Kenny Parcell, former president of the National Association of Realtors.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

NAR president resigns in the wake of sexual harassment allegations 

Just two days after the New York Times published claims of harassment, retaliation and intimidation at the association, Kenny Parcell has stepped down.

Updated August 28, 2023
4 minutes

Key points:

  • On Aug. 26, the New York Times detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Parcell and a “culture of fear” at NAR.
  • Parcell denied any wrongdoing in his letter of resignation and said he was shocked by the “character assassination.”
  • Idaho broker-owner Tracy Kasper has taken over the role of president.

Kenny Parcell has stepped down from his role as NAR president just two days after a New York Times article detailed allegations of sexual harassment and a "culture of fear" within the organization.

In his resignation letter, Parcell called the accusations "categorically false" and said he was shocked by the "hurtful words, whispers and character assassination."

The Times talked to 29 former leaders and employees about a years-long pattern of inappropriate behavior at NAR for its Aug. 26 investigation into Parcell and the National Association of Realtors.

Parcell denied wrongdoing, telling The Times that his actions have been "twisted and distorted." NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said the organization fully investigates every claim brought to them, and that the allegations reported by The Times were "either validated, and we took action; or not violations of the law or our Code of Conduct … or not true."

The resignation of Parcell, along with the retirement of Goldberg at the end of 2024, means there will be a significant change in leadership for the organization, which had more than 1.56 million members at the end of July.

With Parcell out, Tracy Kasper has taken over as president of the organization, effective immediately. Kasper is the broker-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Silverhawk Realty in Boise Valley, Idaho. She has served on the NAR Board of Directors since 2016.

Tracy Kasper, NAR 2023/2024 President.
Tracy Kasper, NAR 2023/2024 President.

In a note to NAR members, Kasper said that she's "incredibly sorry for what's led us here."

"We recognize there is lots of concern, anger and disappointment, and we want to acknowledge the people who have come forward and shared their stories and those of you who have shared your perspective over the past few days," she said.

Kasper also said the leadership team has taken what they've heard to heart.

"This is a really hard time for our association. But I know this is an opportunity to really listen and grow together. As your president, I take the responsibility of rebuilding very seriously. Know I'm here for you, as is the entire leadership team, and we will get through this together," Kasper said.

Sue Yannaccone, president and CEO of Anywhere Brands, on Monday called for "an urgent update to NAR's policies and practices on sexual harassment and discrimination."

"I stand with the women who have bravely spoken up about their painful, appalling experiences and commit to amplifying their voices to drive change," she added.

After receiving some "very emotional" calls from current and former employees at NAR on Sunday, New York real estate agent Jason Haber started a petition calling for Parcell's resignation. Haber said the campaign will now pivot to creating change at NAR, including elevating more women to leadership positions.

"This is just the start," he said, later posting on X (formerly Twitter) that "The toxic culture at NAR existed before Kenny Parcell arrived and it will be there after he departs. Only after a series of changes are implemented — including a new leadership team — will it be a new day at NAR."

In his resignation letter, Parcell said he was putting NAR first by stepping down.

"Leadership is about making tough choices; this resignation signifies that I will put the organization's needs first to move forward above my own personal needs to stay in this position."

Parcell was installed as NAR's 2023 president for 2023 after serving on the organization's executive committee for more than 16 years.

When NAR announced Parcell's appointment in November 2022, he described himself as a man of the people, telling Real Estate News, "As a broker-owner who still sells real estate and having served the National Association of Realtors on the local, state and national level, I'm in the trenches with our members every day and understand the challenges and opportunities they face." He added, "I pay the same dues as every member on the street. I am no better than anyone else because I have a title." 

Speaking to his new role, he emphasized, "I will work hard as president to help and support Realtors as they provide a living for themselves and their families." 

The New York Times article paints a different picture, however. Allegations from current and former female NAR employees included Parcell putting his hands down his pants in front of one woman and texting another woman a photo of his crotch. Hugs were also regularly expected at meetings, another woman claimed.

Earlier this month, NAR announced an expansion of its sexual harassment prevention training program — which Parcell had taken — to include 30 additional members of its member-elected leadership team. Earlier this year, NAR created its first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group.

"We are looking to make lasting and positive change and to do so as quickly as possible," Kasper said in her letter.

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