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NAR’s Kenny Parcell resigns after sexual harassment allegations

Parcell resigned days after the New York Times published a scathing exposé of NAR work culture

Two days after a New York Times exposé of alleged sexual harassment and a culture of fear at the National Association of Realtors, President Kenny Parcell announced his resignation.

Parcell was called out for alleged sexual harassment by 16 of the more than two dozen current and former NAR employees interviewed by the Times.

“I am deeply troubled by those looking to tarnish my character and mischaracterize my well-intended actions,” Parcell wrote in a letter to NAR’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors, which was first published by RISMedia. “This resignation signifies that I will put the organization’s needs first to move forward above my own personal needs to stay in this position.”

Parcell also wrote that the allegations were false, and claimed he was the victim of character assassination.

NAR president-elect, Tracy Kasper, who was set to take office in November, will begin her term immediately, according to the trade group.

In the Times investigation, three women described a pattern of inappropriate behavior by Parcell, who runs the Kenny Parcell Team at Equity Realty in Spanish Forks, Utah.

One woman reported that Parcell placed his hands down his pants in front of her, while another woman received unsolicited lewd photos and texts from him, including a picture of his crotch. Parcell denied that he had done anything inappropriate, saying the picture in question was of a promotional belt buckle and he was asking for input on the design.

A third woman, Janelle Brevard, who filed a lawsuit in the summer, disclosed a consensual relationship with Parcell that lasted months and ended with the NAR president allegedly retaliating against her. 

Brevard settled a lawsuit with NAR that included a $107,000 severance payment and a nondisclosure agreement, the Times reported. According to Bruce Fox, a lawyer who began representing Brevard in August, his client decided to settle the case after “feeling intimidated by such a powerful adversary.”

Another woman, Amy Swida, a director of business meetings and events at the organization, filed an internal complaint of sexual harassment or gender discrimination by Parcell. Swida alleged that he was cruel and condescending to her after she became pregnant. She worried about being cut off from future opportunities.

“I’m scared every day coming to work,” she told the Times. NAR said Swida’s complaint was documented and she was promoted several months later. Parcell also denied any wrongdoing.

“There is the sexual harassment, and then woven into it, this culture of fear,” Stephanie Quinn, the organization’s former director of business meetings and events told the Times. “His behavior is predatory.”  

An NAR spokesperson, in a statement, told HousingWire that it does not tolerate discrimination, harassment or retaliation. 

“We acknowledge the people who have shared their stories and we are committed to continuing our efforts to foster a welcoming and positive environment. We follow clear reporting procedures to investigate any issue of concern brought to our attention,” the spokesperson said. 

NAR has over 1.5 million dues-paying members and roughly two-thirds of its membership is female. Most of its leaders and executives are male.

“It is important to all of us at NAR that we take this moment to learn and focus on building a culture of camaraderie where we can do the good work we are all so passionate about. And, when an issue arises, that we all feel safe to say something,” Kasper wrote in a note to NAR members obtained by HousingWire. “This is a really hard time for our association. But I know this is an opportunity to really listen and grow together. As your president, I take the responsibility of rebuilding very seriously. Know I’m here for you, as is the entire leadership team, and we will get through this together.”

NAR is also facing two class-action lawsuits which accuse the trade group and several large brokerages of using MLS rules to charge excessive fees and unfairly prop up agent commissions. These topics are also being addressed in an investigation by the Department of Justice into NAR’s Clear Cooperation and Participation policies.

This article was updated to include comments from Tracy Kasper.

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