BrokerageReal Estate

eXp and Glenn Sanford dismissed from sexual assault lawsuit

The judge ruled that the plaintiff did not prove the brokerage and its leader benefited financially or had specific knowledge of the alleged sexual assaults

The parent company of residential real estate brokerage eXp Realty and its chairman, Glenn Sanford, were dismissed from a former agent’s lawsuit that claimed they benefited financially from her alleged sexual assault by two former eXp star agents and recruiters.

Anya Roberts filed a lawsuit in December 2023, claiming she was given substances at eXp Realty events by former eXp agents David Golden and Michael Bjorkman that caused her to black out. She believes she was sexually assaulted by both Golden and Bjorkman while unconscious, part of an alleged pattern that has resulted in multiple sex trafficking and sexual assault lawsuits filed against Golden and Bjorkman.

Neither Golden nor Bjorkman are still employed by eXp. Bjorkman was removed as an agent in 2020 after allegations of sexual assault first surfaced, while Golden was suspended as both an agent and a recruiter in February 2023 pending the results of the investigation and another lawsuit filed by Fabiola Acevedo and three others, according to an eXp spokesperson.

In the Roberts case, eXp and Sanford argued that the plaintiff failed to include any facts supporting the contention that they received anything of value due to the alleged sexual assaults, or that they knew or should have known about Golden’s and Bjorkman’s alleged actions.

One claim centered on eXp’s revenue-sharing plan and its uplining/downlining recruitment model, through which agents keep a portion of revenue generated by agents they recruited.

“As the Entity Defendants recognized in their briefing, this Court denied their motion to dismiss in part because the Defendants knowingly received a financial benefit from a relationship with Bjorkman whose recruitment efforts were allegedly intertwined with the sexual assaults,“ Judge Andre Birotte Jr. wrote in his ruling.

“However, the Entity Defendants distinguish the present case on the ground that the Plaintiff was already an agent with the company. In other words, Defendants argue that there are no recruitment efforts in play since Roberts already worked for eXp, never joined Golden’s downline, and whatever benefit eXp could receive from her employment was already received at the time she joined, not after a failed attempt to switch her sponsor.“

Birotte wrote that Roberts didn’t prove that Sanford or eXp had specific knowledge of Golden’s or Bjorkman’s alleged actions via police reports or their contents.

Birotte denied Bjorkman’s effort to be dismissed from the case.

But another defendant, Brent Gove — an eXp recruiter who was allegedly key figure in a “high-pressure recruitment effort” targeting Roberts — was dismissed from the case. Birotte noted that the complaint lacked sufficient facts to demonstrate his knowledge of the sexual assaults “to confer beneficiary liability.“

“Plaintiff contends that he was aware of the ’modus operandi,’ and that he was present on the boat where Roberts was drugged and acting erratically,“ Birotte wrote. “The Court generally agrees with the Defendant’s critique and believes the Complaint would benefit from additional facts articulating Gove’s awareness of the alleged bad behavior with more specificity.“

Sanford and eXp were dismissed from the Acevedo case in January 2024. Sanford recently stepped down as CEO of eXp Realty but has retained his role as chairman of parent company eXp World Holdings. Leo Pareja was appointed as the new CEO of eXp Realty.

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