MORE AMORIN INFLUENCE (MAI): The AI National Nominating Committee Design Is Being Attacked By FOJs

July 19, 2021 | 12:12 pm | Explainer |

To all members of the Appraisal Institute:

Before I start, I wanted to share what the Appraisal Institute’s MAI designation is referred to by many of its members. I learned these two from an MAI instructor years ago (pre-merger) who told our class (as if to motivate us?) that MAI stands for:

MORE ANNUAL INCOME
MADE AS INSTRUCTED

And now…

MORE AMORIN INFLUENCE

Over the last five years, I have frequently been writing about the corruption and self-dealing of the largest appraisal trade group in the U.S., whose membership has fallen by a third over the past decade. Since 1997, the leadership has been largely comprised of the same people moving in and out of leadership positions, enjoying lucrative teaching contracts, enjoying compensation as much as double the market rate, expense reimbursements not consistent with corporate and competing organizations, lots of first-class plane flights to Europe, Asia, and other locations with their spouses, all paid for by the hard-working membership who is not clear about what is happening in Chicago headquarters because they are not told.

There is currently another sham petition process underway to prevent Steven Stiloski, the thoroughly vetted choice of the NNC (the second year in a row this sham petition process was utilized), from becoming Vice President. Steven is representing the choice of the membership. Sandra Adomatis, who by entering the election, no matter what her intentions were, can not be blind to the political poison of this sham petition process and becomes an FOJ by default, no matter how qualified she or her backers say she is.

Remember that the sham petition process places the thoroughly vetted NNC candidate on EQUAL FOOTING with someone Jim Amorin puts into the sham petition process or even someone that self-nominates. Incredible.

Smartly, CEO Jim Amorin chose to limit the exposure to the membership by placing it at the end of the membership newsletter in June (I wrote about this several weeks ago in an earlier version of Appraiserville). And I’ve been told it also appeared in a membership email from the president on June 25th.

So I thought I’d explain one of the things that FOJs (Friends of Jim Amorin) are trying to dismantle because of their eagerness to serve at the pleasure of the current CEO, Jim Amorin.

Let me define what an FOJ (Friends of Jim Amorin) on the Board of Directors is in case the membership is not familiar with this term I coined:

  • FOJs are resume builders only, actively running the once-proud organization into the ground for their own personal enrichment.
  • The current FOJs on BOD have not filed a single motion – in other words, they do nothing but the bidding of the CEO Jim Amorin.
  • They don’t represent diversity, especially the actions of all the women who signed the sham petition process to push for Sandy because it will result in less diversity – remember that the CEO scuttled the diversity committee run by Bob Stevens in 2015 because it was a threat to his hold on power.
  • FOJs don’t bring any new ideas to the board or to leadership – they are only on the board to vote “no,” so they will get their committees and puff up their resumes.

Remember that Jim Amorin makes over $500k, and using comps of CEOs at reasonably similar organizations, his salary is nearly double the market rate – and membership is forced to pay that. And consider his FOJ enablers like past president Jeff Sherman, who whined in a board meeting against suggestions that the organization begins to stop paying travel expenses of spouses (which is NOT done by corporate America, incidentally). Finally, remember that FOJs need the CEO to remain in power to get their perks and, basically, to hell with the membership.

Jody (Super-Duper) Bishop gets to select the incoming open positions (about 50) and invite the membership to look at those he selects. Because if Jim Amorin wins this sham petition process and Jody selects all FOJs, then the Appraisal Institute will have zero diversity in the future, and both Bishop’s and Schley’s legacies will be tarnished for the remainder of their professional careers.

Significant diversity initiatives are coming from the new presidential administration, and social mores are shifting too. Current president Rodman Schley has been driving the AI’s presence in the discussion, which keeps AI relevant. All that is for nothing if the sham petition process succeeds in keeping the NNC vetted selection from being duly placed in leadership.

The NNC (National Nominating Committee) is comprised of one member from each of the ten regions. The chairman of the NNC is the immediate past president but has a non-voting role. If there is a tie, the executive committee gets to be the tiebreaker with three votes (Super-Duper Bishop, Craig Steinley, and selection after the sham election process is decided).

The NNC is one of the good governance things that happens in Chicago. This committee is Kryptonite to CEO Jim Amorin, and he has worked hard to weaken it but has failed so far. In the past, he has made the following attempts to weaken the NNC:

  • Narrow the number of leaders
  • Narrow the number of regions
  • Propose focus on other sources of future leaders

The beauty of the NNC structure is that members of the Board of Directors have to wait six years after they roll off the board before they can serve on the NNC. This has been problematic for Jim Amorin because he can’t get his FOJs onto the NNC easily (it takes too much time) to do what they do now on BOD and live a dishonest professional life of quid pro quo. Of course, in turn, for doing Jim’s bidding, they get lots of perks.

The practice of Jim doling out choice positions in return for an FOJ’s ethical soul – they’re not much different than a sociopath in my book – because FOJs have no moral compass and think that outsiders can’t see what they are doing. By definition, FOJs do not care about membership or the direction of the institution. It’s all about getting what they want because they are aligned with the person who does things to keep themselves in power at the membership’s expense. The CEO is very skilled at that.

And to the handful of FOJs that have reached out privately and given me crap about calling out this malpractice of the organization, don’t worry, I will always honor my agreement to keep your name out of this conversation as promised. I am a man of my word. But remember, every one of you is only doing it to preserve the benefits you get from keeping Jim Amorin in power. You have no moral ground beneath you in this debacle. FOJs have placed their self-interest above the membership and the future of the organization. And with that, many FOJs don’t seem to understand how the sausage is made, so they are even more vulnerable to manipulation by the CEO.

And this toxic hypocrisy has seeped into RNC (regional nominating committee) process too. Take Region V, for example. There was a bitterly close election on July 9th. The region selected an FOJ back in April to be in line to be considered for the NNC eventually. And then Jean Gannon, a non-FOJ, threw her hat in to compete with the FOJ candidate, much like the sham petition process I talked about. But this time, the shoe is on the opposite foot for FOJs. Because the Non-FOJ candidate was a threat to the FOJ candidate, two of the “Hateful 8” FOJs, Region V Chair Claire M. Aufrance, and Region V Vice Chair Heather Placer Mull, fought against the regional petition process because they said they believed in (paraphrased) “the sanctity of regional integrity.” LOL.

In other words, the leaders of Region V believed in the “integrity” of the regional nominating process but could care less about the national nominating process. Why? Because it was convenient (and essential) to their role as FOJs. Their hypocrisy should not be lost on you as it is clearly lost on them. They readily can push aside a non-FOJ candidate but then sign the sham petition process at the national level. These are two of the FOJs who play the game well – they do as they are told by the CEO and appear to be there purely as FOJs and not as leaders to move the organization forward.

The hypocrisy that Aufrance and Mull have shown begs the question: Is this the type of people that should be anywhere near a Board of Directors position or regional leadership?

Oh, and it gets worse.

Board of Directors member Trevor Hubbard has been working the room to get the Appraisal Institute to get rid of its residential members. No one I know has any idea why. I find his efforts consistent with the disrespect and lack of attention that residential membership has experienced since the Jim Amorin era began in 2007. After all, we’re still waiting for any feedback from the sham residential appraiser committee that Jim Amorin formed to help diffuse the anger of their 2016 money-grab to take all chapter funds.

Ironically, I’m told Trevor pushed Sandy, a residential appraiser candidate (even if she self-nominated) to offset the NNC vetted commercial appraiser candidate because her credentials checked the boxes that might not get the same pushback as a male commercial appraiser candidate. The hypocrisy here is that this Uber FOJ was so desperate to prevent the NNC vetted selection from being finalized that he had to use a residential appraiser to do it, despite his disdain for them – to get rid of them from the organization. This is Hubbard’s second time on the sham petition process rodeo. His actions show his extreme desperation to remain relevant in the Appraisal Institute. He was willing to be a hypocrite in the sham petition process to keep himself relevant and get rid of residential appraisers.

Trevor’s public anti-residential appraiser stance showed that he would happily do the bidding of Jim Amorin even if it meant using a residential appraiser to do it. There is a lot at stake here. Losing this sham petition process to Steve would jeopardize the position of all FOJs, including Trevor, whatever his beliefs about the residential versus the commercial future of the Appraisal Institute happen to be.

You can see why Trevor’s idea could have legs given the big fall-off in residential membership during the Amorin era and how much SRAs have been ignored and looked down on as second-class citizens. As of now, there are only about 3,000 SRAs out of the roughly 17,000 total members. Pathetic.

Bottom Line: The FOJ gravy train stops if Sandra (FOJ backed candidate) loses and Steve (NNC vetted choice) is confirmed – to FOJs, their actions indicate they care nothing about the dues-paying hard-working membership. The CEO gravy train is all FOJs care about.

Membership has to stop the FOJ gravy train by loudly speaking out against this sham petition process right now – loud and proud. Remember that Jim Amorin scrubbed the regional contact page of all phone numbers and emails for this very reason. He knows the scrubbing was done because he and the board reads every one of my posts about The Appraisal Institute. The AI tech people report to him directly and he has chosen not to return the contact information to the website, thus demonstrating the ethics of the operations leadership of AI is basically zero.

Remember that the complacency of AI membership in the past allowed FOJs to remain in power and get quite financially comfortable. Strong action by the membership today gets FOJs out of power and the organization on the road to recovery and back to relevancy.

The Appraisal Institute is in the hands of membership now – they need to choose the right path for the future of this once great organization. Please make this moment count – it’s your last chance to make yourself heard.


And here’s a quick shoutout to FOJ Jeff Harris who says my writing is garbage. What can I say? I’m an outsider. If you have an issue (I’m not stopping my efforts), feel free to let me know what I got wrong – happy to keep it in confidence if you wish. AI was once an important industry player and I’d love to see it return. The transgressions in recent years have been a distraction from the mission and it impacts appraisers outside the tent too. That’s what I take issue with.

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Don’t Miss the Unveiling of the 2021-22 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate® 6-23

June 18, 2021 | 6:14 pm | Events |


[click image for free registration]

I’m a Counselor of Real Estate (CRE) and wanted to share this….

Join The Counselors of Real Estate on June 23 for the unveiling of the 2021-22 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate®. Now in its 10th year, this signature thought leadership initiative identifies the current and emerging issues expected to have the most significant impact on all sectors of real estate. The Top Ten is developed through broad discussion, polling, and debate among 1,000 Counselors of Real Estate® and is an invaluable resource to clients of Counselors worldwide and to the real estate industry at large.

Don’t miss the countdown on June 23. Register for free here.

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TV: Newsday Live: Hot Tips For a Hot Market: For Sellers

June 18, 2021 | 6:09 pm | TV, Videos |

I had a fun conversation with Faith Jessie, journalist and anchor at Newsday, Maura McDermott, the real estate writer at Newsday, and Monica Balsan at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. My housing data came from our Elliman Report: Long Island Sales series I author for Douglas Elliman.

The interview was placed on Newsday’s home page, which was pretty cool.

Newsday Live: Hot Tips For a Hot Market: For Sellers

Newsday is the largest news publication for Long Island, New York.

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No Diversity: 96.5% Of U.S. Appraisers Are White

May 18, 2021 | 4:59 pm | Explainer |

Over the past year, beginning with this NY Times piece: Black Homeowners Face Discrimination in Appraisals that initiated a rising progression of news stories covering discrimination in the appraisal of houses. And most recently, this CNN piece: When a Black homeowner concealed her race, her home’s appraisal value doubled.

So I looked at U.S. labor force data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], which ranked the top 400 occupations by sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. I’ve been an appraiser for 35 years and it’s been very clear that there is nominal diversity in my profession. For users of the industry’s services who have constantly complained about “appraisal shortages” (translated: a shortage of appraisers willing to work for 50% to 75% below the market rate) – here is your opportunity for action to expand our ranks.

The appraisal industry is aging out because it is hard to bring in youth. It is one of the only professions that require new entrants to have a mentor for their first two years and often without making a living, financially. One of the key reasons for this is because most financial institutions won’t accept a “trainee” until they are licensed or certified with two years of experience. A “trainee” is a derogatory term applied to an appraiser that is not licensed yet. While the GSEs like Fannie and Freddie are fine with “trainees” signing reports prior to their two-year experience threshold, most banks are not. Existing appraisers are all for the difficult entry because supply and demand are in their favor. Few other professions have this two-year mentorship period before an entrant can make a living.

Accountants don’t require a two year mentorship program before they can make a living. Free market conditions should let those with more experience make more money, but not zero.

As a result, entry into the appraiser profession via a mentor system essentially requires appraisers to have relatives that will hire and train them. Given the beginnings of the housing industry as explained next, you can see the problem with this approach.

The housing industry we know today was built on a foundation of racism by the federal government

…and racial covenants. No wonder why there is essentially no diversity in the appraisal profession.


[CNN: click on image]

These BLS numbers for 400 occupations show an incredible lack of diversity within the appraisal profession. In fact, U.S. appraisers were ranked dead last for diversity in the list of 400 occupations tracked by BLS with white appraisers comprising 96.5% of the industry. Here are some appraiser ratios from BLS.

And here are the 20 least diverse occupations. The appraisal industry is even less diverse than farmers & ranchers.


While The Appraisal Foundation [TAF] was created and enabled by Congress to maintain appraisal standards (ASB) and minimum qualifications (AQB) for entry into the appraisal profession, it was also created to protect the public trust. The Appraisal Foundation’s attempt to address diversity has largely been in the form of “checking a box” to be able to say they are working on it. Yet the only actions they have taken were the result of recent public pressure by people like myself and others to call them out. The most glaring tone-deaf situations at TAF demonstrate how inappropriate it would be to allow TAF to lead any diversity efforts in the profession:

  • An African-American had never held a board seat on the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) until 2021. In other words, for more than thirty years, the organization has existed in a racial bubble.
  • There have only been three women who have served on the AQB in the past 30 years.
  • The head of the just-formed “diversity commission” is white and male.

Since TAF has not been able to see the problem for more than three decades until outsiders pointed it out and they have continued to make decisions that demonstrate their disconnect, TAF leadership is essentially the starting point to resolve the lack of industry diversity problem. Top-down is how this gets fixed if the stakeholders in the industry actually want it fixed. We have no leadership on this issue within the industry and solving this problem has to be top-down or it won’t ever be resolved.

And the news is getting worse for the appraisal industry as more and more stories like this are published yet TAF remains rudderless on diversity.

It’s time for Congress to step in.

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[WNBC] The State of New York Real Estate

May 18, 2021 | 9:55 am | | TV, Videos |

Adam Kuperstein at WNBC reached out to do a story on the state of the Manhattan housing market for Douglas Elliman. He got all the nuances right and featured the results of our market research. It was my first tv interview back in my Manhattan office and afterwards I realized I need to warm up my background after using my home office for the past 14 months!


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[Podcast] Masters In Business: Jonathan Miller on the Real Estate Industry

May 1, 2021 | 1:09 pm | Podcasts |

This is my fourth appearance with my friend Barry Ritholtz, a prolific columnist/blogger, radio show host/podcaster, and wealth management firm head on his Masters In Business show for Bloomberg Radio. He previously interviewed me in 2014, 2016 and 2020.

Barry also posted the interview on his essential Big Picture blog: MiB: Jonathan Miller, Appraiser Extraordinaire in addition to the Bloomberg Masters In Business landing page.

To say we talk a lot about housing and valuation in a crazy market wouldn’t do this fun conversation any justice. I am always thrilled to be in the company of his never-ending incredible lineup of guests.

To listen to the entire one hour and 49 minute show (sorry about that), you can go here:


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I Discuss The Florida-New York Housing SMACKDOWN On Bloomberg TV’s Surveillance March 12, 2021

March 17, 2021 | 1:08 pm | | TV, Videos |

Last Friday I had a fun discussion with Lisa Abramowicz on Bloomberg Surveillance. It’s been bedlam in Appraiserville so I’ve been slow to post it. The New York to Florida housing migration story has been a bit one sided with optics that suggest 9 people will be left in Manhattan by the summer time despite that Manhattan contract activity beginning to surge. On the other hand Florida sales activity continues to be frenzied.

I don’t have the short clip so you have to go to the end of the full show at the 2:10:50 minute mark to pick up my interview with Lisa (but I think its worth it):


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Epic Fail: The Appraisal Institute IRS 990s Show They Need To Do A 180

February 24, 2021 | 4:38 pm | Explainer |

As I’ve chronicled in the Appraiserville section of my Housing Notes newsletter since 2016, the scale of Appraisal Institute bureaucratic self-dealing of the executive committee and some members of the AI Board of Directors is breathtaking. Over the past decade or more, AI National has been able to keep a lid on the membership backlash by threatening to remove a member’s credentials for speaking out. Membership has been reluctant to risk losing something they worked hard for in both time and money that they have remained quiet – until the past few years. With the significant devaluation of the SRA designation and growing signs of the MAI designation’s devaluation, more are coming forward.

The FOJs (Friends of Jim Amorin) have been using that freedom from oversight to act with impunity. They are more openly corrupt now than ever because that’s the only institutional memory they possess. However, we are seeing some signs that more AI Board of Directors aren’t interested in rubber stamping FOJ efforts, as illustrated in the previous board meeting results.

The next board meeting is coming up tomorrow and Friday, and it is a seminal moment for the Appraisal Institute. It is where the BOD gets to vote on Jim Amorin’s new contract that the entire board has not seen. As a reminder to board members: your job is to represent your membership, not the executive committee. You can’t vote in favor in good conscience, if you haven’t seen it or been exposed to the key terms. Your role as a member of the AI Board of Directors is critical to the Appraisal Institute’s future and your responsibility is real.

The Appraisal Institute has an IRS nonprofit tax code designation: 501(c)(6) “Defined as Business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, etc., created for the improvement of business conditions.”

At this point, it is hard to see this organization as “created for the improvement of business conditions.” Given the long-time failure of organizational leadership as measured by the empirical data extracted from the 990s tax filings in public record shared below, this organization needs a complete makeover immediately. It starts with the current CEO.

I hope some in AI membership will use the information shared below to bring an inquiry to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Over the past few days, a detailed analysis of the Appraisal Institute’s performance from 2006-2019 has gone viral within the industry. The anonymous author(s) analyzed AI National’s 990 tax filings in a series of charts and tables by “Concerned Members,” and you can download it here: The Appraisal Institute as Told by the 990s [click on each to expand].

The results should send an alarm to membership and the AI Board of Directors on the organization’s future. The FOJs have poisoned the leadership culture, which has damaged the value of the designation brands and the organization’s credibility to the business world. None of this would have been possible if designated members weren’t vulnerable to the threat of losing their designations if they chose to speak out. But with the perceived value of membership declining, the fear of the threats by the organization has been diminished.

Here is my favorite chart of the 990s presentation. Current CEO Jim Amorin was made president (for the second time) in 2017. Now, look at the chart.

The following pages are the same found in the full pdf document.

Here are what the numbers tell me, as an outsider to the organization:

  • To offset the steady long-term membership decline (-29.2% from 2008-2019), membership dues as a percentage of total revenue rose steadily over the same period. This action kept revenue coming in. With all that newfound revenue, the FOJ AI executives and AI Board of Directors viewed this as an opportunity to lavish high salaries on all.
  • The data table on page 10 shows that expenses are remarkably flat, yet membership has fallen sharply over the same period. If membership falls another 7,500 over the decade, will expenses continue to remain the same?
  • Jim Amorin has made $1,725,003 from 2007 to 2019, yet membership has fallen 22.7% over that period. Why would his compensation increase, and why is he paid about 50% more than his peers in other organizations? I’ve presented these numbers in past Housing Notes. So many questions.
  • Revenue emphasis is shifting to rely more on dues while education programs, once a promising and prestigious revenue stream (and a cash cow for a handful of instructors that were FOJs), are losing their importance because of virtual continuing education programs. Who has been in charge during this erosion in education revenue, once a key branding strength of the Appraisal Institute?
  • In 2016, I got quite upset with the proposed “taking” of chapter funds, and I became an activist, yet I’m not even a member of AI. Jim Amorin made it happen in 2017 when he became president. Now given all the big salaries and excessive travel, etc., where did all that money come from? I keep thinking about all the chapters who had saved money over decades to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, even more. We should be asking AI National: Since the 2017 “taking,” how many times did AI National dip into chapter funds to plug the deficit? What is the current status of their reserves compared to before the taking? The AI Board of Directors must have the answers to these questions. Membership should demand it.

There has not been a publicly shared strategy to stem the decline in membership. Announcements of committees (like residential appraisers) were faked to quell the discord among residential members, and FOJs had no intention of taking action.

Marketing and branding have been the same old, same old, every year blah, blah, blah, which means that the organizational leadership has filtered out nearly everyone that is not a like-minded FOJ. Look at the last election debacle where the sham petition process was overtly used again by Jim Amorin to get his FOJ “Tank” installed instead of the duly nominated candidate Craig Steinley. Yet, membership pressure on the board stopped it. There is great danger to membership who are here for their designations within an organization with everyone in power being subservient to one person – a monarchy. Any new and creative thinking is not just discouraged; it is impossible.

I hope that ALL on the AI Board of Directors remember that their responsibility is to the membership and to sustain the organization’s future, not the FOJs. I can only assume there may be future legal action on this overt institutional taking, and each current and past board member is exposed. If you want the Appraisal Institute to pivot in the right direction and stop the executive committee’s self-dealing, please do the right thing and DO NOT extend Jim Amorin’s contract. It’s time to hire a CEO to lead the organization in the right direction, responsibly, ethically, and properly. If you do nothing as a board member, this will be your professional legacy as viewed your peers.

Here is a snapshot to memorialize the 2021 Appraisal Institute Board of Directors:

These are the individual pages of the full pdf document.

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Zillow Gets Pillowed

February 9, 2021 | 11:07 am | TV, Videos |

I met Rich Barton, Zillow CEO, at an Inman/Curbed party held during an Inman conference in Manhattan a long time ago, the evening before Zillow’s launch. I asked Rich, a very nice and fascinating person, what he did for a living, not realizing he was the co-founder of Expedia. Ugh. He also said they were launching their latest effort the following morning – a web site called “Zillow,” and he added “as in rhymes with pillow” to the description. Little did I know real estate would never be the same after that.

So this weekend’s SNL skit on Zillow was particularly delicious with all the “pillow talk.” Even Rich got a kick out of it.


Your LOL UPDATE for February 10, 2021

Ted Alexandro Said SNL Stole His Joke, So He Asked for a Million Dollars [VICE]

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Appraisal Institute Board of Directors Tried To Sneak Sham Bylaw Changes Past Membership

January 6, 2021 | 12:26 am | Investigative |

Back on December 4, 2020, I wrote about the sham bylaw change being floated by the Appraisal Institute to avoid the embarrassment of the recent sham election process: The Sham 45-Day Bylaw Modification Process To Keep Jim Amorin’s Sham Petition Process Explained

To rush this through, the Appraisal Institute Board of Directors meeting is being held Wednesday, January 6th with sketchy notice.

Don Boucher, SRA and Jennifer Marshall, SRA, AI-RRS came through for membership and forwarded notice of the meeting. – send Joan an email requesting the login as presented below

_________________________________________

Dear AI Professional,

We hope that 2021 will be a happy, healthy and prosperous year for you!

Sorry about the late notice but we wanted to make sure that you know about and request an invitation to the Special Board Meeting on January 6th at 3 EST. At the Meeting, the Board will be discussing and voting on changing the Bylaws based on the recommendations in 45-Day Notice on VP Election Process and memberships comments. To request the link to attend the meeting please contact the Board Secretary, Joan Barngrover, at jbarngrover@appraisalinstitute.org.

Thanks for continuing to be proactive and staying involved.

Regards,

Don Boucher, SRA and
Jennifer Marshall, SRA, AI-RRS

_________________________________________

Everyone who reads this post and who is a member of the Appraisal Institute should attend the virtual board meeting. As members, you have the right to log in to the meeting. Here’s how:

_________________________________________

Thank you for expressing your interest in attending the Special Board Call, January 6, 2:00 pm CT.

Following is the GoToMeeting connection information to observe this meeting. Please mute your phone when entering the event and please do not share your webcam. You will want to log on at least five minutes early as the meeting will begin right at 2:00 pm CT.

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/876886637

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (571) 317-3122
Access Code: 876-886-637

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/876886637.

_________________________________________

These changes being floated are so blatantly corrupt that it is beyond unethical. The purpose of these proposed bylaw edits to the existing bylaws will enable FOJs (Friends of Jim Amorin) to keep their own exclusive club paid for by the membership with salaries at 2x the market rate, first-class travel all over the world including wives and friends, and cornering control of lucrative teaching stipends as they have for the past 10+ years.

As a further sign of the lack of transparency, notification of the board meeting to vote on these sham maneuvers wasn’t adequate. Some members only received notice today (Tuesday) for a board meeting on Wednesday. The cynical me believes that this meeting was timed to occur at the moment there will be a massive global media circus in Washington, D.C. (Wednesday) to decide whether to confirm the state results in the federal election. In addition, it is three days into the New Year and they were clearly counting on rushing this under the radar before people wake up from their holiday grogginess. This is a strategic move pure and simple – to continue to wrestle control of the organization from membership and it marks the beginning of the end of the Appraisal Institute.

All eyes will be on the new AI President-Elect Rodman Schley, MAI, SRA at the Board of Directors meeting – who has created a favorable reputation with the membership as someone who believes in transparency and has showed signs of pushing back against the FOJ pillaging of this once-proud organization.

This is Rodman’s moment – if he allows for these sham changes without a fight and hides behind the use of “executive sessions,” he will be just another annual decorative rotation in the Presidential position – Jim Amorin’s posse gets to keep running AI National into the ground until it takes its last breath (in about 5 years).

Incidentally, I’ve been told a member has reached out to the Illinois State Attorney General for their interpretation of “executive sessions” as a tactic used by the Board of Directors to hide their actions – apparently it is not permissible because Illinois is an open session state.

At the end of the year, in the middle of the holidays, 76 Appraisal Institute members signed and sent a letter to their Board of Directors outlying what was wrong with the suggested bylaw changes in the 45-day notice letter. To wrangle 76 members in the middle of the holiday season in late December represents how upset these members were. All the signers are heroes as far as I’m concerned who care more about the future of the Appraisal Institute than its executives do.

Here it is:





Here are my thoughts on yet another sham election maneuver to ensure the continued corruption of The Appraisal Institute:

  • Any member of the Board of Directors who votes for these changes is corrupt and should be removed from their position immediately. They are in favor of self-dealing and not membership. The BOD should not be afraid to hide their votes.

  • The proposed changes are being made to enable CEO Jim Amorin to override the NNC after they thoroughly vet a candidate proposed from membership like they tried to do to Craig Steinley and failed because of the membership uproar. These bylaw edits are being made to tidy up the loopholes to make it happen next year.

  • The 6 year period to lockout executives after NNC membership should not be reduced to 4 years because it makes it easier for FOJ’s to self-deal.

  • To raise the 20% board member vote requirement to 30% is a pure sham. I believe most organizations require a supermajority to override. My goodness, the absolutely embarrassing procedure to insert FOJ Tankersly instead of the NNC’s Steinley thoroughly vetted nomination because Jim asked him to is unconscionable. Unconscionable that it was proposed and that Tankersly gladly accepted.

  • This bylaw edit more easily enables the Board of Directors and the executive team to publically smear and shame a vetted candidate who won. Guess what happens? Quality candidates won’t apply anymore. Only FOJs.

  • This bylaw edit is clearly an act of misconduct by the board. It is a blatant abuse of power and board members who vote for these edits could very well have legal exposure in the future.

  • “Executive sessions” or voting in secret is unethical – if you have to hide how you voted, then something is wrong with your motivations – you see yourself as answering to Jim Amorin and not the membership – you can’t have it both ways.

  • The proposal to ban any input on a candidate is bizarre and reflects the AI’s drift towards irrelevance through self-isolation. Elected officials, competing trade groups, regulators, etc. should all be relevant to weigh in on the quality of a candidate. This proposed edit essentially dictates that a candidate has to get recommendations from FOJs for an application. Incredible.

  • Finally, this bylaw edit is not being done for the membership – it is being done for FOJs exclusively. Imagine Jim Amorin explaining his edits in a public meeting – membership would be booing and throwing beer cans at him for the basic audacity of it.

Over the last decade, the Appraisal Institute went from 27K members to 17K members. That’s a 37% drop, trailing basic U.S. credential trends over the same period. What’s AI National going to look like in another decade with only 7K members?

The membership needs to apply the heat to the Board of Directors NOW. I’m also waiting for a board member to step up and get state and federal law enforcement to look at the sham election maneuvers as evidence of corruption.

My goodness Board of Directors, are you there only to pad your resume, or are you there to uphold the responsibility of the position? If you do nothing but go along then you’re just as corrupt as the FOJs.

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Peak Suburb Has Passed

December 28, 2020 | 2:22 pm | | Explainer |

The New York Times got the market nuances right in their epic end of year The Real Estate Collapse of 2020.

And including epic charts makes it even better.


I noticed that the Streeteasy median rent chart used in the piece shows the same pattern as my recent chart in Bloomberg. That drop in rent is gigantic.



[Source: Bloomberg – click image to open article]

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TRD Quick Question: Jonathan Miller “What’s Happening in the NYC Real Estate Market?”

December 28, 2020 | 1:51 pm | | Explainer |

I recently completed a quick interview with Stuart Elliott, Editor In Chief & CEO at The Real Deal who asked me questions with a uniquely mellow intensity. The Real Deal is required reading for anyone in the real estate profession or interested in real estate. Fun.





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#Housing analyst, #realestate, #appraiser, podcaster/blogger, non-economist, Miller Samuel CEO, family man, maker of snow and lobster fisherman (order varies)
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