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News - All - 22 Aug 2019

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Miscellaneous: 22 Aug 2019
Brokerage parts ways with Cambridge broker

KITCHENER A Cambridge broker who admitted to multiple breaches of the code of ethics that governs the real estate industry is parting ways with his brokerage.

Steve Bailey, who was fined $30,000 in July after two complaints were investigated by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), is leaving the RE/MAX Real Estate Centre following public blowback over his case. He's team leader of the Bailey Group, which has been told to vacate its offices by the end of the week.

Bailey, who retained his real estate licence after admitting to his infractions, is in talks to sign on with an Oakville brokerage.

But those discussions are "not finalized," according to RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp. manager Karen Collins.

Bailey's parting from the Cambridge brokerage has turned heads in local real estate circles.

His Bailey Group is still one of the top-selling real estate teams in the region, with more than $37 million in sales so far this year.

At least one Bailey Group team member, Sue Machado, quit earlier this month to operate independently.

The brokerage, meanwhile, declined to elaborate on the split with Bailey.

"REMAX Real Estate Centre has decided to part ways with Steve Bailey and the Bailey Group. We wish them well," said Delio Oliveira, broker of record.

The complaints against Bailey have brought unwanted attention to the brokerage, which so far has not spoken publicly about RECO's two-year-long investigation or Bailey's decision to take a plea deal and avoid a discipline trial.

Bailey also declined to respond to requests for comment on his departure from the RE/MAX Real Estate Centre. In a Facebook post, he said he was looking forward to the future, but didn't offer any specifics.

"For the first time in a very long time, I'm excited about what's around the corner," he said.

Bailey was fined after admitting he broke the rules for real estate professionals on two separate occasions.

In the first complaint, he tried to arrange a private sale for his parents to buy a Waterloo home for $200,000 less than its assessed tax value, and $300,000 less than its approximate market value. The deal was only stopped when the seller's lawyer became alarmed by the low sale price.

In the second, Bailey oversaw a transaction that cost a seller $10,000 on the sale of their house when a higher competing offer was denied in favour of a lower offer represented by Bailey's mother-in-law, Isabel Pinheiro, who is also an agent at the Bailey Group.

Ontario's real estate association slammed the regulator for the way it handled the Bailey case, calling it an example of a "broken" disciplinary system.

The Ontario Real Estate Association argued people who commit serious ethical violations should lose their licence.

RECO couldn't comment on Bailey's status. As far as it's aware, he remains employed by the Cambridge brokerage. It said any application by a broker to register with a new brokerage is a private matter until it's approved or denied by the regulator.

Barry Lowry, a Waterloo broker who is the former chair of discipline and appeals at RECO, said Bailey should not be allowed to register his own brokerage.

"Should this be granted then that will be the final slap in the face to all the realtors who are outraged at the resolution of the first incident," he said.

Lowry said a lot of real estate professionals are upset over the Bailey situation. He argues the penalties imposed on the broker should have been decided by discipline panel, and not settled in a private deal with the regulator.

"It's a disgrace," he said. "A lot of people are asking how this is allowed. It's a sad commentary on self-regulation."

Twitter: @MercerRecord

Twitter: @MercerRecord

by Greg Mercer Waterloo Region Record/AA

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