Zillow was conspicuously absent at the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR’s) midyear conference last week. And that was for a good reason: they weren’t allowed to come.
At the event, MLS CEO Cameron Paine asked the crowd why News Corp.-owned realtor.com operator Move Inc. was pitching its products to NAR members, while Zillow and homes.com were not?
The answer turned out to be that Zillow Group and its companies have been banned from NAR’s 2016 events, according to Inman. That includes its Association Executives Institute, the midyear legislative conference and the annual conference in November.
NAR and Move are co-plaintiffs in a legal battle against Zillow and executives Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley. Samuelson and Beardsley are accused of deleting e-mails, smashing a hard drive and wiping computers clean before decamping from Move to Zillow in order to hide evidence of swiping trade secrets.
A Washington state judge ruled against Zillow executive Curt Beardsley last week, but declined to sanction Samuelson or Zillow itself.
“In light of the ongoing litigation, we elected not to permit Zillow to exhibit at or sponsor NAR’s meetings this year,” NAR spokeswoman Sara Wiskerchen told Inman.
She added that “no funds were ever exchanged” between Zillow and NAR for that event, contradicting a rumor that said funds had been returned to Zillow.
“It’s unfortunate that NAR felt it necessary to deny our application to exhibit at their 2016 events. We look forward to seeing all of our industry partners at one of our many upcoming Zillow Group events,” Zillow Group spokeswoman Amanda Woolley told Inman. [Inman] –Christopher Cameron