To help you understand exactly what happened, and why, we felt it necessary to post this page.
Most importantly, we hope that learning about our journey through the refiner’s fire will help you avoid having to go through similar challenges in your real estate business.
After winning the first (and every subsequent court battle), and in an action by the State that one judge would call “clearly retaliatory behavior”, my license was suspended.
Although it was later re-instated, the damage was done.
Eventually, we gave up fighting the unlimited budget of the State, sold our business, and retired from real estate sales.
The next day, the State showed up with a subpoena. I contacted my lawyer again, and he offered to handle it for me in my absence.
He successfully obtained a restraining order, stating they can neither do this to me nor any other broker in the State of Washington ever again.
At this point, they hired a private investigator who followed our every move for 17 months. They contacted as many of our clients and others involved in our transactions as they could find.
They asked each of them to sign a complaint against us. Out of thousands of clients, competitors, and others they contacted, only 23 people responded. 19 of those were our competitors. The other four people were short sale sellers, that were upset that we couldn’t get their deficiency judgment waved (which, as you know, was beyond our control).
After nearly 17 months, they finally dropped their investigation, as there was no evidence of any wrong doing on our part.
Fast forward to August 2010, when we moved our home office into a Sumner office location. When you move your physical location, this triggers an audit. I called my attorney for more advice, and he advised that I take them to court, to finish this for every other agent/broker as well as for myself.
In the process of scheduling hearings, my attorney went on vacation and so did I. While on vacation, the state decided that it would be easier to suspend my license than face us in court, where they were sure to lose again.
Without warning or cause, on Friday at 5pm, they suspended my real estate license. At the time, we had over 750 listings and 44 employees.
Sadly, we couldn’t even contact any of our clients, as that would have been practicing real estate without a license.
Taking our license away was clearly retaliatory behavior, and had nothing to do with any alleged wrong doing on our part.
We ran an extremely clean business, which is why they dropped their investigation in 2010. They simply couldn’t come up with anything to come after us legitimately.
By this time, the damage had been done. Fortunately, after conducting their own independent investigations, our amazing clients, Fanny Mae and Bank of America, gave us well over 100 listings to help get us back on our feet.
It was shortly thereafter that Tara and I realized that the State just wasn’t going to ever stop coming after us. We paid over $356,000 in attorneys fees and court expenses, and they were going to keep piling up until we were bankrupt.
The State knew they couldn’t beat us in court, but they could run us out of money, and they planned to do exactly that.
After much heartache, prayer, and consultation with attorneys, friends, and others, Tara and I decided it was finally time to move on from real estate sales.
We sold our business, relinquished our licenses, and said goodbye to the wonderful team and career that had meant so much to our family for so many years.
As a family, we took an approximate 3 year sabbatical. We traveled all over the United States in our RV, and we also spent some family time traveling around Europe.
In 2015, after many requests and much pressure from top agents around the country, Tara and I prayerfully decided it was time to return to real estate coaching.
Knowing we could help others avoid the challenges we had been through, while enjoying the successes we did, we felt (and feel) that coaching is our true calling in life, and so Club Wealth® was reborn!
We’ve never looked back, and are supremely satisfied with our decision.
We love our clients, the Club Wealth® Team, and the industry that has been so good to us for virtually all of our adult lives!