The Harbor facing more legal problems soon?
ROCKWALL -The owner of local entertainment website PlanetRockwall.com says that the Facebook page she set up two years ago, that has attracted over 2,800 “Likes” while promoting the Harbor district in Rockwall, has essentially been hijacked by The Shops at The Harbor’s management company, United Commercial Realty (UCR).
As a result, Rockwall business owner Sharon Lewis says she is now angry and investigating legal remedies which may soon land both businesses in court.
The Facebook page is named “The Harbor Rockwall.”
The Shops at the Harbor use the domain address www.TheHarborAtRockwall.com.
According to Lewis, she has maintained two Facebook pages since 2010 with similar names to help promote The Harbor district and serve as marketing platforms for PlanetRockwall.com.
The first, named “The Harbor at Rockwall,” was set up to promote Harbor businesses, activities and City events held there. Merchants were invited to use the Page to promote their businesses. As of a week ago, it had attracted over 1,000 Likes but is currently not online.
Then a second page, called “The Harbor Rockwall,” was also created to promote Harbor businesses, activities and City events. Merchants were also invited to use the Page to promote their businesses. In addition, information was provided regarding the public areas owned by the City of Rockwall, including the amphitheater, boardwalk, lighthouse, lake access and boat ramps.
On the second Facebook Page – taken over recently by UCR – PlanetRockwall.com promoted the City’s highly-popular “Concerts By The Lake” series and other events. As of today, this Facebook page has attracted over 2,900 followers.
“This is the page that was taken from Planet Rockwall without consent,” said Lewis.
Across the top of the page in two places, UCR has added “The Harbor at Rockwall.”
UCR is also operating a third Facebook page, established Feb. 20, called “The Harbor Rockwall,” using the same graphics that have been used in the past on signage at The Harbor district. The management company last updated it Easter Sunday.
Lewis said she was contacted a month ago by UCR Project Manager Silvana Garcia, demanding that Planet Rockwall turn over ownership of the page to UCR “within the hour.” When Lewis objected and requested a meeting to discuss the page, she said Garcia denied her a meeting unless the wall was turned over immediately.
“I thought this was a poor way for someone to conduct business.” said Lewis. “I told Ms. Garcia I would contact her by the end of the day. I then contacted an attorney who made contact with Ms. Garcia.”
Just days later, UCR successfully persuaded Facebook to switch ownership of the second page to UCR and away from PlanetRockwall.com without notice from Facebook or UCR’s legal counsel. It was just suddenly changed and Lewis could no longer access “The Harbor Rockwall” page as the administrator.
“They just took it,” she said.
After all the time she has invested in the Facebook page to help The Harbor, Lewis said she feels that UCR could have at least worked with her about changing ownership of the Page or Pages.
Lewis added that she did meet with UCR Asset Management and UCR’s marketing agency after a phone call she placed to UCR regarding the ownership switch of the wall. Proposals were discussed and Lewis was asked to submit a proposal in writing, based on their meeting.
“Via an email message our proposal was deemed ‘Unacceptable’ and allegedly passed on to their legal counsel,” she explained.
Lewis has now consulted with an attorney and they are examining legal remedies. They are also attempting to contact Facebook.
“It’s unfortunate we’re put into this situation after promoting The Harbor district since it first opened. No one else was promoting The Harbor district in Rockwall. For the longest time we were the destination site for things happening there.”
“The new management group has a new web site and started advertising promotions last summer, but excluded Planet Rockwall and other local media from their marketing programs.”
Upon a request for comments, UCR Senior Property Manager Silvana Garcia told TheRockwallNews.com that she would pass our request on to someone at UCR if they wanted to respond but she did not know if or when they would.
By J.J. Smith, Publisher