Credibility. Trust. These are the two most important criteria, in my view, for any media organization in attracting, maintaining and growing its audience, its image, its reputation, its ratings, its advertising sales and, ultimately, its profitability.
Credibility and trust are that important.
Which explains why, unlike many behind-the-scenes media employees, the ”up front” high profile media personalities … whether in print, on television or on radio … are often subjected to higher scrutiny, and expectations, by their audiences and broadcasters. When it comes to personal matters, no news is indeed good news.
And when things go awry, media organizations have been very quick to remove on-air personalities from “exposure” on their stations until the matter is resolved. Not because they have been found guilty of any wrongdoing …this usually happens well before any have gone to trial … but simply to protect the image of the station and not detract from its message or its credibility, trust and reputation among the public.
So I was quite surprised to hear BC real estate guru Ozzie Jurock still ”doing his thing” Saturday morning on CKNW’s Michael Campbell Money Talks show.
Jurock was in the news the previous week … including major stories in both the Vancouver Sun and Province … named in not one, but two class action lawsuits seeking certification before the BC Supreme Court, and containing very serious allegations, for reportedly steering real estate buyerss into “money-losing in problem-plagued complexes”.
“Real estate guru under fire!” and “Ozzie Jurock, 2 partners face wrath of investors problem-plagued condos” screamed the headline and sub-headline in a full two-page article by Ethan Baron in The Province.
“The lawsuit alleges that Jurock and his associates provided purchasers with marketing materials stating the purchase price of each unit was about $10,000 below the appraised value. However, the lawsuit claims, they did not have appraisals to support that claim,” wrote David Baines in The Sun.
This is not small stuff.
The allegations against Jurock and his partners are not being made by one or two buyers in a particular development: there are DOZENS of accusers, according to news reporters, in two different projects in two different cities levelling serious accusations.
Among the statement of claim allegations: that “the sellers did not disclose to buyers deficiency in the buildings that the sellers were aware of and were obligated to disclose” .
Among building flaws in the developments were cracked chimneys, inadequate flashings, failing seals and leaking windows, and other deficiencies.
Through his lawyer, Jurock has denied any wrong-doing or misrepresentation.
But, for CKNW and other media, I believe there is a serious problem here.
A number of those who invested in the subject properties said they did so because they trusted Jurock.
Jurock has, for years, been a regular participant in Campbell’s weekly show on CKNW, and also frequent source of information in other media stories on real estate (I used him myself in stories when I was working) and media fame no doubt encouraged some to attend his real estate seminars or subscribe to his members-only e-mail newsletters.
Jurock’s high profile media presence no doubt helped develop the trust and confidence that led investors to Jurock’s doorstep and to shell out. collectively, millions of dollars on projects with which he was involved.
But now there are serious allegations. None have been proved in court and the class-action lawsuit is being considered and has not yet been certified by the Supreme Court.
But remember, the media has already shown MANY TIMES it holds “on-air” personalities to a higher standard to protect a station’s image, credibility, trust etc etc.
So I was surprised to hear Jurock on CKNW Saturday talking about real estate issues AND highlighting new investment opportunities … although they did NOT appear to be ones he (nor any partners, relatives or friends) has a personal interest in on any level.
I personally feel Jurock should pull himself voluntarily, until the lawsuits and allegations are resolved, from anything in the media that even comes close to promoting or highlighting potential real estate deals or opportunities.
And if he doesn’t do that… CKNW should.