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Staff Updates & Appearances

Photo of Kizzy V. Crawford Heath employed as Legal Education Officer

Kizzy V. Crawford Heath has been employed as Legal Education Officer in the Education and Licensing Division. Prior to joining the Commission, she was a Professor at Wake Technical Community College and North Carolina Wesleyan College. She earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Elizabeth City State University, a M.A.Ed. in Education from the University of Phoenix, and a J.D. from North Carolina Central University. She is also a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina.

Photo of Emily Bosman employed as a Licensing Specialist

Emily J Bosman has been employed as a License Specialist in the Education and Licensing Division. Prior to joining the Commission, she resided in Holland, Michigan, where she was a customer service Team Lead for a health care services company call center.

April M. Conyers has been named Assistant to the Director of the Education and Licensing Division.

Recognition

M. Spier Holloman, Senior Auditor/Investigator, is the recipient of the 2018 ARELLO® Investigator of the Year award. The annual award from ARELLO® (Associationof Real Estate License Law Officials) recognizes the recipient’s investigative skills and accomplishments as reflected by the year’s most outstanding investigation.

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission is the recipient of the highly regarded ARELLO® Communication and Education Award for 2018. This annual award recognizes outstanding systems and programs that contribute to the real estate industry, promote public protection, and may be adapted to benefit licensees and consumers in other ARELLO® member jurisdictions.

Deborah B. Carpenter, Educator/Examination Officer, is the recipient of the Distinguished Real Estate Instructor (DREI) Leadership Council’s 2018 Mark Barker “Lift Me Up” Award. This annual award recognizes an active DREI who contributed significantly to helping DREI’s and other instructors elevate the level of their professional instruction. DREI is a classroom instructor designation of the national Real Estate Educators Association.

Madison L. Mackenzie, Associate Legal Counsel I, is one of 16 members of the North Carolina Bar Association Leadership Academy Class of 2019. The Academy provides leadership training to 16 young lawyers each year. Criteria for selection includes degree of interest and commitment, aptitude for leadership, and class diversity, including geography, practice environments, personal backgrounds, and experience.



Appearances

Miriam J. Baer, Executive Director, spoke to Fonville Morisey Realty in Cary and to the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®.

Robert A. Pachett, Associate Legal Counsel II spoke to the Wake County Property Lawyers Association.

M. Spier Holloman, Senior Auditor/Investigator, and Marcia M. Waldron, Auditor, spoke to the North Carolina Vacation Managers Association in Greensboro.

Jean A. Wolinski-Hobbs, Auditor/Investigator, spoke to the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®.

Nicholas T. Smith, Consumer Protection Officer, spoke to the Jacksonville Board of REALTORS®.

Peter B. Myers, Information Officer, spoke to Engel & Volkers South Charlotte and to the Orange Chatham Association of REALTORS®.

Elizabeth W. Penney, then Information Officer, spoke to the Hendersonville Board of REALTORS®.

Licensees as of February 1, 2019


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Open Cases as of January 30, 2019


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Disciplinary Actions

JAMES RUDOLPH ANDREWS (Charlotte) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the broker license of Mr. Andrews effective February 13, 2019. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Mr. Andrews violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Mr. Andrews neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

ROBERT R. HOOVER (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Hoover effective January 31, 2019. The Commission found that Mr. Hoover, qualifying broker of a previously licensed firm, failed to notify the Commission within 10 days of that firm’s dissolution by the North Carolina Office of the Secretary of State. Mr. Hoover was the Trustee of a land trust that was managed by his firm and failed to execute a management agreement with the firm. While Mr. Hoover was acting as broker-in-charge of a property management firm, he did not have access to the firm’s trust accounts and otherwise failed to ensure that they were maintained in compliance with Commission rules.

SHAWN THOMAS JOHNSON (Buncombe County) – By Consent, the Commission permanently revoked the broker license of Mr. Johnson effective February 13, 2019. The Commission found that Mr. Johnson’s broker license restricted him from becoming a broker-in-charge or a qualifying broker until June 19, 2022. Mr. Johnson consented to the restrictions on his license. Mr. Johnson operated a property management business for a fee, sometimes under the business entity Stay Asheville Inc. His property management business focused on short-term rentals, specifically using Airbnb as a platform to rent properties. Mr. Johnson failed to obtain a real estate firm license for Stay Ashville Inc., has rented at least nine properties on behalf of others for a fee without entering into a written property management agreement, failed to maintain a trust account to hold the rental proceeds for his owner clients, and failed to keep any trust account records. Instead, Mr. Johnson directed Airbnb to deposit rental proceeds into his personal bank accounts, thus commingling personal money with trust money in these bank accounts. Mr. Johnson failed to account for and disburse trust money to his owner clients. Mr. Johnson rented three properties on Airbnb, each within the Asheville city limits, as short-term rentals without first obtaining a Homestay Permit from the City of Asheville as required under the city’s ordinances. Mr. Johnson failed to execute, maintain, or produce to the Commission’s investigator any records related to his property management operation. Mr. Johnson neither admits nor denies that he modified pre-approval and prequalification letters written for other individuals to use for his own purposes.

RAYMOND DEWIRE NEELON (Wilmington) – Following a hearing, the Commission permanently revoked the license of Mr. Neelon, effective January 9, 2019. The Commission found that Mr. Neelon managed residential properties for others and failed to provide the property owner with a copy of the executed management agreement within five days. Mr. Neelon also scheduled repairs to be made to the properties he managed, and deducted those expenses from the owner rental statements, but failed to pay the vendors. Instead, Mr. Neelon converted the entrusted funds to personal use. Mr. Neelon falsely told a mold testing company that payment had already been submitted to them, in order to receive the test results, when in fact no payment had been submitted. Mr. Neelon failed to respond to Commission Letters of Inquiry and failed to notify the Commission that his licensed firm was administratively dissolved by the NC Department of the Secretary of State.

POLLY PURNESS-NORRIS (Morehead City) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Purnell-Norris effective February 1, 2019. The Commission found that Ms. Purnell-Norris, acting as broker-in-charge, was the listing agent for a client that, according to the listing agreement, did not authorize Ms. Purnell-Norris or her firm to act as a dual agent. Ms. Purnell-Norris, however, directed a provisional broker under her supervision to act as a designated agent for a buyer for the property Ms. Purnell-Norris listed. Ms. Purnell-Norris failed to disclose material facts about the subject property to potential buyers after she received inspection reports that noted serious defects in the condition of the house and septic system.

JOSHUA WAYNE SAMS (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Sams for a period of three months effective February 13, 2019. The Commission found that on February 16, 2018 Mr. Sams pleaded guilty to Level 4 DWI and Level 1 DWI. Mr. Sams was issued 30 months of supervised probation, required to enroll and participate in the STEP program, required to obtain an alcohol assessment, and required to perform 48 hours of community service. Mr. Sams failed to disclose these convictions to the Commission within 60 days of the judgment. Mr. Sams’s supervised probation will become unsupervised at the conclusion of the STEP program in April 2019.

Spotlight: Thomas R. Lawing, Jr., Commission Vice-Chair

Thomas “Tommy” R. Lawing, Jr., is the current Vice Chair of the Commission and was its Chair in 2014-15.  A native Charlotteean, he is a Silver Service REALTOR® and Certified Property Manager and is the President of T. R. Lawing Realty, a family-owned property management company serving the Charlotte region since 1957.

Tommy is a past president and REALTOR® of the Year of both the N.C. REALTORS® and the Charlotte Regional REALTORS® Association (CRRA). He is a past director of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and was the Federal Political Coordinator to Representative Sue Myrick (NC-09).

Active in civic affairs, Tommy has held most of the leadership positions at Hawthorne Lane United Methodist Church, is the immediate past chair of the Board of Directors of Aldersgate Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), is past president of the Charlotte West Rotary, and co-chairs several committees at the Wells Fargo Championship, PGA Championship, Chiquita Classic and World Equestrian Games.  

Tommy is an Eagle Scout, and he graduated from N.C. State University with a B.A. in Economics.

Tommy and his wife, Dianne, have 1 son, 1 daughter-in-law, and “1 amazing grandson.”

Proposed Rule-Making

Proposed Rule-Making

The Commission is considering amendments to eight rules.  Additionally, four rules are planned for readoption, without substantive changes, as required under NCGS § 150B-21.3A(c)(2)(g).  Text for the proposed rule amendments and readoptions under consideration may be found on the Commission’s website under ‘License Law and Rule Changes.’ Changes to the proposed rule text are reflected by underlining text that will be added and striking through text that will be deleted. The rules have a proposed effective date of July 1, 2019, except for 21 NCAC 58A .0105 and .1902, which have a proposed effective date of July 1, 2020, that is noted in the history note of each rule.  

The Commission is now accepting public comments on the proposed rules until April 1, 2019.  Members of the public may submit comments on any of the proposed rules by contacting the Commission’s Rule-making Coordinator, Melissa Vuotto, or by attending the public hearing on the proposed rules to be held at the Commission’s office, located at 1313 Navaho Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, beginning at 9:00 a.m. 

The Commission will review all public comments before reaching their final decision on April 17, 2019. Once the final rule text is approved by the Rules Review Commission, the Commission will publish the approved rules. If you would like to receive notifications of rule-making proceedings, please visit www.ncrec.gov/home/subscribe.

BIC’s and Designated Dual Agency Transactions – Room for Conflicts!

Robert A. Patchett, Associate Legal Counsel II

Brokers have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their clients while also acting within the confines of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. In a handful of transactions there are instances when brokers’ fiduciary duties to their clients could appear to conflict with the Law and rules. One of those situations is a designated dual agency transaction involving the broker-in-charge and a broker or provisional broker supervised by that broker-in-charge.

According to Rule 58A .0104(i) – (l), in a dual each designated broker is required to act only in the interest of the client they represent and is prohibited from disclosing their client’s purchase price, terms, motivation, or confidential information to the other party. To prevent disclosure of confidential information in designated dual agency transactions, a broker-in-charge should have office procedures and policies in place to maintain the confidentiality of client information. But what happens when the broker-in-charge is one of the designated dual agents?

A broker-in-charge is responsible for maintaining all of the firm’s records required to be kept under Rule 58A .0108. The record retention rule requires brokers to provide a copy of, among other things, agency agreements, offers, and any other related transaction documents to the firm within three days of receipt. This means that at any given time a broker-in-charge has access to all of the firm’s records, including documents in an active transaction. If a broker-in-charge has access to the entire firm’s records and confidential information how can the broker-in-charge also be a designated dual agent in a transaction?

The best practice is for a broker-in-charge to not represent a party in a designated dual agency situation. This would reduce the chance that a broker-in-charge will violate the Commission rules for either failing to maintain and review transaction records or for learning confidential information about  the other party and using (or failing to use) that confidential information to the advantage of their client in a designated dual agency situation.

If a broker-in-charge decides to represent a party in a designated dual agency transaction, the broker-in-charge must establish policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Commission’s rules. The broker-in-charge should designate another broker in the office to collect and review records from the transaction. This will prevent the broker-in-charge who is a designated dual agent from having access to confidential information about the other party in the transaction. It will also provide comfort to the other designated dual agent that they can provide records in compliance with Rule 58A .0108(d) and not have their client’s confidential information shared with the other party in a designated dual agency transaction.

Remember also that a broker-in-charge can never be a designated dual agent in a transaction where the other party’s designated agent is a provisional broker under the broker-in-charge’s supervision. A broker-in-charge is expected to fully supervise a provisional broker including reviewing all transaction records. The broker-in-charge must have access to the same information as the provisional broker in order to successfully mentor and train the provisional broker. This duty to supervise the provisional broker cannot be delegated to another.

Co-Marketing Tips for Following RESPA Rules

Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online, November 2, 2018, with permission of the National Association of REALTORS®. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. https://magazine.realtor/live/article/2018/11/co-marketing-tips-for-following-respa-rules

November 2, 2018

By Erica Christoffer

What’s a settlement service provider? What constitutes something of value? Does it count as a referral if it’s only done in writing?

In live polling via text messaging Thursday during the Business Issues Policy Committee at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston, attendees answered real estate trivia questions such these, as well as gave feedback on who they are and what they’re interested in learning.

The vast majority of the room answered correctly that a settlement service is a closing attorney, title company, real estate broker, or mortgage broker; that something of value could be money, discounts, catering, advertising, tips, and lease payments; and a transaction can be considered a referral even if it’s not in writing.

Their knowledge encouraged Loretta Salzano, founding partner of the Atlanta-based Franzen and Salzano law firm who works with real estate professionals on how to increase their business while remaining within the confines of the law. She spoke to the group of about 75, offering compliance tips on the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), specifically when it comes to co-marketing and advertising.

Section 8(c)(2) of RESPA includes an anti-kickback and referral fee prohibition, and if it’s violated, it’s considered a federal crime. “Of course, you can refer as long as it’s free, and you’re doing it because you think that person will do a bang-up job,” she says. “You can pay your own employees for referrals all day long.”

But if a settlement service provider gives you something of value, even as minimal as a cup of coffee, Salzano says, it should in no way be tied to a referral. “Don’t get cute and think because you don’t have a marketing service agreement, it’s OK. All you have to do is follow the money, so do it right,” she says. The same applies to social media—likes and testimonials could be considered things of value.

Real estate professionals can be paid for goods, facilities, or services provided as long as the price is reasonable and not based on referral business. You have to monitor whether the services are actually being performed. For example, if you’re being paid to put yard signs out for a fellow settlement provider, you must able to verify that the work is actually being done.

Tread carefully when an industry cohort asks for your endorsement or you list preferred partners or providers on your website, Salzano says. “Someone might dig into that to see what you’re getting from having that on your site.”

It’s permissible for settlement service providers to participate in your regular promotional events and educational activities, such as lunch and learns, education sessions, or trainings, as long as it’s not based or conditioned on referrals.

When it comes to joint advertising with a fellow settlement service provider, it’s allowed as long as each party pays its pro-rata share. A simple example would be a post card with each party’s information side by side, the cost of which would be split 50-50. But co-marketing online is trickier, Salzano says. If two parties have an ad on the same webpage, you have to come up with a sensible metric for those ad campaigns. “As long as you’re both displayed equally, even in an online video,” she says. “You have to be able to look a regulator in the face and explain this is what you’re doing and how you came up with that arrangement.”

Lastly, if you’re going to lease space in your office to a settlement service provider, make sure it’s actual space with finished floors, walls, desks, etc., and that it’s being used, Salzano says. Get comparables to ensure the rent you’re charging is fair market value, then put your documentation in a file. “If you own the building, you have to come up with the fair market rent. When a lender is paying you money as the building owner, you don’t want it to look like it’s them giving you money for referrals,” she says.

Are Property Managers Equipped to Handle Rental Fraud?

Transunion, one of the “big three” U.S. credit reporting agencies and a self-described “sophisticated, global risk information provider” recently released highlights of a study suggesting that most U.S. property managers have trouble identifying, mitigating and preventing rental fraud in the single and multi-family rental industries.

According to Transunion’s news release, the commissioned study by Forrester Consulting found that 80 percent of surveyed decision makers at property management companies have experienced fraud up to 20 times within the past two years “but due to the emerging nature of the problem, … are not well equipped to manage the issue.”

The study is based on an online survey of 153 U.S. single and multi-family property management organizations and their decision makers. The study was completed in August 2018 and found that nearly 59 percent of rental applications are submitted online and are a primary driver of rental housing industry fraud. And, according to the news release, more than half of the surveyed companies “identified online applicant-based fraud as a critical or near critical issue.”

Transunion says that property managers need to be more aware of the key forms of rental application fraud currently taking place:

• “Synthetic fraud”, “a new weapon of choice for sophisticated fraudsters” involves manufactured rental applicant identities. If the application is approved,the scammer uses the address to establish credit and run up high balances under the false identity. Property managers are stuck with a non-existent tenant from whom rent cannot be collected.

• “Digital fraud”, which is increasing due to the use of manufactured identities, often involves “backroom operations” that run identity and credit cards to find a potential “match,” using spoofed IP addresses to indicate that the rental applicant is local.

• “True name fraud” involves scammers who obtain and use stolen pieces of otherwise valid identity information (name, date of birth, social security number) for a rental application which, if approved, leaves the property manager at risk and the identity theft victim potentially “on the hook for an apartment they never applied for.”

According to the study, “95% of property managers admitted to experiencing difficulties identifying, mitigating or preventing fraud. A significant problem that was acknowledged was the time frame in which the incidence of fraud was first recognized. Three out of four property managers identified fraud after move-in, with more than one-quarter discovering the fraud much later into their lease—seven months or later.”

Mike Doherty, Senior Vice President in TransUnion’s rental screening business commented, “In all of these cases of fraud, a property manager will find that the resident they may try to evict does not actually exist or is not the person in their rental unit. As a result, the property management company can lose thousands of dollars of potential income and impact their hard-earned reputation.” Transunion also said that these sorts of rental application fraud “can quickly become an expensive problem” and that “It can take anywhere from 90–150 days to evict a tenant, and additional expenses such as lost rent, back rent, and leasing and marketing costs can also pile up.”

[Source: Transunion news release: “Fraud: The New Operational Headache in Property Management.” Note: Transunion offers several identity theft and fraud detection and prevention products and services. ARELLO does not endorse any particular products or services or warrant their effectiveness, suitability for a particular purpose, or compliance or non-compliance with any applicable laws.-Ed.]

© ARELLO®. Reprinted courtesy of ARELLO’s Boundaries magazine.

Disciplinary Actions

BLUE RIDGE VACATION CABINS, INC. (Blowing Rock) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the firm license of Blue Ridge Vacation Cabins effective January 2, 2019. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Blue Ridge Vacation Cabins violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Blue Ridge Vacation Cabins neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

PATRICIA ANN BOULIA (Newport) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the broker license of Ms. Boulia effective December 12, 2018. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Ms. Boulia violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Ms. Boulia neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

BENJAMIN MILLAR BURY (Huntersville) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Bury effective February 1, 2019. The Commission found that Mr. Bury, under the supervision of his broker-in-charge, was the listing agent for a commercial property on which a residential house was located with the owner residing there at the time of listing. The owner told Mr. Bury that the property was served by city water and city sewer. Without independently verifying city sewer service, Mr. Bury advertised the property in the MLS as being connected to the city sewer. After closing, the buyer discovered a septic tank on the premises and was informed by the city that the property was connected to city water but not city sewer.

DEBORAH RAY DERRICK (Kannapolis) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Derrick effective December 14, 2018. The Commission found that Ms. Derrick represented the buyer of a property listed as a three-bedroom home serviced by a septic system. Ms. Derrick, knowing that her buyer client intended to renovate the property and add a bedroom, failed to pull the septic permit or request a copy from the listing agent and failed to instruct her client to verify with local officials that his intended purposes for the property could be accommodated. Ms. Derrick was advised by the listing agent that one of the owners said the property can accommodate five bedrooms, but to verify this information with the county, which Ms. Derrick failed to do. Ms. Derrick received a property disclosure form which stated that the septic system was permitted for five bedrooms and one owner said that he “called the county”. After closing, the buyer discovered that the septic system could only accommodate three bedrooms and incurred expenses to expand the system.

MARYANN DEBLANCO (Charlotte) – Following a hearing, the Commission permanently revoked the license of Ms. DeBlanco, effective October 4, 2018. The Commission found that Ms. DeBlanco, persuaded a property owner to allow her to rent from him without executing a written lease, failed to make her rental payments in a timely manner and sometimes not at all, refused to surrender the property to the owner and was ultimately evicted. Ms. DeBlanco later persuaded another property owner to allow her to be a tenant and again failed to execute a written lease prior to moving in. Multiple checks issued by Ms. DeBlanco for rent payments were returned as insufficient by the bank. Ms. DeBlanco was ultimately evicted and appealed her eviction to the appellate courts, which ultimately ruled in favor of the homeowner. Ms. DeBlanco caused extensive damage to the property while she was a tenant. In Ms. DeBlanco’s 2012 application for licensure, she misrepresented to the Commission that she had no previous criminal convictions, liens, or judgments against her, when in fact she did.

CHRISTOPHER LEE DOWDY (Morrisville) – By Consent, the Commission revoked the broker license of Mr. Dowdy effective October 17, 2018. The Commission found that Mr. Dowdy inappropriately utilized a listed property for personal use without the owner’s knowledge or consent. Mr. Dowdy’s conduct was improper and unworthy of a real estate license.

DAVID T. FOWLKES (Lake Gaston) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Fowlkes for a period of 12 months effective September 25, 2018. The Commission then stayed the suspension and prohibited Mr. Fowlkes from acting as a broker-in-charge or qualifying broker of a firm for two years from this order’s effective date and from practicing property management for seven years from the effective date. The Commission found that Mr. Fowlkes, qualifying broker and broker-in-charge of a firm which primarily managed vacation rental properties, failed to supervise unlicensed individuals who were co-owners and failed to properly maintain trust accounts. The unlicensed individuals converted trust money and then returned it to the trust accounts when the discrepancy was found by a Commission audit. Mr.Fowlkes failed to adequately monitor the accounts for suspicious activity and, as a result, was not aware the money had been taken The Commission noted that Mr. Fowlkes was proactive in notifying property owners and insuring their money was returned.

LEONARD DION GAMBLES (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Gambles effective January 10, 2019. The Commission found that Mr. Gambles, acting as buyers agent in a transaction, failed to clarify with his buyer client what repairs were requested and subsequently agreed to be performed by the seller, and failed to confirm that a due diligence repair agreement was signed by the seller during the due diligence period. The seller did make certain repairs, but after closing the buyer expressed dissatisfaction with the repairs. Mr. Gamble’s firm has offered to have the buyer’s inspector re-inspect the property and to pay for any repairs which had not been properly completed.

STEVEN K. GOODMAN (Huntersville) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Goodman for a period of six months effective February 1, 2019. The Commission then stayed the suspension for a probationary period through August 1, 2019. The Commission found that Mr. Goodman, a qualifying broker and broker-in-charge, supervised a provisional broker who served as the listing agent for a commercial property on which a residential house was located with the owner residing there at the time of listing. The owner told the provisional broker that the property was served by city water and city sewer. Without independently verifying city sewer service, the provisional broker advertised the property in the MLS as being connected to the city sewer. After closing, the buyer discovered a septic tank on the premises and was informed by the city that the property was connected to city water but not city sewer.

DONNA FRICK HORBURY (Blowing Rock) –The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the broker license of Ms. Horbury effective December 31, 2018. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Ms. Horbury violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Ms. Horbury neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

WILLIAM EDGAR HOWELL III (Belmont) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Howell effective November 14, 2018. The Commission found that Mr. Howell timely reported a July 2018 DWI Level 5 conviction to the Commission and is currently on 18 months supervised probation. Mr. Howell disclosed on his license application convictions for Driving After Consuming Under Age 21 in 2004 and DWI Level 2 in 2005. Mr. Howell failed to report an August 2017 Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana up to ½ Oz to the Commission.

DON ANTHONY JOHNSON (Cary) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Johnson for a period of six months stayed effective December 12, 2018, ordered Mr. Johnson to comply with all of the provisions of his court-ordered probation and any DMV restrictions on his license, and prohibited Mr. Johnson from transporting customers or clients while his vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device. The Commission found that Mr. Johnson timely reported his June 14, 2018, Level 2 DWI conviction. Mr. Johnson received twelve months of supervised probation and is required to have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle. Mr. Johnson had previously been convicted of Level 4 DWI in 2013 and states that he is actively involved in support groups and has abstained from alcohol since the arrest.

GEORGE K. JOSEPH (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Joseph effective January 9, 2019. The Commission found that in and around July 23, 2018, a complaint was filed against Mr. Joseph, who failed to respond to multiple Letters of Inquiry.

CAROLE ANN LANIER (Emerald Isle) – By Consent, the Commission permanently revoked the broker license of Ms. Lanier effective October 17, 2018. The Commission found that Ms. Lanier, as qualifying broker and broker-in-charge of a vacation rental management firm, failed to maintain trust account records, did not reconcile the firm’s trust account, commingled trust funds with her personal funds, and converted trust funds for personal use. A Commission audit of the firm’s trust account revealed a shortage of at least $81,752.

JOSHUA JOE MILLER (Greensboro) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Miller for a period of 18 months effective September 25, 2018.  The Commission then stayed the suspension for a probationary period through March 25, 2020, and ordered that Mr. Miller not act as a broker-in-charge or qualifying broker of a firm dealing in property management for five years from the effective date of the order. The Commission found that Mr. Miller was the broker-in-charge and qualifying broker of a real estate brokerage firm which worked closely with a property management firm which it often paid through its operating account. The license of the property management firm was previously revoked by the Commission because its unlicensed owner had signature authority over the accounts, among other things, in violation of the firm’s probation. An audit of the trust accounts of Mr. Miller’s firm found: deficit spending; journals which failed to identify the check number; payee and purpose of disbursements; lack of an audit trail; failure to perform monthly bank reconciliations; ledger sheets which failed to identify the property, owners and tenants and from whom monies were received; regular use of the same check numbers; and shortages in excess of $17,000. Multiple checks were also being cashed by an unlicensed assistant who had signature authority for the accounts of Mr. Miller’s firm. Mr. Miller designated himself as qualifying broker, despite not having a principal interest in the firm.

WILLIAM D NICHOLS (Matthews) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the broker license of Mr. Nichols effective January 9, 2019. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Mr. Nichols violated the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Mr. Nichols neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

OPOSSUM SERVICES GROUP LLC (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Opossum Services Group effective September 25, 2018. The Commission found that Opossum Services Group managed a residential property and executed a lease on behalf of the owner with an initial term ending July 31, 2017, and a requirement that notice of termination be given by either party at least 60 days prior to the end of the initial term. Opossum Services Group, after being notified by the owners of their intention to retake possession of the property in August, claims to have notified the tenants of this fact in May. However, the tenants dispute receiving notice and instead gave notice of lease termination to Opossum Services Group in June to be effective at the end of August. This caused the owner to incur additional temporary living expenses. Opossum Services Group failed to update the homeowners association of the firm’s new address, resulting in its not receiving notices regarding the property. Opossum Services Group failed to reply to Letters of Inquiry sent by the Commission within 14 days of receipt. The Commission notes that the parties have reached a civil settlement.

SALTBLOODED LLC (Emerald Isle) – By Consent, the Commission permanently revoked the firm license of Saltblooded LLC effective October 17, 2018. The Commission found that the qualifying broker and broker-in-charge of Saltblooded LLC, a vacation rental management firm, failed to maintain trust account records, did not reconcile the firm’s trust account, commingled trust funds with personal funds, and converted trust funds for personal use. A Commission audit of the firm’s trust account revealed a shortage of at least $81,752.

JOHN H. SWITZER (Greensboro) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Switzer effective September 25, 2018 and prohibited Mr. Switzer from acting as the qualifying broker or broker-in-charge of a property management firm for two years from the effective date of this order. The Commission found that Mr. Switzer was the broker-in-charge of a firm that worked closely with a property management firm which it often paid through its operating account. The license of the property management firm was previously revoked by the Commission because its unlicensed owner had signature authority over the accounts, among other things, in violation of its probation. An audit of the trust accounts of Mr. Switzer’s firm found: deficit spending; journals which failed to identify the check number, payee, and purpose of disbursements; lack of an audit trail; failure to perform monthly bank reconciliations; ledger sheets which failed to identify the property, owners and tenants and from whom monies were received; the same check numbers being used on a regular basis; and shortages. Multiple checks were also being cashed by an unlicensed assistant who had signature authority for the firm’s accounts. Mr. Switzer designated himself as qualifying broker, despite not having a principal interest in firm.

BEENA TARUN THAKKAR (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Thakkar effective December 4, 2018. The Commission found that Ms. Thakkar, in selling her personal property, failed to disclose material facts to a potential buyer. Ms. Thakkar received an inspection report from a failed transaction and then failed to disclose material facts contained in that inspection report prior to relisting the property or during the subsequent transaction.

TURN KEY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INC (Fayetteville) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the firm license of Turn Key Property Management effective November 1, 2018. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Turn Key Property Management violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Turn Key Property Management neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

ALLYSON GAYLE WARD (Charlotte) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Ms. Ward for a period of 12 months effective January 1, 2019. The Commission then stayed the suspension on certain conditions. The Commission found that Ms. Ward, acting as the broker-in-charge for Mi Casa Su Casa Rentals and Carolina Girls Real Estate, both sole proprietorships, failed to properly maintain her trust account and its records in compliance with Commission rules. An audit of Ms. Ward’s trust account revealed a shortage of trust funds. Ms. Ward’s lease agreements contain an illegal automatic tenant security deposit forfeiture clause. Ms. Ward took affirmative steps to correct the trust account compliance deficiencies and to correct the lease agreements.

ERIC MICHAEL WEAVER SR. (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Weaver effective September 25, 2018 and prohibited him from engaging in property management for a period of three years. The Commission found that Mr. Weaver, acting as broker-in-charge of a firm which managed a residential property, executed a lease on behalf of the owner with an initial term ending July 31, 2017, and a requirement that notice of termination be given by either party at least sixty days prior to the end of the initial term. Mr. Weaver, after being notified by the owners of their intention to retake possession of the property in August, claims to have notified the tenants of this fact in May. However, the tenants dispute receiving notice and instead gave notice of lease termination to Mr. Weaver in June to be effective at the end of August. This caused the owner to incur additional temporary living expenses. Mr. Weaver failed to update the homeowners association of the property with his firm’s new address, resulting in him not receiving notices regarding the property. Mr. Weaver failed to reply to Letters of Inquiry sent by the Commission within 14 days of receipt. The Commission notes that the parties have reached a civil settlement.

WESGATE PROPERTIES INC. (Roxboro) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Wesgate Properties effective October 1, 2018. The Commission found that Wesgate Properties failed to properly maintain trust accounts in compliance with Commission rules: checks did not include the words “Trust Account” or “Escrow Account,” deposit tickets were not properly labeled, property/owner ledgers were not maintained, and reconciliations were not performed. Wesgate Properties failed to provide signed Rental Management Agreements for all clients and some lease provisions were not in compliance with North Carolina Law.

BRYAN S. WESTMORELAND (Roxboro) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Mr. Westmoreland effective October 1, 2018. The Commission found that Mr. Westmoreland was a qualifying broker and broker-in-charge and failed to properly maintain trust accounts in compliance with Commission rules: checks did not include the words “Trust Account” or “Escrow Account,” deposit tickets were not properly labeled, property/owner ledgers were not maintained, and reconciliations were not performed. Mr. Westmoreland failed to provide signed Rental Management Agreements for all clients and some lease provisions were not in compliance with North Carolina law.

THECLA L. WIDENHOUSE (Concord) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Widenhouse effective September 25, 2018. The Commission found that Ms. Widenhouse listed a property and advertised it as having five bedrooms and connected to city sewer service, when in fact, the house is only permitted to have three bedrooms and is not connected to the city sewer.

WILKES & ASSOCIATES REAL ESTATE & RENTAL PROPERTIES (Rockingham) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the firm license of Wilkes & Associates Real Estate & Rental Properties effective October 17, 2018. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Wilkes & Associates Real Estate & Rental Properties violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law & Commission rules. Wilkes & Associates Real Estate & Rental Properties neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

CANDI GARRISON WILKES (Rockingham) – The Commission accepted the permanent voluntary surrender of the broker license of Ms. Wilkes effective October 17, 2018. The Commission dismissed without prejudice allegations that Ms. Wilkes violated provisions of the Real Estate License Law and Commission rules. Ms. Wilkes neither admitted nor denied misconduct.

BROCK GEORGE ZEVAN (Huntersville) – By Consent, the Commission suspended the broker license of Mr. Zevan for a period of 36 months effective December 10, 2018. Twelve months of the suspension are active with the remainder stayed for a probationary period of 24 months from December 10, 2019 to December 10, 2021. The Commission further ordered that Mr. Zevan not further engage in or receive compensation from property management and not act as a broker-in-charge for a period of five years from December 10, 2018. The Commission found that Mr. Zevan, the broker-in-charge and qualifying broker of a firm, engaged in property management, and failed to update his firm’s current address with the Commission. A review of the firm’s trust accounts found: the accounts were not labeled “trust” or “escrow”, comingling of entrusted funds, entrusted funds converted to Mr. Zevan’s personal use, deficit spending, failure to perform monthly reconciliations, lack of a trial balance, lack of required documentation, and a shortage.  The Commission also found that the firm was administratively dissolved by the NC Secretary of State’s Office from January 14, 2016, through June 16, 2016, and that Mr. Zevan failed to notify the Commission. The Commission noted that another licensed firm has since taken over the management of the firm’s properties and Mr. Zevan no longer engages in property management.

XIANG YUAN ZHONG (Raleigh) – By Consent, the Commission reprimanded Ms. Zhong effective December 14, 2018. The Commission found that Ms. Zhong, a qualifying broker and broker-in-charge, listed her personal residential investment property for sale through her firm and advertised the square footage as being 3,175. Ms. Zhong did not measure the subject property, but instead relied on county tax records. After the subject property went under contract, subsequent professional measurements found that the subject property had 2,956 and 3,019 square feet, respectively. The property had two HVAC systems, one on each floor. Ms. Zhong identified the age of both systems on the Residential Property and Owner’s Association Disclosure Statement as “2 up and 13 down”. The inspection revealed that although the air conditioning unit was replaced on the second floor, the furnace was actually 13 years old. The buyers under contract ultimately terminated the transaction during the due diligence period and received their earnest money deposit. Ms. Zhong then delisted the subject property.