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Former eXp agent accused of sexual assault sues the firm for defamation

The former eXp Realty agent at the center of the firm’s current legal battles involving sexual assault allegations has filed his own lawsuit against the brokerage, which accuses founder Glenn Sanford of defaming him during the firm’s Q3 2023 earnings call in November 2023.

In a suit filed on April 19 in Spokane County, Washington, Michael Bjorkman accuses Sanford defaming him during the earnings call by calling him a “sex trafficker and rapist.”

In two separate lawsuits, Bjorkman — along with another former eXp agent, David Golden — is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women at industry events. The criminal charges against Bjorkman have since been dismissed, but he claims that his career has suffered as a result of Sanford’s alleged defamation.

According to Bjorkman’s complaint, Sanford referred to him and Golden as “two bad actors,” adding that the situation could ultimately involve “jail time.” Bjorkman argues that these comments are equivalent to Sanford telling listeners that he committed assault, an allegation he claims is false.

“As a result of being called a sex trafficker and rapist in front of his entire former company and national investors, and then posted online for all to see, Mr. Bjorkman has suffered significant economic and noneconomic damages,” the complaint states.

Additionally, the suit claims that eXp and Sanford failed to pay Bjorkman money that the firm agreed to provide him with, and that the brokerage breached its contract and broke laws related to good faith and fair dealing.

Bjorkman is asking for general damages of at least $20 million, as well as for other unspecified and monetary damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and interest.

In an emailed statement, an eXp spokesperson wrote that the “claims against eXp and its leadership have no basis in fact or law,” and that the firm “vehemently denies” them.

“We are confident in our position and are prepared to present and defend it as such,” the spokesperson added.

The sexual assault allegations first came to light in February 2023 in a suit filed by Fabiola Acevedo and three Jane Does, two of whom have now been identified as Tami Sims and Christiana Lundy. The suit accuses eXp World Holdings, eXp Realty, Sanford, suspended eXp agent Golden, now-former eXp agent Bjorkman and eXp agent Brent Gove of violating federal sex trafficking laws by ignoring or participating in alleged sexual assaults.

Sanford and eXp were dismissed from this suit in January 2024. But the judge allowed the plaintiffs to file a second amended complaint in which they allege that, using recruiting tactics suggested by eXp and Sanford, Bjorkman and Golden openly displayed their success at recruiting events, leading them to become successful recruiters that generated substantial income for both Sanford and Gove through the firm’s revenue-sharing program.

Due to this, the plaintiffs claim that Sanford and eXp allowed Bjorkman’s and Golden’s “behavior to go unchecked for years simply so they could continue to reap the financial benefits.”

In December 2023, a second lawsuit was filed by Anya Roberts. In the complaint, Roberts claims she was given substances at eXp events that caused her to black out. She believes she was sexually assaulted by both Golden and Bjorkman while unconscious.

Sanford and eXp were also named as defendants in this suit. In early April 2024, Judge André Birotte Jr. of the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, who is also overseeing the Acevedo suit, said he was taking motions to dismiss the Roberts suit filed by Sanford, eXp Realty, eXp World Holdings and Gove under submission.

A third lawsuit, which was filed in January 2024, accuses Chris Nevada, a former team leader at eXp, of a variety of sexual harassment behaviors. These include making sexual remarks in the workplace, offering to pay the plaintiff for sex, “unwanted touching” and attempts at kissing, and sexually oriented texts. Bjorkman and Golden are not named in this lawsuit.

All three lawsuits are currently progressing through the courts.   

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