New York Comptroller Asks eXp To Investigate Sexual Assault Allegations

Key Takeaways:

– The New York State Comptroller has called on eXp Realty to investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment at recruiting events.
– The comptroller, as a shareholder of eXp World Holdings, sent a letter to the CEO requesting the establishment of an independent committee to look into the allegations.
– The comptroller expressed concern about the legal and reputational risks posed by the allegations.
– The comptroller also requested a report on the company’s handling of abuse or harassment claims.
– eXp is facing two separate lawsuits from agents who claim they were sexually assaulted at company events.
– eXp is already conducting its own independent review, according to a spokesperson.
– The attorney representing the victims welcomed the comptroller’s inquiry.
– The comptroller has written similar letters to other companies invested by New York’s pension fund after allegations of sexual assault arose.
– The comptroller has implied the possibility of legal action if eXp does not respond adequately.

inman:

The office of New York State Comptroller, which holds nearly 27,000 shares of eXp World Holdings stock, sent a letter to eXp CEO Glenn Sanford requesting he establish an independent committee to formally look into the allegations.

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The New York State Comptroller is calling on eXp Realty to formally investigate the alleged pattern of sexual assault and sexual harassment against women at recruiting events for the tech-forward brokerage.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli sent a letter to eXp World Holdings CEO Glenn Sanford requesting the company establish an independent committee to formally look into both the allegations of sexual assault at the company and the blind spots that allowed the alleged assaults to take place, according to The New York Times.

The New York State Comptroller is the trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which holds nearly 27,000 shares of eXp Realty’s parent company eXp World Holdings. DiNapoli wrote in his letter to Sanford that he was concerned about the “legal and reputational risks” posed by the allegations.

“As a shareholder of eXp World Holdings Inc., I am writing to express my concern regarding the potential legal and reputational risks stemming from alleged sexual harassment and sexual assaults connected with eXp work events,” DiNapoli wrote in the letter. “Workplace abuse and harassment come with substantial costs to companies, including fines and penalties, legal costs, absenteeism and reduced productivity.”

DiNapoli also asked the company to assemble a report including the dollar amount of disputes settled by the company related to abuse or harassment, the company’s progress toward reducing the average length of time it takes them to resolve abuse or harassment claims and the total number of pending abuse or harassment complaints the company is currently seeking to resolve.

eXp is facing two separate lawsuits from five current and former agents who claim that two top agents at the firm drugged and sexually assaulted them at separate company recruitment events. An investigation from the Times published last month found that eXp leadership silenced those who tried to report their assaults.

The two men accused of sexual assault, Michael Bjorkman and David Golden — two of eXp’s most successful recruiters at the time of the alleged assaults — both deny the allegations and have since left the company.

An eXp spokesperson told the Times the company is already conducting its own independent review.

“eXp takes its responsibility to foster a safe and inclusive environment very seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse, harassment, or misconduct of any kind,” spokesperson Carolyn Merchant said. “The conduct these women describe is abhorrent and unacceptable.”

eXp did not respond to further questioning from Inman by deadline.

An attorney representing the victims welcomed DiNapoli’s inquiry.

“We are heartened that the New York State comptroller has taken the reports of assault at eXp seriously. We agree that an investigation is warranted and that is exactly why we brought the allegations forward. We want change,” Andrea S. Hirsch, partner at Cohen Hirsch said in a statement.

DiNapoli has written similar letters to executives at companies that New York’s pension fund is invested in including Tesla, Starbucks, and Activision Blizzard after allegations of sexual assault arose at those companies. DiNapoli has implied that if eXp does not respond to his requests adequately he is willing to consider legal action, according to the Times. 

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Property Chomp's Take:

The New York State Comptroller has called on eXp Realty, a tech-forward brokerage, to formally investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment against women at their recruiting events. The office of the New York State Comptroller, which holds nearly 27,000 shares of eXp World Holdings stock, sent a letter to eXp CEO Glenn Sanford requesting the establishment of an independent committee to look into the allegations.

This move comes after two separate lawsuits were filed against eXp Realty by five current and former agents who claim they were drugged and sexually assaulted at company recruitment events. An investigation by The New York Times found that eXp leadership had silenced those who attempted to report their assaults.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is also the trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, expressed concern about the potential legal and reputational risks posed by these allegations. In his letter to Sanford, DiNapoli emphasized the costs that companies face when dealing with workplace abuse and harassment, including fines, penalties, legal costs, absenteeism, and reduced productivity.

DiNapoli has also requested that eXp Realty provide a report detailing the dollar amount of disputes settled by the company related to abuse or harassment, the company's progress in resolving such claims, and the total number of pending abuse or harassment complaints.

An eXp spokesperson stated that the company takes its responsibility to foster a safe and inclusive environment seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse, harassment, or misconduct. The company is already conducting its own independent review.

The attorney representing the victims welcomed DiNapoli's inquiry, stating that they brought the allegations forward because they believe an investigation is warranted and they want to see change.

It is worth noting that DiNapoli has previously written similar letters to executives at other companies in which New York's pension fund is invested, such as Tesla, Starbucks, and Activision Blizzard, following allegations of sexual assault. He has implied that if eXp Realty does not adequately respond to his requests, he is willing to consider legal action.

The call for a formal investigation by the New York State Comptroller highlights the need for companies to address allegations of sexual assault and harassment seriously. It serves as a reminder that workplace abuse and harassment have significant consequences, both legally and financially, and companies should take proactive measures to prevent and address such behavior.

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