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Blogger says Realtors lie, ordered to appear before board – grievance dismissed

Depiction of freedom image by net_efekt.

Mysterious circumstances in California

In June of this year, we reported that well known real estate blogger Larry Roberts of IrvineHousingBlog.com was being called in for a disciplinary hearing by the Orange County Association of Realtors (OCAR) for an alleged Realtor Code of Ethics for statements made on his blog.

We noted that Roberts has a broker’s license but is not a Realtor or even a member of OCAR, nor does he run a brokerage or sell real estate, yet OCAR was allegedly calling Roberts in for a disciplinary hearing centering around his blog post that opined “Realtors take advantage of their status as trusted experts to manipulate buyers, and they feel no responsibility when their statements are exposed as lies.”

Roberts has long been a voice of parody and criticism in the industry and in everything he writes, he uses hyperbole. This is why he and many others were shocked that he was being called in for a hearing with no explanation as to why, after years of using similar references.

A blogger’s freedom

Roberts says that OCAR has dismissed their grievance “without reason or apology,” and notes that “this action can only be interpreted as complete vindication and total victory for the forces of free speech and champions of due process.”

After citing many other examples of free speech that has been upheld in the real estate industry, Roberts notes, “I like being edgy. Sometimes I go over the top. It’s unavoidable when you dance on the edge. However, the shades of grey only exist on the margins. There are comments and images that are simply out-of-bounds.”

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In demonstration of his typical tone and what he has become famous (or infamous to some) for, he says, “Dismissing the case was the wisest choice for OCAr. The negative publicity was not helping their image, and they had nothing to gain by pushing on. I’m relieved they stopped as I was running out of good communist images for making cool cartoons.”

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Sfvrealestate

    August 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Hey, OC Realtors, don't we have freedom of expression in this country?

  2. Roland Estrada

    August 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I applaud OCAR's decision. Unless you liable or otherwise cause harm to an entity or individual, you should be able voice your opinion of the industry. I hold my own opinions of hacks that populate our industry. Especially the agents that are on the listing side of REOs. That was my little rant for what it's worth. Maybe it's time to formalize my thoughts in a more concrete fashion.

  3. BawldGuy

    August 9, 2011 at 1:25 am

    As a certain AZ Realtor once opined, (cough, Russell Shaw) 'So simple, even a Realtor can do it.'

    Apparently that axiom also applies to Realtor Associations. Geez

  4. Joe Manausa, MBA

    August 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

    It must be nice in Orange County, where there is nothing to do but play games at the Board office…

  5. Roland Estrada

    August 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Ahhh Joe, nothing like a pointless, small-minded remark to start off the day! Good luck with that.

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