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Plaintiffs in eXp Realty sex trafficking suit file second amended complaint

Newest complaint in eXp sex trafficking suit centers on the alleged “control” Glenn Sanford had over the other defendants

After partially succeeding in getting one claim dismissed each, eXp Realty and its founder and CEO Glenn Sanford are facing renewed allegations that they turned a blind eye on two former eXp agents and recruiters, Michael Bjorkman and David Golden, who allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted women at recruiting events.

Originally filed in February 2023 by Fabiola Acevedo and three Jane Does, two of whom have now been identified as Tami Sims and Christiana Lundy, the lawsuit accuses eXp World Holdings, eXp Realty, Sanford, suspended eXp agent Golden, now-former eXp agent Bjorkman and eXp agent Brent Gove of violating federal sex trafficking laws by ignoring or participating in alleged sexual assaults.

In a second amended complaint filed on Feb. 28, the plaintiffs allege that, using recruiting tactics suggested by eXp and Sanford, Bjorkman and Golden openly displayed their success at recruiting events, leading them to become successful recruiters and generating substantial income for both Sanford and Gove through the firm’s revenue share program. Due to this, the plaintiffs claim that Sanford and eXp allowed Bjorkman’s and Golden’s “behavior to go unchecked for years simply so they could continue to reap the financial benefits.”

These renewed claims come after Judge André Birotte Jr. of the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California ruled that the claims against eXp and Sanford had passed Nevada’s two-year statute of limitations while stating that the plaintiffs had “plausibly demonstrated a cover up.” Based on this ruling, Birotte ended up denying many of the defendants’ motions to dismiss the case, and he afforded the plaintiffs the opportunity to refile an amended complaint.

In their first amended complaint filed in March 2023, the plaintiffs accused Sanford and eXp of negligently hiring, retaining and supervising Bjorkman and Golden. Birotte ruled that the plaintiffs did not provide enough facts to show that the two agents were employees of eXp and Sanford rather than independent contractors.

In their second amended complaint, the plaintiffs attempt to paint a clearer picture by detailing eXp’s revenue sharing program and Sanford’s role in it. The complaint refers to the program as a ”multi-level marketing pyramid scheme” that requires the “continuous recruitment of new agents … without which it will collapse.”

According to the complaint, eXp, Gove and Sanford provided Bjorkman and Golden with the “scripts, tools, and training” on how to recruit agents to join the revenue sharing program.

“Defendant eXp Realty, Defendant Sanford and Defendant Gove exercised considerable control over Defendant Bjorkman and Defendant Golden by giving them the means and methods to recruit agents to eXp,” the complaint states.

The plaintiffs also claim that eXp regularly invites prospective recruits to events at “beautiful, exotic locations” to “rub shoulders” with top agents and recruiters “with whom they were encouraged to develop relationships, as well as to be trained on how to utilize and to parrot the well-oiled recruitment techniques perfected by higher-ups at eXp Realty.”

The complaint states that the prospective recruits, as well as eXp agents looking to grow their referral network, believed they had to be at these events to meet with agents like Bjorkman and Golden, whose success was routinely emphasized through on-stage appearances and promotional videos.

The second amended complaint also alleges that Gove recommended — and still recommends — that agents share hotel rooms while encouraging them to attend parties where he celebrates the fact they have “bars stocked with copious amounts of alcohol.”

According to the complaint, Golden and Bjorkman used these conditions to help them “surreptitiously slip attendees intoxicants, or fraudulently induce them to take intoxicants, which would cause them to appear and to act as if they were attracted to” them.

The plaintiffs allege that Golden and Bjorkman frequently used GHB, commonly known as the date-rape drug. They also allege that Gove “was keenly aware of the methods” Bjorkman and Golden used, as they claim the two men shared videos and pictures of the women they had drugged.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for eXp wrote that the firm has zero tolerance for abuse, harassment or misconduct of any kind.

“The claims in this case stem from alleged assaults by independent real estate agents who were never eXp employees — which we handled with speed, seriousness, and deep respect as soon as the accusers brought it to our attention, in line with our values and with the law,” the statement reads.

“eXp hopes and trusts the court will give a full and fair hearing to the plaintiffs as they pursue claims against the individuals who allegedly assaulted them. However, the claims against eXp and its leadership have no basis in fact or law, and to which eXp vehemently denies. The court has dismissed some claims and we are prepared to present and defend our position on the others.”

Attorneys for the other defendants did not return a request for comment. The defendants have until mid-March to reply to the second amended complaint.

This is not the only sexual assault or harassment case that eXp Realty is currently facing. In December 2023, a second lawsuit was filed by Anya Roberts. In the complaint, Roberts claims she was given substances at eXp events that caused her to black out. She believes she was sexually assaulted by both Golden and Bjorkman while unconscious.

A third lawsuit, which was filed in January 2024, accuses Chris Nevada, a former team leader at eXp, of a variety of sexual harassment behaviors. These include making sexual remarks in the workplace, offering to pay the plaintiff for sex, “unwanted touching” and attempts at kissing, and sexually oriented texts.  

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