Wintergreen Subject of Antitrust Suit

A real estate agency has filed suit in federal court against Wintergreen and Roy Wheeler, accusing them of colluding in violation of state and federal anti-monopoly laws, Brian McNeill writes in the Progress. Mountain Area Realty says that they’ve been shut out of the market by the exclusive marketing relationship, and they’re seeking $6M in damages. The firm says that Real Estate III and Montague Miller have shuttered their Wintergreen offices as a result of the deal (Montague Miller disagrees). In a rare display of candor, Mountain Area Realty’s attorney says that attorneys’ fees on both sides will be “umpteen-jillion dollars.”

Real estate agent Jim Duncan figures this could have a far-reaching impact on any “exclusively marketed by” deals, while attorney Jennifer McKeever points out that having a monopoly isn’t actually illegal, and that the case should move through pretty quickly. Plus, the Sherman Antitrust Act has basically gone unenforced since President Bush took office; I can’t see that changing now.

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