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Apology to Tibor Hollo, Florida East Coast Realty and Opera Tower

December 19, 2008 by Lucas Lechuga
Please accept this statement as a public apology to Mr. Tibor Hollo, Opera Tower and Florida East Coast Realty (FECR).  I acknowledge that a blog post that I wrote on November 25, 2007 contained inaccurate statements and misrepresented facts involving you, your firm and your projects.

The blog post dated November 25, 2007 telling my readers that Mr. Hollo went bankrupt in the 1980s was completely untrue.  As I have come to learn, neither Mr. Hollo, nor any of his companies has ever declared bankruptcy.  Additionally, the prediction I made regarding contract closings at Opera Tower was unfounded, and I've been proven wrong.

Any blog entries were not reflective of the opinions of my former employer, EWM Realtors, nor did the firm endorse my statements pertaining to Miami real estate.

To my readers, I wish to publicly acknowledge Mr. Hollo's contribution to Miami's skyline and FECR's standing in the community.  I wish Mr. Hollo and Opera Tower continued success in the future.

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wow…tibor’s schlock lawyers drafted that for you? hmmm…i could write something better than that drivel.

la la

It’s a sad day when someone has to apologize for exercising their freedom of speech, at least in America. You are the bigger man for doing it Lucas. I respect you. You’ve got class guy. I guess that’s why you are as successful as you are! I wish you continued success in 2009! Peace out.


I’m glad at least this unnecessary distraction is over for Lucas. I second La La’s opinion.

Thomas 2

Man, if I were Mr. Hollo I would concentrate on providing a value for the dollar versus pursuing some blog nonsense about whether some word was being used as a legal definition or not. Oh well, live and learn. If the guy or his company ever does go the big BK, well then we can all say that he should have paid more attention to his knitting instead.

Hugo P

Agree with everyone here, great stuff Lucas.

Now, what was your prediction on closings? How far off were you given that it’s now only 37% closed based on your last post?

simeon gourousis

I disagree with everyone here.
Lucas did the right thing .
Tibor Hollo has build a lot of wonderful properties in Miami, and his next project will trump
them all.
As for the Opera Tower,The building is a very easy building to maintain,and security is tight.
There is nothing frivolous to take care of.
simeon g.

Cheers, Lucas.

Bill P

Hmm let’s see. 37% closing rate in December. Great success. Maybe you’ll have to drop these stats on future posts, Lucas.

Thanks for doing what you had to do.

Once Again

Right wrong or’s a sad day in 1st Ammedmendmant rights when a prepared statement has to be made in order to dismiss/settle the waste of time these frivolous suits.

In any event let’s move on…so neither Tibor or Lucas be distracted any longer by this.

Now Tibor can concentrate on finish closing his building and Lucas focus on his work as a realtor and this blog.

Bear Hug

RENTER TOM……what do you have to say about this?


Hang in there Lucas…. you chose the wrong word in a blog post so a guy with money strung you up for it. Many great people have been rolled by big shots with money, so join the club.
I’m glad you wrote the apology and now you can put that behind you….
Congrats on doing a great job!!!!

Renter Tom

I say Mr. Hollo way overreacted. I don’t know if Mr. Hollo first asked for a retraction or just filed suit. If it was the later, then shame since disputes should always be handled face to face, not in the courts. Perhaps there was a PR motive if a lawsuit was filed first? I do not take kindly to bullies and what goes around comes around…esp. with lawsuits which I am sure Mr. Hollo and/or his company will be involved in many new ones for 2009. Moreover, “predictions” are just that … predictions and really need no foundation to make… Read more »


It is so unfortunate, this law suit thing and all. I don’t know how many of you actually been inside Opera Tower. I did. I wrote many many times about that building. No need to go into that again. Just to sum up, it is a third class building in a first class location. When I was first looking to buy in downtown area, which I did not know very much, I used the help of google satellite imagery and after many considerations, calculations, research, declination of the Sun at different times of the year, shadow cast of the buildings… Read more »


I have friends that rent there, and from what they tell me many of the occupied units are renters also… not a good sign. I can understand why Hugo would be upset about false accusations concerning him however his law suit on Lucas was an EXTREME over reaction. I certainly hope such a formal public apology from Lucas puts an end to this B.S. bulling game he was playing. On another note I hope all you blogers using his site strongly consider using Lucus as your realtor when you are ready to buy/sell/ or even rent, from what I have… Read more »


Crap ! Were you condemned by the court to publish a public apology ? You shouldn’t ! Lucas, we all admire you for depicting the right image of Miami realty. We love your blog, but you might loose your readers by submitting to the power of those crooks… Hollo should be ashamed of himself and I do hope he eventually goes under and files for bankruptcy… (and I am sure this is not only my personal opinion !) I think now from all the comments I read here, that Hollo will have even more bad publicity for his name and… Read more »


New post please. This one is really boring



What about the update of the condo rankings ?

The Ace

The Smart Money will make no apologies now or in the future for our prediction of $125.00 per square foot unless, as was the case when a Unit recently sold for $122.00 per square foot and another $99.00 per square foot.

The Smart Money gives no quarter and expects no quarter in our quest for success.

Hopefully this is all behind you now and the worst that came out of the lawsuit was the apology letter.

Cheers and a successful 2009!


Not sure if you’ve addressed in any posts & it really isn’t any of my business but I’m wondering how you did sales-wise in 08′ versus the previous 3/4 years?

NJ Dave

I agree that freedom of speech is critical and that it’s unfortunate that Lucas had to make this statement but with the power of his position comes responsibility. I for one would not like to be misdirected into believing someone went bankrupt or not. News services have an obligation to check facts and as the author in this alternate medium shouldn’t there also be some check and balance? Comments in a blog should be free form but this blog is tied to a realtors business and as a business leader I’d like claims to be accurate. BTW I toured several… Read more »


NJ Dave,
I agree with you on responsibility of facts, whether in a blog or a newspaper. However, when mistakes do occur, and are not deliberate, then a correction and apology at the time is sufficient. I would worry about doing business with an individual who sued a blogger over comments in a blog. What happens if i have issues with the product or business practices of such an individual? Will i get sued for complaining in public?


“Additionally, the prediction I made regarding contract closings at Opera Tower was unfounded, and I’ve been proven wrong.” WOW!! What was the original prediction? That whopping 37.01 closing percentage after a year of trying is hardly impressive……is there a bank that has lent $$$$ on this property?


Muir post 172

Didnt you just move to Miami? Just one more example of the creeps they are letting in. Glad your not in downtown Miami there goes the neighborhood lol.


Did Rybak’s Cafe open at Latitude on the River?



I hope you wrote this voluntarily and not only because you had to as a settlement of a lawsuit. As a blogger with a large following it is important that you provide the public with accurate information (besides your opinion) and that when you provide facts you need to make sure these facts are verified as to its accuracy. Hope you learned your lesson. Thank you!


It is absolutely pathetic that a developer will resort to such tactics in an attempt to clear its name and boost an already-damaged reputation. FECR should have built a quality condo and this would be a non-issue. Let your buildings speak for themselves- the fact that they seek retribution from a realtor and his blog is pathetic. In fact, I think their demand of a “public apology” will backfire, since the majority of comments will be critical of FECR and remind all readers (old and new) that Opera Tower is a poor investment and a poor place to live.


business is business folks lets just move on.

Poor & Unemployed

when you provide facts you need to make sure these facts are verified as to its accuracy. Hope you learned your lesson.

Have you told that to any major newspapers in Miami? May be someone has to put together the articles published by them for past 5 years.


I think we all understand what we just read. No need to discuss it further. Lucas was complying with a settlement agreement.

Unlike a lot of blogs, Lucas put his real name up there, and I respect him for that.


Also, if Lucas has any sense, he won’t be replying to threads on this post. If you like this blog, and want it to continue, I suggest the best way to help Lucas is not to comment any further on this thread.


Well, Lucas, accuracy while reporting news is paramount. You have a large following, so you have to be careful where you step. You’re walking through minefields, now. The First Amendment only protects freedom of speech when it is truthful. Your blog is great; the best RE blog I’ve ever read. That bitter taste in your mouth from having to post that garbage is bile. Spit it out and continue, and don’t put yourself in a situation that allows desperate men, such as Hollo (such a fitting name, isn’t it?) to hold you hostage with their paper thugs. Hollo, you fled… Read more »


In my opinionTibor Hollo has built nothing in Miami that is architecturally worthy and nothing which will ever withstand the “Test of Time”. Witness the Grand etc. and then take a look at his proposed project on Biscayne Blvd and SE 1st st which i believe is called Biscayne Plaza – the renderings of a 70 story hotel and adjoing office tower is supposed to resemble a sail. How imiginative. Its downright ugly again in my opinion. Mr Hollo comes across as a somewhat – in my opinion bitter and vindictive man. At his age you would think he would… Read more »

New Yorker

While it is always a noble thing to correct errors, I don’t see how anyone could believe that your reporting of Mr. Hollo’s real estate project was done maliciously. In Times v. Sullivan, there were factual errors in the New York Times’ article about Alabama’s Public Safety Commissioner, Sullivan’s conduct and actions toward civil rights demonstrators. The New York Times’ article was basically correct. The police and state troopers in Alabama were using unnecessary force against non-violent demonstrators who were seeking to end segregation in the south. The fact that there were minor factual errors (which Sullivan claimed defamed him),… Read more »


Sad–but it will probably stop the monthly billing from the lawyers. Bullies are usually have a whole book full of issues.


It is mind boggling to me that so many of you think calling a developer a bankrupt while talking about a current project the developer is working on is not a serious matter. Although in a few years being a bankrupt around here might be a badge of honor, historically it likes calling someone an adulterer, murderer, child molester, etc. I am certain in my own mind Lucas didn’t know his statement was untrue when he made it or he would not have made it. But he goofed. Life goes on. I look forward to reading this blog in 2009… Read more »


A lot of people have been comparing Miami Beach, Downtown etc to NYC. I have no idea why anyone would compare a filthy, ghetto, 3rd world city like NYC to beautiful South Beach & Brickell? The residents of NYC pay their taxes in gold literally and they have pothole ridden roads, overflowing garbage on streets to show for it. Manhattan is full of people from the ghetto at all times of the day. And now the blind gov is going to add more taxes. That just makes it even more exciting.

Lucas, I read your blog often and believe you are doing an excellent job of tracking closing and foreclosure data, as well as unit and per square foot prices of the Miami condo market. You are obviously very passionate and dedicated in understanding the intracacies of our irrational marketplace, and communicating pertinent and important information to your blog readers and customers. I also want to compliment you for not hyping and fluffing the market (like the vast majority of RE sales people) to make a commission check. Honesty and accuracy will always pay you greater dividends (and restful nights) in… Read more »


I would like to know more about the Solaris. Does it have maintenance problems? foreclosures, maintence fees, etc.


I heard that Tibor’s sons are actively involved in their dad’s business. I wonder how much role they had to play in this whole saga. In any case, judging from the responses, Lucas has no shortage of admirers or supporters. I am pretty sure Tibor, his off spring and his lawyers are reading every word written on this thread, the apology as well as the reader responses. All I can say to them is your victory is a Pyrrhic victory. Unfortunately there are no winners in this battle. Neither Lucas nor FECR. If there are any, it is the blog… Read more »

Kelly Thomas

Well done Lucas, I find your blog one of the best around. It would be great if we can move on now.
I am looking forward to reading more comments from the posters in the new year. I wish everyone a very happy holiday season, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! x

la la


You crack me up! Good advice! And yes, I’m looking forward to a new post already too! Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday, and a 2009 with good health, peace, wisdom and love.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there supposed to be a bayside pool at Opera Tower? They have huge pictures on-site and on their current website showing a nice pool overlooking the bay, but they only built the one pool in the back of the building. Did I miss something?

Jack McCabe,

You are well liked in HBB.
Though you yourself were slow to get onboard with reality.
Some of us called it in 04 and 05.
Still, congrats on your honesty, diligence and integrity.
Prosperous New Year.

Still can’t help it, 🙂 we told you so in 04 and 05 🙂

Found 3 rentals in the Ivy for $1600 in the Ivy.
All are 2/2s.
How does this bode for prices?

Renter Tom

Mobi – That is why I have pretty much written off 2009 to buy….it would have to be a very good deal to get me to buy at this point….renting continues to make the most sense. And as I have posted, Cali is going to fair worse overall w.r.t. total $$$ lost. Maybe I’ll pick up a little condo on that coast too once things shake out… Anyone that talks about a real estate price “bottom” in 2009 in Miami is nuts….

Correction Roger

Roger, NY is the most expensive city in the US. It also has the highest salaries and rents. That is why property values in Manhattan are higher. Property values are based on income and rent and nothing more. 64% of the housing stock in Miami Beach is condos. That means a great majority of people in Miami Beach live in condos (and not just the 100 rich Russian oligarchs that have property here). The median and average salary is around $28,000 to $30,000. That is why in median and average terms condos should not cost $500,000 (last year this time)… Read more »

Renter Tom

Correction Roger – Correction….it is only incomes that determine these things, not “based on income and rent”. Incomes drive rent rates so incomes are the bottom line in all of this…rents are just reflective of what people can actually afford based on incomes without any financing gimmicks. As this structural recession unfolds and the FIRE economy gets smashed, NYC incomes will drop and so will rents and home prices. Also, in response to Muir — not sure how the fed govt will be addressing/financing the huge fiscal deficits going forward….if they monetize the debt (which is what you have been… Read more »

900 guy

The rent is dropping on AJ’s beloved 05 and 07 line on a high floor in 1800 club. Now at $2100 with no takers! Oh no, poor AJ!

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