After the sale closed, however, Horiike says he found county records showing the home is actually less than 10,000 square feet, one-third smaller than advertised.
“That was nothing but a lie … nothing but a fraud,” Horiike’s attorney, David Macey, told ABC News of the 15,000-square-feet claim, as filed in the lawsuit.
“They wanted to include garages, patios. I think their expert said the doghouse can work as a living area,” Macey said. “The city of Malibu and most Americans don’t agree.”
Horiike is seeking more than $5 million in damages, according to the New York Times. His attorney, Macey, would not comment on damage estimates when speaking to ABC News.
Cortazzo declined to comment when reached by ABC News. His employer, Coldwell Banker, could not be reached for comment.
David Kramer, executive vice president of Beverly Hills-based real estate firm Hilton & Hyland, told ABC News the best way for prospective home buyers to confirm a listing’s accuracy is to look up the square footage in the property’s tax history, and also get an appraisal.
“Realtors have a fantastic disclosure they include on the listing sheet that says we are not responsible for square footage, that the buyer has to verify,” said Kramer. “The honesty is on everybody in the transaction, but it’s always buyer beware.”