NAR president Tracy Kasper steps down after blackmail threat

Trade group veteran ends five-month stint after “a threat to disclose a past personal, non-financial matter”

NAR President Tracy Kasper Resigns

A photo illustration of former NAR president Tracy Kasper (Getty, NAR)

National Association of Realtors president Tracy Kasper is stepping down from the helm of the trade group.

Kasper, who has been in the role for around five months, “informed NAR’s Leadership Team that she recently received a threat to disclose a past personal, non-financial matter unless she compromised her position,” the group said Monday.  

Kasper initially “refused to do so and instead reported the threat to law enforcement,” but ultimately “felt … it was best for the organization that she step down.”

“The Leadership Team is deeply concerned about any attempt to undermine its governance and, as a result, is taking steps to protect the integrity of the organization,” the organization said in a statement. 

President-elect Kevin Sears, the former president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and national committee chair, will take over the role. 

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Kasper’s departure marks the third major shakeup at the trade group as it battles an onslaught of antitrust litigation over its commission policies and accusations of a hostile work environment. 

Kasper took the reins in August, months ahead of her scheduled promotion, after former president Kenny Parcell resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. Former CEO Bob Goldberg stepped down in November, about a year ahead of his planned retirement.

At the time of Kasper’s ascension, NAR members expressed concerns about her ability to improve the culture at the organization, as she’d held several leadership positions in years prior. 

Staff members at the Chicago-based organization called for Kasper’s resignation just weeks after she assumed the position. Several employees wrote a letter claiming upper management — including Goldberg, senior vice president of talent development Donna Gland and general counsel Katie Johnson — was aware of the sexual misconduct accusations against Parcell and failed to take necessary action.  

NAR is facing a number of lawsuits in at least four states alleging the trade group colluded with major brokerages to hike agents’ commissions. A jury ruled against the organization in the first of the cases to head to trial and awarded the plaintiffs $1.8 billion in damages. If the judge confirms the verdict, the damages could treble to about $5 billion. 

The Department of Justice is also considering reopening its probe into the trade group and its commission-sharing policies, after the agency initially settled its case under the Trump Administration.