A Michigan real estate agent fired for a racially insensitive social media post last year. The subject of a lawsuit for violating the Fair Housing Act is the lawsuit against the agent and the brokerage firm who fired him.
Rick Beaudin, a KW Realty Livingston agent, was fired from RE / MAX Platinum in June after posting “Can Not all of us just promoting in Pinckney that All Lives is Matter? “Beaudin has been an agent at the brokerage firm since 1999.
Joe DeKroub, owner of RE / MAX Platinum, told WHMI at the time that his real estate company “cannot be perceived as biased in any way or that we do not fully support fair living”. The resignation came before the National Association of Realtors adopted controversial changes to its professional standards in November to combat racist and discriminatory speech and behavior.
BLM supporters say the term All Lives Matter ignores the lived experiences of blacks who are disproportionately affected by police brutality and who feel that their lives are not treated as if they are important. In a press release, Beaudin’s attorney, Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, said “All Lives Matter” is a uniform term that promotes racial equality. “
The Thomas More Law Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage; Defend Christian freedom of religion; Restore time-honored moral and family values. Protect the sanctity of human life; Promote a strong national defense and a free and sovereign United States of America. “The firm does not charge any fees for its legal services.
The publication also contains several statements claiming that BLM is Marxist, anti-Semitic, anti-American and “seeks to incite racial war, chaos and mob violence”. The fact-checking website PolitiFact has debunked such allegations.
In January, an interracial couple filed a lawsuit against Beaudin and another agent, Mary Kay Ikens, with RE / MAX Platinum for allegedly discriminating against them based on their race and violating their civil and property rights when they tried to get an offer for a home on Michigan’s Zukey Lake. This suit is still ongoing.
In a February 17 complaint, Beaudin alleged, with no evidence provided, that an “unknown BLM representative” pressured RE / MAX from Michigan, which manages RE / MAX franchises in the area, to remove him from RE / MAX Platinum to get fired. The complaint lists “Black Lives Matter Unknown Associate” as a defendant along with RE / MAX of Michigan, RE / MAX Platinum and DeKroub. The release alleges that DeKroub fired Beaudin for fear of “possible retaliation against BLM mobs and boycotts”.
“Black Lives Matter (‘BLM’) is a decentralized organization established to combat alleged racial discrimination by law enforcement officials. One means by which the BLM does this is to financially destroy (“cancel”) any person or organization that disagrees with its mission or methods. that is what happened in this case; An unknown representative of the BLM (and possibly the BLM) is named as a defendant after the plaintiff discovered his identity through discovery by the defendants, ”the complaint reads.
According to the lawsuit, RE / MAX Platinum general manager Jennie Steudle emailed Beaudin a screenshot of the alleged BLM complaint to Michel Metzner, who owns Michigan-based RE / MAX. However, it appears that the screenshot did not contain the complainant’s name or contact information, thereby uncovering the complainant’s identity, as well as a possible connection to BLM or another entity. The screenshot itself doesn’t mention BLM.
Inman asked Beaudin’s attorney Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, how Beaudin knew the complainant was an employee of BLM. Thompson declined to comment, saying that his company would make a discovery on the case before commenting on the details of BLM’s “out of state” involvement. When asked how he knew the involvement was outside of state, Thompson again declined to comment, referring to the impending discovery.
Beaudin declined to comment on the story, but in a statement to Inman, Thompson highlighted Beaudin’s role as a community leader.
“Prior to his firing, DeKroub touted Mr. Beaudin many times as one of RE / MAX’s greatest sponsors,” Thompson said via email. “Beaudin’s commitment and community volunteering are legendary [in] Pinckney and was recognized by the local newspapers. In 2019, Beaudin was named People’s Choice for the best realtor in its region.
“For RE / MAX, loyalty was a one-way street. Beaudin was thrown under the bus when his boss mistakenly feared BLM could harm his business. The Thomas More Law Center has heard from other real estate agents that they have been unceremoniously fired for exercising freedom of speech from their personal Facebook accounts. They are easy targets for BLM and the demolition culture. “
“Breaking culture” refers to the withdrawal of support from an individual or company after saying or doing something improper or offensive to hold them accountable. When asked if his firm will represent any of the other brokers he was referring to, Thompson said, “Not yet – a lot depends on the contractual relationship they had. Some can be ad libitum and some can be independent contractors. In Rick’s case, the contract with RE / MAX showed that it could only be terminated for good cause. “
The contract, which is included as an exhibit in the lawsuit, provides under “Required Provisions of RE / MAX LLC” that the agent can terminate the contract with Beaudin as an independent contractor “immediately and without prior notice” if Beaudin “has a material Violation “of the contract. The contract also states that it “can be terminated by either party at any time” and that the “independent contractor agrees to do business to maintain and improve the goodwill and reputation of the agent”.
As part of an agreement on Internet access provided by RE / MAX Platinum, Beaudin also agreed to comply with the following guidelines: “Internet access is not used to transmit or display defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, racist offensive or religiously offensive material. “This agreement stated that the guidelines were“ zero tolerance ”and Beaudin agreed that violating the guidelines would result in his termination.
Beaudin also signed RE / MAX Platinum’s Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Policy, the discipline of which could include “dismissal from association or employment.”
In the complaint, in which damages and legal remedies are sought in the amount of more than 1 million US dollars, a breach of contract against RE / MAX Platinum, an unauthorized breach of contract and a disruption of the business relationship or the expectation against the alleged BLM representative RE / Michigan MAX and DeKroub alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress against the alleged BLM agent, whose behavior the complaint described as “extreme and outrageous”.
RE / MAX Platinum, Steudle, and Metzner did not respond to requests for comments sent via email. Inman will update this story when we hear something.
Read the complaint:
Email Andrea V. Brambila.
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