Realtor steps down from leadership post

  • Article by: JAMES ELI SHIFFER
  • Star Tribune
  • February 11, 2011 - 7:37 PM

Only weeks after becoming president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR), Pat Paulson made the "difficult decision" to resign the post and concentrate on his business.

The move came about a month after Paulson and two colleagues at Exit Realty Metro defended themselves against an ethics complaint that they failed to submit a couple's bid in a property transaction. Those involved said the hearing was a confidential process and would not discuss the outcome.

The Minnesota Association of Realtors, which conducted the hearing and declined to comment Friday on it, said it only publicizes disciplinary actions when a Realtor has been a repeat violator.

In an interview Friday, Paulson said the ethics complaint had nothing to do with his decision to step down last month as MAAR president, a one-year rotating post. Paulson said he had 60 real estate listings at the end of 2010, compared with 10 at the beginning, so he decided he was too busy to stay in the voluntary position leading the largest chapter of the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

Brad Fisher, whose term as president ended last year, was elected by the MAAR board to serve as president for the rest of 2011.

"It's totally something that's my decision," Paulson said. "I was not forced out or anything of that nature."

Paulson said he has received only support, not criticism, since the Star Tribune reported in November about the ethics complaint brought by a Minnetonka couple and their agent. Last year, Erica and Mike Lenzen submitted a cash offer to Exit Realty Metro for a foreclosed twin home in Brooklyn Park and got suspicious when it sold for $2,000 less than their offer. When Mike Lenzen tracked down the bank representative in charge of selling the property, she told him she had no record of receiving the couple's offer, even though the couple had been assured the offer was submitted.

By selling the property to a man who wasn't represented by an agent, Exit Realty Metro earned a larger commission than it would have if the property had been sold to the Lenzens. The state Realtors association agreed to investigate the complaint against Paulson, Carson Brooks and Dave Doran and held a hearing Dec. 17.

The Lenzens did not respond to a request for comment.

Staff writer Jim Buchta contributed to this report.

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