Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

The Pickle

Lots of chatter out there on the after math of the New York Times expose on Kenny Parcell’s alleged sexual harassment.  Brad Inman is reporting that there’s a big meeting being held of NAR’s executive leadership today regarding next steps. The knives are out. Some knives are from members, some from past leadership/staff who are looking for revenge. Some are even speculating that Bob Goldberg and Katie Johnson may be asked to resign.

I’m not sure I agree with those looking for more blood.  Things are more complicated than they may appear.

Case in point, is there a policy that states NAR leadership can’t have relationships with staffers? Apparently there is a policy that NAR staffers cannot.  In this scenario if Kenny cheated on his wife with a NAR staffer, he may have not violated a NAR policy.  Now you would think that someone in that position would resign.  Optics, code of ethics, be beyond reproach, and such, whether it’s violating a direct policy or not.  I think most people hold our leaders to higher standard.  We’d rather not have them cheat on their wives, pay off porn stars, or have their children profit from their position.  But I digress.

But, what is the staff’s role in this, if the leader doesn’t resign?  They can’t fire them.  My understanding is the president is the leader of the organization and is the over the staff in regard to chain of command.  In fact I’m sure the president can direct the staff to hire attorneys to help defend themselves to keep their position.

The staff is caught in a classic pickle.

Obviously many of us (including me), don’t know what we don’t know. And I may be wrong in my assumptions. But, in my opinion it would be a shame to see the careers of two dedicated leaders cut short due to the stress behind one man’s belt buckle. Which is another pickle altogether.

  1. Bob Goldberg has been supporting the cabal for years. He has chosen to cover up rather than confront. The memembership has not gotten $millions of value from Bob’s chosing to support those who misbehave (perhaps if rumors hold because Kenny and crew have dirt on Bob). He is the CEO. The buck stops with Bob. Time for him to go. Same for the rest of the executive team

  2. I don’t pretend to know nearly as much about this particular case, people, or dynamics as you or many others reading this but 2 things:

    1) From what I’ve read, the issue is not so much that he had a relationship with a staffer, it’s that, when it ended, he engaged in retaliatory activities that amounted to discrimination. I’m going to believe that is true because it’s not easy to speak up as a staffer, as you pointed out, or as a woman in these situations.

    2) I agree with Michael L’s point that rarely do these kinds of behaviors exist in a vacuum. There is almost always some awareness and a blind eye turned by others in leadership. And, while granted, they may not have the power to get the person fired, they have the power to speak up, take a stand, or blow the whistle. Also, anyone at that level who continues to stay in a job where this is the culture is basically complicit.

    All that said, I do agree that I have noticed an almost gleeful nature to those commenting on the unfolding drama. That part doesn’t feel good to me. It all feels very toxic. I think it hints at something deeper in the industry. I hope this is an opportunity to root that out.

  3. Ditto to Mike Lissack’s comments. Time to cut the cancer out of NAR in its entirety. How about the nerve of Kevin Sears (one of KP’s best friends) fully defending KP in conversations this week in Miami at a NAR tech event WHILE WEARING THE RIDING WITH THE BRAND BELT BUCKLE. All caps because it appears Kevin is hard of hearing.

  4. I was a local Association President and very active in organized real estate for decades.

    At the local level, it is not the volunteer roles (president, president elect) who hire and fire staff, but the role of the Chief Staff Officer. I would assume that it is that way at the state and national level as well.

  5. @Saul Aren’t the senior leadership positions voted on? Meaning they are elected by the membership to those positions? I’m not sure, that’s why I’m asking. Seems weird that a staff member, like the CEO, can fire an elected member.

  6. Greg – If NAR’s chain of command and authority is constructed like most other corporate orgs- including local associations – the president and other elected “volunteer” members of leadership do not have authority over the employees of the organization. That responsibility, authority, and accountability lies in the hands of the Chief Executive Officer who, through division heads and line managers exercises hiring, firing and all that goes on in between. An elected leader might, form time to time, pressure to remove an employee, but in the end, it would (or should be) be the CEO’s decision.

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