13 Casper real estate agents disciplined



All estate agents on the Michael Houck Real Estate team were disciplined by the Wyoming Real Estate Commission.

Under the settlement, Michael Hawke’s 13-member team, including Hawke, had to pay a $ 100 fine and take a four-hour course in marketing, advertising and social media compliance.

A verified complaint filed by five different brokers and sellers alleges that Hawke and his team provided the list of names to ad agency Firepoint, which then created misleading ads.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that when someone searches for one of 17 different real estate agents or two real estate companies, that agent’s ad will redirect the user to the Houck website.

A verified complaint was sent on January 12, and Rebecca Zisch, the commission’s executive director, said their investigator, Kamron Ritter, then clarified the charges.

Zisch, who served on the commission for six months, said that usually one or two people were involved in the complaints, but that 13 people were rarely mentioned in one complaint.

Julian Palm Cogdill and her husband Lucas Cogdill were identified in the complaint.

Julian Cogdill said that she and her husband have since gone through a compliance course and that it was a “publicity failure” and that this is not acceptable.

Michael Hawke said his team “followed all the mitigation measures imposed by the Wyoming Real Estate Commission,” and that no one on his team was involved with advertising.

Hawke said the marketing campaign created by Firepoint ran ads when users searched for real estate keywords, but the ads mistakenly did not include company identification information, violating Wyoming Real Estate Commission policies.

According to Hawke, the campaign ran from December 30, 2020 to January 12, 2021, and was stopped as soon as Hawke became aware of an ad error.

Steve Friel, one of the sellers who filed the complaint, said he couldn’t say with certainty that he lost sales because of what Hawke’s group allegedly did, but that the people whose names were redirected to Hawke’s website were agents for properties that have been making a large number of sales.

“They are all major agents, too,” said Friel. “There was no one at the end of the list, so for anyone who said, ‘Oh, it was just a list of names that were given to them, we didn’t tell them to do it,” well, someone referred them and gave them a list of the best agents. They didn’t take the people downstairs who didn’t sell at all, so they knew what they were doing. “

Friel said “they” refers to who gave Firepoint a list of targeting names in their ads.

In the fact-finding part of the complaint, the complaint alleges that the Dec.23, 2020 email sent on Dec.30 to Firepoint employee Scott M., PPC Specialist, included a list of “other 25 top agents and top 10 firms we wanted would pay attention. also.”

John Lichty, another real estate agent who filed a complaint against Hawke’s group, said he was having problems with someone using his identity.

“This is not necessarily a monetary loss, but you know that someone is using my identity to make a profit or to grow their business, which was the reason for the complaint,” Lichty said. “We just want everyone to work in a fair playground and treat each other like real estate agents, like we should, by the golden rule, and that didn’t happen.”

Lichty said the reason for the severity of the disciplinary action is likely because it was the first offense, and more severe penalties are imposed for actions that pose a danger to society.

According to Lichty, Alisha Collins, who is in the same office as Lichty and was also involved in filing the complaint, was the first to notice the advertisement in December 2020, and that the group that filed the complaint also once filed a complaint. for violation of ethical standards. in February.

Lichty said there should be an ethics hearing in July.

Wyoming realtors do not comment on any case, and this information regarding ethics complaints is kept confidential.

National Association of Realtors the lists a code of ethics that realtors across the country adhere to, including linking to advertisements.

Standard Practice 12-10:

REALTORS®’s obligation to present a truthful picture in their advertisements and presentations to the public includes Internet content, images, URLs and the domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS® … from fraudulently using meta tags, keywords or other devices / methods for directing, directing or rejecting Internet traffic “;

Miranda Gilmette, a Firepoint agent, stated that they cannot share any private information about their customers.

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