Evidence to Support a Complaint?

Q: "There is a broker here in town who has been doing expert witness work for years and myself and many of my colleagues think he is pretty shady. We don’t understand how he keeps getting hired. My cousin actually works for this guy and he passed along a pretty interesting bit of information to me.

Apparently, the broker and his wife owned a small commercial property on the edge of town and he listed it for sale himself. The listing said the square footage was around 2000 square feet. They got an offer from a dentist who wanted to buy it to convert it and make it into a dental clinic and the broker talked the dentist into letting this guy act as a dual agent. Obviously, dual agencies are never a great idea...but you are really pushing it when you are acting as a dual agent and you are also the seller/owner of the property.

Anyway, the sale goes through, and the dentist hires an architect to prepare plans for the renovations and the architect tells him the property is nowhere near 2000 square feet. He says it is closer to 1500 square feet...so now the dentist has hired a lawyer who wrote a nasty letter to the broker and his wife threatening to sue. They say he misrepresented the property and caused the dentist to pay more than it was worth...and they are claiming some kind of elder abuse because the dentist is 70 years old and, of course, they say he had a conflict of interest because he acted as the dual agent.

I’m thinking this is just the sort of information I need to file a complaint against this guy with the state licensing board, maybe an Ethics complaint with NAR, and whatever else I can think of. My problem is that none of this is public information. The only way I know about it is because my cousin overheard people talking in the office. I am trying to figure out a way I can file a complaint against the broker and not get my cousin in trouble. Any ideas?"

A: I'm afraid not. You didn't say what position your cousin has with that other company, but I question whether he violated any ethical obligations he might owe them not to discuss confidential matters with third parties. At the very least, I think his conduct was both inappropriate and unprofessional.

Even if a lawsuit is filed by the dentist, based on these allegations, please remember they are only allegations. It is doubtful that any licensing board would take adverse action against the broker’s license until findings were made or some decision was reached in court that proved the dentist’s allegations could be supported.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?