New CEO addresses San Diego Realtors amid turmoil
In a letter to members, Cory Shepard vowed to lead the organization into a new chapter after the former CEO was accused of embezzlement.
- Last week, the San Diego Association of Realtors removed its previous CEO, Mike Mercurio.
- Mercurio is being accused of embezzlement and other charges in a lawsuit filed by four former employees on July 25.
- Cory Shepard, SDAR's new CEO, said he was excited to lead the organization “into a new chapter of progress and prosperity.”
Following the ouster of its previous CEO amid accusations of embezzlement, the San Diego Association of Realtors' newly appointed leader reaffirmed his "unwavering commitment to our members and supporters."
The local television station CBS8 reported last week that Mike Mercurio was no longer CEO of the organization, which has around 13,000 members. Mercurio is being accused of a wide range of improper behavior in a lawsuit, including a long-running embezzlement scheme totaling more than $1 million. The lawsuit was filed by four people who say they were fired without cause by the organization after bringing these issues to light.
Cory Shepard, who has served as general manager for Coldwell Banker West for more than 10 years, was appointed CEO of the organization. In a letter to SDAR members, Shepard said he was excited to lead the organization "into a new chapter of progress and prosperity." He noted that the association could not disclose confidential personnel details due to legal and ethical obligations, but he did say the organization has faith in the legal system and that justice will prevail.
"Please rest assured that we take such matters seriously and are committed to defending the organization's interests within the confines of the law," Shepard said.
Going forward, Shepard said his goal as CEO is to strengthen the bond between members and the association, which will help them overcome any challenges they may face.
According to the CBS8 report, which sourced the 110-page lawsuit filed on July 25, Mercurio is being accused of collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in unearned vacation pay as well as using the organization's credit cards to make purchases and then selling those items on eBay.
The lawsuit also accused Mercurio of diverting membership dues from lobbying efforts into his own accounts.
Suspicious activity was first brought up in 2013, according to the report.
In a statement to CBS8, the San Diego Association of Realtors said it is conducting its own investigation into the allegations.