State of New York takes an interest in eXp assault, harassment cases
Allegations of sexual misconduct tied to eXp "raised a huge red flag" for the NY comptroller's office, which has a financial stake in the company.
Six weeks after the New York Times published an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by agents associated with eXp, the State of New York is getting involved and seeking answers.
How did we get here? In December, The New York Times published new revelations into the alleged misconduct by former eXp agents Michael Bjorkman and David Golden, which included allegations of drugging and sexual assault, along with claims that the company's leadership looked the other way.
Last February, eXp was named as a defendant in a lawsuit related to the allegations — and just two weeks ago, the company was named again in a separate sexual harassment suit. Now, the New York state comptroller is seeking answers from eXp, a new story from Times reporter Debra Kamin indicates.
Why is the New York State comptroller involved? It turns out that the State of New York is an investor in eXp World Holdings. And as comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli is the trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund — the state's pension fund that provides retirement benefits for over a million public employees. According to The New York Times, which reviewed SEC filings, the state's pension fund owns roughly 27,000 shares of eXp World Holdings.
DiNapoli is not only concerned about a corporate culture that allegedly condones or turns a blind eye to unethical behavior, but he is also concerned about how the lawsuits could negatively impact eXp's share price and ultimately, the health of the state's pension fund.
What did the comptroller say? "The New York Times report raised a huge red flag for us as an investor in that company," DiNapoli told The Times. "We found the allegations very concerning and as a shareholder, we are asking questions. We want a public reporting of their efforts to prevent harassment."
According to The Times, DiNapoli also expressed concerns about the "legal and reputational risks" surrounding the alleged assaults.
What happens next? DiNapoli has communicated these concerns directly to eXp CEO Glenn Sanford, The Times indicated. And should the company ignore the inquiry or refuse to communicate with the New York comptroller, DiNapoli said "he would consider legal action should eXp fail to respond," The Times reported.
When she spoke with Real Estate News earlier this month, Times reporter Debra Kamin said, "I don't think we've seen the end of the eXp story yet," but also stated that "there were very few public calls for accountability from eXp." However, the latest steps by the New York comptroller could mark a shift in this trend.
eXp is expected to announce its Q4 2023 earnings and annual report on February 27. At the time of this reporting, shares of eXp were trading at $12.62, and the company's share price has dropped nearly 50% in the last six months after peaking above $25 in July.