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News - All - 10 Jul 2019

News Item 43 of 4611 

Miscellaneous: 10 Jul 2019
Real estate council posts Bailey decision without naming him

Steve Bailey Sales Representative/ RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc Brokerage

CAMBRIDGE Steve Bailey has admitted he broke the law that governs how real estate brokers should behave but for now, his identity remains protected by his industry's self-regulating body.

Bailey has until November 2020 to pay a $30,000 fine, after agreeing he breached legislation intended to protect the public from fraud in the real estate industry. He also has the right to appeal that penalty.

The bulk of that fine, $25,000, is for trying to help his parents privately buy a Waterloo house for a price "significantly below market value" and then trying to prevent the seller from complaining to the regulator about it.

A $5,000 fine was also imposed for overseeing a sale in Plattsville in which a seller received $10,000 less than a competing offer. His mother-in-law was the agent representing the lower offer.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) insists its decision against the team leader of The Bailey Group is within guidelines for previous discipline cases involving ethical breaches.

But critics contend RECO's track record on punishing real estate sales people and brokers who cross the line is spotty. They point out its board of directors is almost entirely comprised of other real estate brokers and industry insiders.

Realtors across the province are reacting with frustration to the regulator's handling of the high-profile case involving a former RECO board member, who abruptly resigned in May 2018. They complain it erodes public trust in their industry.

"It proves to me that if you have the money, rules do not apply to you. Shame on RECO for this one. I'm very embarrassed to be a realtor today," said Michele Grieco, a real estate salesperson in Waterloo.

Kitchener city Coun. Scott Davey said the ruling "begs the question of what one would have to do to actually have their license suspended."

RECO, which reviews about 2,500 complaints against Realtors each year, very rarely revokes licences. Last year, just one person had their licence revoked a Toronto agent caught stealing change and batteries from a home listed for sale.

The regulator doled out dozens of fines against others Realtors in 2018, however, ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Bailey has so far refused to comment on the case, but was defiant on social media. In a since-deleted post on Instagram, he placed a less-than subtle message over an image of the Heath Ledger's Joker, along with The Bailey Group logo.

"People tend to think I will forget the s**t they said, but there is no expiration date for disrespect," he wrote.

Although Bailey admitted he broke the law, his identity remains protected by RECO because he still has the right to appeal the regulator's decision.

For now, he's only referred to as "Representative A" in the discipline decision posted online by RECO. He won't be identified until the appeal window is over, the regulator said.

The regulator says it posted the censured version of the decision in an effort to be more transparent.

"Because of the strong level of interest in this case, the discipline committee has opted to publish a decision without the registrant's name," explained RECO's registrar Joseph Richer.

"This is one example of how we are revisiting how we operate to achieve maximum transparency within the legislation."

Bailey's employers at the Re/Max Real Estate Centre, owned by David Medeiros and Delio Oliveira, also did not respond to request for comment.

As the brokerage's owners, they're required by law to ensure their brokerage complies with the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002.

But RECO says it found no evidence of "systemic issues" at the Bailey Group or any suggestion Bailey's managers were directly involved in the ethical breaches.

"During our investigation, we did not find evidence of a systemic problem, and as such we don't plan to take disciplinary action against the brokerage or its broker of record," Richer said.

Twitter: @MercerRecord

Greg Mercer Waterloo Region Record/Remax/AA

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