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Jameson Sotheby’s President Charged with Shoplifting

by Chicago Agent

Michael J. Sato, one of the highest performing Realtors in Chicago, was arrested on Black Friday for retail theft.

Michael J. Sato, president at Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, has been charged with shoplifting three designer ties at the Michigan Avenue Bloomingdale’s store on Black Friday, though his attorney says it was a mistake.

Sato, who has been involved in real estate for 20 years and is on the board of directors at the Chicago Association of Realtors, was spotted slipping two Burberry ties in his coat pocket and one in his shopping bag by a Bloomingdale’s security guard, according to a Chicago Sun-Times story on the arrest. According to court documents cited by the article, Sato then proceeded to the ground level of the floor and past the store vestibule where he would have paid for the $145 ties.

Though Sato is charged with retail theft, his attorney, Jon Erickson, is insisting that the arrest was a big misunderstanding.

“Mr. Sato is a highly respected member of the community and he certainly did not intend to” take the ties, Erickson said in the Sun-Times piece. “It was just a mistake. It was busy. He had his kids with him. It was crowded.”

Sato appeared in court on Saturday, and Erickson highlighted not only the supposedly understandable nature of the “crime,” but also Sato’s clean record and his education at Francis W. Parker School and Denison University. Sato was later released on his own recognizance and is due to return to court next month.

“The evidence will show that it was a misunderstanding,” Erickson also said on Saturday, according to a Chicago Tribune piece on the arrest. “Mr. Sato is a good man, and Mr. Sato didn’t do anything wrong.”

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Comments

  • Greg Viti says:

    Mike is a solid citizen. Great guy and father. I hope he gets this cleared up soon.

  • Michael Bernard says:

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is a huge misunderstanding. Mike Sato is an
    upstanding citizen with an impeccable reputation.

  • J. Monroe says:

    Even nice guys can be kleptomaniacs. It’s still stealing.

  • Debbie Maue says:

    Greg & Mike-Well said. Anyone who knows Mike Sato knows he is a great guy. It’s only stealing if he intended to do it and all the facts have come out. The media is fantastic at manipulating info & sensationalism. I’d be very careful to rush to judgement.

  • L. Chepell says:

    Are you doing anything good for society in reporting this story? Canons of Journalism, circa 1923: “…A newspaper should not involve private rights or feeling without sure warrant of public right as distinguished from public curiosity…” Just feels wrong, sorry.

  • Hardly Harry says:

    Ever hear the phrase, “don’t kill the messenger?” It’s Chicago Agent’s job to report all the news that happens in the real estate world. They did nothing wrong. Stop blaming them because they reported a story you didn’t like.

  • JERRY says:

    WELLLLLLLLLLLLLL, as we have all seen time and time again, someone can be the “nicest guy” in the world, pillar in the community, church going, charity giving, perfect neighbor and turns out they were child molesters, thieves,drug addicts,shoplifters, and even killers. So, if the man was literally stuffing ties in his jacket, that’s stealing. because I know when I go shopping I do NOT put items in my personal pockets and then take them out of my pockets to pay for them. You put things in baskets, carts, or carry to the register. the guy got busted, im sure the video will surface. NOW if they were just in one of his other bags or something, he MIGHT have a case in the court of public opinion, but leaving a store without paying for an item whether or not you put in your pocket, another shopping bag, or your babies stroller, its theft. Because then criminals would just say “oh, im sorry sir! I didn’t realize those items were in the bottom of my childs stroller, I meant to pay for them, honest I did!”

  • David Kasprisin says:

    Mike is an incredibly honest person. I find it funny that some would jump to the conclusion of guilt based off the word of an over zealous security guard without even looking into the situation. Fact: He never left the store. Fact: he was with his kids. Fact: never put the ties in his coat. Fact: everyone that knows Mike says he’s honest and an upstanding member of the community.

    But because an unnamed over zealous “rent a cop” might have thought they saw something, some are willing to soil an unblemished reputation. If hes convicted of doing this then, maybe then, people could say something. Until then- All he did was lose focus on what he was carrying as he was trying to keep an eye on his kids in a very crowded and loud store while moving out of the Men’s section. We all know initial reports are inaccurate.

    Btw, it’s ridiculous that this story is even published in Chicago Agent. There have been many other notable unflattering stories about Realtors that we’re “overlooked” by them. Shame on them

  • Chicago Agent says:

    As much as it pains us to have to post this story, as a media outlet, we cannot pick and choose stories based on who we have personal relationships with or who advertises with us. It is our job to provide our readers with pertinent news about the industry. When a prominent industry leader is arrested on felony charges, it is news. This piece does not pass judgment or assume facts – it is only a summary of the details as they were reported by the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

    While we take pride in doing our part to build up real estate’s reputation in our city, we are also a trade, not a consumer, publication. Therefore, we have the duty to keep you informed when stories like this are being reported in local news outlets. We believe these issues need to be addressed, not swept under the rug.

  • Someone says:

    If you just summarize other news reports, are you assuming accuracy? IMHO, I don’t think it’s right to make any assumptions before publishing a story like this.

  • ron says:

    To Dave. It’s curious that you have all the FACTS. Were you there?

  • Jennie The Realtor says:

    THIS IS NOT A QUESTION OF MIKE SATO BEING A NICE GUY. HE IS A NICE GUY, BUT NICE GUYS, STEAL, CHEAT, KILL, ETC. MIKE IS IN A TRUSTWORTHY POSITION AS A BUSINESS OWNER AND SHOULD BE A ROLE MODEL TO HIS AGENTS, PEERS, AND PROFESSION. IT IS A SLAP IN OUR FACES (THE AGENTS) WE ARE ALWAYS SCRUTINIZED BY THE PUBLIC AS BEING SLIMY AND DISHONEST, THESE EVENTS HAVE PUT US DEEP INTO THIS CATEGORY AND TO HAVE TO WAKE UP TO A CHICAGO TRIBUNE HEADLINE AS SUCH IS EMBARASSING TO OUR PROFESSION. THE (ALLEGED) CRIME IS CLEAR, THERE IS EVIDENCE OF THE MERCHANDISE BEING IN HIS POSESSION AS WELL AS A VIDEOTAPE. MY GUESS IS THAT THIS WILL ALL BE BRUSHED UNDER THE RUG AND DISMISSED BY THE REAL ESTATE WORLD, JUST BECAUSE MIKE IS A NICE GUY AND THAT IN ITSELF IS A CRIME.
    IF MIKE IS AS MUCH OF A STANDUP, HONEST, AND GOOD GUY, HE SHOULD DO A FAVOR TO ALL OF HIS PEERS AND AGENTS AND STEP DOWN FROM HIS CURRENT POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITES.

    AS FOR THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS REGARDING CHICAGO AGENTS REPORTING OF THIS, GET IT CLEAR… THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE WAS THE FIRST TO REPORT THIS. CHICAGO AGENT POSTED THE STORY. THERE WAS NO COMMENT, NO JUDGEMENT ON BEHALF OF CHICAGO AGENT, JUST POSTING THE FACTS AS REPORTED BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE. THEY ARE PART OF THE MEDIA AND THIS IS PART OF THEIR JOB!!!

  • JERRY says:

    the “report” is nothing more than just reporting an incident that happened, you can go online and see all the arrests and mug shots, its public knowledge. nobody is sayingh anything other than this man of prominence has been arrested for shoplifting. period. guilty or not, he will have his day in court, just like veryone else does. if he’s guilty, then he will be found guilty, if he is innocent, well then he will be innocent. check back then, im sure they will post that story as well.

  • David Kasprisin says:

    Never left the store and he’s with his kids. Are you being serious? You want someone to quit because an over zealous rent a cop didn’t like that he left the men’s department. Think about it someone who has had thousands of interactions, never been arrested, is going to take his kids downtown to swipe some ties?. Give me break. Whoever thinks that needs to be arrested too… for smoking crack. Sticking ties in his jacket- where’s the jacket in the mug shot?
    As far as Chicago Agent goes- didn’t realize they’re working on a Pulitzer. Do you know how many “crime stories” that have been in the paper involving parties related to the industry that werent reported (DUIs, non child support payments, property violations, assault, etc). This is the 1st time anything of this nature has ever been reported. Give me a break. It’s an advertising vehicle. Your taking yourselves way too seriously

  • Jennie The Realtor says:

    No David you are!!!! You clearly have all the facts were you with Mike? The CPD cannot arrest unless he actually walked out of the store !!! There are clear cut laws regarding theft and arrests. You must walk out of the store in order to arrest if he did not leave the store they would not have arrested him, they would not be allowed to under the law. Get YOUR facts straight. Yes he should step down… my point was he is not an agent.. he is a business owner, he is on the Chicago Association of Realtor’s Board…. he is not just an agent. The example is being set that it is ok to steal and get away with it!!

  • bob says:

    David, you sound like someone trying to protect a loved one. Are you related?

  • Joe says:

    Google David’s name…he is a lender, think he might have a little skin in the game?

  • RobertM says:

    Facts cannot judge Mr Sato when facts are unknown, the CPD just follows what is reported, no judgment is made. whether you like or dislike is not matarial. He is innocent in our Country till convicted and has all the appeals rights available after that. And yes plenty of mistakes are made by employees and misconceptions. Facts include intent combined with actual circumstances. To judge anyone prior to a hearing is improper. And afterwards you might just look in the mirror before you speak. I wish Mike the best and will not be surprised when this whole unfortunate matter fades away.

  • Hardly Harry says:

    Who’s been drinking the Michael Sato Kool-Aid now, David? The picture is a mug shot. The police make you remove your jacket so they can get an accurate depiction of the suspect’s body type for identification purposes. The whole incident was captured on the store’s video system so it wasn’t just “the accusation of some overzealous rent a cop.” He walked past 3 cash registers where he could have stopped to pay for his “purchase” but instead he kept the merchandise concealed and attempted to leave the store. The police had sufficient probable cause and made the arrest. Hopefully this clears up your confusion.

    All I know is I wouldn’t trust him to sell my house after the incident. Wonder how long it will take Jameson to kick him to the curb…

  • Impartial Observor says:

    Let me be clear that I am not defending Mr Sato.
    I do not work for or with him and my exposure to him over the years has been minimal. But like it or not, the judicial system in the U.S. is structured in such a way that we are ALL innocent until proven guilty. Please allow justice to take its course before placing positive or negative commentaries regarding an incident where your information is second hand at best. The reality is some type of incident did occur. The CPD does not arrest anyone for no reason at all. There are guidelines that are adhered to before making an arrest. Nor does Bloomingdales want to alienate their clients. I will wait patiently before passing judgement, but for the sake of our industry’s reputation, I hope that this is all a misunderstanding. However if Mr. Sato is found guilty, I am sure that the burden of embarassment that he will have brought upon himself, his family, his company and the real estate industry at large, will be a very heavy load to bear. Will we ever really know the whole truth? I’m guessing probably not. These type of incidences tend to fade away quickly.

    P.S. Mr Kasprisin, I find it embarassing that you as an educated and successful business man denegrate an entire profession by repeatedly calling the security guard a “rent a cop”. Shame on you. Moral of the story is that you shouldnt judge others without knowing the facts.

  • David Kasprisin says:

    I stand by my comments and personal experience. Which is a lot more than the people who use pseudonyms to hide their identity cansay. He broke no laws AND this is the first time CA has reported a story like this from what I can remember. If “Jennie the Realtor”- whoever that is, read the story she can clearly see that he did not leave the store. But like a typical feeding frenzy prople jump at the opportunity to assume guilt. If people want to jump to conclusions that’s their choice. When the charges are dropped, which they will be, I hope Mike and his family can get back to their lives. Good night, and be thankful that you’ve never been wrongfully accused.

  • Troubled says:

    I googled David’s name and a profile from CA came up. Looks like he is a lender and praises Mike Sato in his profile…. I wonder if David’s bank is the lender of choice for Mr. Sato’s company? HMMMMMMMMM

  • Also a Realror says:

    I too agree with Jennie. In his pocket and bag by mistake???? Right. Hahaha. It just shows you even big money people have issues. He should step down and then seek treatment. He’s an embarrassment to our profession. I’m glad he has support but keep it real. The man is a suffering from some under lying issues. Kudos to Realtor Mag for the story. Also, Robo cop – not nice. They buy houses too!

  • Willing to let the courts decide says:

    I just finished reading all of the comments. I can understand both sides, but still prefer not to be too quick to judge. Unless any of you were personally there at the store,

  • Willing to let the courts decide says:

    I don’t think this should have been put into Chicago Agent Magazine either. They certainly could have waited until it went to court. He should have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It wouldn’t be the first time someone has been accused of wrong doing erroneously! Take it easy people.

  • Nick says:

    He stole. He got caught. He is President of what is supposed to be a reputable real estate agency, where he allegedly tried to swipe more than $450.00 worth of merchandise, when he was shopping…with his children no less! This is news and should be shared with people, including customers, within his industry, especially those thinking of doing business with him or his company.
    For those of you defending him as a nice guy, and a stand up person…pull your noses out of his behind and get a clue.

  • billyjoe says:

    Mr. Sato obviously has the bucks and stature to press for his “innocent until proven guilty” shoplifting scenario.

    If this is his first time to be arrested or convicted of the nonviolent crime of retail theft, he has the option of avoiding jail time in return for paying a fine and being sentenced to community service.

  • Richard Bininya says:

    I would be ashamed of considering a $450.00 tie purchase in this real estate market. Champagne tastes sometimes are hard to extinguish, having the money or not. I am guessing Mr. S may have not been so prepared to spend $450.00 on 3 ties either, but he really wanted them.
    Who would you rather be this week, Herman Cain, or Mr. S?

  • I know Mike, he is a great guy. I have no doubt this is a misunderstanding.

  • wkg says:

    Although I have no doubt Mr. Sato is a good man the facts are that he put two ties in his pocket and another in a bag then walked past the point where he was to pay for them.

    I don’t put things in bags or my pockets while I am in a store. It makes no sense.

    Don’t fault the security guard for doing his/her job. That is what they are paid to do.

    I hope this does turn out to be a misunderstanding but it doesn’t sound like someone who intended to pay for his items.

  • This is very sad and scary to have people like this as leaders. I hope that the rest of his people don’t follow his foot steps!! The great news, there is always RE/MAX where leaders pay for their ties!!

  • Jude Foreman says:

    Bernie Madoff was also a nice guy- he donated millions to charity. He was nothing more than a thief and a liar. I’m not saying Sato did it or calling him a nice or bad person… but good people do bad things sometimes and as anyone in real estate knows- bad things happen to good people.

  • Mike says:

    Sato is a thief…plain and simple those of you defending him make the rest of us honest realtors look like thieves too….wonder how many past clients of his are saying now about things that may have gone missing under his watch!!! Foe Christ sake this guy had the keys to many expensive homes…shame on you Sato!! How many homes did he lift from? That is the real question? I was shopping same day…same mall with my 3 kids how come I did not steal anything. In fact the mall was more than happy to take my money!! Sato may still be a good guy no doubt, but for the rest of us it is probably time for him to hang it up! As far as David the mortgage broker goes…your defense of him clearly shows that you are going to miss some of his business…you are a lowlife and you know it…greedy sob! I would take my business elsewhere as far as mortgages or real estate goes. David the mortgage broker is someone who we should all overlook when looking for a home loan….god forbid the mall security guard did his job…you are a rent a lender piece o garbage! Shame on you putting a man down cause he has a job..does it right and only wants to make an honest living! Can you say the same?

  • Steve Y says:

    He stole it… End of story…

    He might get off with his high priced attorney but he still did.

    3 ties at $145 makes it a felony and a serious offense so it is not a joke…

  • Randy says:

    Welll.. he was so innocent that he chose not to defend himself. Instead, he copped a plea deal and didn’t contest the fact that he stole the ties. Turns out the story was true…. Michael Sato is a thief.

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