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Politics & MoneyMortgage

Ex-RealFi worker sues male execs for sexual harassment

Nonbank lender denies the misconduct laid out in Georganne Youngclaus's lawsuit

A former marketing director at Residential Home Funding Corp. (RealFi), a nonbank mortgage lender based in New York, accused the company’s top male executives of creating a toxic workplace through repeated sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Georganne Youngclaus, the former marketing director at RealFi, filed a civil lawsuit against a group of top male executives at the lender, alleging that they engaged in “severe and pervasive patterns of mentally and physically abusive conduct” from May 2016 through July 2020.

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Morris County on Sept. 22.

In a statement, RealFi said that, although the company has not been formally served, it “categorically denies any misconduct and looks forward to disproving any of this disgruntled former employee’s unfounded allegations.” The company is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit filing.

Executives Tom Marinaro (president from 2001 to 2020), Robert Lupi (president since 2020), and Frank Kuri (vice-president of branch development) are each cited in the lawsuit. The lawsuit cites 13 instances in which male staffers and executives allegedly made sexual, inappropriate, and unprofessional comments toward Youngclaus.

Youngclaus alleges in the lawsuit that, on different occasions, Marinaro asked her to “dress sexy” at work to bring in more clients, and also made comments about his own genitals at a work event.

The lawsuit also claims the company’s top mortgage loan originator called her a “dumb bitch,” and another LO allegedly made a sexual pass and asked Youngclaus to “hook him up” with her “hot friends.”

Regarding the toxic workplace, Youngclaus said Kuri did not respect her maternity leave of 12 weeks and, on different occasions, yelled at her directly in her face. She added that Kuri did not speak to his male employees with such vulgarity or in the same tone.

She accused the executives – Marinaro, Kuri, and Lupi – of “purposely and maliciously” making her fight for her earned commission.

This is the second recent lawsuit against a mortgage lender that claims top male executives fostered a toxic workplace. Tammy Richards, former head of operations at loanDepot, accused loanDepot’s male executives of creating and enforcing a “misogynistic frat house culture” that routinely led to women being harassed and demeaned.

In her lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in Orange County, Richards also alleged that the company closed thousands of loans without proper documentation.

RealFi was also involved in a federal mortgage fraud case three years ago, for which it paid a $1.67 million settlement fee to the U.S. Department of Justice. The company admitted to and accepted responsibility for the fraud. The company was accused of falsely certifying that certain loans qualified for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance.

As part of the settlement, Residential Home Funding also agreed to retain an independent compliance consultant to ensure its compliance with the rules of the DEL Program.

Residential Home Funding Corp. rebranded to RealFi in August 2020.

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