Krista Corner Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
A local realtor could lose her license after creating a headache for two area residents; one a buyer and the other a seller. Havre Montana Realty Realtor Kim Cripps told a state regulatory board that she admitted to allegations filed against her about mishandling a potential sale of property to Havre resident Mark Weston. Weston said that Cripps lied to him about why she couldn’t show him a home. Potential punishments for Cripps range from the permanent loss of her license to being forced to pay fees and costs she has collected. According the board, Cripps’ license has been placed on probation for a year because of a discipline action taken in June on an earlier dispute. Attorney for the state Department of Labor and Industry Lon Mitchell said Cripps would go before the adjudication panel of the Board of Realty Regulation to discuss a punishment he has already worked out with her. If Cripps were to lose her license, that will not affect other Realtors she works with, Mitchell said. “They are each individually licensed,” he said. “Normally, if a licensee is suspended, then the office still continues to function,” he added. Mitchell said he couldn’t discuss the terms of the agreement he had with Cripps until the hearing took place and she actually received paperwork stating the punishment. Weston said he e-mailed an interest letter to Cripps in November, asking to view a house she had listed. When he got no response, Weston went to another Realtor at a different company. “I had been looking for just the perfect house and found it,” Weston said. “The e-mail pertained to a showing of the house.”
Weston said his new Realtor contacted Cripps in an attempt to get the house shown for him. He said the other Realtor told him Cripps said the children in the seller’s family had chicken pox and she wouldn’t be able to show the house. When another attempt was made to obtain a showing, Cripps said the couple had taken the house off the market, Weston said. He then contacted the owners and asked if he could see the house. The owners told him the house was still on the market, Weston said. They had no knowledge of his interest in the house, he said. Mitchell confirmed Weston’s story. “It’s true,” he said. The whole experience was a nightmare, Weston said. “I wanted to get out of my camper before winter and I ended up staying in it,” he said. “I’m still living in it.” The winter, Weston said, was cold enough to freeze everything in his camper and bring in some unwanted house guests. “Dish soap is hard to freeze, but it was frozen,” he said. “My drinking water and other beverages were frozen. The door froze shut and the mice came in.” Weston said he wants Cripps to lose her license. “She’s supposed to be high and mighty in this community, but how many people has she lied to along the way?” he said. “What’s her trail of tears like? I’d like to see her lose her license.” Cripps said the matter is her “personal business.” “I do not want or need that published,” she said. She decline to comment further. Cripps has been before the Board of Realty Regulation in the past for her mistakes, Mitchell said. The board received a two complaints against Cripps on Oct. 14 from Richard KingAnd Susan Leens, according to a document prepared by Mitchell. In the document, Mitchell said, King alleged Cripps did not inform him his offer to purchase Leens’ property wasn’t accepted. King also alleged that Cripps ordered a home inspection on his behalf even though his offer was rejected, it said. Leens alleged Cripps didn’t tell King the offer wasn’t accepted and therefore prevented him from making another offer, the document said. Leens assumed since there was no other response from the Kings they were no longer interested in the property and accepted another offer from a different real estate office, the document said.
Cripps admitted she didn’t act in timely fashion, the document said. The board forced Cripps to:
Attend two hours of ethics classes and eight hours of agency classes. The classes are in addition to the annual training requirements for Realtors.
Pay a $1,500 fine to the Board of Realty Regulation.
Have her license under probation for a year from the date of the final order, which was made June 16. Mitchell said as soon as Realtors are notified they are under investigation, their case becomes public knowledge. Any person can look up a Realtor’s history on the state’s Web site, he added. At the Web site, click on the state agencies section and go to the Department of Labor and Industry page. Then click on the link to the Business Standards Division. Realtors’ pending investigations can be looked up by name.