eXp Realty and eXp World Holdings have been named in a controversial lawsuit alleging that the company “turned a blind eye” while several of its current and former agents sexually assaulted women at the company’s recruiting events.
In a civil action brought under the federal sex trafficking statute, filed in the Central District of California on Wednesday, several plaintiffs claim that from July 2018 to August 2020, Michael Bjorkman and David Golden drugged and/or sexually assaulted at least four women at eXp recruiting and networking events. The case also claims that the company executives did nothing to assist despite the alleged victims’ repeated reports.
“This is a case about the sexual assault of women, real estate agents, brought in as recruits to a larger real estate corporation operated in a pyramid-style scheme, not only for the financial benefit of both individual agents who recruited them (and those above them), but which also gave license to its agents to prey upon these women during recruiting events,” read an excerpt from the case file.
According to the lawsuit, Bjorkman and Golden had an “ongoing venture” of enticing female real estate agents to travel to the events with promises of career advancement and coaching but instead planned on assaulting them.
The lawsuit delves into a series of events that each plaintiff claimed they experienced while at the events, depicting the incidents involving Bjorkman and Golden.
The assaults allegedly occurred at a 2019 networking event in Beverly Hills, California, and at a 2020 eXp recruiting event in Las Vegas.
In 2021, Bjorkman was arrested on two counts of sexual assault related to the alleged Las Vegas incident. However, according to reports, the case was dismissed later that year.
According to the suit filed Wednesday, the plaintiffs informed eXp Realty of the incidents while requesting sponsor changes to cut ties with Bjorkman and Golden. While all were granted, the lawsuit notes that one of the plaintiffs had to wait several months before her request was granted.
The lawsuit also outlines how several eXp executives were allegedly complicit in immoral and illegal actions by not taking action when they were informed of the incidents, and plaintiffs sought disciplinary actions against Golden and Bjorkman.
Along with naming Golden, Bjorkman and eXp, the lawsuit claims that up to 100 other individuals were also “legally responsible in some manner for the events and happenings” outlined in the complaint.
The case file claims that the company ignored the actions because of the financial benefits they received. Bjorkman and Golden were described as top-producing recruiters for eXp during the time of the incidents.
“Each time they signed on a new agent, eXp benefited financially,” read an excerpt from the case file.
The lawsuit seeks damages, including lost earnings, significant emotional distress and punitive damages.
An eXp spokesperson declined to comment, emailing RISMedia that “eXp Realty does not comment on pending litigation.”
This is a developing story.