The resemblance is uncanny. There is no denying it.
With their arms stretched out wide, with their palms open, Kris Lindahl and Rob Golfi look like they are doing their best impression of Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music.
Or Donald Trump. Or a Manchester United billboard. Or the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Or maybe one of those wacky, wavy inflatable arm-flailing tube men found at used car lots.
As common a pose as it is, standing tall with one’s arms stretched out is at the heart of an international legal battle between the two real-estate agents.
It involves accusations of copyright infringement, a fruit basket, an attempt to patent the pose, allegations of forged documents and a plagiarized commercial.
But to understand this arms race, it is necessary to go back to May 6, 2021, and an online real-estate seminar titled “Kris Lindahl Blueprint Seminar.” It was hosted by Lindahl, a realtor who in court fillings describes himself as “one of Minnesota’s most well-known real-estate professionals.”
Meanwhile, Golfi, one of the most recognized real-estate faces in Hamilton and Niagara thanks to his ubiquitous arms stretched out Golfi Realty billboards, attended the seminar.
“We never met face to face,” he said. “It was just an online seminar.
In court documents, Lindahl claims Golfi signed a waiver that promises he won’t use Lindhal’s “proprietary concepts, materials, and intellectual property.” The waiver also warns seminar attendees Lindahl “will pursue legal action” if they do.
Golfi said he has no recollection of signing such a document.
“When asked for a copy of the agreement, they shared a document with a handwritten signature looking nothing like mine. I asked them to provide proof of the email they received it from, and they would not provide it,” he said. “I am concerned this document was forged.”
The Lindahl court documents say the waiver contains an IP address that “corresponds to a physical address in Ontario, Canada.”
As a result of taking part in the blueprint seminar, “Mr. Golfi viewed and became aware of the arms outstretched pose.”
Proposing to patent a pose
Lindahl doesn’t just like the arms outstretched pose, which he has been using since at least July 2017 in ads.
He claims it’s his property.
In June, Lindahl — who markets his company with billboards and ads with his arms splayed out and palms wide open — filed registration forms to trademark the pose, according to Minnesota court filings.
“Lindhal Realty, LLC, owns all rights, title and interest in and to the arms outstretched marks,” he claims.
Golfi, though, is not so sure.
“First of all, it is going to take at least two years for that to even go through,” he said of the trademark filings, adding he is not in breach of a trademark that doesn’t yet exist. “And can you actually patent a pose? It seems ridiculous. This is a PR stunt.”
Golfi does admit, however, he did like the pose because it is different from the typical real estate photo.
“I wanted something different. Every real-estate photo is the same,” he said.
Sometime in the fall of 2021, Golfi, like Lindahl before him, began to use the pose in social media ads and on bus signs, billboards and just about anything else he could. Even his employees got in on the act, striking the pose for photos at house sales.
Its first usage appears to be in an Oct. 31, 2021, Facebook post where a drawing of Golfi — rendered as a vampire — wishes his followers a safe and happy Halloween.
Lindahl is not amused, saying in his court filings that Golfi’s breach of the seminar wavier and use of the pose is “causing irreparable and immeasurable harm … with each passing day,” and is asking the courts to order Golfi to stop and is requesting damages of an undetermined amount.
Lindahl’s claims have not been proven in court.
It is unclear how Golfi’s wingspan is causing harm to Lindhal’s business. He does not sell homes in Ontario and Golfi does not work in Minnesota.
The war of the arms
Golfi said Lindahl was “completely aware” he was using the pose in 2021.
“In fact, the week before he turned on us, while fully aware of the use of this pose, we received a massive edible arrangement from Kris congratulating us on reaching over 1,000 transactions in 2021,” said Golfi.
Things changed, according to Golfi, when Lindahl wanted to be his marketing agency.
“It wasn’t until we declined the services of his new marketing company that our relationship turned sour,” Golfi said.
Lindahl did not respond to an interview request from The Spectator.
The court filings do not mention Golfi turning down Lindahl, but does claim that the American tried several times to get Golfi to stop using the big arms position in his advertising.
Things really heated up, however, during the last Canadian federal election.
Golfi appears in a video ad at a podium flanked by Canadian flags. A “breaking news” ticker scrolls across the bottom of the screen, saying “Rob Golfi can sell your home … Guaranteed!” The ticker also identifies him as “The Golfi team, party leader.”
“We need real estate of the people, by the people and for the people,” Golfi says. “Read my lips, Golfi gets it sold.”
The trouble was, the entire commercial was lifted from one produced by Lindahl in 2019, down to the props, script and the fake news ticker. The only differences were the flags and a few words in the script.
“We need real estate of the people, by the people and for the people,” says Lindahl at a lectern in the original ad, identified as the “Be generous party leader” on the ticker and is flanked by American flags. “Read my lips, no open houses.”
And of course, they both use the pose.
Golfi conceded in an interview that the commercial was plagiarized from Lindahl’s ad, which is why he pulled it from YouTube shortly after it was posted.
“It was the election, my marketing team thought it was a good idea,” said Golfi. “We actually took it down before Kris asked us too. No one can find that video anywhere now.”
Golfi said the lawsuit is a “waste of the court’s time” and he will file a defence soon.
In the meantime, he says he is going to keep using the pose. At least one other Ontario real estate agent, Lino Arci of Toronto, is also using it in ads.
“He cannot own a pose,” Golfi said.
Hong Kong Billionaire’s K. Wah Wins Shanghai Real Estate Bid, Sees “Excellent” Opportunity – Forbes
Hong Kong billionaire Lui Che-woo has been making successful investments in Shanghai real estate since the 1980s, such as K. Wah Center set along the city’s swank Huai Hai Road. A new project coming amid the country’s economically painful zero-Covid policies took a big step forward on Friday when his flagship K. Wah International Holdings said it had won a joint tender bid for HK$4.18 billion, or $532 million, to develop land on the city’s western side.
K. Wah, though a subsidiary, will hold 60% of a joint venture in partnership with two state-owned companies to develop residential and commercial property in an area planned for artificial intelligence and healthcare-related businesses, the announcement said.
K. Wah said the project “represents an excellent investment opportunity for the group to be engaged in a transit-oriented development to expand its presence in the Shanghai property market, replenish the group’s land bank and is in line with the group’s business development strategy and planning.”
The announcement comes after China’s overall GDP growth fell to 0.4% in the second quarter from a year earlier. In Shanghai, where millions experienced lockdowns of varying duration in the April-June period, GDP shrank by 5.7%. China’s relations with the United States and Europe have been strained by Beijing’s close ties with Russia and recent military exercises near Taiwan.
Mainland-born Lui, worth $12.1 billion on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires list today, moved to Hong Kong at age four. Possessing only an elementary school education, he helped his grandmother run a retail outfit that sold food staples in Hong Kong as a teenager. In the late 1940s he re-exported army surplus, and by 1950 was buying construction equipment from Japan and selling it to Southeast Asia. In 1964 his was the first private company to obtain quarrying rights in Hong Kong, thanks to a record bid.
After that, Lui started building undistinguished residential housing there. Lui was also an early investor in China, buying into a quarry in Shenzhen in 1980 and later acquiring a land bank in Guangzhou. K. Wah Center opened in Shanghai in April 2005; beside real estate, part of his fortune also comes from the Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group.
Another long-term Hong Kong success story in Shanghai property development, Shui On Land, led by billionaire Vincent Lo, noted in a filing last month China’s short-term business outlook faces uncertainties. “The Chinese economy faces considerable headwinds amid a highly uncertain geopolitical environment, tense U.S.-China relations, and tightening monetary policy in the advanced economies,” it said. “The property sector debt issue will take time to resolve. Still, the government has the policy means and experience to handle the developers’ debt restructuring process and address the suspended project issue.”
And yet Shui On, whose Shanghai projects include city’s iconic Xintiandi nightlife and shopping area, was nevertheless upbeat about the longer-term investment prospects there. “Although the immediate outlook is less than favorable, the impending market correction should enable us to acquire assets in prime locations at attractive prices during what could be a golden era for new investment,” it said.
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Real estate markets slow in most nearby communities – Calgary Herald
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Slowing demand and rising supply in outlying communities like Airdrie have set in along with cooler temperatures of late summer, recent data shows.
Calgary Real Estate Board statistics from last month show sales falling year over year in most communities while supply is rising.
“In all those markets, we’ve seen improvements in inventory,” says Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist with CREB.
“Still these markets remain quite tight, but we are seeing some price adjustments and that’s because they came up so high during the pandemic.”
Airdrie is the largest and most in-demand market with the highest sales last month, 169 transactions, down almost eight per cent year over year. Still, the community saw inventory rise more than 10 per cent with now more than 1.69 months of supply, an increase of nearly 20 per cent from last year.
Other communities have also seen sales fall and supply rise. These include Cochrane, which had 75 sales, down about 17 per cent from August last year. Its supply is now more than two months, up about 26 per cent year over year.
Okotoks had 53 sales in August, down about 19 per cent year over year while supply grew to more than 1.8 months.
Despite falling demand and growing supply, prices still grew year over year in these communities. The benchmark price in Airdrie increased almost 19 per cent to $493,500. In Cochrane, the benchmark price grew by more than 16 per cent to $517,400 while the benchmark reached $549,300 in Okotoks, also an increase of more than 16 per cent.
Chestermere saw the biggest drop in sales year over year at more than 48 per cent.
Only High River experienced a slight increase in activity with sales last month up 2.5 per cent versus the same span last year.
Spotlight: Making sense of the current real estate market in Newmarket – NewmarketToday.ca
Buying a home at any time is a huge undertaking. It requires a lot of preparation, time and access to expertise.
Homeowners—and those who wish to become one for the first time—have it even harder right now, with conditions seeming to change from month to month.
REALTOR® Dave Starr specializes in home buying and selling in Newmarket and the surrounding areas. With over 35 years of experience in the real estate industry, he is happy to share what he’s learned with others.
Slowing things down
So how would he describe the current state of the market in Newmarket? “It’s finally more normal and realistic,” he says. “A prospective buyer has a little more breathing room to make sure that their financing is in place and they can also consider a home inspection.”
A seller will benefit by working with a more seasoned agent, he says, because they have had prior experience with similar markets. He likens the situation to a professional athlete who has played in the playoffs before or competed in a large-scale event like the Masters in golf.
Earlier in the year, the market was not realistic.
That tended to leave buyers, sellers and agents scrambling. “The end result can be a situation with buyer’s remorse, where the buyer no longer wants to close on their purchase. The banks sometimes struggle with appraisals, which can also result in a non-closure,” he says. “In the fast-paced market that took place earlier, some agents potentially made more mistakes, especially since they weren’t experienced enough to handle multiple offers.”
Home inspections and interest rates
While some homes may not require a home inspection, there are lots that definitely need one. “In an extremely busy market, buyers could potentially end up with an unwanted surprise—at a great expense,” says the REALTOR®.
He likens it to the necessity of having speed limits on our roadways. The faster you go, the more chances you have of getting into an accident.
“We are now facing an increased mortgage rate, which many would not like to see, but the truth is it will help balance the market overall. Lower interest rates basically were one of the reasons for the inflated house prices and homeowners were simply taking on larger mortgages than ever,” he says.
For years many homeowners would tell him the same thing: that mortgage money was cheap to them. His answer to that never varied: “You do know you have to pay it back at some point.” If the rate were guaranteed for a lifetime, it would be a different story, but of course that’s not the way it works.
The market over the summer was slower but typical; that has become the norm over the past few years.
The fall market is already starting to pick up, with increased activity, though the number of listings in Newmarket is quite low. Rental availability is both quite expensive and experiencing a shortage.
Says Starr, “The market moving forward should remain stable. Buyers and sellers will have more time to make the best educated decision for their needs and wants.”
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, he welcomes any calls or emails.
Let Dave Starr Real Estate help you make your next move. Call 416-520-3231 and get the Starr treatment you deserve.
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