Is the CAR Board setting a bad example on ethics?

The Realtor Code of Ethics requires Realtors to be truthful in their dealings with the public. One specific injunction is that they not use professional designations which they’re not entitled to use. Standard of Practice 12-13 of the Realtor Code of Ethics provides:

The obligation to present a true picture in advertising, marketing, and representations allows REALTORS® to use and display only professional designations, certifications, and other credentials to which they are legitimately entitled. (Adopted 1/08)

One of the more commonly misrepresented credentials is the ABR designation: Accredited Buyer’s Representative.

If you search the Real Estate Buyers Agent Council (“REBAC”) site for members entitled to use the ABR designation you won’t find two members of the Chicago Association of Realtors (“CAR”) Board of Directors who identify themselves as ABRs.

One of those, Mabel Guzman, is the Board President. Matthew Silver of @properties, a Director, also holds himself out as an ABR but can’t be found in the REBAC search. Silver has served on CAR’s Ethics Committee and has chaired ethics heaerings.

Is there an innocent explanation for this, or are two members of the CAR Board of Directors setting a bad example on ethics?


  • I had posted a link to this post on CAR’s Facebook page. CAR deleted my link.

    Earlier today I was contacted by a CAR spokesperson who stated that Matt Silver is a “former ABR” and that it was CAR’s error in identifying him as an ABR. CAR has amended its Web page to remove the designation following Silver’s name.

    Silver continues to claim the ABR designation on his @properties agent profile page (scroll down to bottom).

    The spokesperson further stated that Mabel Guzman is “currently an ABR but has not yet renewed the ABR designation.” CAR has not removed the ABR designation following Guzman’s name on its Board Web page.

    Everyone is welcome to read REBAC’s rules and determine for themselves whether a “not yet renewed” status entitles Guzman to continue using the designation.

  • Thanks Joe. This is also a direct violation of Illinois State Law Sec. 20-20 (13). They know the rules, if they are not active members they DO NOT have the designation. They may give you the run around for ethics purposes as they think they are above it, but fair warning to all. IF you do this, you will be reported to the State of Illinois on a license law violation and it doesn’t matter who you are. As it goes the bigger you are the harder you fall.

  • Dean,

    To go all technical on you, you’re referring to 225 ILCS 454/20 20 (a) 13, which makes grounds for disciplinary action:

    “Any misleading or untruthful advertising, or using any trade name or insignia of membership in any real estate organization of which the licensee is not a member.”

    A day doesn’t pass without my encountering an ocean of misleading and untruthful real estate advertising and a number of individuals claiming designations they’re not entitled to.

    I follow the state reports of disciplinary actions, and have done so for years. I can’t recall ever having seen a real estate licensee disciplined for a violation of this section. Can you?

    • No I can not, but no better place to start then at the top. It has taken this long (I remember you showing Frank and I how to search the internet over 15 years ago in your office on Broadway) for the Real Estate community to really get with web sites so I am not surprised they still do not know the laws.

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