Turbulence at TREB continues

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BY KATHY BEVAN
 
More questions than answers arose at the special general meeting the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) held at the end of June.  TREB is still without an executive officer, since the abrupt departure in May of Steve van Houten.  And immediate past president Bill Palander continues to sit on the board of directors, while TREB seeks restitution for approximately $60,000 in over expenditures of Palander’s expense account.
 
TREB’s bylaws apparently do not have provisions for removing a director under these circumstances. An Ontario Provincial Police review of an expenses audit has concluded that the over expenditures are a civil rather than a criminal matter. 
 
Emotions ran high at the general meeting, as several members expressed their discontent with the board’s financial accountability.  The announcement of a projected loss of more than $1 million for the fiscal year ending October 31 prompted calls from the floor for the board of directors to resign.
 
Meanwhile, several directors met with representatives of the Industry Leaders Group, to discuss the need for a national MLS system. As reported last month in REM, the group, which represents five of the country’s largest real estate firms, are demanding changes the way organized real estate operates local MLS systems.  “We articulated to them that we are there to support the boards in creating a national system,” says Peter Robinson, president of Coldwell Banker Canada.  “We want to help them define the problem and to let us help each other, or we’ll all be out of business.”
 
TREB board members wanted reassurances that the Industry Leaders Group wasn’t about to create its own national MLS, after comments members of the group made in REM that they were prepared to do just that if organized real estate didn’t act quickly enough. 
 
“We told them we are not looking to mount a national MLS system – we want to provide support to the boards so they can set one up,” says Robinson.  “But if the boards are unable or unwilling to act soon, or if a dot.com comes over the horizon to take over real estate in Canada and a national MLS system isn’t in place, we will act.”  
 

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