Real Estate

Meet The French Baker Behind California’s Big Commission Suit

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Like most of the commission lawsuits currently wending their way through the courts, the case filed Wednesday in California was light on details about the plaintiffs.

“Gael Fierro is a French national and permanent resident of Los Angeles, California,” the case’s complaint states, before a brief mention of Fierro’s home sale that prompted him to file the suit. The next paragraph includes a similarly sparse description of Patrick Thurber, the second plaintiff in the case.

In cases like this, Inman often looks up the plaintiffs to see what kind of digital footprint they might have. More often than not, there’s conspicuously little that turns up. That’s the reason it took until the actual trial in the Sitzer | Burnett case, when the plaintiffs took the stand, for any meaningful details about the people behind the suit to surface.

In that context, the new Fierro case in California is remarkable because, it turns out, the lead plaintiff actually has a robust online presence. Gael Fierro has been interviewed in the media before, runs a bakery in Los Angeles, and even helped produce a 2022 movie. Fierro’s comparatively higher profile sets his case apart and potentially means he could end up being a less mysterious figure than other commission lawsuit plaintiffs.

Here’s what we’ve managed to learn about Fierro:

A French national in Los Angeles

Fierro’s suit notes that he is from France but now resides in Los Angeles. However, a December 2022 interview with online magazine Voyage LA sheds further light on his journey. In the interview, he states that he was born in Paris but decided to move to Hollywood in 2017.

Fierro said in the interview that he sold a health technology company in order to make the move, and since arriving in Los Angeles has “been very much in love with California.”

Gaël Fierro. Credit: LinkedIn

It’s not entirely clear what business Fierro was referring to when he said he sold a company in France. A LinkedIn profile appearing to belong to Fierro lists him as holding the positions of president and director general at a French nursing software company called Albus, l’appli des infirmiers. But the LinkedIn profile also states that he held those positions until mid-2021. A French technology website lists Fierro as among Albus’ “main founders and directors,” though it also states that the company was founded in 1990.

The LinkedIn profile also indicates that while in France, Fierro worked in marketing, communications, TV and theater. His current job is listed as CEO of Bambi Foot, LLC, which, according to a company website “advises and assists European players in search for renewal of product ranges, markets, innovations and new trends, inspired by American and Californian way of life.”

The movie writer

Also in the Voyage LA interview, Fierro states that after arriving in Hollywood he “started writing a movie which was purchased and produced by Amazon. It was a wonderful adventure, and premiered in Paris in 2022.”

Fierro doesn’t mention the name of the movie in the interview, and he does not appear to have a profile on IMBD — which is curious because IMDB is supposed to be an archive of literally everyone who has worked in Hollywood. However, Fierro is listed on Rotten Tomatoes as the co-writer of the Amazon original film I Love America. Inman also viewed the credits of the film, and Fierro is listed there as well. The film tells the story of a French woman who moves to Hollywood looking for a new life.

The movie has a 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and a New York Times review characterized it as a tale about “the gauche rituals of modern American romance.”

You can view the trailer for the film here:

Fierro also posted a number of times about the film’s production on LinkedIn.

The French baker

Though Fierro’s LinkedIn page lists him as the CEO of Bambi Foot, the Voyage LA interview primarily focuses on his efforts running a bakery business that produces cannelés, a traditional French pastry. In the interview, Fierro said he always liked cooking. After arriving in Los Angeles, he “started offering cannelés to everyone, and the idea of starting this small business gradually became a reality,” according to the interview.

The business, called CanneLA, appears to be oriented around a delivery model and, according to its website, is based near the Hollywood Bowl concert venue.

However, the current status of the company is unclear; CanneLA’s homepage currently displays a message stating that “due to an upcoming surgery, your favorite French chef will be unavailable for a few months, probably until the end of the year.” The message also states that “CanneLA will be back soon,” but it is unclear when the message was posted.

CanneLA additionally has an Instagram profile, but the most recent post there is from June 2023.

Inman has reached out to Fierro via his company website and will update this story with any comments he provides.

The homeseller

The new commission lawsuit does not provide an address for the home Fierro sold in December 2020, which led to the lawsuit. But it does say the home is located in Los Angeles, and that Fierro paid $51,300 in commission, which represented 6 percent of the sale price. That means the home should have sold for $855,000.

According to Zillow, the average home value for a property in the Hollywood neighborhood at that time was $921,116 — though of course, it’s possible that Fierro did not actually live in Hollywood itself. The average value of a home in Los Angeles at the time of Fierro’s sale was $749,748.

As is the case with much of the recent commission litigation, Fierro’s case is just at the beginning and there could be a lengthy period of legal wrangling before anything significant happens. There are also numerous other cases in many other states that raise similar issues and which challenge real estate’s status quo.

But even as the public waits for new developments in these many lawsuits, Fierro’s case is likely to remain a notable one due to the lead plaintiffs’ long and unusual history in the public eye.

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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