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Chicago's National Association of Realtors Faces Calls for New Leadership Due to Sexual Misconduct

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Staff members of the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) demand removal of high-ranking officials, including CEO, president

Staff members of the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) are demanding the removal of several high-ranking officials, including the CEO and the current president. This demand comes in the wake of an ongoing sexual harassment controversy that has roiled the organization.

Employees have voiced their concerns, alleging that upper-level management was aware of a persistent pattern of misconduct within the organization, contributing to a toxic workplace culture. The controversy centers on claims of inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment, within NAR.

The demands for leadership changes were outlined in a letter that underscored the need for new leadership within the organization. The letter has further fueled the upheaval within NAR, as calls for accountability grow louder.

Among the key figures targeted for removal are CEO Bob Goldberg and President Tracy Kasper, as mentioned in the demands made by NAR staff members. This demand for a leadership overhaul marks a significant turning point in the ongoing controversy, highlighting the urgency of addressing the allegations.

The organization faced a significant controversy following an investigative report by The New York Times. This report exposed what was described as a "culture of fear" that had been established during the tenure of its former president, Kenny Parcell. Parcell, who resigned in late August, stepped down amidst allegations of sexual harassment brought forward by multiple women associated with the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

In a letter, staff members within the organization alleged that upper-level management was aware of a consistent pattern of misconduct but appeared to prioritize protecting the president rather than the well-being of the staff. The New York Times' investigation uncovered various instances of misconduct attributed to Parcell, including claims of retaliatory actions against a colleague, indecent exposure, and the exchange of inappropriate text messages. Parcell denied these allegations but chose to resign shortly after the report's publication.

Initially downplaying the issue, NAR's leadership, under CEO Bob Goldberg, later acknowledged the necessity for addressing the situation. Notably, the organization faced additional repercussions as California-based Great Places to Work recently revoked NAR's certification as a "Great Place to Work," an accolade the organization had received annually since 2020.

While the staff's call for the removal of top officials is a clear indication of their dissatisfaction with the current leadership, it is essential to note that these demands are still a matter of internal deliberation within NAR. The organization's leadership and governing bodies will need to consider these demands and determine the appropriate course of action.

This development follows previous reports that shed light on the allegations of sexual harassment including complaints from former and current NAR employees accusing Parcell of engaging in improper touching and sending lewd photos and texts to female workers. The controversy has attracted considerable attention, not only within the organization but also in the broader real estate industry.

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