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Rosemary Sauter

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StCroix
(@StCroix)
Advanced Member

After reading that article, it's a wonder we don't hear more stories like Sauters.
Makes me wonder about the safety of my own security deposit with my well-known and respected agent.
Hopefully some actual regulation/reform will come out of this.

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Posted : March 16, 2010 10:45 am
GoodToGo
(@GoodToGo)
Trusted Member

If the agent was an actual Realtor I think, but am not sure, that it means they were required by NAR to have errors and omissions insurance. That's an assumption and a further assumption is that someone might be able to claim under the policy. Don't know for sure but it may be worth investigating for those who lost deposits.

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Posted : March 16, 2010 2:38 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

NAR Does not require E&O Insurance and E&O Insurance does not cover theft of Funds.

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Posted : March 16, 2010 2:55 pm
poorthang
(@poorthang)
Advanced Member

Illegal acts are considered an exclusion in policies related to officers/directors of the corporation or individually....soooo ...civil action against her personal assets ...house , land etc is to my knowledge about the only recourse to try and collect damages......so get that suit filed......and start looking for assets....cars... boats ..I'm no lawyer........ but I stayed at a holiday inn last night...!!!

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Posted : March 16, 2010 4:43 pm
GoodToGo
(@GoodToGo)
Trusted Member

Ah, got it. It was probably my wife's broker who required his agent's to have E&O as opposed to NAR then (years ago in California.) Either way it doesn't help in this case unfortunately...

NAR Does not require E&O Insurance and E&O Insurance does not cover theft of Funds.

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Posted : March 16, 2010 8:29 pm
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

Interesting follow up in the daily news http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/index.pl/article_home?id=17644660

It looks like Re/Max corporate is trying to wash it's hands and run and hide from this problem. Too bad they won't step up and take responsibility.

That's the "independently owned and operated" part that Lizard mentioned. Those agents paid to use the RE/MAX name. For that payment, they get the benefits of being associated with a national brand, but RE/MAX corporate isn't responsible when one of those independents steals -- it's in the contract. It may be unfortunate, but it's standard in the business.

What really alarmed me from the article was this:

St. Thomas Board of Realtors President Kerstin McConnell said that when reports of botched closings started coming in, she turned to the National Association of Realtors. They told her she needed to report the problems to the Virgin Islands Real Estate Commission, McConnell said.

"They're there to police the Realtors," McConnell said. "In the states, Realtors live in fear of the Real Estate Commission."

But all commission members' terms expired years ago, according to veteran member Peggy Simmonds. The commission still meets, infrequently. Simmonds and Real Estate Commission Chairman Fred Violet have been out of the territory seeking treatment for medical conditions. Commission member Lauritz Schuster said that the last time he could remember meeting in person was in early 2009. Since then, they have had teleconference meetings to approve real estate license applications, Schuster said. V.I. law requires Real Estate Commission approval before permanent licenses are issued.

---
Am I reading that right? We don't have a legal real estate commission available in the USVI, but this is the body that should be addressing such issues? Wow.

With apologies to the honest real estate agents in the Virgin Islands, I want suggest 'boycotting" all REMAX real estate agents here, until they severe their ties with corporate. Let's face it the name 'ReMax' is MUD (or worse) here. We need some reasons to once again trust ANYONE IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY. Those agents who are still associated with REMAX need to know that we do not trust them or their corporate parent. It is too easy to blame one 'rogue' agent, not the government or the corporate who are really to blame.

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Posted : March 16, 2010 9:09 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Ms Information,
You really don't understand what the problem is and where the buck stops. RE/Max doesn't sell real estate or handle trust funds. The other agents associated with RE/MAX "Dream Properties" had no knowledge of what was going on. You sound like a 60's anti. Get a life!

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Posted : March 16, 2010 10:00 pm
poorthang
(@poorthang)
Advanced Member

This is I bel;ieve a classic case of why there should be a seperate trust account set up for all agencies that require TWO signatures to withdraw funds from that account. A attorney,...CPA or trustee ..someone not connected to the sale transactions to thwart the temptation to run with the funds..:-(

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Posted : March 16, 2010 10:03 pm
glynnswife
(@glynnswife)
Advanced Member

Remax Dream Properties is no longer so boycotting it would be futile.

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Posted : March 17, 2010 11:46 am
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

@glynnswife, MsInformation seems to have the idea that boycotting all Realtors who have purchased the right to use the RE/MAX brand will somehow accomplish ... something. All it would do is hurt independent small business owners who have nothing to do with Rosemary's crimes.

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Posted : March 17, 2010 12:01 pm
StCroix
(@StCroix)
Advanced Member

With apologies to the honest real estate agents in the Virgin Islands, I want suggest 'boycotting" all REMAX real estate agents here, until they severe their ties with corporate. Let's face it the name 'ReMax' is MUD (or worse) here. We need some reasons to once again trust ANYONE IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY. Those agents who are still associated with REMAX need to know that we do not trust them or their corporate parent. It is too easy to blame one 'rogue' agent, not the government or the corporate who are really to blame.

While others here have delivered you a smack, I think your sentiment is correct, if not the actual suggestion.

When Remax puts it's brand on an agency, the consumer expects that they are dealing with Remax, or at least a company which is BACKED by Remax. That said, shady real estate companies, deals and agents are nothing new. You would hope that the local regulations would provide some oversight, but why should real estate be any different than almost everything else down here?

Buyer beware.

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Posted : March 17, 2010 12:46 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

Great point StCroix, I think that a brand is supposed to stand for something. Legally it sounds like they are in the clear, but what is the value of a franchise if people have negative feelings towards the name? In the interest of keeping their good name in the VI, ReMax should consider some sort of compensation fund to prove that their name stands for something.

And to other Realtors, it seems that it is high time to adjust the system so that this doesn't happen again. My trust in the process is somewhat broken by this event, especially in light of the fact that there seems to be systematic problems with the way real estate transactions and escrow money is dealt with in the VI. If I were a Realtor I would immediately begin doing what I could to fix this now so as to not have other repeats of what happened here. I am very glad that things went well in my real-estate transaction's on island, but this has served as a wake up call and you can bet that I will be more careful the next time I sign papers putting any of my money in an escrow account.

Sean

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Posted : March 17, 2010 4:51 pm
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

Great point StCroix, I think that a brand is supposed to stand for something. Legally it sounds like they are in the clear, but what is the value of a franchise if people have negative feelings towards the name? In the interest of keeping their good name in the VI, ReMax should consider some sort of compensation fund to prove that their name stands for something.

And to other Realtors, it seems that it is high time to adjust the system so that this doesn't happen again. My trust in the process is somewhat broken by this event, especially in light of the fact that there seems to be systematic problems with the way real estate transactions and escrow money is dealt with in the VI. If I were a Realtor I would immediately begin doing what I could to fix this now so as to not have other repeats of what happened here. I am very glad that things went well in my real-estate transaction's on island, but this has served as a wake up call and you can bet that I will be more careful the next time I sign papers putting any of my money in an escrow account.

Sean

Thank you, that is the point that I was trying to make. Apparently I did not state it well.

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Posted : March 17, 2010 8:23 pm
glynnswife
(@glynnswife)
Advanced Member

I was just saying that there is no REMAX brand on St. Thomas anymore. Who would you boycott? Remax on St. Croix? Remax in the states?

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Posted : March 19, 2010 12:02 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Independently owned and operated! A RE/MAX Franchise is nothing more than a cooperative advertising agency. RE/MAX collects fees only from it's members, not Real Estate Commissions. RE/MAX is not a licensed Real Estate Company. If The Virgin Islands Real Estate Commission is a no show Job. Who is suppose to enforce the rules and regulations funded by fee's and tax dollars, Where is the Govt agency ( The Real Estate Commissions) responsibility. BTW on all Ads, Business Cards, Signs,and Stationary it clearly states each Office is Independently Owned and Operated. That should give the consumer an indication on who they are doing business with. Why wouldn't you hold the National Association of Realtors feet to the fire. Realtors is a Trade name coined by the National Association with a code of ethics that self police, what happened there. The same legal words (HOLD HARMLESS). CAVEAT EMPTOR has always been the song of Real Estate transactions.

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Posted : March 19, 2010 1:48 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

Lizard,

I did mean to hold the National Association of Realtors feet to the fire in my post when I capitalized the word "Realtors" at the top of my second paragraph. I wasn't overt about it though.

We are in agreement, no one has a legal responsibility, and I understand caveat emptor. But there is a cost to not taking action which comes in the form of lost trust (leading to lost business). If either of these groups were run by myself I'd want to reduce this cost as much as possible. This may mean making some compensation available to those who were victims, it may mean alerting the public to the fact that the government is asleep at the wheel while pressing for a change. I just wouldn't want to be seen as standing idly by while the public's trust in my name brand took a hit. But I'm just being an armchair Realtor at this point I guess 🙂

Sean

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Posted : March 19, 2010 5:33 pm
Tippi
(@Tippi)
Trusted Member

Anybody know what happened to her accounting business?

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Posted : March 19, 2010 10:06 pm
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

Why does Rosemary having an accounting business strike me as funny?

Pamela

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Posted : March 20, 2010 10:23 am
cheryl96s
(@cheryl96s)
Advanced Member

LOL Pam I was thinking the same thing!
ps...we never did get together last week for lunch, next week?

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Posted : March 20, 2010 10:55 am
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

no, and now the heater coil on my car is shot. Mechanic can't get to it until Monday am. Who knows is I can afford lunch LOL. Let's try again????

Pamela

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Posted : March 20, 2010 11:53 am
Tippi
(@Tippi)
Trusted Member

Her employees without jobs is truly sad.

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Posted : March 20, 2010 11:55 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

I thought I heard Lee Carl on Thur with an update on her warrant(s), and I thought I'd get the full details in the Daily News, but I didn't see anything in Thur paper. Somebody said it was in the Source, but I didn't see it there, either. Did anybody hear of updates, and can you point me to published reports? Thanks.

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Posted : March 26, 2010 9:03 pm
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

There was an update on yesterday's source that a Federal Warrant had been issued. Oddly it assured us that the warrant would be good for extradition ANYWHERE in the WORLD. Funny, I don't think they can get her back from say, oh I don't know, Cuba perhaps. Argentina is also not so interested in US Federal warrants.

Pamela

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Posted : March 26, 2010 9:13 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

Here's the link: http://stthomassource.com/content/news/local-news/2010/03/24/federal-warrant-issued-missing-st-thomas-real-estate-broker

"The U.S. Department of Justice this week issued a federal warrant for the arrest and extradition of fugitive St. Thomas real estate broker Rosemary Sauter.

The warrant raises the stakes in a five-week hunt for Sauter and the roughly $2.5 million that local real estate agents say went missing when the owner and broker of RE/MAX Dream Properties disappeared in February.

“At this time an Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution arrest warrant has been issued,” said Agent Harry Rodriguez, spokesman for the FBI in Puerto Rico.

“If she is found and arrested, she will be extradited from anywhere … in the world to face local charges,” Rodriguez said..."

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Posted : March 26, 2010 9:20 pm
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