Tracy Kasper’s time as president of the beleaguered National Association of Realtors has been dominated by internal conflict despite just a few weeks on the job.
Kasper’s turn at the head of the National Association of Realtors has been a long time coming, but assigned an earlier starting day than planned after former president Kenny Parcell’s resignation in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.
Angry staff members of the Chicago-based industry group called for major leadership changes, alleging in a letter obtained by Crain’s that upper-level management was aware of the pattern of misconduct but protected the president instead of rectifying the treatment of staff.
Kasper replied with a three-paragraph note where she requested NAR staffers stand by for action and confirmed her support of reform and “action to strengthen our organization.”
CEO Bob Goldberg later announced updated policies for the trade group, including a task force of members and an external law firm to investigate claims of harassment, discrimination and misconduct.
The announcement didn’t address calls for the resignations of NAR executives including Goldberg, senior vice president of talent development Donna Gland, general counsel Katie Johnson and Kasper — leaving an open end to weeks of demands for the new president’s exit and internal issues over her track record with the organization.
“For Tracy to promise to stop the bullies, when she is in fact one of them, leaves us with little faith anything will change,” the letter read.
It’s been a baptism of criticism for a Boise-area broker who has served as an organization person for NAR for years.
Kasper has had 27 appointments with NAR from 2013 to 2023. Roles in the RPAC Implementation Group, the Future of the REALTOR Party Presidential Advisory Group (PAG), and the RPAC State Fundraising Partnership Goal PAG. She has 30 years of real estate experience, with half of that spent as the broker-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Silverhawk Realty.
Jason Haber, the founder of grassroots group NAR Accountability Project, said he was willing to give Kasper the benefit of the doubt when her term started. But Haber said many members feel Kasper’s deep roots with the organization lend more to the issues at hand than potential solutions.
“There’s a core group that she’s a part of that is part of the problem,” Haber said. “We need a whole new system in place.”
The recent calls for change echo comments from industry observers as Kasper stepped into the job. In a LinkedIn post, Susan Yannaccone, president and CEO of Anywhere Brands and Anywhere Advisors, urged Goldberg to take action as others sounded off on their demands from those at the top of the trade group.
“New policies cannot be crafted by present leadership given the accusations,” Danielle Garofalo, a real estate entrepreneur in New York City, wrote in a LinkedIn comment on the post. “The women who bravely stepped forward and the membership at large deserve more.”
On top of internal tension over culture, NAR is also facing legal threats in the form of antitrust lawsuits that could place it on the hook for billions of dollars and a corruption scandal from its affiliate in San Diego. On Kasper’s first day on the job, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against NAR to revive an antitrust lawsuit over the trade group’s policy on pocket listings.
As the trade group weathers what could amount to a consequential year, Kasper has made her position on her first order of business clear: Cleaning up after her predecessor.
“This is a really hard time for our association,” Kasper said in a prepared statement as she embarked on her year-long term. “As your president, I take the responsibility of rebuilding very seriously.”