Realtors' Group President Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Claims

18:56 29.08.2023

The president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Kenny Parcell, has resigned following allegations of sexual harassment reported by The New York Times. The accusations detailed incidents of inappropriate conduct, including improper touching and the sending of lewd photos and texts, as described by three women who worked at the trade group. In response to the allegations, Parcell denied any wrongdoing and expressed his dismay at the attempts to tarnish his character. However, he decided to step down from his role as president-elect of NAR. The Times' investigation involved interviews with 29 current and former NAR employees, including 16 women who directly accused Parcell of sexual harassment. The report also shed light on a pervasive culture of intimidation within NAR, aimed at silencing employees who complained about such behavior.

Parcell's resignation was confirmed by NAR and Realtor Magazine, which is published by the association. The news of his resignation comes two days after The New York Times article was published. Parcell, who served as a successful Realtor in Utah before rising through the ranks of NAR, had a one-year term as president scheduled to end in November. Despite his resignation, Parcell continued to deny the allegations, stating in a letter to NAR board members that the accusations against him were categorically false.

Tracy Kasper, who was the president-elect, will now assume the role of president immediately. In response to the situation, Kasper expressed her apologies for the events that led to Parcell's resignation and acknowledged the concerns, anger, and disappointment felt by many. She emphasized NAR's commitment to its staff and members, pledging to enhance the organization's workplace culture to ensure it is welcoming, safe, and respectful. As part of this effort, NAR announced the formation of a presidential advisory group tasked with making recommendations for fostering a healthy relationship between staff and members. Additionally, employees are encouraged to come forward with any reports of harassment they may have experienced at NAR.

NAR, a non-profit real estate organization with over $1 billion in assets, is a dominant force in the American real estate industry with 1.5 million dues-paying members, making it the largest professional organization in the country. The allegations against Parcell triggered calls for his resignation, with real estate agent Jason Haber starting a petition demanding accountability and change within NAR. Haber expressed disappointment at the lack of condemnations from real estate boards and brokerages, prompting him to take action.

The complaints against Parcell emerged following a lawsuit filed by Janelle Brevard, a former employee who accused NAR of racial and sexual discrimination and harassment. Brevard, who is Black, alleged that after ending a consensual relationship with Parcell, she faced exclusion and threats of termination. Four women, including Brevard, provided complaints about Parcell's behavior to an independent investigator hired by NAR to address sexual harassment allegations. Brevard ultimately withdrew her lawsuit after reaching a settlement with the organization.

Other incidents of inappropriate behavior were reported within NAR, including an executive who disclosed an "inappropriate invitation" to spend the night at Parcell's Utah home, accompanied by photographs of his crotch. The Times reviewed the photographs as part of its investigation. Throughout NAR and its affiliates, 29 employees and former leaders acknowledged a failure to address a culture of misconduct, with complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.

Parcell's resignation is seen as a first step towards addressing the toxic environment within NAR. Activists within the real estate industry, such as Jason Haber, view it as the beginning of a larger effort to create meaningful change within the organization.

/ Tuesday, August 29, 2023, 6:56 PM /

themes:  New York (state)  Utah

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