Asheville Board of Realtors buys Montford building for new offices

The Asheville Board of Realtors recently spent $2.1 million to buy a building on Montford Avenue for new offices. The purchase has rankled some members of the organization, who say they had no idea the board had such deep reserves and shouldn’t be spending that much money in a down real estate market.

The sale was finalized Tuesday, according to paperwork filed at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office. The building, located at 37 Montford Ave. across the street from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, had a tax value of $846,100, according to property records.

A federal investigation into the funds handled by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford had delayed the Board of Realtors’ purchase. The board had investments with Stanford that were temporarily frozen while the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated Stanford’s business dealings.

On Feb. 17, the SEC filed civil charges, accusing Stanford of running an $8-billion Ponzi scheme and claiming he and two associates were selling certificates of deposit with “improbable” rates of return. In a Feb. 27 e-mail, Board of Realtors Treasurer Jason Ingle told members that the board had been assured that its investments were not subject to the current SEC investigation.

The sale was approved by a vote of the Asheville Board of Realtors membership, which numbers about 1,500. But some local realtors began raising questions about the investments with Stanford, about the need to purchase a new building and about the board’s operation of a for-profit arm.

A handful of local realtors calling themselves Realtors for Change have begun demanding greater transparency from the board and have created a Web site with a survey. The group has also begun circulating a petition calling for a special meeting of the Asheville Board of Realtors so that it can address questions.

Click here to go to Xpress Files and see the deed of the sale of the Montford property to the Asheville Board of Realtors, as well as the IRS 990 tax form filed by the Asheville Board of Realtors for the 2007 fiscal year.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


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6 thoughts on “Asheville Board of Realtors buys Montford building for new offices

  1. Thirsty Monk

    The “vote” by the Board membership was a joke. The Board gave short notice of a vote that had to be done in person during a couple hour window of time. They clearly didn’t want this to be anything close to a democratic decision. With a declining real estate market and membership and an already paid off building, why the superfast, rather secretive rush to purchase this new building?

  2. JustWondering

    Well Well Well. Looks like another runaway Board of Directors. Same goes for the Multiple Listing Service Directors bringing in a new showing service . . . in house no less. Another profit center. How much money does the Executive Officer and Boards of Directors want to make? It is said part of the benefit of changing to an inhouse franchise is that the Board can then sell franchises to other Boards. Oh my. How ambitious they are. Just Wondering where the greed stops and its membership starts to have an input? Another interesting bit is the LOW number of members required for a quorum in their Bylaws. That, in itself, is a joke.

  3. Thirsty Monk

    There was no vote or no input allowed from the paying dues members about the showing service change. And the MLS director sent out an email pretty much saying he and their board are empowered to make these decisions without any vote. How nice… The only reason the board has so many members and collects their dues is because you have to be a “Realtor,” not just a state licensed Real Estate Broker, to truly have full MLS privileges. I haven’t heard anything yet, but one would at least hope with their new building and their much extra space, they will move the MLS from its lease paying space South Asheville into the new owned locaton downtown. But, why would they actually practice common sense and fiscal conservativeness in these hard times?

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