February 23, 2024

NAR President Sidesteps Palace Intrigue In First Address To Members


The verdict is in — the old way of doing business is over. Join us at Inman Connect New York Jan. 23-25, when together we’ll conquer today’s market challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities. Defy the market and bet big on your future.

New National Association of Realtors President Kevin Sears acknowledged legal challenges the organization faces and focused on the value he said NAR provides its members while largely steering clear of the organization’s recent turmoil in his first statement since taking over as the group’s president on Monday.

Sears addressed NAR’s nearly 1.6 million members in a video released on his third day after he was thrust into the top role at the nation’s largest trade organization, after Tracy Kasper abruptly resigned from the position.

“While this title has come earlier than expected, please know that I am ready, willing and able to lead this association as your president,” Sears said in the two-minute 30-second video released on NAR’s website.

Kevin Sears | NAR president

While NAR presidents are typically elected to serve one-year terms, Sears is set to act as the organization’s leader for nearly two full years. He was president-elect when Kasper resigned on Monday, a position that put him next in line if a president resigns, according to NAR’s bylaws.

The day of succession came on Jan. 8, when Kasper alleged she was being extorted and resigned from her position. Details around the nature of the alleged extortion attempt have not emerged and NAR has declined to name the specific agency investigating the complaint. Several law enforcement agencies near where Kasper lives in Utah confirmed no complaints involving the former NAR president.

Kasper was president-elect when former NAR President Kenny Parcell resigned in late August under a cloud of misconduct allegations. She began her first full-year term in mid-November and ended it less than two months later.

NAR hasn’t responded to questions about Kasper’s extortion allegations or provided follow-up information about her resignation, and Sears only briefly touched on the matter.

In his recorded statement, Sears acknowledged that members have questions and concerns about Kasper’s resignation and the status of the organization.

“It’s understandable that you may have questions. And we will do our best to address them,” Sears said. “But I think you will agree that our primary focus must be on furthering the business of the association, which means we are fully engaged on the legal, business and advocacy challenges that are top priority to you and the clients that you serve.”

Sears becomes president at a time when NAR faces significant legal challenges, as homebuyers and homesellers across the nation file lawsuits alleging the organization’s rules amounted to a conspiracy that kept real estate commissions artificially inflated.

A jury in Kansas City, Missouri, issued a verdict against NAR and co-defendants in October and ordered the groups to pay $1.8 billion, an amount that will automatically triple to over $5 billion. NAR is challenging the verdict.

“We recognize the significance of the Missouri class action lawsuit and copycats we are seeing elsewhere,” Sears said. “We understand what is at stake for our members, brokerages, associations and most [importantly] the consumers. Along with our in-house lawyers and outside counsel, the leadership team is focused on executing the best strategy moving forward.”

Sears referenced the 2024 election cycle while noting that NAR has lobbyists advocating for pro-real estate policies across the country.

“With an election year in front of us, our staff is leading the charge in Washington, D.C., while helping you all at the state and local levels. From your state capitals to the big cities and small towns all across this great country,” Sears said.

“We intend to use every opportunity possible to communicate NAR’s pro-consumer, pro-competitive values and mission,” he added. “Your feedback has been important as we work to do just that. And we thank you for all the ideas and recommendations you’ve provided.”

Read the full, 407-word transcription from Sears’ statement below:

“Hello fellow Realtors. My name is Kevin Sears, and I am now serving as your NAR President. While this title has come earlier than expected, please know that I am ready, willing and able to lead this association as your president.

Like many of you I am saddened by Tracy Kasper’s resignation. I know I speak for many of you when I say we appreciate her service and years of dedication to the association.

It’s understandable that you may have questions. And we will do our best to address them. But I think you will agree that our primary focus must be on furthering the business of the association. Which means we are fully engaged on the legal, business and advocacy challenges that are top priority to you and the clients that you serve.

Interim CEO Nykia Wright is providing strong and steady leadership to ensure that the core operations of the association continue to adapt and deliver as these unusual legal circumstances demand. 

NAR has a dedicated staff that is working diligently to continue to provide the tools, programs and resources that our members need and rely on.

On the legal front, we recognize the significance of the Missouri class action lawsuit and copycats we are seeing elsewhere. We understand what is at stake for our members, brokerages, associations and most important the consumers. Along with our in-house lawyers and outside counsel, the leadership team is focused on executing the best strategy moving forward.

On the advocacy front, we must continue to advocate not only for our industry, but for our customers’ and clients’ ability to freely buy, sell, lease and transfer real property.

With an election year in front of us, our staff is leading the charge in Washington D.C., while helping you all at the state and local levels. From your state capitals to the big cities and small towns all across this great country.

Throughout all these efforts, we intend to use every opportunity possible to communicate NAR’s pro-consumer, pro-competitive values and mission. Your feedback has been important as we work to do just that. And we thank you for all the ideas and recommendations you’ve provided.

And in closing, I also want to thank you for all of the kind words and support that you have shown to the entire leadership team. Please know that we are here to serve you and our association. Thank you, and take care.”

Email Taylor Anderson





Source link