While details of the eleven arrests made of alleged Russian spies continue to pour in, it is notable that two happen to have chosen (or been assigned?) the real estate profession. Immediately upon the arrest of Tracey Foley, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman explained in a blog statement that her employment screening was clean, her track record as a contract field agent at Redfin was good and that she has worked at other brokerages like Wiechart since 2007.
Immediately, Twitter lit up saying that they don’t call it “RED”fin for nothing which although is a little funny, it’s completely unfair, given that no espionage conviction has taken place, it’s all still alleged and because she had a social security number that checked out. Although as a business owner, I wouldn’t personally have put as much detail into the public eye for legal reasons, it is Glenn’s track record to be as transparent as possible (plus, the phones ring less, business can go on and reporters can copy and paste his statement).
The other RED connection
Although I cannot confirm whether or not it’s true, it is being said that the 28 year old hot red head Russian, Anna Chapman (who seems to be the face person of the alleged espionage ring) is a licensed real estate agent. She was said to be a rich socialite and a young up and comer who even video blogged with frequency.
Anna does not say on her Facebook profile what her career is, but of the few things she’s a fan of, one of them is MostProperties.com which has no offices in the U.S. but has offices in Russia, so she’s at a minimum a real estate fan. Interestingly, she and I have some Facebook friends in common which was really surprising to me!
One interesting tidbit is that although the Redfin agent’s name is Tracey, she too went by Ana- is that a spy code name? I have to admit after watching and reading a lot about the spy case, much of their alleged espionage activities have been mocked, with commentary equating their spy activities to a seven year old’s sleuth kit armed with not much more than “invisible ink” which is just lemon juice to be heated up to once again become visible. Someone made the joke that they spied by Googling things and by hunting and pecking around Facebook.
So although they’ve been nabbed as spies, it is debatable as to how dangerous they really were and there might not be reason for so many people to be up in arms screaming “Cold War II!”
While we can joke about it all we want, the allegations are pretty serious as it has been said that more than one of the alleged spies made contact with high level officials.
Why were they in real estate?
Because real estate can be a relatively nomadic career choice for some and one that isn’t monitored full time by a boss the way a clerical assistant or a manual labor worker is. This would have freed up at least a bit of time for alleged spy activities.
Real estate agents are often known to be highly involved in local politics, so it isn’t a stretch of the imagination that a spy would be well suited for the role of an agent as it wouldn’t be strange to canoodle with politicians in that role.
Real estate can be a pretty good pay day and the bar to entry is fairly low and doesn’t require a college degree like most industries with that pay scale, so it is a natural fit for someone who is allegedly new to the country.
What other reasons can you think of that would make real estate an unsurprising fit for alleged spies? Let’s chat in comments (but keep the “red” references to a minimum, this isn’t an inquisition, guys).
PS: bonus points for anyone who knows either of these ladies and can tell us about them in comments OR if anyone can confirm that Anna Chapman is indeed licensed.
Photo above is Anna Chapman’s Facebook profile picture.