Texas Realtors names Jef Conn of Lubbock chairman of the board

Will take on role while organization deals with major lawsuit over broker fees

Texas Realtors Names Jef Conn Chairman of the Board
Texas Realtors' Jef Conn (Texas Realtors, Getty)

A seasoned real estate veteran has joined the Texas Realtors association’s leadership team, taking on a pivotal role at a tumultuous time for the organization. 

Jef Conn, an agent with Coldwell Banker Commercial in Lubbock, has been named chairman of the board for Texas Realtors, according to a news release. He will begin his new role next year.

“I look forward to working side by side with Realtors statewide as we continue to advocate for our priorities, private property rights and housing affordability for all Texans,” Conn said. 

The association’s leadership team also includes president and CEO Travis Kessler of Austin, chairman-elect Christy Gessler, who is based in the Austin suburb Liberty Hill, and secretary/treasurer Jennifer Wauhob of Katy. Texas Realtors has more than 150,000 members.

Conn, who’s been with Coldwell Banker since 2007, served as president of the Lubbock Association of Realtors in 2017. His specialty is commercial, including  office, industrial and investment properties.

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There could be rough seas ahead for Conn and Texas Realtors, as the organization was recently hit with a bombshell lawsuit related to broker commissions. Multiple Texas Realtor groups, along with other brokerages like Keller Williams and Fathom Realty, have been sued by Texas-based homebuilder QJ Team LLC and holding company Five Points Holdings.

The lawsuit has parallels to the Sitzer/Burnett case, in which the National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams and HomeServices of America were found liable for conspiring to drive up costs charged to home sellers.

In the lawsuit against Texas Realtors, the plaintiffs challenge the practice of sellers’ agents offering compensation to buyers’ agents in exchange for listing properties on multiple listing services. They allege it violates antitrust laws and is the result of a “concealed conspiracy.”

QJ Team and Five Points are seeking class-action status for Texas home sellers who paid a “buyer broker commission” from November 13, 2019 onward. The lawsuit alleges that NAR and the defendants stifle competition, inflate costs and force sellers to bear expenses that would typically be the responsibility of homebuyers in a competitive market.

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