Anthony Lamacchia: The Sitzer/Burnett case started this past Monday. This case, folks, and these plaintiffs are truly trying to upend the real estate industry. Anthony Lamacchia here with Crush It In Real Estate, and I want to spend some time discussing the case as a whole, going through this Inman article because I thought they did a great job breaking down what went on in the courtroom and telling you about some other things that I heard that went on in the courtroom.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Mr. Michael Catchmark, who seems to be obsessed with upending the real estate industry, claims the good of this case is for Missourians and for consumers as a whole. But then in his opening remarks, he says something to the effect of “buyer agency is really for the affluent.” Oh really? So regular buyers shouldn’t be able to have a buyer agent? They shouldn’t be able to have someone that has a fiduciary duty to them?
National Association of Realtors has done a terrific job protecting the consumer, protecting private property rights, homeownership for over a hundred years. And now these money-grabbing attorneys and plaintiffs are coming out saying we have a problem with that.
I want to shout out the National Association of Realtors for not settling and to actually be going to war on this case. I also want to shout out two of my competitors that I respect very much: Gary Keller of Keller Williams and Gino Belfari, CEO of Home Services. They didn’t settle; they said, “you want to fight, let’s go fight.”
Inman picked out some things that were said. They went to Gary Keller from a book he wrote 20 years ago, and Mr. Catchmark is reading it in court. Gary explained in the book about how commissions work, and they tried to throw that back at him. They talk about a video where Gino Belfari had done a training a while back, and they played it for the jury.
Ethan Glass from NAR said, “What kind of conspiracy is out in the public? There isn’t one.” They want there to be one. They want to give the perception to these jurors that we’re all colluding together. This is an extremely competitive business, and there’s a ton of negotiation that goes on.
The plaintiffs and some others are trying to preach incorrect information and have a lack of understanding of our business. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Catchmark, said, “It’s clear to me that corporate defendants are desperately trying to hang on to this system. The jury’s going to have a chance to break up this cartel.” Michael, where did you find that cartel comment? I’m going to bet you got it from Jack Ryan of Rex Real Estate, who had two cases against our industry and Zillow and lost on both.
Realtors work their butts off every day to represent consumers, both buyers and sellers, and do what’s right by them. Broker owners across the country preach that and teach agents to do that. The National Association of Realtors, with a very lengthy and detailed code of ethics, is all for that and all for the consumer. Any other notion to the contrary is completely ridiculous.
I’m glad Inman put this article out. I’m glad they mentioned some of the things from the courtroom. I know there’ll be more coming out in the days to come, and I will be back to you with another video. Shout out once again to Gary Keller, Gino Belfari, Bob Goldberg for your comments in the deposition for not caving to these money grabbers. I’m impressed, I wish you all the best of luck, and I’ll be back with more thoughts. Thank you all.