Over the weekend, home improvement guru and all-around craftsman Bob Vila was in the news for a reason other than sharing his drywall secrets.
In fact, Bob is the plaintiff in a lawsuit against an Illinois PR guy who decided to tout his client roster for new business (as they do). Unfortunately, while most prospects don’t read the client roster, one guy did — Bob Vila. He was particularly surprised when he discovered that he was being represented by Robert Smith of Loves Park.
Only, not so much.
A federal lawsuit filed this week says Robert Smith, a public relations specialist, unlawfully sold or licensed Vila’s likeness for thousands of dollars and led promoters to believe Vila would appear at their home improvement expos. Vila, 69, of Palm Beach, Florida, is best known as the host of “This Old House,” “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” and “Restore America with Bob Vila.”
“When attendees questioned when (Vila) would appear at the event, attendees were told that it was unclear; that (Vila) had yet to arrive; that (Vila) had already departed; or that (Vila) had failed to show up to the event entirely,” the suit states.
People aren’t supposed to read that far down on the press kit or scroll down on the website. Unfortunately for Smith, Vila is known for laying a good foundation before constructing a house of lies.
Smith’s “falsehoods and blatant free-riding on the goodwill” of Vila damaged the home-improvement expert’s good name, the suit states. Vila is seeking $2 million in damages for each unauthorized use of his image and likeness.