Utah realtor and NAR president resigns after sexual harassment allegations

Aug 29, 2023, 3:11 PM | Updated: Oct 1, 2023, 11:40 am

N.A.R. president Kenny Parcell has resigned. (National Association of Realtors)...

N.A.R. president Kenny Parcell has resigned. (National Association of Realtors)

(National Association of Realtors)

CHICAGO, Illinois — The National Association of Realtors President, Utah broker Kenny Parcell, resigned on Monday following a New York Times report exposing allegations of continued sexual harassment, predatory behavior, and facilitation of a work culture that promotes and protects wrongdoing.

N.A.R. is a trade association that controls access to nearly all house listings in the United States. The group’s website claims more than 1.5 million members who “subscribe to a strict code of ethics,” all of whom pay dues. The group is so dominant that they own the trademark of the term “realtor”, requiring any person that calls themselves a realtor to be a registered N.A.R. member. 

The Lawsuit

A lawsuit was initiated in the summer of 2023 by Janelle Brevard, an employee who broke off a month-long consensual sexual relationship with Parcell in June 2022. Brevard claims in the lawsuit that N.A.R. discriminated against her on the basis of race and sex.

Following Brevard’s decision to end their relationship, she said Parcell was angry. Brevard’s legal team says Parcell retaliated by continuing to send sexually explicit text messages, photos, and other items. The lawsuit states Parcell punished her by excluding her from meetings, and business trips she would normally participate in, disparaged her at every turn, and made several threats to fire her.

Brevard made a formal sexual harassment complaint to N.A.R. about this alleged retaliation. Soon after, she was called into a meeting and fired for failure to disclose a relationship with Parcell.

The Times reports she withdrew the lawsuit in July 2023 and settled for a severance package of $107,000. The settlement with N.A.R. also required she sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Parcell became President of N.A.R. two months after Brevard’s firing.

Other Allegations

On Saturday, the Times also reported that 29 “employees and former leaders” had come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against Parcell and other executives at N.A.R. Three other women were questioned at the time by N.A.R’s independent counsel over sexual harassment allegations made against Parcell.

Many of the women stated the response from leaders discouraged them from possibly bringing up future matters of sexual harassment, despite the company’s Code of Ethics which states that discrimination or language of harassment based on sex is prohibited.

The summarized allegations against Parcell include:

  • Inviting two young female employees to spend the night at his Utah home while they were in town.
  • Simulating an employee, masturbating and then sticking out his hands toward a female complainant.
  • Circumventing the job duties of a employee after she became visibly pregnant.
  • Sending pictures of his pelvis to female employees.

The summarized allegations against N.A.R include:

  • Firing a woman who complained about male superiors staring at her breasts, referring “to her career ambition as ‘unattractive,'” and making “inappropriate comments about her body and marital status.”
  • Ignoring a complaint of a male realtor taking a picture up the skirt of a female realtor.

Parcell’s History and Resignation Response

Parcell is the broker and owner of Equity Real Estate Utah, or otherwise known as the Kenny Parcell Team.

“I have developed relationships with other agents, title companies, mortgage companies, banks and other institutions that not only benefit my clients, but all the parties involved in a transaction,” Parcell said in a statement on his company site.

According to Parcell’s bio on N.A.R.’s website, his career in real estate spans over 25 years. It details his history at N.A.R. holding multiple senior leadership roles with N.A.R and other national companies before retaining the president title at the company. In addition to his career highlights, Parcell was named 30 under 30 in 2001 by their media brand, REALTOR® Magazine.

Parcell served a religious mission in Tennessee before he attended college at Brigham Young University, graduating with a business degree in 1998.

Parcell’s term at N.A.R. was supposed to last until November, but Parcell gave his official resignation letter on Monday, which stated his rejection of the allegations.

“My resignation comes after a series of accusations against me that are categorically false,” Parcell wrote. “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.”

N.A.R.’s Response

N.A.R.’s new president, Tracy Kasper, was supposed to commence her presidency in November but has assumed the role immediately given the circumstance. A press release statement was made to the public detailing Kasper’s experience and her words on the topic.

“First, let me say, I’m incredibly sorry for what’s led us here,” Kasper wrote. “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.

“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.”

Her remarks were made in addition to an article published in REALTOR® Magazine.

“In the wake of a national story detailing sexual harassment claims, the association vows to do better,” it states.

Local Response

The impact of Parcell’s allegations is especially felt in the Utah real estate community — Parcell led fundraising efforts for the Realtor group in the Mountain West region in 2016 and was President of the Utah Association of Realtors in 2011.

The Utah Association of Realtors is the wing of N.A.R in Utah.

In the U.A.R. Code of Ethics, Article 10 is listed under “Duties to the Public” and reads: “REALTORS® do not discriminate in their employment practices.”

In the aftermath of the allegations, leadership at U.A.R. responded to KSL with a statement on Tuesday:

Because this is a national matter, we have not been involved in the investigation and don’t know the specific details of the situation. As such, we would refer you to the National Association of Realtors for response.

While we don’t know the specifics of this situation, the Utah Association of Realtors takes any allegations of harassment seriously. We have strong policies in place, and we regularly train our employees and directors on appropriate conduct and sexual harassment prevention.”

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, National Association of Realtors by LarryDCurtis on Scribd

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Utah realtor and NAR president resigns after sexual harassment allegations