Mauricio Umansky talks trade, tax and love life

The Agency’s CEO didn’t hold back at TRD’s latest Salon Series event

Mauricio Umansky Takes Stage at With The Real Deal
Mauricio Umansky (Photography by Paul Dilakian/ The Real Deal)
Stuart Elliot and Mauricio Umansky

Nobody can accuse Mauricio Umansky of being shy. 

The Agency CEO took the stage with The Real Deal’s Stuart Elliott on Oct. 23 at The Real Deal’s Salon Series event and shared his thoughts on a wide range of subjects, from Los Angeles’ mansion tax to Compass’ recruitment strategy.

One of the first industry topics the reality TV star touched upon was the status of the National Association of Realtors, the nation’s largest trade association. 

The group is facing two antitrust lawsuits, alleging it colluded with brokers to inflate commission rates. If it loses, buyers’ brokers’ commission could be decoupled from listing agents’. On top of that, a sexual harassment scandal recently unfolded at the top-loeve of NAR, culminating in the resignation of president Kenny Parcell in August, who denied wrongdoing.

“I personally think we should leave NAR and create our own coalition,” said Umansky. 

Umansky also dished on competitor Compass’ recruitment. The firm, which embarked on a $320 million cost-cutting mission last year as it seeks to become profitable, pledged to stop paying agents lucrative sign-on bonuses as part of that effort. Umansky says that isn’t the case.

“They are recruiting aggressively. They are still paying, they are saying they’re not but they are 100 percent still paying,” he said. “And my whole thing on that is … if you’re a public company you should definitely tell the truth.”

Compass on Friday categorically denied offering any kind of sign-on bonus to agents, with a company representative saying the tech platform, network and culture at Compass are bringing over agents from The Agency, including teams in New York City, Dallas and across California.

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Finally, Umansky had some sharp criticism regarding Los Angeles’ so-called mansion tax, Measure ULA, which adds an incremental 5 percent tax to homesales over $5 million.

“It’s a real mess, they really screwed this thing up,” said Umansky. 

The numbers may bear that out. The tax brought in an anemic $3.6 million in its first month, compared to a projected monthly average of $56 million. Much of the money from the tax was slated to go to address housing insecurity problems in the city. 

Umansky said there are no specific plans on how to allocate the money to accomplish those goals. 

“They put this measure on the election ballot. I read it, it was forced, it was just four lines, two sentences. And it literally just said, you know, tax the rich,” he said.

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The conversation with Elliott came just hours after Umanksy, a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, posted a story to his Instagram account to explain that he isn’t dating his dancing partner Emma Slater, after the two were photographed holding hands. Umansky is separated from his wife Kyle Richards, of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” fame.

When asked about the trials of having his personal affairs aired out publicly, Umansky said it’s important to brush things off, before adding:

“I hate fame. I forget about it all the time,” he said. “I literally forget every minute of my life that I am on television, that people know me. That’s probably why I’m holding hands in a parking lot with somebody.”