NAR President Parcell Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations
John Jordan | August 29, 2023
CHICAGO—Two days after a New York Times report that detailed claims of sexual harassment against National Association of Realtors President Kenny Parcell, the Utah-based Realtor executive, while denying the allegations, resigned from the post on Monday (Aug. 28) effective immediately. President-Elect Tracy Kasper took over as NAR President effective immediately.
The allegations and subsequent fallout are a black-eye to an organization that has prided itself in embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion principles as well as fostering a safe workplace environment. In fact, earlier this month NAR’s Realtor Magazine published an article entitled “NAR Prioritizes a Respectful Workplace.” NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said that the National Association of Realtors has a strong focus on respect that is a longstanding commitment that starts with training for staff and volunteer leaders. The article stated, “As sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace reaches a new level of consciousness in society, the National Association of Realtors says it is committed to providing a productive and welcoming environment for its 350 full-time staff members. This means making clear that discrimination, harassment and retaliation will never be tolerated by the association, including within employee workspaces and at NAR-sanctioned events,” says CEO Goldberg. “And it means doing everything possible to create and maintain a culture that pays proper respect to the immense amount of trust placed in the association.”
“NAR consistently strives to improve our workplace for every employee, and we have a robust set of policies, protocols and training programs in place to help us maintain a positive, respectful working environment,” Goldberg said. “We pride ourselves on following the best governance practices in place throughout our nation, and we remain focused on fostering a culture that encourages our people to be heard and come forward if needed.” NAR’s annual employee anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training supports those principles, the Realtor Magazine article stated.
The New York Times reported on Saturday, Aug. 26 allegations by multiple women who said they had been harassed or subjected to inappropriate conduct by NAR President Parcell. The harassment claims were based on interviews, a lawsuit that was eventually settled and an internal report. Parcell, 50, denied the accusations in written responses to The New York Times and in his resignation letter on Monday.
Multiple media outlets reported that a number of high-profile Realtors called for Parcell’s resignation in response to the New York Times report.
“I was very disturbed to read the New York Times report on the brazen attitudes and alleged behaviors of leaders at the National Association of Realtors,” says Sue Yannaccone, president and CEO of Anywhere Brands and Anywhere Advisors, according to a RISMedia report. “Given our predominantly female industry, I am incredibly disappointed by the reporter’s findings as NAR is supposed to be a guidepost for our industry.”
The New York Times reported that Jason Haber, a real estate agent with Compass, started a Change.org petition over the weekend that demanded Parcell resign as NAR President.
Parcell’s resignation letter stated:
Executive Committee and Board of Directors,
This letter serves as my resignation as President of the National Association of Realtors. Being elected to this position has been a highlight in my career.
My resignation comes after a series of accusations against me that are categorically false. I am deeply troubled by those looking to tarnish my character and mischaracterize my well-intended actions.
During this experience, I’ve opened myself to listening and looking for ways to improve myself, but all I can do is tell the truth. I’ve been shocked by these false accusations, hurtful words, whispers, and character assassination.
Putting the organization and the Brand first comes with the title of President. Leadership is about making tough choices; this resignation signifies that I will put the organization’s needs first to move forward above my own personal needs to stay in this position. I truly appreciate the support and true friendships that I have made during my volunteering at NAR.
Parcell was installed as 2023 President of the National Association of Realtors during NAR NXT, The Realtor Experience, on Nov. 14 in Orlando, FL. Parcell, a Realtor from Spanish Fork, UT is the Broker-Owner of Equity Real Estate Utah. He served as NAR’s vice president of government affairs in 2018 and was the Realtor Party RPAC fundraising liaison in 2017. Parcell was NAR’s Region 11 regional vice president in 2016 and served as his local association’s president in 2008 before becoming president of the Utah Association of Realtors in 2011.
Kasper issued a statement as she took office early as NAR President.
Following Kenny Parcell’s decision to resign his position as president, I will be stepping into my presidency early.
First, let me say, I’m incredibly sorry for what’s led us here.
We recognize there is lots of concern, anger and disappointment, and we want to acknowledge the people who have come forward and shared their stories and those of you who have shared your perspective over the past few days.
We have taken everything we have heard to heart. Our commitment to our staff and our members is unwavering, and we will continue to enhance the way we foster a welcoming, safe and respectful workplace. We will work to ensure the relationship between staff and members acknowledges not only staff expertise and their commitment to the association in addition to the members. The Culture Presidential Advisory Group we announced is one step forward in that. Bob Goldberg and his team also will be working in parallel with staff on their own culture council. We are looking to make lasting and positive change and to do so as quickly as possible.
It is important to all of us at NAR that we take this moment to learn and focus on building a culture of comradery where we can do the good work we are all so passionate about. And, when an issue arises, that we all feel safe to say something.
This is a really hard time for our association. But I know this is an opportunity to really listen and grow together. As your president, I take the responsibility of rebuilding very seriously. Know I’m here for you, as is the entire leadership team, and we will get through this together.
Kasper, a resident of Boise, ID, has 30 years of experience in real estate and has served on the NAR Board of Directors since 2016. She has served various groups, including the RPAC Implementation Group, the Future of the Realtor Party Presidential Advisory Group (PAG), and the RPAC State Fundraising Partnership Goal PAG. She has been a member of the Idaho Association of Realtors since 1997. She was honored to serve as its president in 2016 and was awarded Realtor of the Year that same year.
Realtor Magazine reported yesterday that NAR is forming a new presidential advisory group that will look at recommendations for ensuring a healthy relationship between staff and members. There will be a parallel effort at the staff level. “We are looking to make lasting and positive change and to do so as quickly as possible,” Kasper said.
On a call Monday, NAR CEO Goldberg apologized to the organization’s 350 full-time staff. “We are committed to taking real action toward rebuilding trust with staff and addressing the concerns we heard,” he said in a staff memo following the meeting. “We want to expressly acknowledge and express gratitude to you for coming forward to share your experiences. As an organization, we will seek to demonstrate the same courage you have all expressed.”
The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors in response to the Parcell resignation, issued an e-mail on Aug. 29 to its entire staff emphasizing its steadfast commitment to fostering a “safe and welcoming work environment.” The e-mail, co-authored by HGAR President Tony D’Anzica and Interim CEO and COO Jana Currier, stated:
“In light of the recent resignation of Kenny Parcell as President of the National Association of Realtors, and the allegations that led to his resignation, HGAR would like to assure our staff, leadership team, members and volunteers, that we stand united against any form of harassment.
HGAR prioritizes a safe and welcoming work environment. At the staff level, HGAR requires annual sexual harassment and anti-discrimination training for all employees. Additionally, all HGAR Directors and Officers must agree, in writing, to comply with numerous anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, including our Sexual Harassment Policy, as a precondition for serving as a Director.
HGAR remains steadfastly dedicated to fostering a welcoming, safe, and respectful workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. HGAR will continue to prioritize transparency, education, and the implementation of policies that deter and detect unlawful or inappropriate behavior so that every employee, member, and volunteer feels valued, heard, and empowered.”