A follow-up on ethics and the CAR Board

by Joe Zekas on 3/4/11

Chicago Agent Magazine followed up on our questioning of the Chicago Association of Realtors (“CAR”) commitment to the standards of professionalism set forth in the Realtor Code of Ethics by interviewing the two individuals mentioned in our post.

Mabel Guzman, President of the CAR Board of Directors, and Director Matt Silver of @properties both pleaded “human error” or “miscommunication” to explain their misuse of REBAC’s ABR designation.

To some, “human error” is just another name for ethical lapse.

And “miscommunication” is perhaps just another word for “I didn’t read it or didn’t understand what I read.” The REBAC site is very clear on when agents are entitled to use and continue using the ABR designation.

Chicago Agent Magazine quotes Silver as saying “The last two or three years I’ve been ABR-designated, but I didn’t want to be active anymore.” Silver’s Web page at @properties tells a different story. It was amended yesterday, after YoChicago’s follow-up post, to read “Matt held the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation from 2000 through 2003.” Is that 7-year discrepancy a miscommunication or a human error?

Silver’s bio at @properties and his description on the CAR Board page still contain instances of “miscommunication” and / or “human error.”

At @properties, he’s identified as being QSC certified. The CAR Board page also identifies him as QSC certified, and as being a member of FIABCI. We’re unable to find Silver’s name in the database search on either the QSC or FIABCI site.

Where this leaves me is repeating my original question: is the CAR Board setting a bad example on ethics? Will it verify that what Guzman told Chicago Agent is accurate? Why did it delete only the reference to Silver’s ABR without verifying his other claimed credentials? Is claiming human error or miscommunication a sufficient defense to any ethical violation?

UPDATE: As of 11 AM on March 7, Silver’s bio on the CAR Board page and on his page at @properties has been amended to remove the QSC and FIABCI references.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eileen Romito March 5, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Joe, I don’t even know these two agents but I really think you’re blowing it out of proportion. Leave them alone and get on with it. They admitted they made a mistake, no one was hurt in the process, and it’s done.

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Joe Zekas March 5, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Eileen,

I don’t know either of these people, and their behavior is not the main issue here. The issue is CAR’s behavior and its response.

Given the public’s general distrust of real estate agents, Realtor organizations and Realtors promote adherence to the Realtor Code of Ethics as one of the primary reasons to hire a Realtor.

I’ve repeatedly framed the issue here as whether CAR, our local Realtor group, is serious about the Code.

In my first post on the subject I noted that CAR itself enabled an apparent ethical violation by publishing, on its Web site, references to ABR designations that its Board president and another Board member were not entitled to claim.

CAR responded by deleting one of those claims from its Web site, and leaving the other in place. A more appropriate response would have been to delete both until the facts changed.

CAR continued – and continues as of this writing – to enable one of its Directors to make claims that appear to be factually incorrect. One would think that taking the Code seriously would have resulted in a review of all of the claims by this Director, and a change in the CAR Board page until documentation was available to validate them. One would think that CAR would also have reviewed the Director’s Web page at his company and required that it conform to the facts.

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