Home Real Estate The Biggest Pile of $#!7 I’ve Stepped In: A Followup

The Biggest Pile of $#!7 I’ve Stepped In: A Followup

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[This is an unusual post, in that I really wondered whether I should put it on Notorious at all in the first place. But a number of people have asked (one might even say demanded) that it be written here, because I am blessed enough to have this be one of the places where the real estate industry goes for news, commentary, and discussion. Well, this is my personal blog, and much of what follows is personal, so I guess that makes a lot of sense. I’ll address that more below.]

This is likely to get long, everybody. And it will have little immediate impact on your business, on Association strategy, on MLS privatization… on nothing “useful” in that sense. So feel free to move on. Also, some of the language is gonna be… ah… salty.

It will, however, address an issue that has become a flashpoint of frustration and anger, and a hot topic within the industry in the last few days. I have had a hand in that (some might say too much of one) and the last couple of days has been interesting, to say the least.

As a friend of mine put it in a direct message to me, “This is the biggest pile of shit you’ve ever stepped in.” Well, that’s not entirely true, since this isn’t the biggest pile by a long shot, and I jumped in, rather than stepping in.

Now, almost 48 hours later, many things are becoming clearer, but at the same time, quite a few people have asked (some might say demanded) answers from me on a variety of topics. So I feel like I owe them some answers.

I am referring, of course, to my post on Medium.com called Before We Hang ‘Em High, Can We Convict First? In case you missed it over the weekend, and you want to know what the hubbub is about, go ahead and read it.

I wrote about the explosive revelation by Stacie Staub that she and two other women had a terrible experience at a major real estate industry conference because three men who were “industry rockstars, leaders, company owners and speakers from the event” were talking about women in violent, sexist and profane language. Again, if you haven’t read it yet, please go read the full thing. And then read the accounts of Valerie Garcia and Nikki Beauchamp, who were the friends mentioned in Stacie’s story.

Since I published that post on Medium, as of this writing, it’s been viewed 3,200 times and read 1,600 times. Which is more than any post I’ve ever put on Notorious, like… ever. Obviously, the post touched a nerve, in both positive and negative ways.

Interestingly, since I published it, most people have been supportive… while some have been… well, not so much. I’ve had questions and criticism that range from the rational and justified to the outright unhinged, which makes me worry for the enraged person’s psychological health. Decaf is highly recommended.

So this is an unusual post. I hope to achieve two things with it.

First, I would like to answer those questions and criticisms leveled against me for my post. A good number are my friends, who are genuinely wondering why I wrote what I did in the way I did. The haters gonna hate, and I don’t much pay attention to them, but real questions from friends and colleagues… well, I think I owe them that.

Second, I would like to address the substance of the issue: gender relations within the real estate industry, particularly at industry events like Inman Connect. Now that more facts have come to the surface, and more stories have been told, and more information is available, I can draw some conclusions today that I could not on Friday.

So here we go, once more into the breach.

The Backdrop: Before Writing

I saw Stacie’s post on Friday, while on a flight from Sacramento to Houston (miracle of sky-fi!), because a few of my FB friends had shared it, lauding her for her courage in speaking out. As I read it, I was instantly outraged as I think any decent human being would be, and dismayed that such a thing could happen at a professional industry event.

Now, Stacie didn’t mention any details, such as names or places. Perhaps her intent was to comment on our overall society in light of the Trump revelations. Perhaps it was just to get it off her chest, since the experience was traumatic for her and the other women involved. I don’t know.

But because I knew of her, and because I knew the friends who had shared her post, this incident could only have happened at a real estate conference, and the “speakers at the event” could mean any one of the number of guys I knew personally. Hell, “industry rock star, company owner, and speaker” could describe me (well, maybe not rock star… more of a rapper…). I do speak at a lot of events, after all. Obviously, I knew it wasn’t me — but could she be talking about some of my friends? None of the men I know on the speaking circuit would talk and behave like that, would they?

As I kept reading Stacie’s account, I went from outrage, muttering “Oh, you dumbasses…,” to cold fury that had me sitting up in my cramped airline chair to reread what I had just read. The passage that broke the dam was this one:

A couple of my friends looked back, either trying to convey to the group that the conversation was offensive and inappropriate, or maybe trying to figure out who was speaking. And that was when a cold chill of fear passed over me — one that I haven’t felt in years.

“Are you ladies learning something up there?!”

“Don’t ever cheat on your man or he has every right to fuck you up.”

Are you fucking kidding me? This isn’t just stupidity or run-of-the-mill douchebaggery. What came before was bad enough, but this was threatening, displaying a cavalier lack of sense and concern that goes way beyond boasting about sexual conquest.

I had to know who these guys were.

I shared Stacie’s post, and asked her to name names. I felt we all needed to know. Then something interesting happened. I began getting messages from a lot of people giving me information. I also stopped by my friend Kendyl Young’s thread, where she had posted Stacie’s article, and asked if she knew who the other two women on the bus where. And she tagged Valerie and Nikki. That’s how I knew who they were.

As yet, I just wanted to know who they were. I had no real plans to do anything other than that.

Then, I got the videos. Two of the three men involved had posted video… explanations? rebuttals? on the Lab Coat Agents Facebook Group — a group with over 40,000 members, which was the foundation of their business. A woman had downloaded them and sent them to me. I embedded them in my Medium post, but for the sake of convenience, here they are again:

These got me from just wanting to know who the men were, to wanting to do something. Because I can’t do anything about Trump, except not vote for him, but I felt I can do something about this situation.

Before I did anything, though, I asked my friends on FB whether I should do it at all:

rob_hahn_-_truly_disturbing_and_despicable_if_true__if_true__name___

Since I’m in the fortunate position in the industry of being able to say what’s on my mind, and to make public what we’re all whispering in hallways, with the encouragement I got there, I thought I’m better able to take the risk of naming names and shining a light on this situation.

So I wrote my post.

Why Did You Write It?

Curiously, I’ve had my motives questioned and disparaged. I must admit that caught me off-guard. One idiot accused me of writing it as clickbait. Well, that was one reason I posted it on Medium, instead of here, so as to avoid exactly that kind of bullshit “criticism”. Oh no! I’ve lost 3,200 clicks on a blog with no advertising on it! The horror!

I wrote it because I didn’t think anyone else would. As I’ve come to learn, the names had been out there for months, in secret (although more-or-less-public, since the groups were large) Facebook Groups, private messages, and other channels. People have been whispering about this incident for months. And as Toni Parker wrote above, people were afraid of retribution. I’m not. So I named them: Ronnie George, Nick Baldwin, and Tristan Ahumada of Lab Coat Agents.

I also wrote it because I’m a male speaker in the real estate industry. Stacie’s article, as brave as it was, did seem to me to be painting men in the real estate conference/speaking circuit with a broad brush, because she didn’t name names. (I’ve learned something about that since posting — more on that below). To me, it felt like when consumers say “Real estate agents are just moneygrubbing lazy fools after the commission check,” thereby denigrating the great (admittedly few) REALTORS who really live up to the ideals. [More on this below….]

Why Did You Name the Women?

This is the most frequent criticism, whether done rationally, or in unhinged fashion. Here, I’ll have to do a mea culpa: I made a mistake in how I went about it.

As I said, I learned about Valerie and Nikki from Kendyl tagging them. It turns out, among certain circles, it was common knowledge that they were the other two women on the bus. Neither Valerie nor Nikki were exactly hiding themselves, or refusing to talk about what happened. They’ve been active behind the veil, and quite a few people knew who they were. So I didn’t think it was a big deal.

Well, I have contacted Valerie and Nikki and explained myself to them. We’ve discussed it, and basically, they weren’t angry that I named them — they just wished that I had given them a heads-up. Being named in my post caught them off-guard; they weren’t ready for it. That was my mistake; I should have let them know that I’m publishing and naming them as the other two on the bus. I’ve apologized to them in private already, and do so again here. Because when I screw up, I own it.

I should have given you guys a heads-up; for failing to do that, I sincerely apologize.

Since they’re cool with it now, I guess I don’t much care what anybody else thinks about that.

Why Didn’t You Talk to Stacie/Valerie/Nikki Before Writing?

This is another fair question. The reason is that my business, and my blog, and my personality all fit together to preserve confidences extremely well. People feel free to tell me things because they know that I would keep things off the record when requested. I don’t talk about my consulting clients, because it’s nobody else’s business but theirs.

I didn’t contact them because I wanted to write about this and name names. Frankly, people have asked me to do just that, to shine some light onto an important issue. But if any of the three had asked me not to, I would have respected that and kept quiet.

So, the solution was not to talk to them at all before writing it. I also felt I didn’t need to talk to them because of the way I had planned to write the post.

A couple of folks are taking a rather high-and-mighty tone about this: “You needed to do more research before publishing” and so on. Thing is, I had all of the facts I needed from Stacie’s story and the two videos that were posted. Why the need for “research” then? No one demanding research has claimed or alleged that I got any facts wrong — what I got wrong, I immediately corrected in the post (e.g., it was Realtor.com, not NAR, that canceled business arrangements with the men involved).

Why Did You Write It The Way You Wrote It?

Quite a few people thought I was questioning the veracity of the women involved, and that I was defending Ronnie et. al. in how I wrote the post. Neither of that is true, but it requires bit of an explanation.

As most of you know, I’m a lawyer by training. That means a couple of things in this context.

First, I’m generally inclined to want to know both sides of a story before passing judgment. And law school teaches you just how unreliable eyewitnesses actually are. In this case, that was less of a risk, since there were three women who were present together, and all three are well-known and well-respected members of the Circuit. (That’s what I call the subset of real estate people who network online, go to events, etc.) Nonetheless, there is a chance that this was a case of misunderstanding somehow, or that I’m not in possession of all of the information.

Second, I’m aware of what constitutes defamation. I have heard since publishing my post that one or more of the women have been threatened with lawsuits, but I just didn’t see any risk there. For one thing, Stacie never mentioned anyone by name, or by any identifying information other than “industry rock star, etc.” It’s hard to claim you’re being defamed if you’re not named. Plus, truth is an absolute defense.

But I wasn’t there on the bus. I wanted to address the situation, and name names, without getting sued for defamation. If I’m going to identify them, then make factual claims about them without more information, then I think that constitutes a reckless disregard for the truth… which is a problem from a legal standpoint.

The path forward then was to lay out the factual claims made by both sides, particularly taken from the two videos (especially Ronnie’s longer video), and analyze them, and invite those involved to provide more detailed answers.

Stacie’s account didn’t need much analysis; it was a straightforward story with specific words and language she remembered.

Ronnie and Nick’s videos, however, raised a lot of questions. Since I posted them in the first post, I’ll just copy and paste them here. I am not aware of any responses to these questions and demands for their version of events, to me or to anyone else.

To Ronnie and Nick (and Tristan):

Ronnie, you say you remember every word that was actually said. Obviously, the way that Stacie wrote her story, if you said those words, then you’re a bad guy and deserve everything coming your way in a shitstorm, and then some. You agree, because if someone had actually thought in those ways and said those things, you say “they should be spoken to.”

And Nick, you say you’ve devoted your life to your wife, children, and socially conscious business practices, so surely, you would remember if Ronnie or Tristan (who we haven’t heard from) said something so vile.

So… what did you guys say? If you remember every word, it shouldn’t be difficult to write a post detailing your conversation, or re-enact the scene on camera, using the words you say you actually used. Given the impact this controversy is having on your business, your reputation, and your careers, I’d imagine this is an important misunderstanding to clear up.

Because what I can’t quite figure out is how you could be so misinterpreted. I mean, we’re not talking about some kind of comprehensible, “hey, the women were several rows ahead so maybe they misheard” type of scenario here.

For example, if you had said, “Yeah, I was really crushed when I found out she cheated on me” and Stacie and her friends heard, “Yeah, I wanted to really crush her with a fountain”… OK, maybe that’s some sort of Rashomon deal, where someone misheard it.

But I don’t quite understand how you get from “Have you met anybody on Tinder?” to this:

“Now I’m back on Tinder just hitting that shit — I’m still married but fuck that cheating bitch.”

“You guys know what I mean — fuck all the bitches, amiright?”

All that from six little words? I must confess I’m having trouble with that. And not just one woman, but three? None of whom, as far as we know, have any reason to fabricate some crazy story like that about you.

Nor can I quite wrap my mind around “I mean, I know how to hit a cunt so that she can hide the bruises.” I can’t come up with an innocent phrase that could be misheard that specifically. What could you possibly have said innocently that was misheard like that?

But you remember every word that was said, so perhaps you can help me (and the rest of the industry). Tell us what you actually said to each other. [Emphasis added]

To that list, I should have added one more — the passage that got me riled up to begin with. I’ll do it now:

Finally, Ronnie and Nick, Stacie’s version of the story ends with something that is chilling. She says that you saw that you were being overheard and instead of apologizing or explaining, you said:

“Are you ladies learning something up there?!”

“Don’t ever cheat on your man or he has every right to fuck you up.”

Did you say those words? If not, what did you say that could possibly be misinterpreted as those words?

I have asked Nick privately for their version of the Conversation, since Ronnie claims that he remembers every word that was said. I have not heard from him, nor have I seen any version of the Conversation anywhere as of this writing.

Keep in mind that both Ronnie and Nick have called the women liars and claimed that they fabricated the whole thing, for no reason at all. That’s a pretty serious charge in my view, and if you’re going to call someone a liar, you had better provide your version of the truth.

Having set that up, fairness demanded that I make sure I’m not missing anything about Stacie, Valerie, and Nikki. I know Nikki; have known her for years from when I lived in New Jersey and we were doing Lucky Strikes Social Media Club together. There was no reason then, and no reason now, for me to doubt her. I don’t know Stacie and Valerie that well, but based on what I knew of them, their reputation on the Circuit, I had no reason to doubt them either. At the same time, if I’m going to dissect Ronnie and Nick, I have to at least ask to make sure there’s no enmity between them or business interests.

One Thing I Wish I Knew Before Writing It

There is one thing I wish I knew before I wrote the post, however. A good friend of mine, Julia Parenteau, reached out privately and told me one thing about my post that annoyed her, and would annoy other women. Frankly, it’s one I simply didn’t know about… because I’m not a woman, and wish I did. I would have written it differently.

Basically, what she said was that my post became a #notallmen piece, and came across as defensive (because of the “broad brush” thing I mention above). And the #notallmen piece is “drastically unhelpful” because women KNOW that not all men are like that. I did not need to emphasize that point.

That’s… entirely fair, and I learned something. Yes, part of my outrage and fury stems from the fact that there are bad apples, and I feel tainted by association, but if I knew more about the #notallmen angle, I would have gone about it differently.

So first, I apologize for going down the #notallmen route, and second, thank you Julia for teaching me something I didn’t know. Real friends chastise gently, and teach us something.

On to the Substance

Now then, having offered explanations to the most asked rational questions, and having spent some 3,500 words talking about me because you all asked me about me and my writing… let me turn to the substance of what happened here. Because two days later, a few more facts have surfaced.

First, Valerie and Nikki both wrote up their accounts and published them. I linked to them above, but here they are again:

Both confirm all of the details of Stacie’s original story. In particular Valerie’s account dispels all reasonable doubt, in print:

Here is what I know for sure. I was there and the accounting of the experience was accurate. Despite many who have said otherwise, or questioned the timing, the sharing of this story was not done lightly. It was not without many weeks of conversation amongst the three women, and it was not concocted out of spite or retaliation. It was not timed to create damage or cause financial pain. We had no personal motivation to lie or embellish. And it was not the first time the story was told. [Emphasis added]

Second, since I posted, Lab Coat Agents has gone on a censorship spree. Dozens, if not hundreds, and possibly more, people have been kicked out of the Facebook Group for raising the issue. Entire threads have been deleted. One person reported that comments are being deleted as fast as they’re posted.

They have every right to do whatever they wish with their Facebook Group, but as a third party who offered them a chance to recount their version of the Conversation, this doesn’t look good for their credibility.

Third, we still have no evidence proffered by the LCA guys as to what they actually said, which would justify their calling Stacie, Valerie, and Nikki liars. Granted, it’s only been two days, but given the seriousness of the situation, one would imagine that reconstructing that Conversation, which Ronnie remembers every word of, would be on the top of their priorities list.

So, here’s the deal: at this point, it is clear that they did make those violent, sexist comments, including the “hope you’re learning something” which goes beyond just stupid douchebag talk into the realm of threats.

On to My Take

Normally, my take would be… well, sort of a who-gives-a-shit. I mean, I’m just one guy with opinions, and everyone has one. Nonetheless, I offer it because a number of you who are both my friends and my readers have specifically asked for my take. Again, take it, leave it, disagree with it, whatever you want. This is just one man’s opinion.

No one who knows me at all would mistake me for anybody’s idea of a feminist social justice warrior. In fact, I’m likely on the other side of that particular social battle. I mention that to say that there may be disagreements in some borderline gray areas, but there is absolutely none when it comes to certain bright lines that cannot, must not be crossed.

Violence against women is one of those lines. These guys crossed it. There is no scenario, no circumstance that justifies “I swear, I would have punched that bitch if I knew I could do it without fucking killing her” and “I mean, I know how to hit a cunt so that she can hide the bruises.” Just those two sentences standing alone are disgusting and vile.

And frankly, those sentiments, those thoughts, those ideas are vile even if the language were tame. It’s NOT an improvement if they had said, “I mean, I know how to hit a girl so that she can hide the bruises.” So the “defense” that Ronnie and Nick proffer that they don’t use profanity doesn’t change a goddamn thing.

Threatening someone, even if not directly personalized, is another one of those lines. These guys crossed it. It betrays such an idiotic sense of entitlement  to be caught out, then say, “Are you ladies learning something up there?!” and “Don’t ever cheat on your man or he has every right to fuck you up.”

What. The. Fuck. Guys.

That goes beyond sexism; that goes to professionalism and appropriate conduct at a business function, which is what an industry conference is. The effect of that on the women listening… well, listen to their own account of what that did to them:

Stacie:

In the moment, I was just relieved to get off that bus. To enter the “safety” of the party, to leave it all behind.

But I couldn’t shake that cold chill. That threat.

Valerie:

When we got off that bus on August 4th, I immediately told people what I had experienced. And I have been telling people the story, consistently, ever since. In the weeks since, I have spoken about it to my friends, coworkers, industry colleagues, and to my family. I have spoken about it out loud, without secrecy. Because it shook me to the core.

Nikki:

I will tell you this — when the response to “Are you ladies learning anything …”

(From me) : “You don’t want to know what we think “

(Said in the hopes that they would cease -not continue- their conversation )- I’m not a small woman but self preservation and protection kicks in.

….because when instead of being quiet the person invokes a sex and the city defense — that he’s seen it and women are worse.

This right after you’re caught talking about how to punch a woman so as not to leave bruises. Again, what the fuck, guys?

These things cannot be tolerated. It cannot be swept under the rug. It cannot be subject of whispers and talked about behind closed doors. Because secrecy and privacy do NOT help when what is really needed is sunlight.

I won’t tolerate sexist violence against women anymore than I would tolerate racist violence against Asians. I can’t tolerate threats that make women (and frankly, men as well) feel unsafe at a business function. There just isn’t any place for that at a Inman Connect, at a T3 Summit, at a NAR convention. And I might not be able to do much about the problem in society-at-large, but if I have any influence in this industry, I will do what I can to expose the truth.

Because I think that’s the antidote to the poison. Valerie wrote at the end of her story:

I don’t know how this will end. I haven’t a clue how to fix this bleeding hole in the industry I love so much. I know that my friend, and the third woman on that bus, deserve the utmost respect for speaking out and putting this experience out there for all to see. It happened. Now, what do we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

One thing we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again is to call out unacceptable behavior when we see it. We shine a light on the problem, and talk about it. Yes, there’s some risk involved — risk enough that I had to think about liability for defamation — so I completely get the hesitation.

But if we take one step, then another, away from the culture of secrecy and shame and fear of reprisals that is so prevalent in our industry… eventually, the risk will decrease.

Even today, Lab Coat Agents is deleting threads and comments and kicking people out of the group, trying to silence questions and criticism. That’s not gonna work, fellas. Silencing people and praying this social media shitstorm will blow over isn’t going to help. Truth will set you free, though.

If you did it, just fess up, apologize, and own your mistake. Americans are a forgiving people, and REALTORS are the nicest, least rock-the-boat people in America. If you are contrite, the industry will forgive you. And you not only need to apologize for the appalling words and behavior on the bus, but for slandering three women as liars who make up shit “for no reason at all”.

If you didn’t do it, if you really didn’t do it, and we all have it wrong, then tell us your story. I’m not holding my breath for that one, but hey, you never know. I’ll keep an open mind that hitherto unavailable information may be out there somewhere.

Wrapping Up

Egads, this got long. But I felt I owed a lot of people some explanations, and again, with new information now available, I feel much more comfortable drawing conclusions.

I do want to end with one final personal take. I don’t regard this as a “woman’s issue” that is none of my business. Even now knowing about the #notallmen thing, I think violence against women is a “our issue” that involves me and other men, in exactly the same way that I don’t regard racial violence as a “black issue” or an “Asian issue” but an American issue.

Maybe some of you still think I shouldn’t have gotten involved. That’s fine by me; we’re all entitled to our opinions. But since I posted, RealDaily has run a story about the situation, Inman has issued a new anti-harassment policy, and thousands of people are talking about the problem. I sincerely hope that this is the start of something positive.

The real credit goes to Stacie, Valerie and Nikki for telling their story, but if I had any small role in that by making public that which was whispered for weeks and months… well, I can go to sleep tonight very peacefully.

As the title of Nikki’s article says… No more whispers…

-rsh

58 COMMENTS

  1. Great work on this Rob.

    It’s been enlightening to watch you work your way through this issue in real time. Thank you for being transparent and thank you for being open to other perspectives. I read everything you write and have been influenced by your work for a very long time.

    Personally, I have been supportive of Stacie since the first second I read her story because she is a colleague and a friend and I believe her when she says something, especially something with this degree of magnitude. This is how I treat all of my friends and family. There is not a scenario where I don’t have her back on something like this. But beyond that truth, there is no way that what was said during this incident is acceptable behavior. As a human being I am compelled to say; enough with this bullshit. We won’t tolerate talking to each other this way. Not a chance while I’m around and have a say in how things shake out.

    I am proud to know you Rob. You are a rare breed, so hyper-intelligent and with just the tiniest chip on your shoulder that influences your views. Your words are taken seriously at every level of this industry. When you talk about things that matter – people listen to you. I am no exception to this and I have enjoyed talking with you over all these years.

    It has been so important to me to be vocally supportive of the women involved in this ordeal because that’s what they deserve.

    I guaran-fucking-tee you that the executives and employees of the companies involved at arms length in this situation won’t say a damn thing in support of anyone. It’s too risky for them and they don’t stand for anything real.

    And I guaran-fucking-tee you that the high brow crowd in real estate wearing WOKE t-shirts to the nightclubs won’t have a damn thing to say about the topic until they’re safely insulated from getting singled out for having a hot take on it.

    All this to say I realize how much work you put into writing about this, how much time you spent listening to people who reached out to you, how exposing it can be to share your thoughts publicly and I just want you to know that people appreciate it.

    Peace

  2. Well-done, sir. As much as I disagreed with your post the other day — and I really did (see also: DUH) — this goes beyond making reparations for it. Having clarity on where mistakes were made and the ability to say, “Hey, I learned something here” is a giant step forward. I am proud to know you; thank you.

  3. Thank you Rob for the clarifications to your original article. As someone who knows these three women beyond just a social media presence, I know their integrity and that them sharing their account of this incident wouldn’t gain them anything.

    The thing that I still don’t get is this: Stacie’s article didn’t mention any names, but yet these three men felt the need to step forward and defend something. They would have been much better off just not saying a word.

    But, I agree, now that they have stepped forward into this mess, the only right thing to do is either tell their account if it’s lies, or fess up, and apologize. That’s the only way they save face. If it continues down the path they are on, they will lose respect from the entire RE.net.

  4. Hi, you are such an impressive writer; both your blogs on this topic are factual, fair and exceptionally readable. Your words cut through the hype and actually explained the facts, thank you! This issue (both local and national) is horrific and many women have had to learn to mentally & psychologically protect themselves from similar harassment. You mentioned that you believed the women on the bus because they were well known on the circuit…if you had the same information, would you have believed someone not so well known? Thank you again… with much respect, Colleen

    • Thank you Colleen, and a great — and tough — question.

      Credibility is a tricky thing; so much depends on the circumstances. Take this story for example.

      Suppose the accusation had come not from three women who have no reason to “take down” these three guys, but from one woman who had been fired from the company. Does she have the same credibility as the three women in this situation? I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone rational would say she does.

      What if the three women worked for a competitor to Lab Coat Agents that was trying to get the big Realtor.com contract to operate Tech Savvy Agent? That would also change the calculus.

      But if you’re asking whether three unknown women, who aren’t well-respected in the Circuit, came forward with the same allegations, and we had the same video responses, would I believe them? Yeah, probably, because those three women have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by coming forward like that.

      -rsh

  5. Sadly this is not an isolated case. This is the douchebaggery that lurks everywhere, in every industry. A mindset that will not change unless there is a profound acknowledgement of where things are. Full accountability is difficult, I get it …. Nobody is EVER that guy – text book example of cognitive dissonace. They never were really serious when they said it, just horsing around, guys being guys … Fuck you! Words hurt, words cut, words demean, words propagate stereotypes …
    I am hopeful that these kind of discussions will bring some self awareness to many. Because that’s the only way change can happen. Not pleasant, but acutely necessary.
    Thanks for bringing that to the forefront.

  6. Thank you for helping bring to light this issue.
    I think you wrote exactly what needed to be written.

    It is so important to support, not just women’s rights, but all rights.

    Hopefully your article will wake up a few more people and perhaps make others think about what they say in public.

    Keep up the great job.

  7. One note — don’t know where to put it, so I’ll put it here (and maybe update the Medium post). I’ve been informed that Ronnie George has never been an admin, co-owner, or employee of Lab Coat Agents. I have been told that he is a member who sometimes contributes to LCA, and that’s it.

    I do find it odd that such a “only-a-contributor” is attending the gala Innovator Award banquet at Inman (which was not an open, public-is-invited type of a party) as a guest/representative (?) of LCA. But hey, I’ll take their word for it….

    • This whole story and situation stinks. No one has mentioned anything about all these Ladies and Billy Ekofo belonging to Inman. I saw Inman’s blog post yesterday and there someone said they all worked for Inman so I did a little research but of course Inman took down that comment. Look carefully at the picture of the guys flexing from “The Real Daily post and who do you think is behind the 3 guys? None other than Valerie Garcia
      Looks like these poor guys were followed by Valerie Garcia and crew. Invited by Inman with the promise of an Award but really right into their TRAP.
      Here you will see Valerie Garcia waiting to follow them;
      https://therealdaily.com/real-estate-brokers/lab-coat-agents-founders-accused-violent-sexist-comments-inman-sf/
      All these people work or affiliated with Inman, check out their profiles;
      Stacie Staub
      https://www.inman.com/author/stacie-staub/
      Valerie Garcia
      https://www.inman.com/author/valerie-garcia/
      Nikki Beauchamp
      https://www.inman.com/author/nicole-beauchamp/
      Billy Ekofo-Broke the Story on LCA
      https://www.inman.com/author/billy-ekofo/

      ***https:[email protected][email protected]nvqen7wye

      • That makes sense. (rolleyes)

        Inman News cleverly named their “competitor” as a finalist for the 2016 Innovator Awards, then instructed their deep undercover spies (who are nonetheless named as authors, which makes them a poor choice for undercover work, but whatever) to follow them around in the hopes of catching the guys saying horrible misogynistic violent crap… BUT somehow failed to instruct them to *record* that conversation for more proof.

        I guess Inman needs more instruction on the dark arts of spycraft and subversion. /SMH

      • Rob,

        Cut the exaggeration! The guys are saying the girls fabricated this right, they’re saying they lied so let’s assume that were true and they did lie and fabricated this story could they pull off that fabrication inside the event or near other people? NO, so this means that if the guys are innocent as they say they are whatever conversation they had was used against them.

        If the story is fabricated your comment holds no weight;
        “follow them around in the hopes of catching the guys saying horrible misogynistic violent crap”

        Peace out, hope all this is put past both parties and people focus on being the best they can be in this tough business of real estate. All the best to you.

      • OK, the Guys can settle this really easily.

        As I’ve said, Ronnie George states unequivocally that he remembers virtually every word that was spoken. He says they didn’t use profanity, and that the three women are making shit up.

        So let’s have that conversation reconstructed from Ronnie’s recollection. What words DID you use? What DID you say?

        Until we have that, despite days and days of turmoil for them, and after we’ve asked them for it multiple times, I think we have to conclude that they did exactly as was reported.

      • Hey Saw This,

        So by this:

        “Sorry Pal, unless you we’re actually there you have no right to CONCLUDE SQUAT! FACT!”

        can I assume you WERE actually there?

        Plus, I can’t conclude SQUAT from Ronnie George’s own words on a video he made himself? OK! Have it your way then 🙂

      • Hey there!

        Someone told me they put a comment on Inmans blog post about the people working for Inman and that it was deleted, then they said Jeff Lobbs wife friend requested them, funny why would she chase them down and care.

  8. While you are without a doubt notorious, you – and for that fact all of us – are far from being perfect. Move on my friend. This industry needs a strong and direct continuance of straight talk so Rob, let the new posts begin.

    • Move on? Just sweep it under the rug? How would you feel if this conversation went on in front of your mother and/or daughters? Would you be outraged? WOuld you stand up for them? You’re right, none of us are perfect, but we can be respectful!

  9. It has taken me much of the weekend to collect my thoughts on this matter. I am appalled that these words were spoken by Ronnie, but even more concerning to me is that Nick and Tristan chose to go right along with the conversation. In my mind they are just as guilty. There is no excuse that can be given to justify not speaking up and stopping what was being said. I fully expect Nick and Tristan to try and deflect their involvement by throwing this all on the back of Ronnie in an attempt to save face (money). I won’t be surprised to hear they were “shocked” in to silence, or some other completely unbelievable excuse.

    LCA is only successful because people choose to go there and share their thoughts, ideas and experiences. It isn’t because the founders are revolutionizing the industry. In fact, they chime in when it is financially beneficial to them.

    The trend lately is to give “guru or rockstar” status to individuals who, quite frankly, have not earned it. Those who participate in LCA made these 2 who they are. It can just as easily be taken away. The sharing of ideas and learning from one another can and will happen in other forums where the goal isn’t to pad the pockets of 2 individuals who are morally unfit and lack the balls to stand up and speak out against that type of conversation. Oh wait, one of them did, AFTER they got called out, and only to victim blame.

    This type of behavior should not be tolerated in this industry. Especially from those who are considered industry influencers . I will not attend events where Nick or Tristan are speaking. I will not support products that have affiliate agreements with LCA.

    Will this happen across the board? Probably not, but one can hope.

  10. Rob….. Wow! Your post is just another reminder that there are people (men especially) that are truly sick individuals. Look no further that Donald J to prove just how disgusting a person can behave “and” get away with it. Donald is living proof that liars, cheaters, and sociopaths thrive.

    Bottom line, there are very sick individuals in this world that somehow thrive and get away with nefarious behavior. Heck, there are deplorable companies (Zillow is a great example IMO) thriving despite their nefarious ways. We live in a world that’s not always just and fair. And that’s not an excuse nor does it make it OK, sadly this is just the way it is.

  11. Thank you, Rob. I know four of the six parties in the midst of this real life drama. Any verbal or physical violence by anyone is unacceptable – PERIOD. I was a first-hand recipient of this type of abuse growing up. So, this situation hits a raw nerve with me.

    And, my current state of mind when drama and conflict shows up is to run right at the “noise”. If for some magical reason I was an adviser to all the parties, I would arrange to have them in the same room, talk through the experience and see if a path to resolution, learning and forgiveness could be discovered. My experience is that bringing this type of real life moment to the light of day is the only hope of resolution.

    I don’t personally possess the magic needed to get the results that I am suggesting are possible. So, I refer to one of the many mantras I hang on to as a personal guide.

    “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

  12. Rob-Thank you for writing the second post. I was yelling at my computer while reading the first one. Like Jim W., I come from a background of abuse and your comment of “why did they wait to tell their story” really hit home. Unless you have to deal with the repercussions of turning in an abuser, you will never know what that abject fear feels like. I have turned in quite a few men..and EVERY SINGLE TIME, there were repercussions. So, the level of admiration I have for Stacie for writing that post and pushing “publish” is immeasurable. Thank you for standing up for her and Valerie and Nikki. I have some choice words for the other men involved, but wanted to say thanks….I have hope for the future.

  13. Thank you for this second post. I really appreciate that you took the time to speak to the 3 women involved in order to get a more complete picture of what transpired. Yes this post was long – but it was needed. Thank you for taking the time to try and present all viewpoints. This stuff isn’t easy and can’t be covered in a few paragraphs. I appreciate how much time you put into this, and I especially appreciate your full throated opposition to harassment, threats, and violence against women.

  14. oh the world of AE’s (Association Executives) ! lol

    Where does the money that supports their world come from?

    settle, and pay a dollar in damages, so the world can continue. Or would we know the difference?

  15. I think the way that this is being handled by LCA paints a really bad picture for them. Countless threads, hundreds of comments deleted, members being banned left and right… they are putting on a master class in How to Destroy a Brand and Make Yourself Look Really, REALLY Guilty.

    I got banned after suggesting that they – after copying verbatim the new Inman policy and making it their own – could always just delete that whole thread if it didn’t work out so hot. Which, it wasn’t, in the 15 minutes or so that that thread lived before I was ejected from it.

    Their explanation for deleting the initial thread, where they basically implicated themselves, was something along the lines of “We won’t tolerate harassment in our group.”

    What was being harassed… your cratering brand?!?!

    Certainly, no one was being harassed within the confines of that thread to even remotely the extent that these three women were harassed… TO THEIR FACES!

    We live in a culture of pretty short memories and we can forgive almost anything. For some odd reason, we can’t forgive deception and lying. I personally think that we should be a lot slower to forgive assault, abuse, rape and the countless other offenses that belong in the “Worst Traits of Humanity” column.

    Any which way you slice this, though… harassment, deception, cover-up… it’s not looking too good for these guys.

    I just hope that none of us gets hit… they might fucking kill us with a single punch. (If that isn’t a thought which could *only* come of out of the mouth of a dipshit alpha MALE… I don’t know what is)

  16. Thank you Rob. Although this brouhaha comes as news to me, it’s not surprising to find that the “lockerroom” has come to the upper echelons of real estate. Men can’t seem to muster the fortitude to apologize for public bad behavior such as this so instead they create rueful obfuscation and elaborate excuses, i.e., “the election is rigged”. Would any of the men involved herein want their sons uttering such foul and demeaning language in a similar situation? I think not. Could it be that these individuals witnessed similar protestations from their fathers? Who know, who cares. Bad behavior will inevitably result in a price to be paid. In this case I hope it’s a very expensive one.

  17. You probably didn’t know we were no longer speaking after your last post, but this post made necessary amends. I appreciate your depth of research, your apology to Valerie and Nikki, and your voice in such an important conversation. Influence is a responsibility. Thank you, Rob.

  18. Both Ronnie George and the guys from LCA have issued statements with their sides of the story. They are both in the Inman article. It sounds as though there was some misunderstanding or misinterpretation based on the information given by all parties involved. Let’s give them the same respect as the women were given and take them at their word.

    • I am 110% willing to give them the same level of respect and take them at their word, if they provide the word.

      What’s posted on Inman is the following.

      From Nick & Tristan:

      “Over the past few days, Nick and I have been accused making some disconcerting statements which we would like to address firmly. We hope that our explanation will put any misunderstandings to rest.

      “This past August, Nick and I were seated on a private bus that was driving several people to a party (awards ceremony). During the short ride, we were also seated close to an acquaintance of ours who began discussing his heartbreak over his recent divorce and his resurgence from it.

      “The man detailed how traumatized and distressed he was feeling, and we respectfully absorbed his story and showed compassion and understanding. Female passengers sitting many rows in front of us overheard portions of the conversation of the man’s account of his relationship and divorce which had absolutely nothing to do with us.

      “Nick and I are both happily married and have the utmost respect for our wives, and for all women in general. We are very saddened that this situation has escalated to such a high level but are hopeful that these facts will clear up any false impressions of who we are professionally and personally.”

      I’ll take them at their word, happily so, since I have nothing against these guys personally or professionally. So a few questions:

      1. Did someone say the words as reported by Stacie? Did you, Nick and Tristan, say any of the things that were reported?
      2. According to Stacie’s post, the following are actual exchanges:

      “Yeah, man… you had every right to fuck that bitch up.”
      “If my girl ever did that to me she would fucking regret it for sure.”

      Those do not appear to be something that the raconteur-in-question (Ronnie) would say, unless he likes talking to himself. Did you, Nick or Tristan, say those phrases? If you did not, what DID you say that could reasonably be misinterpreted as those particular set of words?

      Because I’m unable to come up with how “we respectfully absorbed his story and showed compassion and understanding” could be heard as the above statements. Perhaps you can explain.

      2. At any point in the Conversation, did you, Nick and Tristan, make any kind of a protest or suggest to Ronnie that his anger, while understandable, doesn’t justify talking about hitting a cunt in a way that doesn’t leave bruises? If you did, what did you say? If you did not, why didn’t you?

      3. Did you, Nick and Tristan, attempt to explain or comfort the women who were disturbed by “Are you ladies learning something up there?!” and “Don’t ever cheat on your man or he has every right to fuck you up.” in any way? What did you say or do?

      4. Do you believe that a man has every right to “fuck up” a woman who cheats on him?

      That’s just for the two officially involved guys at LCA.

      • Rob, I’m gonna chime. Hello, the guys are saying the story was Fabricated and the conversation was not like that, Hello!, what part of that do you not understand and why should the guys give you in particular answers? what makes you so specially to be the receiver of answers to which are not entitled to? sorry had to ask but, just that you keep digging yourself into a deeper hole.

    • No, sorry this isn’t going away. An abuser doesn’t just get swept under the rug. How would you feel if it was your daughter or granddaughter?… you must feel grand knowing he actually did hurt his ex and child and you’re taking up for a scumbag.

  19. Lab Coat Agents needs to be shut down, and Nick Baldwin, Ronnie George and Tristan Ahumada need to issue a public apology and relinquish their real estate licenses.

  20. Has anyone checked with Nick or Tristan’s wives to make sure that they are okay? If everyone believes that they truly spoke these words and that they are wife abusers then wouldn’t those women closest to them be the most in danger? It’s great that everyone can sit behind their computer screens with these opinions and applaud these women who wrote the blogs, but maybe what people should really be doing is reaching out to those who could actually be in harms way.

    • I’m sure they are in harms way. Ronnies ex came forward didn’t you read…. her and her child are in danger still and he was just arested again…

      • I did read that, which is why I’m asking if anyone has checked in with Nick or Tristan’s wives. All of these accusations against them by Rob and the women who wrote the blog, yet no one is bothering to reach out to those women closest. If the women who came out with the blogs are so strong and doing this so that other women don’t get harmed in the same way, then why not make sure that they aren’t suffering from the same thing?

  21. Hey Rob,
    I just wanted to reach out to you. I see that you’be addressed several questions directly to me and I have no problem answering those.

    Also, it appears that Inman is not going to let this particular topic go and is now writing a piece specifically geared towards me. I”m almost certain that it’s not going to be good.

    Either way, you can email me or we can have a discussion in the comment section. Whatever you prefer.

    • Thanks for engaging, Ronnie. I think given the public nature of this, a public discussion is probably best for everyone involved. So a few questions, which I’ve posted above and elsewhere:

      1. You have said that the Women are liars who have fabricated the entire thing for no reason. You have also said that you remember every word of the Conversation. When can we expect a reconstruction of that bus ride from your recollection?

      2. Did you or Tristan or Nick say to any of the Women “Are you ladies learning something up there?” Did any of you say, ““Don’t ever cheat on your man or he has every right to fuck you up?”

      3. Do you believe that a man has every right to “fuck up” a woman who cheats on him?

      4. Nikki’s version of the story has her responding to y’all (I’m going to use “y’all” to mean the plural you, referring to the three of you guys) and then having someone make what she calls a “Sex and the City” defense and saying women are worse. Did anyone make that defense? If so, do you recall who? If not, what was actually said?

      5. In a now-deleted comment on Inman’s post, someone claiming to be your ex-girlfriend claimed that you were violent and abusive towards her and her child (with you). Would you like to explain that?

      6. Do you feel that Inman, me, and others have treated you unfairly? Because speaking only for myself, if I have done that, I’m happy to apologize and retract, but I would need to know and understand what I do not know from the facts thus far.

      As you can see, almost all of the questions relate to your version of what happened, which you claim to remember word-for-word. Lo these many weeks later, we still have no version of what was said, by whom, and in what manner from you and Nick and Tristan. In the absence of even an attempt to “set the record straight”, it is logical to conclude that the Women’s accounts of that bus ride are all true in every particular. And if true, then you and Nick have also said you would condemn such behavior and such language, so you can’t exactly blame me/us for condemning you.

      So here’s your chance. If you choose not to take that chance and tell us your version of what happened, then a followup question:

      7. If you did in fact behave exactly as described in Stacie’s post, would you now come clean, confess, and apologize to the Women for (a) what happened on the bus, and (b) for calling them liars after the fact?

      Thanks.

      -rsh

      • He’s a sick coward who would much rather stay quiet than use an ounce of his pride apologizing for actually doing wrong. His video and well his all around actions in life on a daily basis speaks volumes about his “character”

  22. So, Rob, Ronnie George never came back to answer your questions. Did you guys have a separate conversation via email?

    What has happened to this whole deal? One would think, given the heated maelstrom that ensued after this incident came into the public eye, that there would have been follow-up articles, litigation, etc..

    But it’s been weirdly quiet. Do you know anything?

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