Personal Assistant/Ministerial Services
James Mason is a server at a small restaurant. Tired of being on his feet all day in a job that offers him little chance for advancement, he has heard that real estate is the place to be. It’s easy to break in, and he could make lots of money with very little effort. After all, his Aunt Betty has been a broker with Oak Forest Realty for years, has a nice house and car, and just shows houses all day. How hard can that be?
James talks with Aunt Betty, who explains that real estate has strict entrance requirements, continuing-education requirements, and places great demands on one’s time management abilities. “If you sit around all day, you won’t make any money” says Aunt Betty.
James takes this news with a grain of salt. “We’ll see if Aunt Betty is just trying to scare me.” Aunt Betty decides to hire her nephew on a trial basis as a personal assistant. James meets Aunt Betty at her office the next day. “Should I get a license right away?” he asks.
“No,” she responds, “Let’s see if you’re suited to this job before we send you to real estate school.” She instructs James to read the office policy and procedures manual. James starts to read it, but quickly becomes bored and plays a game on his smartphone instead. Later in the day, Aunt Betty lets James answer the phone for her. A customer calls and asks for information on one of Aunt Betty’s listings. James answers the customer’s questions and faxes a copy of the listing. James assures the customer that the property is a “cream puff,” even though he has never seen the property.
The next day, Aunt Betty asks James to have a set of keys made for one of her listings. Later, Betty calls James in his car and asks him to meet an appraiser at the listing. “Let him in. When she’s done, lock the door again. While you’re there, show Carrie around the house. She’s also a broker.” James complies.
Betty’s sponsoring broker, Sarah, calls Betty into her office. “Betty, I see you’ve hired a personal assistant. Has he read the policy and procedures manual? What are his duties? Is he earning commissions? Is he licensed?” Betty answers all of Sarah’s questions, and Sarah seems very concerned.
The customer that James faxed information to has complained to Sarah about false representations James made about the condition of the listing. A representative from the state licensing agency has sent Sarah a formal letter stating that the state has started an investigation.