“The tsunami grows”: NAR president’s exit sparks agent frustration

Brokers air grievances, offer theories after Tracy Kasper resignation

NAR President’s Resignation Sparks Speculation
A photo illustration of former NAR president Tracy Kasper (Getty, Facebook)

A ploy from Black Rock to take over real estate. A conspiracy between Zillow and other prop techs to topple the National Association of Realtors. A mole from inside the organization. 

Tracy Kasper’s abrupt resignation on Monday left room for brokers to cast even the wildest of speculation on what — or who — could be behind the blackmail threat cited as the cause of the NAR president’s exit. 

Kasper claimed that someone threatened to expose “a past personal, non-financial matter” if she didn’t agree to “compromise her position at NAR,” according to the organization’s press release about her departure. 

The release states Kasper reported the threats to law enforcement, but it’s unclear with which agency she shared the information. 

Municipal and county police departments with jurisdictions around Kasper’s home in Idaho also said they hadn’t received a report. A spokesperson for the police in Chicago, where NAR is headquartered, said the department hadn’t received a report from her after Nov. 1. 

NAR declined to confirm the location of the report and to provide further details on the blackmail threats.

State and local associations have done little to clarify the incident. According to some brokers and official group social media pages, messaging has been all over the map, with some staying mum, others reposting portions of NAR’s statement and few communicating with members directly.

The Ohio Realtors association was among those who issued statements after the resignation. The group was quick to reassure its members that the shakeup would not disrupt their operations, according to their statement published Tuesday. 

“While we are disappointed with this news, please know that this has not affected business or programming within Ohio REALTORS,” the statement reads. 

New drama, same frustrations

What is immediately clear is Kasper’s departure marks another chink in the group’s already damaged armor. It’s the group’s third leadership shakeup in recent months, adding to its growing list of problems including a deluge of antitrust lawsuits and allegations of a hostile work environment. 

Her resignation occurred just five months after she took the reins from her predecessor, Kenny Parcell. The transition came ahead of schedule, triggered by the former president’s resignation in August after the New York Times published an investigation that found several employees accused Parcell of sexual harassment.  

While the details of Kasper’s allegations remain fuzzy, agents expressed frustration over further turmoil at the nation’s largest trade group.

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“The tsunami grows,” said Jason Haber, a Compass agent who has been a vocal critic of the organization. “It’s another embarrassing story.”

Haber, a New York-based agent, founded the NAR Accountability Project, which is a grassroots movement calling for change at the organization in the wake of the misconduct allegations against its leadership. 

Among some of their initiatives was a push for NAR CEO Bob Goldberg to resign. Goldberg stepped down just days after a jury ruled against NAR in an antitrust case over broker commissions and about a year ahead of his planned retirement. 

“There’s reputational risk from being associated with NAR right now,” Haber said. “That’s bad for the Realtor brand, but it’s bad for agents too.”

Ken Pozek, an Orlando-based agent who’s been a NAR member since 2006, said the shakeup exacerbates one of the organization’s primary obstacles: a lack of consistent messaging and leadership.

“[NAR] doesn’t have a united front, and leadership is changing every five seconds,” Pozek said. “Because leadership doesn’t have this clear vision, it’s going to hurt realtors and homeowners.”

Some agents took to Instagram comments to vent about NAR’s mounting issues. John Irvin, a broker in the D.C. Metropolitan area, wrote that he was “super disappointed” in how the organization has dealt with the lawsuits and their “failure to protect all the professionals in the industry.”

“This is so disgraceful,” Irvin commented on The Real Deal’s Instagram post about Kasper’s departure. 

But other agents jumped to Kasper’s defense, including Nicole Arenas, a Keller Williams agent in Dallas.

“Very sad day for NAR and Kasper,” Arenas wrote under TRD’s post. “Blackmailing anyone for any reason is absolutely wrong.”

Mike Pappas, chief executive officer of one of Florida’s largest independent brokerages, pointed to Kasper’s decades of work in state and national leadership roles with NAR that culminated in an abrupt exit. 

“[Kasper] was doing a fabulous job in a tumultuous time,” said Pappas, CEO of the Miami-based Keyes Company. “She’s given her life to the organization, and our heart aches for her.”

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