Elliman, RE/MAX, Keller Williams subpoenaed in discrimination probe

Senate acts on Newsday investigation of unequal treatment of minority homebuyers

Feb.February 27, 2020 07:33 PM
The New York State Senate subpoenaed several top names in real estate

The New York State Senate subpoenaed several top names in real estate

Major brokerages have been summoned to a State Senate hearing on unequal treatment of minority homebuyers in Long Island.

Douglas Elliman, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Charles Rutenberg Realty and Realty Connect USA were all sent subpoenas, state officials told Newsday.

The hearing, scheduled for April 17, is part of a Senate probe examining housing discrimination.

The probe was launched after a three-year Newsday investigation found real estate agents sometimes steered minorities to certain neighborhoods and required they — but not white buyers — obtain pre-approvals for mortgages.

Brokerage executives and dozens of Long Island-based real estate agents were sent subpoenas after failing to appear at an earlier hearing.

“There’s an easy way and a hard way to do things,” tweeted Sen. James Skoufis at the time.

Skoufis, who chairs the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, said that only one of the 68 individuals invited to testify at the initial hearing showed up.

“The remaining 67 individuals either neglected to respond or outright refused to provide testimony,” he said. According to Newsday, 31 subpoenas were then issued.

After the Newsday investigation was published, The Real Deal asked several brokerages to respond to the findings. Elliman took a contrarian stance, attacking the publication’s report and methods.

“Newsday’s report is an unreliable, unethical, and unscientific attempt to create a news story where there is none,” a representative for the firm said at the time. The person noted that the firm has a mandatory agent training program that covers fair housing law, as well as a “zero tolerance policy” toward unfair and illegal treatment of any individual or group.

Newsday said its investigation employed the same methodology that the federal government uses in testing for violations of the Fair Housing Act. The testing was overseen and reviewed by external experts who did not receive payment from the publication. [Newsday] — Erin Hudson

Related Articles

John Giannone and Jac Credaroli (Credit: iStock)

Two Elliman agents launch platform to provide renters, buyers and sellers up to $50K in unsecured loans

Jacob Sudhoff and Scott Durkin (Credit: Sudhoff Companies, Emily Assiran, iStock)

Douglas Elliman is coming to Texas

Douglas Elliman chairman Howard Lorber (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

Elliman’s revenue rose 18%, after sales frenzy to avoid New York’s new transfer tax

From left: Douglas Elliman's Howard Lorber, Halstead's Diane Ramirez, Corcoran's Pam Liebman and Warburg Realty's Frederick Peters (Illustration by The Real Deal)

Layoffs and furloughs hit NYC’s biggest resi firms

(Credit: iStock)

Strong quarter for Manhattan home sales belies current struggle

LA resi leaders predict “pent up demand” post-coronavirus

LA resi leaders predict “pent up demand” post-coronavirus

NYRAC's Heather McDonough Domi and Compass' Leonard Steinberg (Credit: Compass; Steinberg by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Broker group asks StreetEasy to stop counting days on market

Glenn Sanford (Credit: Twitter, Pixabay)

Virtual brokerage eXp sees first profitable quarter