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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Head of National Association of Realtors Steps Down Following Legal Verdict

The CEO of the National Association of Realtors (N.A.R.), Bob Goldberg, has resigned from his position two days after a federal jury found that the organization conspired to inflate home commissions. This resignation comes amid increasing pressure and a series of controversies surrounding the N.A.R.

The announcement of Goldberg’s resignation was made during a closed-door staff meeting as the organization grapples with the fallout from the legal verdict. The N.A.R. and several brokerages were ordered to pay at least $1.8 billion in damages to home sellers who claimed they were subjected to excessive fees by real estate agents. The N.A.R. plans to appeal this decision.

Bob Goldberg, who had served as the CEO since 2017 and initially planned to retire at the end of 2024, faced calls for his immediate resignation since August. An investigation by The New York Times had revealed numerous complaints of harassment and discrimination within the organization, which some Realtors believed he had failed to address over the years. It’s important to note that Goldberg’s sudden departure was not directly related to the legal issues or the sexual harassment allegations.

In a statement released by the N.A.R., Goldberg mentioned that he decided it was the right time for the organization to look to the future. Nykia Wright, a former CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times with experience in digital strategy, will serve as the interim chief executive. Wright is not affiliated with the real estate industry and does not hold a real estate license.

The National Association of Realtors, one of the largest professional organizations in the United States, has substantial influence over the U.S. housing industry, including owning the trademark for the term “Realtor.” The organization boasts 1.5 million members who pay annual dues, granting them access to nearly all American home listings. It is a nonprofit organization with significant assets and operates RPAC, a powerful political action committee.

However, questions have arisen about the N.A.R.’s control over the industry, leading to an antitrust lawsuit by home sellers in U.S. District Court in Missouri. In a groundbreaking verdict, a jury found that the N.A.R. and several major brokerages had conspired to enforce a rule that compelled home sellers to pay commissions to the buyer’s agent, resulting in what sellers perceived as excessive fees. This ruling could potentially reshape the real estate industry in the United States by reducing the cost of moving homes through lower commissions.

Bob Goldberg’s resignation follows the departure of Kenny Parcell, the former president of the N.A.R., who faced numerous allegations of harassment and inappropriate conduct. Multiple women had accused Parcell, as well as other N.A.R. leaders, of misconduct. Realtors had expressed their discontent with the organization, with some calling for Goldberg’s resignation and raising concerns about his substantial annual salary. Additionally, the N.A.R. Accountability Project, founded by agents demanding accountability from the organization, made several demands, including the resignations of Goldberg and Parcell. The organization’s final demand is the release of women from nondisclosure agreements after reporting sexual harassment within the N.A.R.

For those who have spoken out about the N.A.R.’s history of sexual harassment, the appointment of Nykia Wright as an outsider to lead the organization is seen as a positive step forward.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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