The National Association of Realtors received a warning of improper behavior well before this summer’s scandal exploded for the trade group.

A leaked memo obtained by Inman details some examples centered on then president-elect Kenny Parcell, echoing the harassment and discrimination accusations that preceded his recent resignation.

The memo was sent to NAR’s head of human resources, Donna Gland, in late June 2022. It was written by Victoria Gillespie, who was the chief marketing and communications officer of the organization until this March.

The memo accuses members of the seven-person leadership team of behavior that was racist, toxic and abusive. The memo faulted NAR’s C-suite for failing to support staff when leaders mistreated them.

Parcell was named in the memo, including as part of allegations he threatened to kill himself after a staffer complained to HR about being taken off a project. Two female staffers accused him of sending an inappropriate picture of himself wearing a Realtor belt buckle, which Parcell told Inman he sent to male and female staffers alike to show off a design of his.

Parcell also allegedly invited several female staffers to stay at his home while making a biographical film about him for his inauguration. Parcell allegedly rescinded the same invitation to former chief storyteller Janelle Brevard, who was then uninvited from the shoot, preventing her from doing her job, according to the memo.

Brevard claimed she experienced racial and sexual discrimination and sexual harassment a lawsuit against NAR earlier this year before withdrawing the complaint.

The memo concluded with suggested action items for NAR, including a working group to address staff concerns and a hotline for employees to report information affecting their work. Chief executive officer Bob Goldberg recently announced policy changes that include a task force and members of an outside law firm to address claims of misconduct in light of the ongoing scandal.

Tracy Kasper, whose appointment as president was moved up after Parcell’s resignation, posted a message on an internal communications platform ahead of Inman’s report, calling the leaked memo a “major privacy issue.” Some staffers at NAR have demanded her resignation.

NAR’s spokesperson said the memo’s receipt was followed shortly by the launch of an internal probe by an outside investigator. That probe revealed “creepy” conduct by leadership, but didn’t lead to significant action being taken for the year between the investigation’s conclusion and the New York Times expose that resulted in Parcell’s resignation.

Holden Walter-Warner

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