The president of America's largest trade association is stepping down after allegedly receiving a blackmail threat.
The National Association of Realtors announced Monday that President Tracy Kasper was resigning after someone threatened to expose a "past personal, non-financial matter" unless she resigned from her post. The NAR said Kasper reported the threat to law enforcement but ultimately decided "it was best for the organization" that she step down.
"As a result of the recent threat and given the significance of this moment for myself, my family and the organization, it is again time for me to put the interests of NAR first," Kasper said in a statement. "So, it is with a mix of gratitude and a heavy heart that I submit my resignation as your president effective immediately."
Kasper, a Realtor from Nampa, Idaho, with more than 30 years of experience has served on the NAR Board of Directors since 2016 and was awarded Realtor of the Year that same year.
The NAR said it was "deeply concerned" about any attempt to undermine its business and vowed it was taking steps to protect the integrity of the association. It was also announced that President-elect Kevin Sears will immediately take over Kasper's duties of overseeing the association's more than 1.5 million members in the residential and commercial real estate industries.
However, this isn't the first time the NAR has faced leadership change in recent months. The group lost its CEO Bob Goldberg this past November after a jury found the NAR — along with two other real estate franchises — were liable for conspiring to artificially inflate real estate commissions. The firms were ordered to pay $1.8 billion in damages to more than 260,000 home sellers in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois.
The case was just one of several class-action lawsuits against the real estate companies and could generate additional legal action in other states. The latest verdict also lets the court issue additional damages, meaning the penalty could swell to $5 billion.
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