleges.
The court document, dated Feb. 18, claims that “KD Realty currently has approximately 19 properties listed in The Villages.”