BAM Key Details:

  • An anonymous group of NAR staff members sent a letter to NAR leadership with a list of clear demands—one of them being the removal of Tracy Kasper herself as NAR president. 
  • The anonymous group is also demanding the immediate removal of CEO Bob Goldberg, Donna Gland (SVP & Talent Development Resources), and Katie Johnson (General Counsel and Chief Member Experiences Officer). 
  • Tracy Kasper responded. BAM obtained a copy of both the letter and Kasper’s response. NAR staff behind the list of demands will remain anonymous. 

By all accounts, this has been a long time coming. 

If the folks in leadership positions at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) thought a sympathy video with a lullaby in the background would wash away the grime of the sexual harassment scandal, they ought to know by now…it didn’t work. 

Because the allegations against  Kenny Parcell are just the tip of the iceberg. And too many people inside NAR are well aware of that. With more people speaking out about their experiences working at NAR—and a growing number of public figures standing behind the NAR Accountability Project—the anonymous employees behind the list of demands may finally have the leverage they need.

BAM obtained a copy of the letter—along with Tracy Kasper’s response. 

The letter and list of demands

According to Inman, Shannon King, NAR Regional Vice President, presented a letter penned by about a dozen internal staffers to NAR leadership at the group’s Executive Committee meeting on Monday. The staffers behind the letter have chosen to remain anonymous due to the retaliatory environment in the workplace. 

Here’s the full letter with their list of demands: 

We are a group of concerned, NAR staff, and others continue to come forward every day. We represent all levels of management, in both DC and Chicago. We are men and women, some tenured and some new to NAR. The one thing we all have in common is our belief that change cannot happen, and healing will not begin, until there is accountability for those who allowed NAR to get to the place it is today. We implore you to support us in our efforts to demand further action be taken.

Each of us is still here because we love NAR, and we care very much about the work we do for, and on behalf of our members. All we want, and all we have ever asked, is to be allowed to do our jobs, in a respectful, healthy, and productive environment. That has not happened, and our leadership has failed us.

We hear Tracy, and we also ask ourselves how she “missed it”. The truth however is she didn’t. Nor did those internal leaders who are in positions of power that did nothing to protect staff, namely Bob Goldberg, Donna Gland, and Katie Johnson. 

And while Tracy shames the individual(s) who leaked an internal memo and those who expose(d) its contents – versus those who tried to bury it but got caught — keep in mind that the only reason that memo exists is because staff had no one they could go to whom they trusted in TDR, Legal, nor our CEO.

It is well documented that these same behaviors, reported by staff in 2022, have been an issue for some time. It was disheartening to read in Denise Drake’s letter that she was retained to protect NAR and Kenny Parcell, not staff, and our personal stories which we believed were shared in confidence informed their strategy. It is at best a conflict of interest and we were betrayed by those claiming to help us.

They protected the abusers, while staff was directed to create strategies to “get to yes” and deliver on the outrageous demands of member leaders. We were counseled on how to “be liked” by the LT – the epitome of success at NAR, not actual job performance. And told “just do what they want”, this is what it’s like to work for a member organization and if we didn’t like it, we could leave. That is our reality and our truth.

It is insulting that these individuals are being included in the same group of “staff” who need protecting. How can those most complicit in these actions be the victims? For Tracy to promise to stop the bullies, when she is in fact one of them, leaves us with little faith anything will change. We are not children. We are professionals with decades of experience, some with masters, and even doctorate degrees. We are not fooled, nor are we accepting that they will do the right thing.

NAR has made its position clear. Pulling from the same old playbook — deny, lie, intimidate, control, all the while protecting one another and their interests. We have sacrificed our health, our families, and our friends, and we are tired. We are tired of watching our talented teammates walk out the door. We are tired of being patronized with empty promises and insincere apologies.

Why should we have to leave our positions at NAR when we truly are the ones who have done nothing to deserve this, nor contributed to the mess we find ourselves in today? The buck has to stop somewhere.

We are asking for your support and demand the following:

  • The immediate removal of Bob Goldberg, Donna Gland, and Katie Johnson 
    • If necessary for the impending trials, retain for that purpose only, with no leadership or staff management responsibilities, nor role in the selection or hiring of the new CEO and CCO/CMO
  • The resignation of 2024 President, Tracy Kasper, as a primary contributor to the hostile work environment
  • Appoint John Pierpoint as interim CEO of NAR, while a new search commences
  • Retain an outside, independent Human Resources firm for staff
  • Retain outside legal counsel that staff chooses, solely for the purpose of reporting claims, when and if they continue, or until trust is regained
  • Staff appointed representatives—one in DC and one in Chicago—who act as the intermediary with Executive Committee

 Thank you for hearing our plea and your serious consideration.

 Respectfully,

 Your NAR Staff

For a president who only just recently took over the role (replacing Kenny Parcell), Kasper may already suspect her days in that seat are numbered. But if she believes the content she’s been putting out to convince NAR staff that everything will be better, now that she’s in charge, she might honestly think she’s turning things around.

That confidence won’t help her if her words inspire the exact opposite. And that’s essentially what the letter is saying: Kasper is not the solution to the problems NAR faces. 

Tracy Kasper’s response

As NAR president, Kasper responded to the letter with a prompt, yet somewhat evasive message. The Executive Committee member who listened in when the letter was presented to NAR leadership could probably shed some light on Kasper’s true reaction to it. 

For now, we have the sanitized version:

All,

 Thank you very much for reaching out. Like you, I care deeply about NAR. We all want an organization where staff are supported, satisfied, and empowered to do their best work. You have heard me say that we are working to foster a welcoming, safe, and respectful workplace, and I am committed to taking action to strengthen our organization. We are taking steps to do just that – I will be sharing some updates with the Executive Committee later today. At the same time, we are evaluating potential additional actions the organization could take, and I will share further updates in due course.

 I recognize this is a short reply to a lengthy note – and that is simply because I wanted to come back to you promptly. You have requested our serious consideration, and I am committed to providing that in our actions and ongoing communications. These are important issues and we are working to address them with deliberation and care, taking action as appropriate along the way.

 Thank you again for reaching out and for your commitment to NAR.

 Best,

Tracy

A few things stand out: 

  • She says, “I am committed to taking action to strengthen our organization,” but so far, all we’ve got from her are words. 
  • She says, “You have requested our serious consideration…” She says nothing about their list of demands, including her removal. 
  • She goes on with, “I am committed to providing that in our actions and ongoing communications.” But so far, actions don’t seem to be NAR’s strong point. 

It’s a good thing they’re “evaluating potential additional actions the organization could take.” Now, the folks behind the letter can chill and trust that everything will be o-o-okay. 

But that doesn’t seem likely.