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National Realtors president resigns after blackmail threat


NAR President Tracy Kasper.

Courtesy: NAR

The president of the National Association of Realtors on Monday said she was resigning due to a blackmail threat that sought to “compromise” her leadership role.

NAR President Tracy Kasper said she had notified the group’s leadership team “that she recently received a threat to disclose a past personal, non-financial matter unless she compromised her position at NAR.”

Kasper, a married mom of seven grown children, “refused to do so and instead reported the threat to law enforcement,” NAR said in a statement.

President-elect Kevin Sears will immediately step into the post at the group, which represents more than 1.5 million members working in the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Kasper, 55, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

NAR in its statement said, “The Leadership Team is deeply concerned about any attempt to undermine its governance and, as a result, is taking steps to protect the integrity of the organization.”

Kasper’s predecessor as president, Kenny Parcell, resigned in August, two days after The New York Times published a story detailing claims he had sexually harassed women he worked with.

NAR CEO Bob Goldberg resigned in November, months earlier than he planned to step down, after a federal jury found the group and some residential real estate brokers were liable for a conspiracy to artificially inflate brokers’ commissions from home sales. NAR was ordered to pay $1.78 billion in that case.

In a statement Monday, Kasper said, “As president and a long-time member of NAR, I always have put the interests of NAR first.”

“As a result of the recent threat and given the significance of this moment for myself, my family and the organization, it is again time for me to put the interests of NAR first,” said Kasper, who had a prior stint as president of the group in 2016.

NAR declined to comment beyond its statement.

The group’s executive committee weeks ago adopted a life-time ban grom group events on any elected NAR officer who resigned or who was removed from office, The New York Times recently reported. The ban, adopted in reaction to Parcell’s resignation, now applies to Kasper.

Kasper is the broker-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Silverhawk Realty in Boise Valley, Iowa, and the majority owner of two other real estate companies in the state, according to her NAR bio.

A grandmother of six, she has served on NAR’s board since 2016.

— Additional reporting by CNBC’s Diana Olick.

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