Aug 29, 2023 - Economy & Business

Powerful realtor group apologizes after president accused of sexual harassment

 "For Sale" sign outside of a home in Atlanta, Georgia

"For Sale" sign outside of a home in Atlanta, Ga. Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Women in the real estate industry have grappled recently with the dangers they face from potential clients. But some also reportedly faced misconduct from one of their own — the head of their powerful trade group.

Driving the news: Kenny Parcell, president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), resigned late Monday after a New York Times report detailed sexual harassment allegations against him.

  • The report, published Saturday, included alleged instances of inappropriate touching and Parcell sending lewd photos.
  • Current and former NAR employees also described a "culture of fear," harassment and retaliation within the organization.

The big picture: The NAR has 1.5 million members, making it the largest trade organization in the country.

  • It's a giant in the real estate industry, controlling access to nearly all home listings in the U.S., the Times said.
  • About 66% of the group's members are women, and women make up the majority of real estate agents nationwide. Yet the structure of the industry leaves many women unprotected from potential abuse and violence, a previous Times report found.

State of play: Parcell has denied all allegations against him, calling them "categorically false," the Times reported Monday.

  • President-elect Tracy Kasper, who was meant to succeed Parcell in November, will instead start immediately, the NAR said.
  • "I'm incredibly sorry for what's led us here," Kasper said in a statement.
  • "We recognize there is lots of concern, anger and disappointment," she said, adding: "We have taken everything we have heard to heart."
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