The Sarasota Association of Realtors, in conjunction with the Visitor's Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce and a loose consortium of local restaurant and hotel owners, is suing the government of Hungary, claiming that their "negligence in the inspection and enforcement of industry-standard safety precautions of the vast retention pond of toxic waste did, in fact, allow a flood of poisonous sludge to suddenly and without warning discharge into the countryside, thereby polluting the affected lands and causing distress to the residents. Further, said toxic sludge has produced numerous adverse effects upon the Hungarian people and, by extension, upon the businesses of Sarasota, FL, who rely heavily upon those Hungarian people to visit Sarasota, FL, and patronize those businesses."
The lawsuit claims damages in excess of $2.65 billion in lost revenue, including sales commissions, profits and wages.
Spokesrealtor Beneva Lockwood-Ridge said, "This tragedy in Hungary is an even bigger tragedy for Sarasota. To come on the heels of the BP oil disaster that absolutely decimated our fair city is almost too much to bear. But we are a strong, vibrant community, nestled as we are on the pristine sandy white beaches along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, close to all the amenities an active retiree could ever hope for, including the arts, shopping and innumerable opportunities to participate in various sporting and exercise endeavors."
When reminded that no oil ever came close to approaching the Sarasota area, Ms. Lockwood-Ridge countered, "Perhaps the oil did not threaten our shoreline physically, but the perception by the general public was that we were mired in ankle-deep goo and perception trumps reality every time, especially in the world of real estate. It has been a real tough year for us here in Sarasota and if we were able to cash in on some of that BP money to keep up the payments on our Lexuses, then we're hoping to convince those crazy goulash-eating Hungarians that they should give us money, too. In fact, if we can keep this up, we won't care if we ever sell another house again!"
"Even though," she hastily added, "NOW is the time to buy!"
Workers apply red dye to the soil around a Sarasota home prior to the arrival of photographers.