NAR President Tracy Kasper, facing blackmail threat, steps down
Kasper had been in the role for just over four months following the resignation of former president Kenny Parcell. Kevin Sears is taking over as president.
- NAR did not provide details about the threat, but noted that Kasper has reported it to law enforcement.
- Sears is the third NAR president in less than five months.
- Because she resigned, Kasper may be barred from future NAR events due to a new policy.
NAR President Tracy Kasper is resigning after receiving a threat to "disclose a past personal, non-financial matter unless she compromised her position," the organization said in a statement.
The NAR 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," the statement said, adding that Kasper has reported the threat to law enforcement.
President-elect Kevin Sears is taking over as president, effective immediately.
He becomes the third president of the National Association of Realtors in less than five months — an extraordinarily tumultuous time for the organization as it has faced landmark legal battles as well as notable defections.
In August, the New York Times published allegations of sexual harassment by then-president Kenny Parcell and a "culture of fear" within the organization. Parcell denied the allegations and stepped down two days later, saying in his resignation letter that he was shocked by the "hurtful words, whispers and character assassination."
That's when Kasper took over, saying she was "incredibly sorry for what's led us here" and vowed to "take the responsibility of rebuilding very seriously." She spent her time as president bringing an optimistic, empathetic and forward-looking energy to the role in challenging times.
Kasper offered this parting statement: "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. So, it is with a mix of gratitude and a heavy heart that I submit my resignation as your president effective immediately. In doing so, it gives our Leadership Team the ability to take the reins and forge forward in effecting the change that we all have worked so hard over the past few months to begin. I know I leave our members, our staff and our association in good hands."
NAR will be facing these challenges with an interim CEO at the helm. Chicago media exec and startup co-founder Nykia Wright took over the top spot in November, after Bob Goldberg announced that he would be moving up his timeline for retirement.
The industry reacts
Stefan Swanepoel, longtime industry leader, strategist and founder of Real Estate News and T3 Sixty, said it is "discouraging" that NAR continues to find itself facing a "smorgasbord of messy issues." The 2024 Trends Report published by T3 Sixty lays out a path forward for the organization to reshape itself — and its leadership team.
"They have our sincere best wishes that they are able to get their house back in order this year," Swanepoel said. "The real estate industry needs NAR."
Jason Haber, founder of the NAR Accountability Project, said the circumstances surrounding Kasper's resignation "are of great concern."
"No one should be the victim of threats, intimidation or harassment," Haber said. "If that happened to Ms. Kasper, that person should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law."
Whatever the outcome, Kasper may be barred from attending future NAR events unless an exemption is granted. Late last year, after Kasper sent Parcell what The New York Times described as a "stony warning" not to attend the NAR NXT convention, the organization's executive committee enacted a policy banning "any elected officer who resigns or is removed from office" from future NAR events.