The eXp Realty logo and silhouettes of people in a conference room
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News; Shutterstock

Latest filings in eXp case allege top execs put ‘profit over safety’ 

In an amended complaint, plaintiffs in a sexual assault case describe the defendants’ roles in the misconduct and ask for a new trial date.

March 4, 2024
4 minutes

New motions filed in the sexual assault case against former and current eXp agents and executives offer more insight into the plaintiffs' claims and also request that the trial be pushed to 2025. 

What's the latest? The second amended complaint was filed Feb. 28 by the plaintiffs' lawyers, who provided new details about the sexual misconduct allegations and the "control and agency" eXp executives are said to have over recruiters. 

Three of the plaintiffs — all former eXp agents — are named in the amended complaint: Fabiola Acevedo, Tami Sims and Christiana Lundy. There remains an unnamed plaintiff who is referred to as Jane Doe 3.

What did the plaintiffs say? In the latest complaint, the plaintiffs' lawyers, Cohen Hirsch, LP, and Lenze Lawyers, PLC, reiterated their claim that eXp's corporate culture encouraged and overlooked bad behavior from agents and recruiters. 

"This is a case about profit over safety. It's about the drugging and sexual assault of women, real estate agents, brought in as recruits to a large real estate corporation operated in a pyramid-style scheme," the complaint reads. "This case is about this corporation's longstanding culture — their pattern and practice — of creating an environment that allowed these assaults, then silencing those whose accounts of sexual harassment and assault would impact profit."

The lawyers write that original defendants Michael Bjorkman and David Golden would recruit women "with the promise of career advancement and coaching" only to then later "use means of force, fraud or coercion to cause these women to engage in a sex act." The complaint suggests that eXp CEO Glenn Sanford and top recruiter Brent Gove "knew of such actions yet turned a blind eye, propelled by the continued financial benefits they received."

In November, Sanford confirmed that Bjorkman and Golden, who he described as "bad actors," were fired from the company.

A closer look at top recruiter's role: The plaintiffs tie Gove to the case by pointing to eXp's downline model, which they describe as a "multi-level-marketing pyramid scheme which financially rewards the participants for recruitment of new agents, not for selling real estate."

The complaint claims that Gove is the third-ranking recruiter at eXp and has about 20,000 agents — or 20% of all eXp agents — in his downline, including Golden and Bjorkman. Lawyers also claimed that Gove personally trained both Golden and Bjorkman on recruiting best practices, encouraged agents and recruits to attend eXp events, to "share hotel rooms" at these conferences, and to "rub shoulders" with top producers and influencers. 

When will the trial take place? In a separate motion filed on March 1, lawyers for both parties asked to push back all key dates, including those for discovery and the trial itself. 

Currently, the trial is set to start on October 22, but lawyers have proposed pushing the trial date back five months to April 22, 2025, in order to give the parties time to "prepare this matter adequately for trial and to attend meaningfully a mediation."

What did eXp say? In responding to a request for comment on the latest complaint, eXp spokesperson Jennifer Zimmerman provided a written statement to Real Estate News reiterating the company's talking points following a Dec. 2023 New York Times investigative story detailing allegations of sexual assault:

"We take our responsibility to foster a safe and inclusive environment very seriously. eXp Realty has zero tolerance for abuse, harassment, or misconduct of any kind — including by the independent real estate agents who use our services. The claims in this case stem from alleged assaults by independent real estate agents who were never eXp employees — which we handled with speed, seriousness, and deep respect as soon as the accusers brought it to our attention, in line with our values and with the law."

eXp also expressed that the company — and CEO, Glenn Sanford — will continue to fight the claims and the legal challenge.  

"eXp hopes and trusts the court will give a full and fair hearing to the plaintiffs as they pursue claims against the individuals who allegedly assaulted them. However, the claims against eXp and its leadership have no basis in fact or law, and to which eXp vehemently denies. The court has dismissed some claims and we are prepared to present and defend our position on the others."

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