In the course of representing and negotiating for the interests of their clients, real estate brokers are often privy to sensitive or confidential information. Whether buying or selling, residential or commercial, super-luxe or no-frills space, it’s absolutely crucial that brokers put the interests of their clients first–not only for purely ethical reasons, but to avoid career-killing legal imbroglios like the one that recently ended with a Staten Island broker being stripped of her license.
Under the Real Property Law, the Department of State is responsible for regulating the conduct of real estate brokers. The purpose of state oversight is to protect the public by ensuring the trustworthiness and competence of brokers. If a broker acts fraudulently or otherwise demonstrates untrustworthiness or incompetence, the Department of State can suspend, fine or reprimand the broker. As illustrated by a decision issued late last year in the Matter of Department of State Division of Licensing Services v. Turyan, in extreme cases, the Department of State will even revoke the broker’s license.
The Exclusive Listing To Sell
The Turyan case began in May 1999 when the Cataneos–owners of a medical office management and billing services company–decided to sell their business. The Cataneos then met with Turyan, a licensed real estate broker. At first, Turyan told the Cataneos that she was interested in becoming their partner in the business. However, the Cataneos told Turyan that they simply wanted to sell the business and were not interested in a partnership. The Cataneos then entered into an exclusive right-to-sell agreement with Turyan. Although the asking price for their business was listed as $295,000, the Cataneos told Turyan that they would accept $200,000.
Turyan Ends Up Buying the Business