Anonymous Author of 'Yolanda's Little Black Book' Real Estate Blog Revealed? Not So Fast

Illustration by: Stephen Collins

An L.A. Times story claims to out the writer of the dishy blog, which frequently exposes the inner details of high-profile, multimillion-dollar deals, but The Hollywood Reporter's top real estate agents aren't so sure the report is accurate.

It was a tantalizing scoop that justly pinballed around L.A.'s top luxury real estate offices: The author of Yolanda's Little Black Book revealed! The article, published July 13 by the Los Angeles Times, uncorked years of speculation about who pens the anonymous blog that frequently exposes the inner details of high-profile, multimillion-dollar deals, often before ink has dried.

Yolanda, according to the Times, was 28-year-old Glendora resident James McClain, who previously worked in the finance department at Compass. But that story doesn't square with a number of THR's top agents. "I don't think that's the person," says WEA's Stephen Shapiro. "Everybody I talked to feels the same way. " Pacific Union's Aaron Kirman agrees. Why? "Compass wasn't attached to every deal," Kirman says. "He could've been part of it but there must be many other players." Indeed, Yolanda often reported on transactions that did not involve Compass on either side, which sheds doubt on the Times' tidy explanation; what's more, the blog predated Compass' 2015 launch in L.A.

But a Compass spokesperson confirms that much of the Times report is accurate and notes that McClain had been let go in April as part of a reorganization (the company says it was tipped off about leaks in June). Messages to McClain via Facebook and left on a cellphone believed to be his were not returned. Compass is still investigating and in a July statement did not rule out taking legal action against McClain. But that hasn't stopped Yolanda. In the weeks following the Times article the blog slowed, but it has since picked up again — recently reporting on purchases by actor Sam Worthington and Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel.

Between agents, inspectors and the escrow and title process, Kirman estimates that as many as 70 people may have knowledge of a deal — that's a lot of possible leaks. But he also believes some promotion-minded pros may have helped Yolanda along. When the blog launched, "We didn't have the kind of mojo with the media that we have today," he notes. "We liked the attention and we liked being discussed. So yes, we are principled agents," he jokes. "But only sometimes."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.