I need to clear up an issue that seems to be cropping up in some of the comments.
This website, FlipThisLawsuit.com, is not owned or operated by Trademark Properties or anyone affiliated with them. Further, is it not affiliated with A&E or any of the replacement casts.
Your humble webmaster is Mark Lyon, a law student and fan of the show who was quite disappointed in A&E’s sudden change in cast, lack of notice to viewers, and lockdown of the message boards when viewers posted there that they were unhappy with the replacement cast.
I encourage all points of view here. If you disagree with one of my postings, please feel free to express that disagreement in a comment. Unlike A&E, I’m happy to let you have your say.
The Georgia Real Estate Commission finally sent me information about Samuel P. Leccima’s real estate license and the reason that it was revoked. First, let’s look at his certification. He got his license in 2002, and except for a few periods of inactive status, he remained licensed until September of 2005.
But then there’s the revocation. I will let you read it for yourself, but it appears that Mr. Leccima had several problems throughout his career as a real estate agent that involve some seriously questionable dealings.
In one 2002 deal, a purchaser’s earnest money was not returned when the deal didn’t go through. The administrative court found that Mr. Leccima altered the contract after the deal was signed, and was involved in some curious financial dealings.
In 2003 there was another property that failed to close. Mr. Leccima claimed to be working for a real estate company that he was not actually affiliated with. The administrative court found that Mr. Leccima failed to deliver the sales contract to the purchaser. Once again, earnest money was not returned when the deal didn’t complete. The administrative court further found that Mr. Leccima added the language “After inspection, earnest money is nonrefundable” to the sales contract without authorization or consent after it had been signed.
Additionally, the administrative court found that in 2004 Mr. Leccima represented on a website that he was affiliated with a real estate firm that he was not then affiliated with.
Mr. Leccima didn’t respond to the Georgia Real Estate Commission’s examination of his actions, and his license was revoked. I’ve contacted Mr. Leccima via email and asked him to comment on his license revocation and received no response.
On Flip This House, Mr. Leccima hasn’t represented that he is a licensed Real Estate Agent. Many, however, have been quite curious about the new cast – perhaps A&E should have more carefully screened its new cast members as a number of individuals look up to the successful businesspeople who appear on shows like Flip This House.
Both Richard & Trademark responded to A&E’s counterclaim. They denied the substantive parts of the counterclaim, which is addressed more fully in an earlier post. The pertinent documents:
- Docket as of 08/27/06
- Answer to Counterclaim by Trademark Properties
- Answer to Counterclaim by Richard Davis
I cannot tell you how much your continued support means to everyone at Team Trademark! It has been unbelievable. I just wanted to update everyone! We are still filming and things are going great! The new show is still unnamed but we will let you all know the details the moment we get them. I just want to ask everyone to please continue to make your comments on http://www.imdb.com/ under the “Flip This House” page (you can search for it on the homepage). This is where we are getting the word across with the most emphasis! All of the networks look here so it is where support is needed the most!
Ya’ll have been awesome, we honestly have been speechless–which is hard for all of us–over the kindness and loyalty from each of you. We plan to repay you with lots of great entertainment in January!
Many of you have been to the Crab House or by our office, but I would like to make sure everyone knows to please stop by the office and say hello if you are ever in Charleston, it means the world to us when you do!
Thank you all so much and we will continue to send updates as we have them! See you soon!
PS. Jack is doing great and actually listens to me now for those of you who are wondering! 🙂
Several other sites have noticed the events going on with Flip This House. You might want to check them out as well:
An interesting article in the “Houston Real News” – a publication for Houston Real Estate Investors.
A&E, whose Flip This House’s second season premier revolted countless viewers, further enraged their audience by removing the FTH page and threads from the Network’s Web site. The FTH message boards became inoperative as of mid-day July 25.
Viewer complaints about Network “censorship” first arose three weeks ago as FTH, featuring San Antonio’s Montelongos, was broadcast. Message boards claimed that A&E deleted pages of negative comments that flooded the FTH boards.
“As Mulder would say, the truth is out there. And no matter how many posts from numerous members A&E deletes, at least they know that we know how horrible it was. Delete away, we’ll just keep posting new messages,’ wrote All Flip and No Lip.
This week we find ourselves back in ATL with Sam Leccima and his team. They pick up a rather nice house in Atlanta’s West End. They whip it into shape and turn out a decent product with much less of the scripted drama.
Of course, I’d be careful walking anywhere. The construction supervisor almost went through it right before the open house.
I’ve yet to discover why his wife feels the need to wear blue jeans with the button undone and the fly open. Don’t they make pants for pregnant women, especially those who know that they are on TV?
A&E and Departure Films have removed the case from the local South Carolina Court of Common Pleas to the Federal District Court for South Carolina. This has the practical effect of making the documents I post here cost money. Other than that it doesn’t really impact the case too much, other than the potential benefits to A&E and Departure Films of having a different jury pool.
A&E and Departure Films filed a counterclaim against Trademark and Richard Davis. The Defendants claim that Trademark failed to honor the terms of the agreement for Season Two, causing them to resort to a replacement cast. In their answer, they preface the counter claim with the following:
“These counterclaims arise out of Richard Davis’s failure to honor an agreement that he reached with AETN to participate in a second season of AETN’s lifestyle reality show ‘Flip This House.’ The central allegations in Davis’s complaint bear no relationship to reality because AETN and Davis never made any agreement that remotely resembles the terms he alleges. It has always been understood and agreed by all parties, including Davis and Trademark, that AETN exercises final creative authority over ‘Flip This House,’ owns all legal rights in the show, and receives and controls all revenues associated with the show. AETN and Davis reached only one agreement, and Davis broke it. They agreed that Davis would appear in a second season of ‘Flip This House,’ with AETN remaining in its position of creative, economic and legal ownership and control. Davis, however, walked away from this agreement without explanation and publicly announced that he was affiliating himself with a competing network.”
They further claim:
“The first season of ‘Flip This House’ was produced under an agreement between AETN and Departure Films, an independent production company, and a separate agreement between Departure Films and Davis. Neither agreement provided Davis with any rights in the show, any control of the show or any compensation. Davis initially did not seek or receive any direct compensation for his participation in the show because he viewed ‘Flip This House’ as a powerful form of advertising for Trademark, which he hoped to expand or franchise on a national basis.”
So, without further ado, I present you with the current documents:
- Current Federal Court Docket
- Notice of Removal
- A&E and Departure Films’ Pre-Discovery
- A&E and Departure Films’ Answer to the Complaint and Counterclaim
- Certificate of Service of Notice of Removal
- Clerk’s Receipt of Notice of Removal (and attachment)
- Amended Certificate of Service of Notice of Removal
- Amended Notice of Removal (with attachment)
Samuel P. Leccima of the Atlanta-Based Season 2 cast of “Flip This House” had his Real Estate License revoked on September 26, 2005 according to page 18 of the Georgia Real Estate Commission’s list of sanctions since July 1, 2001.
I contacted the Commission to request a copy of the public file only to discover that the file is not available. Once I am able to get the documents that indicate the offense that caused his license to be revoked, I will post them here. Additionally, I will contact Mr. Leccima so that he may respond with his explanation of the situation.
During my conversation I learned that a New York-based producer from A&E had also contacted the Commission earlier in the week.
The State of Georgia statute 43-40-25 indicates that a revocation will occur only in extreme circumstances:
(a) … whenever a license, a school approval, or an instructor approval has been obtained by
false or fraudulent representation; or whenever a licensee, an approved school, or an approved instructor has been found guilty of a violation of this chapter, or of the rules and regulations promulgated by the commission, or of any unfair trade practices, including, but not limited to those listed in this Code section; the commission shall have the power to take any one or more of the following actions:
… (4) Revoke any license or approval;
Edit: We have since obtained Sam Leccima’s Real Estate License revocation documents. You can read the decision that resulted in the license revocation. Finally, Fox 5 Atlanta has recently run two segments focused on Mr. Leccima and his activities both on and off of the show.
Several have asked that I post the contact information for A&E. It is as follows:
Ms. Abbe Raven, CEO
A&E Television Networks
235 East 45th St.
New York, NY 10017
ABBE RAVEN (CEO)
WHITNEY GOIT (SR. EVP)
ROBERT DEBITETTO (EVP)
(Director of Non-Fiction Programming)
GENERAL EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABBE RAVEN (CEO) LINE: (212) 210-9007
GENERAL TELEPHONE: (212) 210-1400
Remember, when contacting A&E it is best to be polite and explain your disappointment. If you are going to communicate in an angry, irrational, or hostile manner, sit on your hands.