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RE/MAX sues First American

Title insurance marketing spat attracts regulators

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A legal dispute between RE/MAX International Inc. and First American Residential Group Inc. over a $600,000-a-year marketing agreement has attracted the attention of Colorado regulators, who want to know more about how First American benefited from the deal and why it decided to pull the plug on the agreement last year. According a lawsuit filed by RE/MAX in March, First American paid the real estate franchisor more than $2.4 million over four years for the exclusive right to market its title insurance and related services to RE/MAX franchises and agents. RE/MAX sued after First American terminated the agreement in April 2007 and allegedly failed to make a scheduled payment of $693,000 the following July. The lawsuit caught the attention of the Colorado Division of Real Estate's director, Erin Toll, known for her past investigations of kickbacks paid by title insurers to win business from real estate agents, developers and lenders when Toll was the state's deputy insuran...