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Facts, Opinion, and the Vast Legal Record of


America's Most Unethical Realtor

Corporate realty fraud is a tragic American business scandal that big real estate wants to keep quiet and doesn’t want to pay for, despite its “Ethics & Integrity” public relations. Countless realty service consumers are victims of realty fraud annually, forced to chase unscrupulous brokers, agents, and their wealthy companies through years of litigation and distress. Realtors like Windermere Real Estate use our clogged, dysfunctional, expensive courts to stall and bankrupt fraud victims, often unjustly escaping its greedy incompetence, malfeasance, and devastating unethical misconduct. Making victims sue is always cheaper—maybe they'll go broke, or simply go away and eat their losses.

Read here the genuine, sordid legal documents about what Windermere realtors do, and how franchising predator Windermere Services Company conducts itself in the marketplace. Current Windermere clients may be unaware of Windermere Real Estate's perpetual practice and disturbing history of unethical consumer fraud, and should consider canceling or not renewing their Windermere listing. Don't risk your life, home, and finances by dealing with Windermere Real Estate, America's most mercenary and dishonest real estate company.

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"We are committed to: The highest ethical standards. Uncompromising honesty and integrity." —The Windermere Mission Statement

"In the real estate business somebody's word is very important. If you say you're going to do something, you've got to do it." —Windermere CEO Geoff Wood's Public Affirmation

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Brea, California's Windermere Preferred Living / Preferred Properties Mounts Attack on Windermere Victims' First Amendment Speech Rights.




Windermere Victims and have again come under attack from Windermere for reporting the truth and hard evidence of Windermere Real Estate's predatory conduct. And because WindermereWatch features legally-verifiable, unvarnished truth about Windermere Real Estate, Windermere can't simply just take the obvious and honorable legal route and obtain court orders that close websites like Instead, Windermere intimidates and threatens individuals and web hosting companies with false charges and statements. The latest attack on Windermere damaged customers' speech rights came via owner Andrea Marquez at Windermere Real Estate Preferred Living of Brea, California—also previously known as Windermere Preferred Properties—in a false and specious website "takedown" letter.


Ms. Marquez was sued by Tarbell Realtors in United States Federal District Court. On June 16, 2010, a First Amended Complaint was filed by Tarbell, Realtors, Plaintiff, charging Defendant Windermere Real Estate Preferred Properties with: "1.Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(A); 2. Unfair Competition Under Ca. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, Et. Seq.; 3. False Advertising Under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500, Et. Seq.; 4. Common Law Trademark Infringement." Excerpts from Tarbell's Complaint can be read here.


The Tarbell Complaint was reported online at RFC Express, and it was also available from PACER—Public Access to Court Electronic Records. Legal Complaints that are published online by the courts and obtained from public websites may be "plastered all over creation" if desired. WindermereWatch published the Tarbell v. Windermere Preferred Properties Complaint without editorial comment, and included a picture of Ms. Marquez she has published repeatedly online and in myriad other sales promotion documents. Such elements of WindermereWatch news reporting are protected from copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 107: Limitations on exclusive rights: non-profit fair use.


Despite the fact that Ms. Marquez herself was being sued for Trademark Infringement, her takedown letter charged's publisher with Copyright Infringement, Invasion of Privacy and Defamation; and it also threatened the website's hosting provider with a lawsuit. Through its use of the "TM" trademark symbol, the letter also falsely states that the phrase "Preferred Properties" is the trademark of Windermere Brea—the very same trademark phrase for which plaintiff Tarbell Realtors claims ownership and was suing Windermere Brea over trademark infringement. Windermere Brea ultimately quit using the phrase, changing it to "Preferred Living."


Among the many other fallacious, inaccurate and specious arguments in the Marquez / Windermere Preferred Properties takedown letter, page 3, paragraph 2 states: "The website repeatedly refers to Windermere employees as being guilty of committing crimes, and of criminal behavior generally—all of which is false."


WindermereWatch responds that: Paul Stickney of Windermere SCA, Redmond received a $522,200 court judgment for not disclosing a conflict of interest. Mr. Stickney, whose story is featured on WindermereWatch, sure seems to be guilty of a crime, according to Or how about Dick Pelescini, who was found guilty of violating the Consumer Protection Act? Or Windermere's exploitation of a vulnerable adult? Or Windermere Relocation's "hostile work environment" rape case? What about Windermere Real Estate East's Associate Broker Csaba Kiss? Conversely, the question arises: Is it also criminal behavior to sue an individual who is telling the truth for trade libel and defamation, then email them not to hire an attorney, try to coerce them into signing away their speech rights, and then voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit when they will not sign—as franchiser Windermere Services Company does?


It is Ms. Marquez and Windermere Preferred Properties' own choice in paying franchise fees and commissions to predatory franchisor Windermere Services Company, who uses those fees and commissions to fund its fraudulent marketing, vexatious litigation and mendacious lawsuits of intimidation against innocent, damaged Windermere customers who speak publicly. The court has already ruled that Windermere franchisees who use the Windermere tradename are in privity with Windermere Services Company.


So how did Tarbell v. Windermere Real Estate Preferred Properties, Brea, California—Now Windermere Preferred Living—turn out?


On August 12, 2010, A Show Cause Order is filed by Windermere Preferred Properties' counsel, stating in part, "...counsel for Plaintiff show cause in writing on or before August 26, 2010, why this action should not be dismissed for lack of prosecution."


On August 14, 2010, Windermere Preferred Properties' counsel files a Notice of Appearance of Counsel, stating in part, "Notice is hereby provided that defendants Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties aka Windermere Preferred Properties (erroneously sued)," and "Notice is further provided that a global settlement agreement has been reached in this action."


On August 16, 2010, Plaintiff Tarbell filed a Notice of Settlement, stating in part "Please take notice that this action has been settled, and a Request for Dismissal will be filed upon the performance of certain contingencies that are expected to be completed in 10 days."


Sometime on or about August 16, 2010, "Windermere Preferred Properties" changes its name to "Windermere Preferred Living."


A & L Partners, Andrea Marquez, Joseph R. Deville, Bennion & Deville Fine Homes, Bob Bennion, Sued for Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, False Advertising, Common Law Trademark Infringement





CASE UPDATE 01/09/2012: "The parties having agreed to the terms set forth in the Stipulation for Dismissal..."




Windermere Preferred Living / Preferred Properties' Website Hosting Takedown Letter:





F.M. Tarbell Co. v. Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties et al:

Under “NATURE OF THIS ACTION” the Complaint in part states:

1. This is an action for trademark infringement and unfair competition pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946 (the “Lanham Act”), California Business and Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq. & 17500, et seq., and common law. Plaintiff Tarbell is the largest family-owned real estate agency in Southern California, a community that it has proudly served for the last eighty years. Founded in 1926 by Frank Tarbell, Tarbell Realtors has dedicated more than 80 years of service to America’s dream of home ownership. Through years of tremendous growth and expansion, Tarbell Realtors has positioned itself as a leader in real estate today.

2. For more than a decade, Tarbell has devoted special resources and attention to buyers and sellers of upper scale homes in the Southern California area through its Preferred PropertiesSM division. Tarbell’s Preferred PropertiesSM services focus upon assisting members of the Southern California community locate or sell some of the most elite housing available in the area. Moreover, during this period, Tarbell has expended significant resources to establish and promote the Preferred PropertiesSM services. Through extensive marketing and sales, Tarbell has developed substantial goodwill in and consumer recognition of the Preferred Properties mark such that residents of the Southern California community readily recognize and identify Tarbell as the source of Preferred PropertiesSM services.

3. This action is based on the Defendants’ unauthorized and unlawful use of Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark in connection with Defendants’ recruiting of real estate agents and marketing of residential real estate for sales and purchases by members of the Southern California community through the incorporation of Tarbell’s mark into the trade name “Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties and using “” in web addresses and email addresses. Defendants’ conduct constitutes a blatant misappropriation of Tarbell’s valuable intellectual property rights in Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark. Defendants’ use of a confusingly similar mark and incorporation into web addresses and email addresses in connection with similar and directly competitive services is likely to deceive the purchasing public into believing that Defendants’ services are affiliated with, related to, sponsored by or connected with Tarbell and/or Tarbell’s Preferred PropertiesSM services. Defendants’ conduct has caused, and its intended conduct will cause, substantial damage to Tarbell’s goodwill and reputation in the marketplace. Accordingly, Tarbell seeks corrective advertising and/or marketing, compensatory damages, statutory damages, treble damages for willful infringement, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Under “THE PARTIES ” the Complaint in part continues:

"6. Defendant James Crotwell (“Crotwell”) is a licensed real estate salesperson holding himself out as the Sales Manager of Defendant Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties’ location at 135 S. State College Blvd, Suite 110, Brea CA. Defendant Crotwell’s current licensing status with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) is “Licensed NBA”, which the means that the DRE has Crotwell’s license as currently being in a “non-working status. The licensee may not perform acts for which a real estate license is required in California. Salesperson reference for NBA is equivalent to ‘No Broker Affiliation’ and the broker/corporation reference to NBA is equivalent to ‘No Business (current main office) Address’.” Based on Crotwell’s contact information listed with the DRE, Tarbell is informed and believes that Crotwell is a resident of the County of Orange, State of California.

7. Defendant Andrea Marquez (“Marquez”) holds herself out as the Chief Financial Officer and Managing Partner of Defendant Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties’ location at 135 S. State College Blvd, Suite 110, Brea CA. Based upon Defendant Marquez’s identification of herself as working at the Brea address, Tarbell is informed and believes that Marquez is a resident of the District.

"9. Defendant A & L Partners, Inc. ("A & L Partners") is a California corporation that resides at 135 S. State College Blvd, Suite 110, Brea CA. Tarbell is informed and believes that Andrea L. Marquez is the same Andrea Marquez who holds herself out as the Chief Financial Officer and Managing Partner of Defendant Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties’ location at 135 S. State College Blvd, Suite 110, Brea CA. Tarbell is further informed and believes that A & L Partners registered and operates the domain name for the purpose of advertising and marketing Windermere Preferred Properties in Brea, California."

Under “WINDERMERE AND ITS WRONGFUL ACTS” the Complaint in part continues:

20. On or around April 2010, Tarbell became aware that Defendants were planning to open an office in Brea, California and had applied for a city business license with the City of Brea using the name “Windermere Preferred Properties” and/or “Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties” in connection with real estate services in the County of Orange, City of Brea and surrounding communities. These are same communities served by Tarbell and its Preferred PropertiesSM division, operating through offices located throughout Orange County and the Inland Empire, including those offices closest to Brea in Anaheim, East Anaheim, Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda. Tarbell is informed and believes that the Defendants’ office opened on May 3, 2010 and is operating as “Windermere Preferred Properties” and “Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties”.

21. Additionally, as of May 3, 2010, Defendants started using the Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark in listing its businesses with the Brea Chamber of Commerce and real estate-related websites.

22. Under California Code of Regulations section 2710, notice of changes in license information or status required to be submitted to the Department under provisions of the Real Estate Law and regulations of the Commissioner no later than five days after the effective date of the change. Furthermore, brokers and real estate salespersons are required to keep their business addresses current with the DRE pursuant to CCR § 2715.

23. Additionally, under CCR § 2731, a DRE licensee is prohibited from using a fictitious name in the conduct of any activity for which a license is required under the Real Estate Law unless the licensee is the holder of a license bearing the fictitious name.

24. As of the filing of this lawsuit, however, there exists no record in the California Department of Real Estate licensee lookup for a “dba” of “Windermere Preferred Properties” or “Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties” in Brea as required under the rules and regulations governing real estate licensees operating under a fictitious name. Accordingly, there has been no identification to the DRE of the broker’s license under which this office is operating. There is no listing with the California Secretary of State of any corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership under the name Windermere Preferred Properties or Windermere Real Estate/Preferred Properties.

25. Accordingly, it appears that each of the Defendants is operating in direct contravention to the rules and regulations of the California Department of Real Estate while deliberately infringing Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark.

26. Defendants’ prominent use of Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark in its name, and in combination with the services in residential real estate, is likely to mislead or deceive real estate professionals and the consuming public into believing that Defendants or their services are sponsored by or associated with Tarbell. Defendants’ use of Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark is without authorization from Tarbell. In addition, Defendants’ use of Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark will result in lost sales opportunities for Tarbell.

27. Defendants’ conduct is continuing and will continue unless restrained by the Court. Defendants’ conduct Defendants use of Tarbell’s Preferred Properties mark in the marketing of their job opportunities and services to the same communities served by Tarbell actively promotes confusion among real estate professionals and consumers such that Tarbell had no choice but to file the instant complaint to stop the continuing irreparable injury to Tarbell and the Tarbell’s Preferred PropertiesSM division. Unless Defendants’ are enjoined from engaging in the wrongful conduct described above, Tarbell will suffer irreparable injury and further harm.

Tarbell’s Claims for Relief are:

Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition and False Designation of Origin 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)

Unfair Competition Under Ca. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq.

Deceptive, False and Misleading Advertising under Under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500, et seq.

Trademark Infringement under Common Law

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