Agent to seller: "You stupid, stupid woman"
A FORMER real estate agent who repeatedly called a house seller a "stupid, stupid woman" has been cleared of misconduct by the NZ Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.
In its decision, released today, the tribunal reveals a string of angry text messages sent by agent Allan Towers to a woman who was selling a property.
Towers - who worked at Barfoot & Thompson - phoned the complainant, Susan Blackledge, and told her he had a person who may be interested in buying the property.
According to the complainant's evidence she hung up on him but he called back three or four times, followed by several text messages.
"You stupid stupid woman. I was calling on behalf of my wife's friend who is interested in the apartment advertised, not in the capacity as a real estate agent," the first of his text messages said.
"How dare you try and put my weights up with barfoot & thompson. Due to your stupidity you pathetic individual my wife will now have to call her friend and tell her the owner is not interested in selling.
I take it you are the owner because if your not the your even more stupid than we give you credit for."
She contacted Barfoot and Thompson Onehunga and complained to the manager, then received another message from Towers.
"What's wrong with you, can you not read, go ahead and call the Reaa [the tribunal]. I'll gladly explain this has nothing to do with them. I was calling you as a byer [sic] not as an agent, you stupid, stupid woman.☺"
She responded, telling him to stop sending her text messages, to which he replied: "Have spoken to wifes friend. She now not interested, due to your behaviour. You're a very strange individual.☺"
Towers declined to appear before the tribunal, stating that he "will not be acknowledging this rubbish".
"Texting someone 'they are a stupid woman' is not a crime. My next move if the REAA doesn't back off will be the media. This is PC madness, stop wasting the taxpayer's money."
Towers advised a tribunal investigator that he had no intention of taking part in the process and would be surrendering his licence.
The tribunal found that, while his behaviour was rude and inappropriate, there was nothing in the evidence to support finding that Towers' actions amounted to misconduct.
It concluded that he was not acting as a real estate agent at the time.
"We do not excuse his behaviour, and we share Ms Blackledge's concern that it was inappropriate, but [the law] requires that the conduct be wilful or reckless. The Tribunal do not consider that the facts establish a wilful or reckless breach of these rules, especially in circumstances where he was not acting as an agent," its finding said.
The complaint was dismissed.
A Barfoot & Thompson spokesperson confirmed that Towers surrended his license and said his employment with the company ended in May 2015.