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National Association of Realtors Members Call for Resignation of CEO
By Julia Stumbaugh
A group within the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is advocating for further leadership changes in the wake of former president Kenny Parcell’s August 28 resignation following sexual harassment allegations reported by the New York Times.
The “NAR Accountability Project,” formed by NAR members after the publication of the Times report, is calling for the resignation of CEO Bob Goldberg, who is currently set to retire at the end of 2024.
The NAR Accountability Project is also publicly asking for the resignation of NAR General Counsel Katie Johnson and Sr. Vice President for Talent, Development and Human Resources Donna Gland.
According to an internal letter obtained by Crain’s, the NAR Accountability Project is also seeking the resignation of Tracy Kasper, who took over the NAR presidency following Parcell’s resignation.
Parcell, who called the allegations against him “categorically false” in his resignation letter, was originally scheduled to relinquish his presidency to Kasper in November. NAR’s elected officers serve one-year terms and are not eligible for re-election.
The CEO role, in contrast, is not a rotating position. Goldberg has led NAR since August 2017. He made $2.5 million through NAR in 2021, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
According to the Times, 19 women involved with NAR or affiliate organizations said they had suffered sexual harassment while working, while another 10 described experiencing “a sexist, belittling culture.” Some women told the Times the internal response to these complaints “discouraged them from ever speaking up again.”
During a September 18 protest outside the organization’s Chicago headquarters, New York real estate agent and NAR Accountability Project founder Jason Haber said Goldberg was part of the leadership team responsible for covering up these complaints, per the Sun-Times.
In a Change.org petition published on behalf of the NAR Accountability Project on September 2, Haber said Goldberg, Johnson and Gland “failed in their moral and professional responsibility to protect the employees at NAR.”
In addition to calling for leaders’ resignations, the petition urges NAR to release former employees from non-disclosure agreements, contract an independent law firm to conduct an investigation of NAR, and hire a third-party human resources department. The petition had more than 700 signatures as of September 19.
When asked by the Times if NAR had a problem with sexual harassment, Goldberg answered, “I would not characterize it as a problem.”
In a follow-up email to the Times, an NAR spokesman added to Goldberg’s response, “We operate in a society where, unfortunately, inappropriate conduct can occur. Like any organization, we are not immune to these challenges, and any single allegation concerns me.”
Kasper said in an August 31 statement that NAR’s executive committee is “united in support of our staff and that includes Bob [Goldberg.]”
The NAR has more than 1.5 million members and is the largest trade association in the United States. Membership, which includes access to the trademarked term “Realtor®,” is a requirement for employees of many major brokerages.
During the protest in Chicago, Haber said the NAR Accountability Project had successfully campaigned for NAR to lose its “Great Place to Work” certification, which had been granted to the organization by the California organization Great Places to Work for three consecutive years.
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