Mayor’s brokerage cashes in on Frisco
Critics say Mayor Jeff Cheney has unfair advantage in selling new developments
Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney’s day job is stirring controversy in the rapidly growing North Texas city.
Critics say Cheney, who runs a namesake real estate firm in addition to serving as mayor, is unfairly promoting a high-end new development called Fields for his own benefit, while putting other real estate players at a disadvantage, the Dallas Mornings News reported.
Fields, led by developers Fehmi Karahan and Hunt Realty, is a massive project that will feature a mix of multimillion dollar homes, plus retail, office and a new PGA of America golf course. Within this sprawling community is the Preserve, a roughly 270-acre neighborhood between the PGA’s golf courses and Legacy Drive, with homes costing up to $15 million, the outlet said.
Critics say Cheney, whose firm Cheney Group has sold $1 billion worth of homes and is an affiliate of Monument Realty, has used his intimate knowledge of the project to gain an upper hand, icing out other brokerages.
Cheney says his firm has committed about 30 clients to lots, but that he hasn’t broken Frisco’s code of conduct — elected officials are able to do business in the city as long as they abstain from decision making or voting on items in which they have a private interest and properly disclose conflicts.
“If Fields wanted to hire me to be their exclusive listing agent, that is a job I could have taken under our code of conduct; they did not,” Cheney told the outlet. “I’m just a realtor like everyone else, trying to hustle and represent a buyer.”
Since the project’s inception, Cheney has hosted about 15-20 presentations about the development, including exclusive gatherings with other real estate agents in attendance. He also posted a video to his YouTube page in October, talking about his unmatched knowledge of the venture, which raised speculation about a possible conflict of interest.
Real estate agent Laurie Deckert said she had no knowledge of the residential portion of the development until Cheney posted the video. Jane Taylor, a real estate agent in Plano with DHS Realty, said she’s lost two buyers to a Cheney Group agent since October.
Cheney defended himself by saying he has open dialogue with other agents, the community and anyone else who asks about the level of his involvement with Fields. He also restricts himself from development partnerships or consulting clients in zoning cases, he told the outlet.
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