In a Nov. 2 earnings call, Glenn Sanford, founder, CEO and chairman of virtual brokerage eXp directly addressed potentially looming new revelations in an ongoing lawsuit filed by several women who allege he and his company turned a blind eye to recruiters who drugged and raped women at company events.
Responding to an investor question, Sanford, who is named personally in the suit, said he is aware of a “New York Times writer that’s been pursuing a lot of people for months on end.”
“Still don’t even know what the story might be,” he claimed.
Sanford has previously denied that the company mishandled the incidents, which involved at least two eXp recruiters (since separated from the company). On the earnings call, he again said the company acted “appropriately.”
“With 89,000 agents, there’s some bad actors. Bottom line is—I don’t want to say we don’t tolerate—but we investigate any of these things. And if we find credible evidence that says that people are doing things that are on the wrong side of the law, then we do release agents regularly for various different reasons,” Sanford said.
What exactly the new allegations or information is remains unclear. eXp did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Lawyers for the plaintiffs also did not respond to requests for comment or information.
A New York Times journalist previously unearthed a toxic workplace culture and incidents of sexual harassment at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which resulted in the ouster of President Kenny Parcell.
“We know that there’s an article being written, and we’re not sure if it’s just because it gets headlines and gets readership, or if there’s some angle that we haven’t even thought about,” Sanford concluded. “And hopefully, we get a chance to address it before it gets published if there is something that we need to address.”
Sanford previously told RISMedia that the first the company heard of one alleged incident was through a civil complaint filed in court. He also said one of the alleged perpetrators named in the suit tried to return to the company after criminal charges were dropped, but was not allowed to rejoin eXp.
This was not the only lawsuit that Sanford and eXp executives were asked about on the call, however. With all of real estate parsing out the implications of the recent verdict in the Burnett trial, Sanford addressed the future of buyer agent compensation and how his company’s model will adapt to potential changes.
Although eXp was not a defendant in the Burnett case, it was named in an identical suit filed by the same attorneys, which seeks to take the same case nationwide.
eXp CFO Jeff Whiteside said the company hasn’t made a decision about potentially changing its stock buyback strategy, but are “talking about that internally” based on the Burnett decision.
Sanford said the company is “still kind of processing” the initial ruling (which is being appealed), and talked about his own personal experience as a buyer’s agent.
“I see buyer agency as being a very valuable tool for buyers. And I’m concerned, quite frankly, about what this might mean to buyers who may not be able to afford representation, if things change up too much,” he said.
But Sanford also seemed to acknowledge that change was indeed coming, while claiming there are “always disruptions and things goin on” in “a very competitive industry.”
“And obviously, it’s too soon to sort of comment on how we are going to navigate. I feel like we’ve been operating with high integrity in this industry, and we will continue to do so. And so now it is just a matter of seeing what next steps are, in this business of real estate,” he said.