The National Association of Realtors has a blunt message for Zillow Group, the country’s leading online real estate portal: Don’t bother participating in any NAR events this year.
As reported by the real estate news site Inman, the NAR has decided to ban Seattle-based Zillow from exhibiting or sponsoring the organization’s events this year.
“It’s unfortunate that NAR felt it necessary to deny our application to exhibit at their 2016 events,” a Zillow spokeswoman said in a statement emailed to GeekWire. “We look forward to seeing all our industry partners at one of our many upcoming Zillow Group events.”
The NAR, along with its partner Move Inc., are currently locked in a bitter — and costly — legal battle with Zillow. The case centers around the hiring by Zillow of two former Move employees, Curt Beardsley and Errol Samuelson.
Move sued Zillow and Samuelson in March 2014, just 12 days after Samuelson joined Seattle-based Zillow. A King County Superior Court Judge later barred Samuelson from performing many of his key duties as Zillow’s Chief Industry Development Officer, sidelining the exec for a year. Move later sued Beardsley in December 2014, alleging that the former Move executive destroyed key documents on his way out the door to Zillow.
Earlier this month, a King County Superior Court Judge denied Move Inc.’s motion for sanctions against its real estate rival Zillow after a lengthy hearing on allegations that two former Move executives hired by Zillow purposefully destroyed evidence in the case. However, citing the actions of Zillow executive Beardsley, the judge granted Move a jury instruction that will allow the jury to infer that “the missing evidence would have benefitted plaintiffs’ case or alternatively hurt the defendant’s [case.]”
The National Association of Realtors represents more than 1.1 million real estate brokers, appraisers and property managers, key customers of Zillow which sells advertising and other services to the real estate community. The organization hosts regular events for the real estate community, including a mid-year meeting earlier this month where Zillow was prevented from participating.
The NAR’s big Realtors Conference Expo will be held in Orlando in November, with the event featuring speakers such as former general Colin Powell and activities at Universal Studios.