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       1      BEFORE THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE
              STANDING COMMITTEE ON HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION, AND
       2      COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
              AND
       3      STANDING COMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS AND
              GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
       4      AND
              NYS SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON CONSUMER PROTECTION
       5      ----------------------------------------------------

       6                 JOINT VIRTUAL PUBLIC HEARING:

       7       TO EXAMINE AND IDENTIFY WHETHER AND HOW POTENTIAL
                HOMEBUYERS OF COLOR SUFFER ILLEGAL AND UNEQUAL
       8        TREATMENT BY REAL ESTATE AGENTS ON LONG ISLAND

       9      ----------------------------------------------------

      10                                 Date:  September 25, 2020
                                         Time:  10:00 a.m.
      11

      12      PRESIDING:

      13         Senator Brian Kavanagh, Chair
                 NYS Senate Standing Committee on Housing,
      14         Construction, and Community Development

      15         Senator James Skoufis, Chair
                 NYS Senate Standing Committee on Investigations
      16         and Government Operations

      17         Senator Kevin Thomas, Chair
                 NYS Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protection
      18

      19      SENATORS PRESENT:

      20         Senator James N. Tedisco (RM)

      21         Senator Philip M. Boyle

      22         Senator James Gaughran

      23         Senator Anna Kaplan

      24

      25







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       1
              SPEAKERS:                               PAGE  QUESTIONS
       2
              Bart Cafarela                              5      22
       3      Real-Estate Broker
              Reza Amiryavari
       4      Real-Estate Agent
              Joseph Jannace  Real-Estate Agent
       5      Margaret Petrelli
              Real-Estate Agent
       6      Realty Connect USA

       7

       8

       9

      10

      11

      12

      13

      14

      15

      16

      17

      18

      19

      20

      21

      22

      23

      24

      25







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       1                (This date's joint virtual hearing is a

       2        continuation of the hearing held on September 17,

       3        2020, which the co-chairs declared was on

       4        temporary recess, but was not adjourned.)

       5             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Good morning, everyone.

       6             I'm Senator James Skoufis, chair of the

       7      Investigations and Government Operations Committee.

       8             I'm joined by Co-Chairs Brian Kavanagh,

       9      who is chair of the Housing, Construction, and

      10      Community Development Committee, as well as

      11      Co-Chair Kevin Thomas, who leads the Consumer

      12      Protection Committee.

      13             We're also joined by our ranking member and

      14      colleague Senator Jim Tedisco.

      15             This is Part 2, this is a continuation of a

      16      hearing from last week, that looks at the serious

      17      issue of housing discrimination within real estate

      18      on Long Island specifically, prompted by "Newsday's"

      19      investigation in late 2019.

      20             We had one panel that chose not to be with us

      21      last week, but they are with us here today, and

      22      I will introduce them in just a moment.

      23             But, first, I'd just like to remind the

      24      incoming panel of the same ground rules that were in

      25      place for last week's hearing.







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       1             First, after I introduce them in a moment,

       2      they will be administered an oath and their

       3      testimony will be sworn.

       4             Each witness will be afforded up to

       5      five minutes for their opening remarks.

       6             During questions at this hearing, chairs and

       7      rankers will be provided 10 minutes, while members

       8      of each committee will be provided five minutes if

       9      we are joined by members.

      10             Chairs and rankers will be afforded a second

      11      round of questions if needed.

      12             Just like at the last hearing, I would like

      13      to remind the witnesses today that they are subject

      14      to Section 215.60 of the Criminal Procedural Law

      15      entitled "Criminal Contempt of the Legislature,"

      16      specifically:

      17             A person is guilty of criminal contempt of

      18      the legislature when, having been duly subpoenaed to

      19      attend as a witness before either house of the

      20      legislature or before any committee thereof, he or

      21      she (1) fails or refuses to attend without lawful

      22      excuse, or (2) refuses to be sworn, or (3) refuses

      23      to answer any material and proper question, or

      24      (4) reuses, after reasonable notice, to produce

      25      books, papers, or documents in his or her possession







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       1      or under his or her control which constitute

       2      material and proper evidence.

       3             Criminal contempt of the legislature is a

       4      Class a misdemeanor, punishable by fines and jail

       5      time.

       6             So, with that, I think we are prepared to

       7      hear from our first and only panel today, which are

       8      folks from Realty Connect USA, and with the company

       9      we have:  Bart Cafarela, Reza Amiryavari,

      10      Joseph Jannace, and Margaret Petrelli.

      11             I know we were having some trouble getting

      12      Margaret Petrelli into the Zoom today.

      13             I don't know if she has joined us yet or not,

      14      but, hopefully, she can.  Certainly, the expectation

      15      is that she be with us today.

      16             Stanley, do you have any update on

      17      Ms. Petrelli?

      18             OFF-CAMERA TECHNICIAN:  She is being walked

      19      through the technical piece with our control room

      20      now.

      21             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.  Very good.

      22             So while we wait for her, I will administer

      23      an oath to her after she joins us.

      24             But, in the meantime, if the three gentlemen

      25      could raise their right hand for me.







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       1             Do you swear that the testimony you're about

       2      to give is the whole truth, and nothing but the

       3      truth, so help you God?

       4             BART CAFARELA:  I do.

       5             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  I do.

       6             JOSEPH JANNACE:  I do.

       7             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Very good.

       8             Thank you.

       9             Mr. Cafarela, do you have opening remarks?

      10             BART CAFARELA:  I do; I do, Senator.

      11             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Please proceed.

      12             BART CAFARELA:  Thank you.

      13             Good morning, Chairman Kavanagh,

      14      Chairman Skoufis, Chairman Thomas, and members of

      15      the committee present today.

      16             I would like to start off by thanking all of

      17      you for providing us this opportunity to discuss the

      18      important issue of fair housing on Long Island, as

      19      well as "Newsday's" investigation and how it

      20      pertains to Realty Connect USA.

      21             If I may share just a little bit about

      22      myself:

      23             My name is Bart Cafarela.

      24             As a licensed real-estate broker for over

      25      40 years, I have always taken fair housing practices







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       1      quite seriously.

       2             Everyone has the right to fair and equal

       3      treatment in all aspects of their lives, including,

       4      most especially, when obtaining housing.

       5             In 2010 we created Realty Connect USA.

       6             Fair and equal treatment for all, and fair

       7      housing, was one of our cornerstones.

       8             This applies not only to our customers, but

       9      to our staff and all our sales agents as well.

      10             The principles of equality have, in fact,

      11      been woven into the very fabric of our firm.

      12             I believe we may have the most diverse

      13      real-estate agency on Long Island.

      14             Since our inception, and through the past

      15      decade, we are, and have been, extremely proactive

      16      at providing weekly educational training on many

      17      subjects, with fair housing being a constant

      18      component.

      19             Topics such as, fair housing by a brokerage,

      20      illegal rentals, laws regarding advertising,

      21      fair-housing rules and regulations, all protected

      22      characteristics, and updated fair-housing laws are

      23      some of the topics, just to name a few.

      24             In addition, since our inception, and at

      25      least on a quarterly basis, we contracted with the







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       1      department of state board-certified trainers to

       2      facilitate our dedicated programs on fair housing

       3      for all our agents.

       4             These trainings were held in addition to our

       5      regular broker trainings.

       6             All our meetings are filmed and archived in

       7      our internal Facebook site, allowing agents who did

       8      not or were not able to attend in person to view

       9      these trainings at their convenience with

      10      24/7 access.

      11             We strive to educate our agents not just to

      12      the law, but to the spirit of the law, and well

      13      beyond what is required.

      14             This is something that Realty Connect USA has

      15      always done.

      16             I believe this committee has received some

      17      samples of the meetings Realty Connect USA has

      18      conducted, and continues to conduct on a frequent

      19      and consistent basis.

      20             Our dedication to providing agents with

      21      updated, constant information about fair housing is

      22      evidenced in the hundreds of samples of

      23      documentation provided to you, which included

      24      in-person meetings, company-wide trainings,

      25      company-wide e-mails, company social-media posts,







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       1      archived training videos, and now because of

       2      COVID-19, Zoom meetings.

       3             I believe you received our packet here.

       4             The worst thing that can happen to a

       5      homebuyer or renter is to be discriminated against

       6      or treated differently because of their color,

       7      national origin, sexual orientation, age, or gender,

       8      just to name some.

       9             They are the real victims, and this is

      10      unacceptable.

      11             So it was important for me to review the

      12      "Newsday" tapes in their entirety, as well as to

      13      speak to the agents individually, before taking any

      14      action or passing any judgment.

      15             When I first saw the article and viewed some

      16      of the clips, I, like most people, was concerned.

      17             At face value, things may not always appear

      18      as they should.

      19             After speaking with each of the agents

      20      individually, as well as viewing each of their

      21      recordings in their entirety, I was satisfied that

      22      unequal treatment, racial bias, or steering was not

      23      at the heart of their statements with the testers.

      24             Yet, if any of the comments recorded offended

      25      anyone, I, along with the agent in question, are







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       1      truly and sincerely sorry, as it is -- certainly was

       2      not the intent.

       3             And while I do believe that unequal treatment

       4      was not at the core of any of these comments, it's

       5      clear that we all need to modify how we interact

       6      with our customers.

       7             We need to be consistent, as inconsistency

       8      can be interpreted as unequal treatment.

       9             We need to understand implicit bias, and how

      10      it affects each of us and our interactions, not only

      11      with our clients and customers, but with everyone we

      12      meet.

      13             We now need only to speak about the

      14      real estate, the property, the house, and the deal.

      15             Period.

      16             And so, how do we at Realty Connect USA move

      17      forward?

      18             To develop a better understanding of the

      19      issue, we scheduled a meeting with Bobby Kalotee,

      20      the chair of the Nassau County Commission on Human

      21      Rights, to discuss the issue of fair housing in

      22      Nassau County, and we volunteered our services to

      23      sit on a proposed committee to address these issues

      24      and formulate strategies moving forward.

      25             I voluntarily met with the New York State







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       1      Department of State, as well as the New York State

       2      Director of Human Rights, to discuss the "Newsday"

       3      article.

       4             After much research, we met with

       5      Steve Glassrot [ph.], director of housing policy and

       6      initiative for Erase Racism.

       7             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  If you could wrap up in the

       8      next 20 seconds or so.

       9             BART CAFARELA:  I'll do my best, Senator.

      10             And expert test -- and we also met with

      11      founder, Elaine Gross, who provided expert testimony

      12      here this week.

      13             In fact, we hired Erase Racism to host a

      14      workshop for our agents entitled "How Do We Build a

      15      Just Long Island?" which focused on housing

      16      discrimination, the history of housing

      17      discrimination, and included a strong segment on

      18      implicit bias.

      19             This seminar was held in February, and we

      20      look forward to doing future workshops with her

      21      organization.

      22             Having been disappoint -- disappointment with

      23      the department of state training programs, we began

      24      a search for an internal, mandatory fair-housing

      25      course for Realty Connect USA agents that could







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       1      provide just not -- just not another outdated

       2      compliance course, but a true learning experience.

       3             I wanted an interactive curriculum, which

       4      provided supervision through monitoring, and also

       5      would include a testing component, so that the

       6      agents would truly understand what was being taught.

       7             We contracted with Andrew Lieb of Lieb Law,

       8      an expert in fair housing and real-estate law, and

       9      designed an online course that included all these

      10      components.

      11             We launched this course in late April, which

      12      is ongoing and mandatory for every one of our

      13      existing agents, agents that are new to our company,

      14      as well as our staff.

      15             In addition, we have updated our website, our

      16      independent-contractor's agreement, our in-office

      17      signage, created a "Know before you go" customer

      18      information sheet, and amended on-boarding

      19      proceedings to reflect -- to better reflect the

      20      commitment to fair housing and equal treatment for

      21      all.

      22             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  I'm going to ask you to

      23      stop there, if you could.

      24             BART CAFARELA:  Thank you.

      25             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Yeah, thank you.







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       1             BART CAFARELA:  I conclude.

       2             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Because we do have the

       3      others to -- I'm sure we'll have questions.

       4             Mr. Jannace, do you have any opening

       5      statement?

       6             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Yes, Senators.

       7             Senators, and members of the committee

       8      present today, I would like to first thank you for

       9      the opportunity to speak about this issue in my

      10      opening statement.

      11             I'm Joseph N. Jannace, a real-estate broker

      12      with Realty Connect USA, and I've have been a

      13      realtor for over 47 years.

      14             I can unequivocally state that I have never

      15      steered or discriminated against anyone who came to

      16      see me to help find a home.

      17             I believe the totality of the video obtained

      18      by "Newsday," and the facts presented in the article

      19      regarding my treatment of the two testers,

      20      demonstrate fair and equal treatment to all.

      21             "Newsday" concluded I engaged in steering by

      22      providing the minority reporter with listings that

      23      were 58.4 percent White census tract areas, and the

      24      White tester, listings over 67 percent White census

      25      tract areas.







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       1             Simply put, I do not have -- I do not have

       2      access or knowledge to the statistical racial makeup

       3      of particular census tracts.

       4             I don't even know what a particular "census

       5      tract" is.

       6             These statistics are not something I've ever

       7      considered, or would consider, in representing a

       8      client to purchase a home.

       9             The criteria I consider in suggesting homes

      10      to prospective clients are the details they provide

      11      regarding commute, style of home, bedrooms,

      12      bathrooms, finishes of a home, and many other

      13      factors that are specific to real estate.

      14             At no point does race, either directly or

      15      inherently, play a factor in how I choose to

      16      represent a client or the listings I send.

      17             This was not a fair and accurate test, in the

      18      fact that the two reporters had numerous differences

      19      in their criteria.

      20             Linda indicated that she definitely likes

      21      renovated homes.

      22             Jennifer asked to include listings that

      23      needed a little updating to get more for the money.

      24             These factors dictate whether a prospective

      25      client is provided with listings in newer condition,







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       1      or not.

       2             Linda was starting a new position in

       3      Bay Shore, while Jennifer and her husband both were

       4      working in central Queens County.

       5             This had the biggest bearing on my selection

       6      of which listings to send to each.

       7             Linda was opposed to short sales, while

       8      Jennifer was open to short sales.

       9             Because Jennifer had a young child,

      10      I eliminated main roads.

      11             Linda was open to waterfronts, while Jennifer

      12      eliminated waterfront homes.

      13             Senators, for your reference, my statement

      14      includes the time stamp for each of the factors I've

      15      described above.

      16             In both tests, I spent several minutes

      17      explaining the real-estate search engine

      18      Collaborate, which allows clients to specify

      19      criteria of homes in geographic areas.

      20             These preferences are shared for my viewing

      21      and allows me to effectively represent a client, and

      22      provide showings of homes identified by the buyer.

      23             Despite my efforts to provide resources to

      24      most effectively search for a home, I was repeatedly

      25      asked by these reporters for listings.







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       1             The conversations and criteria provided by

       2      clients is the utmost importance in deciphering

       3      their preferences.  There's no detail that is too

       4      small or insignificant.

       5             After all, it's been my life's work to use

       6      these details to ensure countless prospective

       7      homebuyers to find a home that suits their family

       8      and loved ones.

       9             I welcome any questions you might have, and

      10      thank you again for providing me the opportunity to

      11      speak today.

      12             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you for being here.

      13             I do want to acknowledge that we have been

      14      joined by Senator Anna Kaplan.

      15             Mr. Amiryavari.

      16             If you can unmute yourself, please.

      17             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Press your "mute."

      18             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  Yes.

      19             Senators, and members of the committee

      20      present today, I first like to thank you for

      21      allowing me an opportunity to speak on issue and

      22      opening statement.

      23             I originally entered real estate as a second

      24      career in early 2000s.

      25             After my experience purchasing a home, my







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       1      wife and I bought a home, and no one told us about

       2      the various steps involved.

       3             We were rushed through the process and never

       4      told about the inspection being such an important

       5      aspect of buying process.

       6             I was never told about what good things or

       7      bad things to look for in a home.

       8             This is typically the most important purchase

       9      of an individual or family in their lives.

      10             This experience motivated me to become

      11      involved in real estate.

      12             I believe it is my passion for helping

      13      clients that allows me to be an effective

      14      real-estate agent.

      15             For that reason, I tried to give as much

      16      information as possible to my clients, to assure

      17      their home-buying experience is not like the first

      18      one I had.

      19             Let me be abundantly clear in saying that

      20      I did not provide unequal treatment or serve either

      21      of the testers depicted in the investigation.

      22             Furthermore, the "Newsday" article indicates

      23      that there was a third tester I was evaluated by,

      24      whose recording equipment failed.

      25             "Newsday" reported that the third tester was







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       1      provided equal and fair treatment.

       2             Unfortunately, "Newsday" did not provide me

       3      with any evidence of the third tester.

       4             I don't believe I violated any fair-housing

       5      law; however, as a result of the "Newsday"

       6      investigation, I now realize that even the best of

       7      intentions can be misconstrued and interpreted as

       8      something proper -- improper.

       9             In the wake of the "Newsday" article,

      10      I evaluated how I communicate with my clients.

      11             I evaluated my professional responsibility to

      12      communicate more concisely and effectively.

      13             Since the release of the article, I have

      14      completed six separate fair-housing education

      15      courses with the Lieb School of Real Estate,

      16      New York School of Real Estate, Charter Real Estate

      17      School, Long Island Board of Realtors, Long Island

      18      School of Real Estate, as well as a course generated

      19      by Realty Connect USA and Andrew Lieb of the

      20      Lieb School of Real Estate and Continuing Education.

      21             I have also completed the training

      22      commissioned by Realty Connect USA entitled "How Do

      23      We Build a Just Long Island?" conducted by

      24      Ms. Elaine Gross of Erase Racism.

      25             Finally, and most importantly, I am an







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       1      immigrant myself from Middle East, who arrived in

       2      the United States in 1975.

       3             I have made it a personal and professional

       4      practice to look past an individual's race or any

       5      protected class.

       6             In the context of the "Newsday" article, the

       7      race of either tester was never a factor in my

       8      efforts to provide them with the best possible

       9      service.

      10             I appreciate you affording me the opportunity

      11      to speak, and I welcome any questions you might

      12      have.

      13             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you very much for

      14      your opening statement.

      15             I do want to point out we have been joined by

      16      Senator Phil Boyle.

      17             And I'm glad, Ms. Petrelli, you were able to

      18      work through the technical issues at the onset, and

      19      you've joined us.

      20             Before we get to your testimony, and if you

      21      could please unmute, I did swear in the rest of the

      22      panel before you arrived.

      23             So if I may, if you can raise your right hand

      24      for me.

      25             Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole







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       1      truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

       2             MARGARET PETRELLI:  I do.

       3             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you.

       4             Please proceed.

       5             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Okay.

       6             Good morning, Senators and members of the

       7      committees present today.

       8             I would like to thank you for allowing me an

       9      opportunity to speak on a -- to speak and issue an

      10      opening statement.

      11             I would like to start by saying that the

      12      "Newsday" article has caused me to conduct a great

      13      deal of self-reflection in my personal life and my

      14      professional life.

      15             I must admit that being accused of unequal

      16      treatment or implicit bias relative to representing

      17      clients in consideration of their race is a

      18      significant accusation.

      19             I believe that I did not act in violation of

      20      fair-housing laws and regulations.

      21             I know that I had no intention to represent

      22      either tester differently in any way.

      23             I welcome the opportunity to speak with you

      24      about the specific thought process I had and what

      25      the videos depict.







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       1             However, I admit the "Newsday" article, in

       2      general, has changed the way I conduct business.

       3             I have been a licensed real-estate agent

       4      since 1996.

       5             I have never had a complaint made by a

       6      client, or anyone else, for that matter.

       7             However, I recognize, as a professional, we

       8      are always learning and changing how we conduct

       9      business.

      10             I believe it is incumbent on the real-estate

      11      agent to remind mindful of any implicit bias we may

      12      have.

      13             I believe it is important to utilize

      14      resources made available to each agent of

      15      Realty Connect to assure proper knowledge and

      16      application of the federal fair-housing laws.

      17             Since the release of the "Newsday" article,

      18      I conducted a self-imposed reduction of my business

      19      activities to ensure proper education, and evaluate

      20      how I interact with clients.

      21             I voluntarily participated in four separate

      22      fair-housing courses.

      23             First, with [indiscernible], followed by a

      24      course with the New York State Association of

      25      Realtors.







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       1             I have attended and participated in the

       2      training commission by Realty Connect USA entitled

       3      "How We Build a Just Long Island," conducted by

       4      Elaine Gross of Erase Racism.

       5             I have completed the interactive fair-housing

       6      course generated by Realty Connect USA and

       7      Andrew Lieb of the Lieb School of Real Estate, and

       8      continuing education from the New York State

       9      Association of [inaudible].

      10             These classes have provided a different

      11      perspective that I find useful in communicating with

      12      clients, and assuring that I do not speak or act in

      13      a way that would invite scrutiny.

      14             While I disagree with many of the methods and

      15      conclusions in the "Newsday" article, I have tried

      16      to use the article to self-reflect and more

      17      effectively represent my clients and the Long Island

      18      community.

      19             I welcome any questions you may have, and

      20      thank you again.

      21             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you all very much.

      22             We'll jump right into questions, and I'll

      23      start.

      24             I'll start with Mr. Cafarela.

      25             You're the broker; correct?







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       1             BART CAFARELA:  Correct.

       2             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

       3             And how many agents are in your brokerage?

       4             BART CAFARELA:  Over 400.

       5             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Over 400.  Okay.

       6             Now, if -- if I may, you know, you -- I think

       7      your word was "concerned"; you said you were

       8      concerned when you initially saw the videos and the

       9      information in the "Newsday" expos�.

      10             But that, after having meetings and speaking

      11      with the agents, you felt that there was no

      12      misbehavior that rose to the level of discipline.

      13             And just to be clear, there was no discipline

      14      with any of the agents following this investigation.

      15      Is that correct?

      16             BART CAFARELA:  Well, when I reviewed --

      17      well, the "Newsday" article actually came out, and

      18      it came out in pieces.  And it naturally was

      19      shocking, I think, to everyone when it first -- when

      20      it first broke, and it broke in a big way, it broke

      21      in a big public way.

      22             So I -- I took the time to research, and

      23      tried to view as much as I possibly could, as fast

      24      as I could, initially.  And it, quite frankly, took

      25      a long time to go through all the process.







                                                                   24
       1             And when I saw everything in its entirety,

       2      and after consulting with the agents themselves, and

       3      I probably viewed these tapes several times now,

       4      I chose not to see that there was any racial

       5      discrimination.  The spirit of the racial laws was

       6      not violated.

       7             And I chose not to do any -- take any direct

       8      discipline with any of the agents.

       9             And I did suggest that, like I myself did,

      10      maybe we missed something, and maybe we should --

      11      maybe I should get back into the real-estate schools

      12      and see what they're teaching again.

      13             And I voluntarily went to a fair-housing

      14      class, along with some of my staff, at that

      15      particular time.

      16             And I did suggest the same to [simultaneous

      17      talking] --

      18             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  And you felt there was no

      19      inconsistent treatment that rose to the level of

      20      violating fair-housing laws.

      21             Is that fair?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  That's fair to say, yes.

      23             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

      24             You felt there was no steering --

      25             BART CAFARELA:  That's correct.







                                                                   25
       1             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  -- in the end?

       2             BART CAFARELA:  That's correct.

       3             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

       4             If I may, I want to put up two clips, the

       5      first of which is going to be Clip 1 from

       6      Mr. Amiryavari.

       7                (Audio-only clip playing, and transcribed

       8        as follows:)

       9             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  You don't want to be

      10      in -- I don't think you should be in Elmont.

      11             I think you should probably just be

      12      Franklin Square.

      13             THE TESTER:  Okay.

      14             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  I think that's my

      15      thought, you know?

      16             THE TESTER:  Okay.

      17             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  I think you want to

      18      stay in Franklin Square, if you go there.

      19             THE TESTER:  Okay.

      20             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  Here is great --

      21             THE TESTER:  Okay.

      22             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  -- East Meadow okay,

      23      no issues --

      24             THE TESTER:  Okay.

      25             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  -- as far as, you







                                                                   26
       1      know, the feedback that I get from, you know,

       2      buyers, and I've looked stuff up.

       3             THE TESTER:  Right.

       4             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  But, technically, as

       5      a real-estate agent, we shouldn't tell the buyers --

       6             THE TESTER:  Oh, okay.

       7             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  -- which school

       8      district is better.

       9             THE TESTER:  Okay.

      10             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  Really, we are not

      11      supposed to --

      12             THE TESTER:  Okay.

      13             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  -- because you gotta,

      14      you know, the school district-wise only, you know,

      15      because there's something called "steering," you

      16      know, steering (indicating), like, you know,

      17      steering --

      18             THE TESTER:  Oh, like a car, or something?

      19             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  No, like a horse, you

      20      know.

      21             THE TESTER:  Ah, okay.

      22             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  You know, like facing

      23      somebody towards whatever you want them.

      24             THE TESTER:  Oh, okay, okay.  I see.

      25             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  So, in our business,







                                                                   27
       1      they say, if you do that, that's not right.

       2             THE TESTER:  Okay.

       3             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  And it's not right.

       4             Some agents do it, but it's not correct --

       5             THE TESTER:  Okay.

       6             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  -- because the buyers

       7      should kind -- we gotta give you information,

       8      basically.

       9             THE TESTER:  Right, right.

      10                (End of video clip and corresponding

      11        transcription.)

      12             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  So, Mr. Cafarela, around

      13      the same time that your agent went into some detail

      14      explaining what steering was, he explicitly noted,

      15      "you don't want to be in Elmont."

      16             Now, certainly, that seems to me to be

      17      steering.

      18             Now what convinced you otherwise after having

      19      a conversation with your agent?

      20             BART CAFARELA:  Well, this is -- that was,

      21      I think, 16 seconds of probably several hours of the

      22      interactions with the clients that Russ had.

      23             And I think not having heard the opening

      24      statements from the agents with me today, I think

      25      Russ may have handled that in his opening statement







                                                                   28
       1      and addressed that.

       2             And this was Russ's way of explaining, like

       3      he said when he purchased his own home, people

       4      didn't explain much to him.

       5             This is his way of explaining what he can,

       6      and what's not permitted.

       7             It may not have been the most articulate way

       8      to go about doing it, but I believe Russ is trying

       9      to explain to that client, really, what steering was

      10      all about, because [simultaneous talking] --

      11             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Yeah, I don't think the

      12      question is, you know, his explanation of steering,

      13      and whether, you know, it was accurate or not, at

      14      least that's not my question here.

      15             My question to you is:  In light of, you

      16      know, him bringing it up on his own shortly after

      17      making a note, "you don't want to be in Elmont," you

      18      noted, after speaking with your agents, that you

      19      didn't believe there were any violations of

      20      fair-housing, no steering taking place.

      21             What additional context, or what explanation

      22      did you receive from your agent, that convinces you

      23      that that statement, "you don't want to be in

      24      Elmont," was not steering?

      25             BART CAFARELA:  Well, I think it was related







                                                                   29
       1      to the entire interaction that Russ may have had

       2      with this particular tester.

       3             I will point out, in my conversations with

       4      what --

       5             Well, I call him Russ.  His name is Reza.

       6             -- in my conversation with Reza, Reza didn't

       7      realize one client from another.  He couldn't -- he

       8      never distinguished one was, I believe now turns out

       9      to be Hispanic, and one was White.

      10             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  What do you think he was

      11      referring to when he said "you don't want to be in

      12      Elmont"?

      13             BART CAFARELA:  In the context of that whole

      14      conversation, I don't exactly know what he was

      15      referring to.

      16             I'm trying to think back what took place

      17      prior to that interaction, as to why he said not to

      18      be in Elmont.

      19             I don't consider --

      20             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  So you can unequivocally

      21      tell this committee there was no steering taking

      22      place, but then just tell me that you don't know

      23      what he was referring to when he --

      24             BART CAFARELA:  I can honestly tell you that

      25      that's the case.







                                                                   30
       1             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  How can you say that when

       2      you just said you don't know what he's referring to

       3      there --

       4             BART CAFARELA:  Well, I --

       5             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Stay away from Elmont,

       6      basically?

       7             BART CAFARELA:  -- yeah.

       8             Well, I viewed the entire video of Russ, and

       9      I saw the whole interaction in context.

      10             And he offered these clients, and I quote,

      11      I wrote a quote down that I think it's very

      12      important to know, that showed that he had no

      13      intention and there was issue of steering

      14      [indiscernible], when he said to the tester, "I can

      15      show you any home, anywhere."

      16             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  And that's -- that's a

      17      defense for anything that might come subsequent to

      18      that statement?

      19             BART CAFARELA:  Well, I wasn't using it as a

      20      defense.

      21             And I would have to go back and review that

      22      particular portion as to why he said "you don't want

      23      Elmont."

      24             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

      25             BART CAFARELA:  It could have been his







                                                                   31
       1      opinion, based on a lot of conversations with that

       2      tester, that maybe the best choice of homes for him

       3      were not in Elmont.

       4             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

       5             I would have thought, especially since your

       6      opening remarks, and given the additional week of

       7      time, perhaps you would have that context at your

       8      fingertips, knowing that you would be asked about

       9      this.

      10             But let's move on to Clip Number 1 from

      11      Ms. Petrelli, please.

      12                (Audio-only clip playing, and transcribed

      13        as follows:)

      14             AGENT MARGARET PETRELLI:  [Indiscernible]

      15      they want something, some form of ID.

      16             THE TESTER:  Some form of ID?  Okay.

      17             Uhm ...

      18             [Inaudible.]

      19             AGENT MARGARET PETRELLI:  [Indiscernible.]

      20             THE TESTER:  That matches the name?

      21             AGENT MARGARET PETRELLI:  Yes.

      22             THE TESTER:  I'm sort of confused to why you

      23      would need some form of ID, though.

      24             AGENT MARGARET PETRELLI:  Well, I just need

      25      to know that this is really where you live, and







                                                                   32
       1      everything, so that if we do the paperwork --

       2             THE TESTER:  Right, right, right.

       3             Okay.

       4             [Simultaneous talking by both parties.]

       5             THE TESTER:  Yeah, no, yeah, that's fine.

       6                (End of audio-only clip and corresponding

       7        transcription.)

       8             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Mr. Cafarela, is it office

       9      policy to request ID of prospective buyers?

      10             BART CAFARELA:  It is strongly suggested that

      11      the agents can -- yeah, can ask them for ID at their

      12      open houses.

      13             We've done this consistently, and we have

      14      done it from a safety point of view, that agents do

      15      feel comfortable asking for a form of ID.

      16             It's not a company policy.  It's strongly

      17      recommended that agents [indiscernible] --

      18             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  It is?

      19             BART CAFARELA:  -- [indiscernible].

      20             Yes.

      21             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  And is it --

      22             BART CAFARELA:  From a whole safety point of

      23      view.

      24             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  -- however, is it

      25      problematic if some people are asked for it, and







                                                                   33
       1      some others, by an individual agent?

       2             BART CAFARELA:  Yes, we realize it is

       3      problematic if that agent says -- requests some form

       4      of ID from some clients, and from other clients they

       5      do not.

       6             There is also incidents where homeowners

       7      request, that they don't want people in their homes

       8      unless we get their ID.

       9             And we do respect those requests from our

      10      clients.

      11             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  If I can turn over to

      12      Ms. Petrelli, and if you could please unmute

      13      yourself, so, in the case of the "Newsday" testers,

      14      you asked the tester of color for their ID, but not

      15      the White tester.

      16             Can you -- can you give us some explanation

      17      for that?

      18             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Yes, Senator, I can.

      19             I asked the minority because of a personal

      20      life event between the five-month gap between the

      21      two testers.

      22             It was a traumatic experience that

      23      erratically altered my understanding of personal

      24      safety.

      25             I now make it a practice to ask all clients







                                                                   34
       1      for identification.

       2             Realty Connect USA stresses asking for

       3      identification for our own safety.

       4             I do not wish to share the particulars of

       5      this personal event, and hope that you can respect

       6      my wishes for that.

       7             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

       8             So what you're saying is, the minority tester

       9      was the second of the two testers to approach you --

      10      is that correct? -- and something happened in the

      11      interim?

      12             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Yes.

      13             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.  So can you say --

      14      can you tell us, these committees, with certainty,

      15      then, that prior to this life event, this personal

      16      event, that you're referring to, that you had never

      17      asked a prospective buyer for an ID?

      18             MARGARET PETRELLI:  I probably did not.

      19             I should have for my own personal safety, but

      20      I probably did not.

      21             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

      22             And since this personal event, have you asked

      23      all prospective buyers for their ID --

      24             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Yes.

      25             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  -- regardless who they are







                                                                   35
       1      and where they're coming from?

       2             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Yes, Senator.

       3             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.  Thank you.

       4             I may come back for a second round, but in

       5      the meantime, I'll turn it over my

       6      co-chair Brian Kavanagh.

       7             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Great.

       8             Thank you, Senator Skoufis, and thank you to

       9      the witnesses.

      10             I'm going to just start with Mr. Cafarela.

      11             You -- you mentioned that a whole series of

      12      steps that you've taken since the "Newsday" articles

      13      came out.

      14             Do you believe that -- and you've said -- you

      15      said, unequivocally, that you don't believe anybody

      16      at Realty Connect violated fair-housing laws.

      17             Do you believe the article showed, I mean,

      18      wrongdoing? improper behavior?

      19             What is -- what is your -- what is your

      20      assessment of the -- of the evidence that we've all

      21      seen?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  The entire "Newsday" --

      23      "Newsday" article, as I said earlier, was quite

      24      sensational, and it actually unfolded over a series

      25      of weeks, if not months.  And it was a lot -- it







                                                                   36
       1      was -- it was -- it was an impressive -- it was an

       2      impressive article, and it was very, very detailed

       3      on many fronts.

       4             So it took us time to really absorb it all

       5      just to really see it.

       6             If you're asking my overall impression of the

       7      "Newsday" article, Senator?  Is that -- am I correct

       8      on that?

       9             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Well, I want that, and

      10      then your overall -- I mean, you've -- you've --

      11      it's inspired you to take a whole range of steps.

      12             And it's sort of, like, kind of if -- if --

      13      if nobody at your firm did anything wrong, why was

      14      such a substantial change in your practices

      15      necessary?

      16             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, okay.

      17             Correct.

      18             You know, you can't be too careful today.

      19             The industry, as well as the world, is

      20      evolving.  And what was normal -- normal acceptable

      21      practice three, four, five years ago, is not normal

      22      today.

      23             What is practiced today is not acceptable --

      24      what was practiced six months ago is different than

      25      what we practice today.







                                                                   37
       1             So we -- I felt that we better step it up and

       2      really make sure that we are providing at least --

       3      the best -- the best possible training we can

       4      possibly find regarding fair housing, which was not

       5      an admission, it should not be construed, as we've

       6      done anything wrong in the past.

       7             I -- I strive, along with my partners, to put

       8      forth the best fair housing we possibly could

       9      throughout [indiscernible] -- throughout our company

      10      since we -- since we started.

      11             So we -- we start out the very best, to be

      12      sure that any issues would never -- would never

      13      happen again, and that our agents were well-trained.

      14             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Do you believe it's

      15      acceptable today to give specific opinions about

      16      school districts, what school districts to avoid?

      17             BART CAFARELA:  Senator, we -- we --

      18             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  That's a yes-or-no

      19      question.

      20             Are you -- do you believe it is acceptable to

      21      give specific opinions about school districts?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  We do not believe that today.

      23             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Do you believe that was

      24      acceptable a year ago?

      25             BART CAFARELA:  We don't believe it was







                                                                   38
       1      even -- you know, it's -- it's -- to talk -- to talk

       2      about school districts was -- a year ago, did agents

       3      speak about school districts?

       4             I'm sure they did, and -- and -- in the

       5      context of, this school, that school, the next

       6      school.

       7             It certainly is something that we train

       8      today, not to talk about school districts.

       9             In fact, Senator, we put together a little

      10      "Know before you go" --

      11             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay, but [indiscernible]

      12      I'm focused -- you've done that recently.

      13             I'm talking about, as things were a year ago.

      14             As things were a year ago, do you believe it

      15      was acceptable in your industry to be making

      16      specific assertions about school districts to avoid?

      17             BART CAFARELA:  We -- we -- we -- I don't

      18      believe a year ago we were encouraging people to

      19      talk about school districts.

      20             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  I'm not asking you whether

      21      you were affirmatively encouraging people to do

      22      that.

      23             I'm asking whether that was acceptable in

      24      your industry and in your firm.

      25             BART CAFARELA:  In the industry I would think







                                                                   39
       1      it was acceptable to talk about school districts.

       2             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.  Is it -- was it

       3      legal to talk about school districts a year --

       4      [indiscernible] -- to recommend somebody

       5      specifically to avoid a specific school district?

       6             BART CAFARELA:  You know, we -- we -- we

       7      brought in -- we brought in a lot of fair-housing

       8      experts, quote/unquote, some of them were attorneys,

       9      to train on this subject.  And talking about school

      10      districts was not something they said "do not

      11      mention."

      12             These were state-certified trainers.  They

      13      were working off curriculums --

      14             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Mr. Cafarela, with all due

      15      respect, I'm asking you specifically, in -- your

      16      understanding, you're -- you're a -- you're licensed

      17      in this business.  I'm asking your understanding of

      18      the law.

      19             Do you -- is it your understanding of the law

      20      that it is permissible, or impermissible, to

      21      indicate that a homebuyer should avoid a specific

      22      school district?

      23             BART CAFARELA:  That's not permissible.

      24             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Not permissible?

      25             BART CAFARELA:  Correct.







                                                                   40
       1             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  It's illegal?

       2             BART CAFARELA:  It's not permissible.  It --

       3      it --

       4             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Under the law?

       5             BART CAFARELA:  -- correct.

       6             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

       7             Okay, I'm going to go -- Ms. Petrelli, one

       8      of these testers was mentioned already.

       9             But you met with a White tester and a

      10      Black tester who were similarly situated, and both

      11      said they had school-aged children.

      12             You didn't provide the Black homebuyer with a

      13      list of school districts.

      14             I want to show a clip now of your interaction

      15      with the White homebuyer.

      16             This is number -- Clip Number 2, if we could

      17      show that.

      18                (Video clip playing, and transcribed as

      19        follows:)

      20             AGENT MARGARET PETRELLI:  We have

      21      [indiscernible], which is [indiscernible].

      22      That's 23.

      23             We have Seaford, which is 6.

      24             We have Massapequa, which is beautiful,

      25      which, if you are in Massapequa, you only want







                                                                   41
       1      School District 23.

       2             THE TESTER:  Okay.

       3             AGENT MARGARET PETRELLI:  You don't want 6 in

       4      Massapequa because that takes you into Amityville,

       5      and you're not going to like those schools.

       6             But Seaford is different.

       7             THE TESTER:  Oh, okay.

       8                (End of video clip and corresponding

       9        transcription.)

      10             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.  So

      11      [indiscernible] -- Ms. Petrelli, we just heard you

      12      advise a White homebuyer that she didn't want

      13      District 6 in Massapequa because it takes in

      14      Amityville, and "you're not going to like those

      15      schools."

      16             What did you mean when you said "you're not

      17      going to like those schools"?

      18             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Okay, I discussed the

      19      particular school districts with respect to resale

      20      value.

      21             The resale value in certain areas and certain

      22      school districts don't hold up.

      23             It had nothing to do with any kind of a

      24      racial makeup, or anything to do with that.

      25             It was only on resale value.







                                                                   42
       1             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay, are you -- are you

       2      telling this committee that racial makeup of

       3      communities doesn't affect resale value?

       4             MARGARET PETRELLI:  I don't look at it that

       5      way.  I don't look at the racial end of it.

       6             I'm just looking at the resale value.

       7             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

       8             [Indiscernible], again, we're -- a lot of

       9      what we are looking at is training, including, we

      10      have several pieces of legislation about training.

      11             So I do want to understand your understanding

      12      then and your understanding now.

      13             You believe it is acceptable today to steer

      14      somebody away from a school district if you're doing

      15      it based on your perceptions of resale value in that

      16      school district?

      17             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Today, no.

      18             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay, was it acceptable a

      19      year ago?

      20             MARGARET PETRELLI:  I didn't -- like, it was

      21      just nothing to do with race, so I don't believe

      22      I was doing anything against the fair housing.

      23             It was just to do with the resale value.

      24             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay, I understand --

      25      I understand that you are testifying about --







                                                                   43
       1      about -- about your intent there.

       2             But, again, there's been additional training,

       3      and you've, you know, had time to think about this.

       4             Do you believe that it was impermissible a

       5      year ago to tell somebody that they don't want a

       6      particular school district because "you're not going

       7      to like those schools"?

       8             Which I will note, "you're not going to like

       9      those schools" is not a reference to home values.

      10             It's a ref -- it's -- I mean, I -- I don't

      11      know how somebody hearing "you're not going to like

      12      those schools" is going to understand that your

      13      meaning was, you're not going to like those schools

      14      because, some day, you're going to sell your home,

      15      and the quality of those schools is going to affect

      16      resale value.

      17             But putting that aside, as a homebuyer with a

      18      child, and you're telling them they're not going to

      19      like the schools, but you believe that is -- today,

      20      do you believe legal, and acceptable, if your -- if

      21      your intent -- if -- if the reason you're saying is

      22      about resale values in that school district?

      23             MARGARET PETRELLI:  I'm sorry, Senator,

      24      you're going have to repeat that, because I don't

      25      understand --







                                                                   44
       1             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Do you believe it is

       2      acceptable and legal to tell somebody that they

       3      don't want to go to District 6 in Massapequa because

       4      it includes Amityville, if the reason you're saying

       5      that is that you believe the resale value of the

       6      Amityville schools will not hold up?

       7             MARGARET PETRELLI:  That's really not what my

       8      intention was.  That's not what I did.

       9             As a matter of fact, if you go back to the

      10      video, when you go to Minute 6, where it says, "I'm

      11      sure you want a good school district, too, because

      12      it's great for resale.  You being a teacher, why

      13      don't you look at the school districts.  Pick a

      14      couple" [simultaneous talking] --

      15             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  I respect -- I don't --

      16      just because our time is short, and I respect what

      17      you're saying, I respect you've testified about your

      18      intent here.

      19             And, again, if you want to say you don't know

      20      the answer to this, that's an answer.

      21             But, do you believe it is legal to tell

      22      somebody that they want to avoid a particular school

      23      district if that is based on your intent to maximize

      24      the homebuyer's resale value?

      25             MARGARET PETRELLI:  That's -- that's not what







                                                                   45
       1      I did, Senator.  I had -- that was not my intention

       2      at all.

       3             It was just --

       4             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  I know, but just, again,

       5      [indiscernible] what you did was said, "You don't

       6      want 6 in Massapequa because that takes in

       7      Amityville, and you're not going to like those

       8      schools."

       9             That's just a fact.

      10             Now, there's other context, and we do have

      11      access to other materials.

      12             But you believe today that statement is

      13      acceptable, if your intent -- if it's based on the

      14      resale values in Amityville, rather than whether the

      15      particular homebuyer will like or not like the

      16      schools per se?

      17             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Again, all I can say,

      18      Senator, is that I didn't do it with anything to do

      19      with the school district, as far as anything racial

      20      and steering.

      21             I did it because of the resale value.

      22             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

      23             I'm going to -- my time is up.  I may want to

      24      continue in a minute.

      25             But I'll -- I'll turn it back over to our







                                                                   46
       1      other chairs.

       2             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Senator Thomas.

       3             SENATOR THOMAS:  Thank you, all.

       4             I have a few questions for Mr. Cafarela.

       5             Given that you are the broker and all of them

       6      work under your license, I'm correct about that;

       7      right?

       8             BART CAFARELA:  Right.

       9             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.

      10             So tell me your obligations, under the law

      11      and regulations, regarding the supervision of

      12      agents.

      13             BART CAFARELA:  In short, Senator, all

      14      licensees that work under my broker's license we are

      15      responsible for.

      16             SENATOR THOMAS:  That's it?

      17             BART CAFARELA:  Well, that's pretty broad.

      18             How specific would you like me to be?

      19             SENATOR THOMAS:  Tell me, go ahead, elaborate

      20      more than just them being your responsibility.

      21             BART CAFARELA:  Well, we have a

      22      responsibility to supervise, which is one of our big

      23      responsibilities.  And we monitor -- we monitor --

      24      I don't want to say we monitor all the activities.

      25      That would be totally impossible.  But we do







                                                                   47
       1      supervise all the agents under our license.

       2             And we -- we -- we communicate with them the

       3      best we can, and we try to utilize all the latest

       4      technology to do so, so everyone has a clear

       5      understanding of exactly the procedures and the --

       6      and what's expected of them at my company.

       7             SENATOR THOMAS:  How often -- actually, let

       8      me go back a little.

       9             How -- how long ago have they started to work

      10      under your license?

      11             Like, when did they first start to work under

      12      your license, all four of them?

      13             BART CAFARELA:  Oh, I don't have those dates,

      14      but I believe all three of the agents with me today

      15      have been with me for a number of years.

      16             I don't have that information with me

      17      currently, but they -- they've been with me for a

      18      while.

      19             SENATOR THOMAS:  Dealing -- do you -- like,

      20      when -- when you supervise agents, do you often give

      21      them personal feedback?

      22             How does this -- how does your supervision

      23      work?

      24             BART CAFARELA:  Our company is maybe uniquely

      25      organized for this, where my partner and I, both







                                                                   48
       1      brokers here, our primary responsibility and job is

       2      to look after and work with the staff and the -- all

       3      our agents.

       4             We -- we don't do our own personal business.

       5             We dedicate all the administrative work to

       6      our administrators, and we handle all the -- all the

       7      agents with any of their brokerage issues.

       8             So that's really our -- our -- pretty much

       9      [simultaneous talking] --

      10             SENATOR THOMAS:  So let's say -- so let's say

      11      there is a complaint launched against one of your

      12      sales agents.

      13             How would you go about trying to, you know,

      14      figure out what's going on?  And how do you rectify

      15      that situation?

      16             BART CAFARELA:  Okay, great.

      17             So should a -- should a complaint be launched

      18      against one of our sales agents, that would go --

      19      that would come to myself or my partner, and we

      20      would immediately take action against -- on that

      21      complaint, and have conversations, and call in the

      22      agent involved, and do an investigation, and handle

      23      it with any party that may be involved with that.

      24             We would handle that directly and personally.

      25             SENATOR THOMAS:  So let's say, in the past







                                                                   49
       1      year, how many complaints have come up to you and

       2      your partner?

       3             I mean, you don't have to give me like

       4      specific facts, but how many have actually come up

       5      to you?

       6             BART CAFARELA:  Outside of the fair-housing

       7      forum --

       8             SENATOR THOMAS:  Yes.

       9             BART CAFARELA:  -- or just in general?

      10             SENATOR THOMAS:  No, outside of this.

      11             AGENT REZA AMIRYAVARI:  Outside of the

      12      fair-housing?

      13             It's -- it's -- it's not all that often.

      14      It's -- the complaints could be from, maybe a

      15      homeowner who is not particularly happy.  An agent

      16      is having an issue with other agencies.

      17             SENATOR THOMAS:  But how many; how many

      18      [simultaneous talking] --

      19             BART CAFARELA:  It's maybe a half a dozen, if

      20      I had to render a guess.

      21             SENATOR THOMAS:  Half a dozen.  Okay.

      22             BART CAFARELA:  Putting aside -- putting

      23      aside the fair-housing and the "Newsday" article,

      24      yeah.

      25             SENATOR THOMAS:  And -- and -- you know,







                                                                   50
       1      outside of this "Newsday" article, in the past year,

       2      how many agents have been disciplined for any sort

       3      of violation?

       4             BART CAFARELA:  Well, it depends on the

       5      violation, and it depends on the complaint.  And

       6      most of the complaints are usually resolved.

       7             Agents may have been disciplined.

       8             There have been agents who have been let go.

       9      Some [simultaneous talking] --

      10             SENATOR THOMAS:  So you're telling me, this

      11      past year, you let go of someone, or you disciplined

      12      anyone?

      13             BART CAFARELA:  I would -- I -- I -- I'd have

      14      to go back to see if anyone in the past 12 months

      15      has been let go because of a -- just -- because of a

      16      problem or a complaint.

      17             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay, let me move on.

      18             So you supervise about 400 agents?

      19             BART CAFARELA:  Along with my partner, yes.

      20             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.  And how many of them

      21      are active?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  Most of them.

      23             SENATOR THOMAS:  Most of them.

      24             And how many offices do these agents operate

      25      out of?







                                                                   51
       1             BART CAFARELA:  We have one main office and

       2      eight conference centers.

       3             SENATOR THOMAS:  Eight conference centers.

       4             Okay.

       5             All right.  So you reviewed the videos;

       6      right?

       7             And in your testimony, in your opening

       8      statement, actually, you talked about sitting down

       9      with the human rights commissioner here in

      10      Nassau County, Bobby Kalotee?

      11             BART CAFARELA:  That's correct.

      12             SENATOR THOMAS:  What -- what did he say

      13      about the videos?

      14             BART CAFARELA:  I don't know if Bobby really

      15      said much about it.  I don't even know if Bobby was

      16      aware of it.

      17             SENATOR THOMAS:  He wasn't aware of it?

      18             BART CAFARELA:  I'm not sure if he was.

      19             I don't think there was -- he said -- he had

      20      any comments regarding the fair-housing and the

      21      "Newsday" article.

      22             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay, but -- but --

      23             BART CAFARELA:  I don't recall that part of

      24      the conversation.

      25             SENATOR THOMAS:  -- I mean, but --







                                                                   52
       1             BART CAFARELA:  From him, rather, him being

       2      aware.

       3             SENATOR THOMAS:  -- I mean, your -- your

       4      opening statement said, you know, in order to

       5      rectify the situation that we're in, you sat down

       6      with him.

       7             Like, what was the conversation about, like,

       8      what exactly were you trying to rectify?

       9             BART CAFARELA:  Well, it's, like, we sought

      10      him out for advice.

      11             We sought him out, thinking that there may be

      12      an issue with fair housing in Nassau County.

      13             He is the director -- he -- I believe he

      14      still is the director of human rights in

      15      Nassau County, and I sought his advice.

      16             SENATOR THOMAS:  And what did he say?

      17             BART CAFARELA:  He really didn't think it was

      18      that big of a deal based on what we let him know.

      19             SENATOR THOMAS:  Wow, he said that?

      20             Okay.

      21             BART CAFARELA:  Well, don't quote me on that.

      22             And --

      23             SENATOR THOMAS:  Well, you're in a hearing,

      24      testifying live.

      25             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, so -- [simultaneous







                                                                   53
       1      talking] --

       2             SENATOR THOMAS:  So I don't know how else to

       3      take that.

       4             But let me move on --

       5             BART CAFARELA:  Okay.  [Simultaneous

       6      talking] --

       7             SENATOR THOMAS:  Let me move on.

       8             BART CAFARELA:  -- he did suggest that we be

       9      part of a committee on fair housing that they were

      10      thinking of putting together.

      11             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.

      12             So I want to talk to you about the different

      13      programs that were used, which gave potential

      14      evidence of disparate treatment.  Right?

      15             So one of the agents that you supervised

      16      directed a prospective homebuyer to use Collaborate,

      17      which was to a Black tester, and Prospect Match to a

      18      White tester.

      19             How do these programs work?

      20             BART CAFARELA:  Okay.

      21             SENATOR THOMAS:  And who decides, you know,

      22      which program to use?

      23             BART CAFARELA:  Okay.

      24             So if I may explain, and I -- Collaborate and

      25      Prospect Match are, in essence, the same program.







                                                                   54
       1             It's with the multiple listing service on

       2      Long Island, where we can actually input criteria

       3      that a customer would like.

       4             And based on the criteria that is entered, or

       5      they enter, listings would automatically be sent to

       6      them, based on their criteria.

       7             So they have access to the entire database,

       8      and to every property available through the

       9      Long Island Multiple Listing System.

      10             So the Collaborate is just a program that

      11      they can go in at any time and change and modify,

      12      view properties, based on their criteria, and it

      13      pushes listings to them.

      14             You may have used it.

      15             I use it regularly.

      16             If you're in a home search, you would

      17      probably use it with one of the big search engines

      18      as well.

      19             And most of the agents do utilize that.

      20             So every home -- potential homebuyer can

      21      actually dictate which homes they would like to see,

      22      where they would like to see them, what their

      23      interest is, and what the criteria is, and they can

      24      do that without the aid of an agent today.

      25             SENATOR THOMAS:  But is there any sort of







                                                                   55
       1      difference between the platforms?

       2             I mean, if one is recommended to a White

       3      tester and the other recommended to a Black tester,

       4      is there some sort of difference there?

       5             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, my understanding is

       6      that Prospect Match is the old name for the service,

       7      and Collaborate is the new name for the service.

       8             MLS went through a transition, and I believe

       9      Prospect Match, us old-timers, like myself, we call

      10      it "Prospect Match."  They now call it

      11      "Collaborate."

      12             But, in essence, it's the same program,

      13      Senator.

      14             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.

      15             Thank you so much.

      16             BART CAFARELA:  Thank you.

      17             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you, Senator Thomas.

      18             I know that Senator Kavanagh has some

      19      questions, but a couple things first.

      20             One, I want to acknowledge that, some time

      21      ago, Senator Jim Gaughran joined us.

      22             And just a reminder to any committee members,

      23      that if do you wish to ask questions, to please just

      24      raise your hand.

      25             Use that function within Zoom and we'll get







                                                                   56
       1      you on the list.

       2             I do just want to follow up on something,

       3      very quickly, with Mr. Cafarela that was part of

       4      the exchange with Senator Thomas.

       5             I just want to revisit something that you

       6      just said.

       7             In characterizing your outreach to the

       8      Nassau County Human Rights Commissioner, you

       9      described his response to the allegations within

      10      your company as, quote, not that big of a deal.

      11             I want to give you an opportunity to perhaps

      12      revise those comments, given that you're under oath.

      13             I -- because if that is, in fact, the case,

      14      and that he viewed them as "not that big of a deal,"

      15      I suspect that our committees would want to follow

      16      up with him.

      17             So do you want to just elaborate a little bit

      18      on that exchange?

      19             BART CAFARELA:  I'll try to do my best to

      20      clear that up, but I appreciate the opportunity to

      21      allow me to do that, Senator.

      22             I don't think anyone -- I may have misspoke

      23      when I said "it was not that big of a deal."

      24             And I don't know how early on it was after

      25      the investigation that I sought out Bobby.







                                                                   57
       1             And I will say this, that those of you who

       2      know Bobby, and I refer to him as Bobby, he is a

       3      very effervescent individual.

       4             We've known him in the past, early on, many

       5      years prior.  So we thought it would be a good idea

       6      to speak to him, just to see if there was anything

       7      that we could do, should there be an issue, should

       8      anyone believe there were housing issues on

       9      Long Island, that we would like to be part of the

      10      solution and not part of the problem.

      11             And that's when the committee issue arose,

      12      and he said, look, if we put together a committee,

      13      I believe, I think the Nassau County Executive was

      14      thinking of putting a committee together, would we

      15      like to be part of that?

      16             We said we certainly would be honored to do

      17      that.

      18             So I don't want to characterize him as him

      19      saying "not that big of a deal."

      20             I don't think anyone -- everyone has taken

      21      this very seriously.

      22             So I misspoke when I said "he didn't think it

      23      was a big deal."

      24             Maybe the individual instances, or maybe the

      25      way I described it to him, maybe didn't raise his







                                                                   58
       1      level of concern with us.

       2             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  So just to be clear, in

       3      reflecting on the individual cases in your company

       4      that "Newsday" -- that was included in the "Newsday"

       5      expos�, your feeling is that the commissioner did

       6      not have a high level of concern after speaking with

       7      you, and seeing the videotapes, regarding your

       8      specific agents?

       9             BART CAFARELA:  No, no, no.

      10             Let's take that back.

      11             I don't agree with that [indiscernible].

      12             Everyone has a high level of concern when it

      13      comes to fair housing, including him.

      14             I don't think he actually saw any of the

      15      videotapes that we were referencing when we met with

      16      him.

      17             But he always has a level of concern.

      18             After all, he is the director of the division

      19      of human rights.

      20             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  And so I guess -- I think

      21      I'm more confused now than when I started this line

      22      of questioning.

      23             So what was his takeaway, in your opinion, of

      24      your specific agents' behavior as alleged in the

      25      "Newsday" investigation?







                                                                   59
       1             BART CAFARELA:  We didn't speak about the

       2      specifics.  And I don't think we made him aware of

       3      specifics, or he knew of the specifics, of the

       4      article.

       5             We mainly spoke about, if we would like to be

       6      on a committee, would we be interested in that?

       7             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  So there was no

       8      conversation about the individual situations?

       9             BART CAFARELA:  I believe we didn't have

      10      conversations about the individual situations, no.

      11             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

      12             BART CAFARELA:  Again, this was -- this was a

      13      while back ago.

      14             And once again, if you do know -- if you do

      15      know Bobby, he's -- he probably did 95 percent of

      16      the talking that day.

      17             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Senator Kavanagh.

      18             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Thank you,

      19      Senator Skoufis.

      20             Just a quick question for Mr. Amiryavari.

      21             Am I saying that correctly?

      22             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  Yes, sir.

      23             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

      24             You said in your -- in the clip that was

      25      shown earlier, you said, you know, some agents --







                                                                   60
       1      you know, you described steering, actually, I think,

       2      you know, a solid definition of it.

       3             I like thinking about it as a horse rather

       4      than a car.  I think that's kind of an evocative

       5      image.

       6             But you said that, you know, "some agents do

       7      it."  You don't do it.

       8             What did you mean by "some agents do it"?

       9             Are you aware -- have you seen this behavior

      10      in other context?

      11             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  At the time, being -- this

      12      was, mind you, it was about 2016, which was about

      13      four years ago, yeah, most agents, and most buyers

      14      even, folks that, you know, they were -- they were

      15      talking about schools on Long Island.  They were

      16      actually talking about, asking questions about, the

      17      schools, and stuff like that.

      18             You know, so that's what I basically meant.

      19             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.  So you -- so your

      20      perception is that -- you know, this was four years

      21      ago.

      22             Your perception is, at that time, it was not

      23      unusual to engage in steering and -- and -- and --

      24             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  No --

      25             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  -- among agents --







                                                                   61
       1             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  -- no, no, no.

       2             No, no, no, no.

       3             The word "steering," that's why I went out of

       4      my way to explain what "steering" was, because

       5      I don't condone it.  I do not do that.

       6             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  No, I understand -- I'm

       7      not suggesting you -- you thought it was a good idea

       8      for people do it four years ago.

       9             But you -- you -- you described it, and then

      10      you said "some agents do it."

      11             You don't do it, but some agents do it.

      12             Is that -- I mean --

      13             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  I'm saying that the

      14      trainings that I took at the time, you know, that

      15      nobody, that I remember -- you know, most agents

      16      could sort of, and even the buyers, as I said, the

      17      buyers that were coming to us and asking questions,

      18      they were specifically asking about schools.

      19             So we had to indulge them [indiscernible].

      20             And then that caused, you know, me to learn

      21      about the grading -- the school grading that,

      22      actually, "Newsday" published many times, and they

      23      were online.

      24             And I actually directed these folks, anybody

      25      that would come to me, I said that, you know, the







                                                                   62
       1      information is on online --

       2             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Right.

       3             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  -- and you can go and check

       4      it, please, and then, you know, you decide.

       5             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

       6             So we -- we had -- we had -- we had, you

       7      know, several folks last week, including, I think,

       8      the entire contingent from Douglas Elliman, tell us

       9      they're not aware of any instances of steering

      10      anywhere on Long Island or in the industry.

      11             I just thought your perception and your

      12      testimony was somewhat different.

      13             REZA AMIRYAVARI:  Sure.

      14             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Mr. Cafarela, so you,

      15      you know, saw the exchange I had a moment ago with

      16      Ms. Petrelli.

      17             Do you -- and I -- a follow-up sort of on a

      18      question I asked you before:  Is it acceptable for

      19      an agent to tell somebody that they're not going to

      20      like the schools in a particular school district if

      21      they're doing that because of their perceptions of

      22      resale value in that school district?

      23             BART CAFARELA:  That's a two-part question.

      24             You know, last -- last night I was watching

      25      TV, and there was a National Association of Realtor







                                                                   63
       1      commercial on, and promoting local knowledge.

       2             Go to a realtor today because of local

       3      knowledge.

       4             Many buyers, they seek realtors out for local

       5      knowledge.

       6             That's some of the local knowledge they've

       7      always relied on in the past from a realtor, as well

       8      as other local knowledge.

       9             So, you know, that -- I think it's a two-part

      10      question.

      11             Resale value plays an important part in

      12      purchasing a home, and people want to know about

      13      that.  And people do want to know about school

      14      districts today.

      15             We don't talk about school districts today.

      16             Was it acceptable four years ago?

      17             I probably would say many agents did talk

      18      about school districts four years ago.

      19             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Has the law -- to your

      20      knowledge, has the law on that point changed in the

      21      last four years?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  I'm not aware that the law

      23      has changed in the last four years.  But the

      24      perception of the answers are certainly interpreted

      25      differently today than they were four years ago.







                                                                   64
       1             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  So -- so, again,

       2      Ms. Petrella -- Ms. Petrelli went through a list

       3      of school districts that, collectively, were about

       4      87 percent White.

       5             She then said, you don't -- you're not going

       6      to like the schools in Amityville, the racial --

       7      Amityville is 34 percent White, it's about

       8      22 less -- 22 percentage point less White than the

       9      average.

      10             If she says to a buyer, "You're not going to

      11      like the schools in that district," that can be

      12      acceptable depending on what her intention is?

      13             BART CAFARELA:  I think she made it clear to

      14      that buyer what her intentions were.

      15             And she did say because of resale value.

      16             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  She certainly didn't say

      17      because of resale value in the clip we saw.

      18             But, again --

      19             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, well, [simultaneous

      20      talking] --

      21             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  -- if -- if you -- just to

      22      be clear, Mr. Cafarela, if I -- if I'm a

      23      real-estate agent, and I have a White homebuyer, and

      24      I list all the White school districts, and then

      25      I say, "Here's a majority-minority school district.







                                                                   65
       1      You're not going to like that majority-minority

       2      school district because of the resale values,"

       3      that's permissible?

       4             BART CAFARELA:  Well, of course not.

       5             But, Senator, let me just -- let me just say

       6      [simultaneous talking] --

       7             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  No, but, again --

       8                [Simultaneous talking by both parties.]

       9             BART CAFARELA:  -- oh, no, no, no, hang on --

      10      hang on one second, if I may.

      11             We don't -- we don't have that statistical

      12      information.  We've never had that, nor do we use

      13      that.

      14             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  -- well, again,

      15      Mr. Cafarela, is it -- it is accept -- we,

      16      apparently -- you know, Ms. -- Ms. Petrelli has

      17      testified that she had a perception of the resale

      18      values in that school district.

      19             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, and she clearly stated

      20      to the buyer, "I'm sure you want a good school

      21      district because it's great for resale."

      22             She stated the context why that school

      23      district.

      24             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Ms. Petrelli, may I --

      25             If you could unmute yourself for a moment.







                                                                   66
       1             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Am I there?

       2             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  You are -- your picture is

       3      gone, but your voice is there.

       4             So if you can hear me, that's fine.

       5             MARGARET PETRELLI:  Okay.

       6             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  -- you -- do you have

       7      any -- any sense of the racial composition of --

       8      of -- do you have any sense that Amityville School

       9      District may be less White, overall, than some other

      10      school districts?

      11             SENATOR THOMAS:  No, I don't.

      12             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  You have never noticed

      13      anything about -- about Amityville that's different

      14      from other communities on Long Island?

      15             MARGARET PETRELLI:  No, Senator.

      16             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Any of the brokers here

      17      have any perception of Amityville School District as

      18      opposed to other school districts?

      19             Mr. -- Mr. Jannace --

      20             I'm not sure I'm saying that properly.

      21             -- you've been -- you -- you've gotten off

      22      easy here.

      23             Can you -- do you have a perception of the

      24      Amityville School District, and the -- have you ever

      25      noticed that Amityville School District is







                                                                   67
       1      two-thirds non-White?

       2             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Yes.

       3             But that has no --

       4             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

       5             Mr. --

       6             JOSEPH JANNACE:  But that has no bearing on

       7      showing homes there or not.

       8             I show homes to everyone [simultaneous

       9      talking] --

      10             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  -- no, I understand that.

      11             But just -- that's something you've noticed.

      12             Ms. Petrelli, you have never noticed that

      13      Amityville School District is two-thirds non-White?

      14             MARGARET PETRELLI:  No, respectfully,

      15      Senator, I have not.

      16             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  That's your testimony,

      17      that's fine.

      18             Mr. Cafarela, are you aware that Amityville

      19      School District is two-third -- is somewhat less --

      20      at least somewhat less White than other school

      21      districts on Long Island?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  I grew up in Massapequa.

      23      I do know that, yes.

      24             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay, so you know that.

      25             And if you know that, and you're -- putting







                                                                   68
       1      aside the clip we saw -- if you know that, and

       2      you're advising a homebuyer to avoid that school

       3      district because "you're not going to like the

       4      schools," are you telling us that that is proper and

       5      legal if the reason you're saying that doesn't come

       6      from any racial animus; it comes from your

       7      perception of the home values in a school district

       8      that is majority-minority?

       9             BART CAFARELA:  In the context of resale

      10      values, that's correct.

      11             But I -- I think you heard from Peggy and our

      12      agents.  They're not going to -- they're not going

      13      to steer anyone anywhere, regardless of the school

      14      districts.

      15             But if you saw the entire context, Senator,

      16      with all due respect, she asked them to go and check

      17      out all the school districts.

      18             She was willing to provide that particular

      19      tester with phone numbers of schools so they could

      20      do their own [indiscernible] and their own

      21      assessment.

      22             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay, again, but

      23      Mr. Cafarela, we're talking about the

      24      permissibility of a statement, "you're not going to

      25      like the schools."







                                                                   69
       1             Your testimony is that, that statement is

       2      permissible -- was permissible then, and presumably

       3      it's permissible now, because the law hasn't

       4      changed, if your -- if it's based on your perception

       5      of property values and resale value, rather -- you

       6      can -- you can single out a school district as

       7      having bad resale value?

       8             That's permissible now, and, presumably, it

       9      was permissible then?

      10             BART CAFARELA:  Context to value.

      11             Just like it would be north or south or east

      12      or west of someplace, or on a main road, it has to

      13      do with resale value.

      14             And that's what she articulated [simultaneous

      15      talking] --

      16             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.  I'm -- I'm --

      17      I think we have a different perception of the law.

      18             Mr. Cafarela, are you aware of any studies

      19      that suggest that resale value -- changes in resale

      20      value is highly correlated to the racial and ethnic

      21      composition of neighborhoods?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  I have not.

      23             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

      24             Again, I -- I have 49 seconds left, and we

      25      spent a lot of time, both today and last week.







                                                                   70
       1             So I will end there.

       2             But I would just -- I would urge you to, you

       3      know, read the newspapers.

       4             There's -- there's -- there are numerous

       5      studies that suggest that -- including a -- I think

       6      in the last 72 hours, in "The New York Times," there

       7      was a fairly extensive study reported on.

       8             And, you know, again, it is a -- it is a

       9      widely perceived fact among researchers, and many

      10      people in the real-estate industry, that values in

      11      homes have increased very substantially in

      12      community -- in White communities, and much less so

      13      in communities that are much -- are different in

      14      their racial and ethnic composition.

      15             And so we talked last week with some of our

      16      experts, about making sure that, to the extent there

      17      is training, that it would be valuable for people to

      18      understand that the train -- you know, the impact of

      19      the decisions brokers and agents make.

      20             And, you know, we're -- we're singling out

      21      individual people today, like Ms. Petrelli,

      22      because, you know, we have that evidence before it.

      23             But there's nothing -- we're not trying to

      24      suggest that this is an isolated incident, or that

      25      this is especially bad behavior, in the context of







                                                                   71
       1      industry.

       2             The whole point here is that, we've had

       3      testimony that this kind of behavior is commonplace.

       4             And we also have the -- you know, we -- we --

       5      we're now hearing that somebody who is licensed in

       6      this industry believes it's okay to tell people to

       7      avoid a school district based on resale values.

       8             And, you know, for me, that suggests an

       9      ongoing problem, and a continuing need to make sure

      10      people understand the impact of these decisions.

      11             BART CAFARELA:  So, Senator, I would invite

      12      you, [indiscernible], if you would be so kind as to

      13      [indiscernible].

      14             I will look at that article.  I -- and

      15      I appreciate you sharing that.

      16             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

      17             I'll end there.

      18             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.  Thank you,

      19      Senator Kavanagh.

      20             I don't see any other senators who wish to --

      21      oh, Senator Tedisco, is that your hand?

      22             SENATOR TEDISCO:  Yep.

      23             As ranker --

      24             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Please, go ahead.

      25             SENATOR TEDISCO:  -- yeah.







                                                                   72
       1             Mr. Cafarela, to you, and thank you for

       2      being there and your testimony today.

       3             So far I've heard a lot of questions in

       4      relationship to what the realtors offer, or

       5      suggestions of guiding, in certain ways.

       6             But I want to ask you this question, to see

       7      if this would be appropriate, because there might be

       8      a fine line between what you're asked, and then

       9      given the opportunity to give an opinion, or just

      10      offering an opinion.

      11             If I was to come up to a realtor, or you, and

      12      say, "I only want to buy a house, or live in a

      13      community where the house I buy has a very high

      14      resale value," and then I started to list

      15      communities, would it be appropriate for you to say,

      16      "You don't want to live in that community" if it had

      17      a low resale value?

      18             BART CAFARELA:  I wouldn't say that, and

      19      I wouldn't recommend we say that.

      20             I would -- I would suggest they -- the

      21      research would -- we would provide some research for

      22      that client, and they would make their own decision.

      23             SENATOR TEDISCO:  If they said --

      24             BART CAFARELA:  And maybe the research that

      25      I was unaware of, that Senator Kavanagh just







                                                                   73
       1      mentioned, may be appropriate to use at that point.

       2             We -- we -- we don't generally use all the

       3      information that many of you rely on, and that

       4      "Newsday" relied on, with racial demographics and

       5      breakdowns.

       6             And I know "Newsday" provides an extensive

       7      school research paper every year, that we don't

       8      utilize as well.

       9             And we don't, for reasons that, it could

      10      alter, and maybe, possibly, cause somebody to say,

      11      hey, I didn't realize, you know, maybe I should

      12      steer you away from that area.

      13             And I know that's a terrible word to say, we

      14      don't use that word.  But maybe we shouldn't look

      15      there because, you know, blah blah blah.

      16             We don't use that information at all,

      17      Senator.

      18             SENATOR TEDISCO:  If when you said that to

      19      them, "Go do your research," they say, "Well, I just

      20      want to know, does this community have a high resale

      21      value, or not?" would you answer?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, I would --

      23             SENATOR TEDISCO:  Would it be illegal -- do

      24      you think it's illegal to answer them, no, it has a

      25      low resale value, it doesn't have a high resale







                                                                   74
       1      value?

       2             BART CAFARELA:  If they were to ask me that

       3      direct question, and say, "Hey, Bart, you know, does

       4      this area have a good resale value?" I would say, my

       5      opinion, it may, yeah.

       6             Yeah, I would always recommend you go back to

       7      the statistics, because that's how I'm basing what

       8      I'm suggesting on, and, you know, based on -- based

       9      on the facts that I could ascertain.

      10             And we have many methods to do that, that are

      11      not subjective.

      12             SENATOR TEDISCO:  If they asked you, "I only

      13      want to buy a house in one of the best school

      14      districts in this county," and they started to name

      15      the school districts, and they said, According to

      16      the test scores and the graduation rates, is this

      17      school district one of the best in the county?

      18             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, we -- we -- we would

      19      offer that opinion today.

      20             You know, we put together this little --

      21      little sheet, that they could research the schools

      22      on their own and determine what's important to them.

      23             You know, I learned -- I learned long ago in

      24      my career that what's important to one person may

      25      not be important to another; that it's all their







                                                                   75
       1      personal preferences.

       2             But I will -- I will even expand that

       3      conversation with you, Senator, at another time if

       4      you'd like, because, whether you agree with it or

       5      not, school districts play an important role on

       6      Long Island.  And they play an important role in

       7      values, and resale values.

       8             And I'm sorry to say, but that's just --

       9      that's just -- that's just a fact.

      10             SENATOR TEDISCO:  So when -- when one of your

      11      realtors was asked -- or, there was an interest in

      12      school districts, and she mentioned -- happened to

      13      mention 87 percent of them, and they happened to be

      14      White, but they also happened to be the best school

      15      districts that the person was interested in, why

      16      wouldn't that not be appropriate?

      17             BART CAFARELA:  I -- first of all, I don't

      18      think anyone -- anyone knows that those school

      19      districts are 87 percent White.

      20             We certainly didn't know it.

      21             One of the -- the interesting facts we

      22      learned through the "Newsday" investigation is the

      23      demographic breakdown of these neighborhoods that

      24      we -- we -- we provided listings for to people.

      25             We -- we didn't realize the racial makeup of







                                                                   76
       1      these neighborhoods.

       2             "Newsday" provided us that information, based

       3      on their study.

       4             We don't know that.  We don't have -- we

       5      don't provide access to that.  I wouldn't even know

       6      where to go get -- to get access to that.

       7             So -- it just so happens that maybe they all

       8      were 87 percent.  And maybe that's the whole south

       9      shore of Nassau County.  I don't know.

      10             SENATOR TEDISCO:  And I took your point when

      11      someone asked about the town or community of Elmont.

      12             Was that what it was about?

      13             And he said, "You wouldn't want to live

      14      there."

      15             You said, I'd have to go back to the tape.

      16             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah.

      17             SENATOR TEDISCO:  And when you said "go back

      18      to the tape," did you mean a whole series of things

      19      that the person said?

      20             I'll give you an example, which just making

      21      up out of my hand:  I don't want to buy a house

      22      where they have houses close to each other.  Or,

      23      I don't want to buy a house that has very small

      24      lawns.  I want larger lawns.

      25             And then later on in the conversation, the







                                                                   77
       1      realtor said, Well, you don't want to go to Elmont.

       2             It might have nothing to do with the racial

       3      content.

       4             It might do with, it has small lawns and

       5      houses very close together.

       6             Wouldn't that be the case?

       7             BART CAFARELA:  Could be, yes.

       8             SENATOR TEDISCO:  Okay.

       9             Thank you very much.  Appreciate your input.

      10             BART CAFARELA:  Thank you.

      11             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you, Senator.

      12             I think, barring any last-minute questions,

      13      co-chairs, are you okay?

      14             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Can I -- can I just, if

      15      I may, just one more, based on [indiscernible].

      16             So, again, Mr. Cafarela -- and with

      17      apologies to all watching for the

      18      waiveringness [sic] -- but are you troubled at all

      19      that -- again, this -- these were matched testers.

      20             So Ms. Petrelli had a White homebuyer with

      21      children, and a Black homebuyer with children.

      22             And she specifically told the White homebuyer

      23      to avoid Amityville, which in your -- which she may

      24      not have been aware, she testifies, but you're

      25      aware, is significantly a majority-minority







                                                                   78
       1      district, that "you're not going to like those

       2      schools."

       3             And she doesn't tell the Black homebuyer

       4      that, even though they also have schools.

       5             Is that because -- do you think that's

       6      because Black homebuyers aren't concerned about

       7      resale value and White homebuyers are?

       8             Does it trouble you at all that -- that --

       9      that "you're not going to like these schools" is

      10      said to a White homebuyer to [sic] children, but not

      11      to a Black homebuyer with children?

      12             BART CAFARELA:  I was troubled by that, yes.

      13             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  So, again, having reviewed

      14      this material, you know, you testified before that

      15      you think that the material in the investigation

      16      requires changes -- you know, it requires you to

      17      change, to rethink, to sort of get up with the

      18      times, sort of, but that no -- you know there, was

      19      no improper behavior by any agent.

      20             And it's just -- it's -- it's perplexing

      21      that, you know, I'm not sure what the distinction

      22      between being troubled by it and not finding it

      23      improper is.

      24             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah.

      25             I would -- you know, again, the full context







                                                                   79
       1      of that, and the conversations, and understanding

       2      it, I -- I -- I felt okay with -- I felt troubled by

       3      it.  On its outset, it looks very troubling, and

       4      everything seems to be what it seems to appear.

       5             But like I said in my opening remarks, we not

       6      only want to go to above the letter of the law, we

       7      also want to go to the spirit of the law.

       8             And that's why, as the broker of this

       9      organization, I -- I -- I may have -- I may have

      10      gone a little overboard with fair housing, but

      11      I don't think I could ever go overboard because it

      12      is that important of an issue.

      13             And I'm sure Peggy would never say that

      14      comment again in relation to values, home styles or,

      15      any, any, any sort of indication, because it can be

      16      construed, and it can appear to be racist.

      17             And that's one of the things we learned with

      18      implicit bias:  What you mean and what you say, and

      19      how it's interpreted, could be two completely

      20      difference things, as we are learning here today.

      21             So, you know, our agents are -- are -- they

      22      have to be much more -- much more conscientious of

      23      exactly how they present themselves, and present

      24      everything to a buyer, because it could be construed

      25      differently than what it's meant.







                                                                   80
       1             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  If your agents or your

       2      company treat Black homebuyers and White homebuyers

       3      differently, as a -- and there's a pattern of that,

       4      is that a violation of the fair-housing laws even if

       5      nobody intends to discriminate?

       6             BART CAFARELA:  It is.

       7             Yes, it would.

       8             Yes.

       9             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.  So you can -- you

      10      can -- you can violate the law, in your current

      11      understanding, without intending to disadvantage the

      12      homebuyers?

      13             If you treat them differently, if you --

      14      if -- if that behavior that we saw in those tapes

      15      became systemic, where White homebuyers with

      16      children were told, "you're not going to like the

      17      Amityville school districts" -- "the School

      18      District," but you're not going to like the

      19      Amityville schools, but, Black homebuyers were less

      20      likely to be told that, that would be a violation of

      21      the fair-housing laws?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  I'm not sure of the question.

      23             If the question is, is -- is -- did I intend

      24      to hit that person on the sidewalk?

      25             No.







                                                                   81
       1             But in my -- but I drank too much that day

       2      and I hit them.  So -- but it wasn't my intention to

       3      hit them.

       4             Now, I'm not clear in what you're asking.

       5             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  I -- I -- I suspect you're

       6      not a criminal defense attorney.

       7             "I'm pretty sure I was drunk, and I hit

       8      them," isn't a very good defense in an assault case.

       9             But it -- just to keep it in the context of

      10      fair housing, it is not -- in your view, it is -- it

      11      does not require an intent to discriminate, to

      12      disadvantage, Black homebuyers in order to violate,

      13      not just the spirit, but the letter of the

      14      fair-housing law.

      15             Is that your understanding today?

      16             BART CAFARELA:  I'm not sure what you're

      17      asking me about.

      18             But I will say that --

      19             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  I'm asking whether -- I'm

      20      asking whether, in a -- in a -- in a -- in a

      21      decision about whether a particular activity

      22      violates the fair-housing law, is it necessary to

      23      show that the person who is accused of violating the

      24      fair-housing law intended to discriminate, intended

      25      to disadvantage, one homebuyer over another?







                                                                   82
       1             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, I think the intent is

       2      irrelevant today.

       3             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  You think it's irrelevant,

       4      or relevant?

       5             BART CAFARELA:  I don't think it's -- I think

       6      today, if it's a clear-cut case of violation or

       7      discrimination because one is Black and one is

       8      White, I'm not interested in the intent.

       9             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  It doesn't matter the

      10      intent.

      11             And, again, the law -- as far as you know,

      12      the law on that has not changed in the last

      13      five years?

      14             BART CAFARELA:  I don't -- not in that

      15      respect, no, Senator, the law has not changed.

      16             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Okay.

      17             Thank you.

      18             I think that's all I have.

      19             BART CAFARELA:  Thank you.

      20             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you.

      21             I do want to ask Mr. Jannace a couple of

      22      questions.  We haven't heard too much from you.

      23             At the -- when the "Newsday" investigation

      24      was released, you, and I think everyone, was

      25      provided an opportunity to view their findings, and







                                                                   83
       1      comment.

       2             It does appear as though you took up their

       3      offer to view what they had, but that you declined

       4      to comment.

       5             Can you just talk about why you declined?

       6             Can you describe -- I don't think we've had

       7      any of the agents so far, today or last week,

       8      describe what that interaction was like with

       9      "Newsday" when everything came out?

      10             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Well, we originally got a

      11      letter, telling us that we were being investigated

      12      by "Newsday," and the statistics.

      13             I was devastated when I got that letter.

      14             I was sitting in my den with my wife, and

      15      I was -- my dad marched with Martin Luther King in

      16      Washington.

      17             I mean, I was raised that you treat everyone

      18      the same.

      19             And all of a sudden I'm being called racist,

      20      or steering.  And it devastated me.

      21             And my wife turned around and said:  Go into

      22      the den -- into the living room and see who's there.

      23             My teenage daughter had three friends there.

      24      It was like the United Nations.

      25             I've always treated everyone the same way.







                                                                   84
       1             And then to have a newspaper say I did

       2      something wrong, so I wanted to go see what I did

       3      wrong.

       4             When I got there, they wouldn't let me bring

       5      my phone in so I could record what was being said.

       6             I had to go through a metal detector.

       7             I had -- they put me in a room where a woman

       8      kept looking at me every couple of minutes to make

       9      sure I wasn't touching anything.

      10             And I wrote notes down.

      11             And what I did was, I wrote everything I said

      12      with the Black reporter on a piece of paper, in one

      13      column.  And then when they played the White

      14      reporter, I highlighted the exact same things

      15      I said.

      16             I treated them both the exact same way.

      17             So, now, why wouldn't I give them a response?

      18             I thought they were prejudice.

      19             I thought they were looking for headlines.

      20             I thought they were trying to sensationalize.

      21             I'm not saying steering and racism is right.

      22      I'm not condoning that at all.

      23             But they were looking to sell newspapers.

      24             And my feeling, and when I spoke to my

      25      attorney -- my personal attorney before that,







                                                                   85
       1      anything I was going to say, they would have twist

       2      and put there their benefit, and make me look bad.

       3             So why should I make any statements at all?

       4             Very honestly, I have no idea why I was even

       5      mentioned in the "Newsday" story.

       6             I treated both people -- if you watch the

       7      videos, you saw I treated both of them the same.

       8             So I have no idea.

       9             They both looked for different requirements,

      10      they both asked for different things.

      11             So to go there and give "Newsday" more to put

      12      into their paper to make me look bad, no, I wouldn't

      13      go on the record with them.

      14             So I hope that answers it.

      15             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  It does -- that does answer

      16      it.

      17             JOSEPH JANNACE:  I'm sorry I'm a little

      18      emotional, because, quite honestly, it's been, for

      19      the last year and a half, having to sit down with

      20      your children and tell them you have been accused of

      21      something, when you know it's false, that's not --

      22      it's wrong.

      23             And what they did to me and to my family, it

      24      was wrong, and I don't appreciate it.

      25             I appreciate you giving me -- this is the







                                                                   86
       1      first time I've had the chance to defend myself in

       2      two years, and I thank you so much for that.

       3             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you, and that does

       4      answer any question.

       5             And for whatever it's worth, you know,

       6      I think the fact that 98 percent of our questions

       7      thus far have been trained at the rest of the panel,

       8      I think may be a reflection of, you know, the

       9      varying levels of concern that we have as committees

      10      and co-chairs with the evidence that we have seen.

      11             So, if I may --

      12             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Thank you, Senator.

      13             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  -- what do you make of what

      14      we have heard today at this, sort of, part two of

      15      the hearing?

      16             I don't know if you watched last week.

      17      Certainly we tried to get this panel into last

      18      week's hearing.

      19             But if you did watch, I'd love to hear what

      20      you thought of last week.

      21             And what do you make of, just generally, the

      22      fact that it appears as though, and putting aside

      23      your situation, looking at everyone else around you

      24      today, last week if you did tune in, the broader

      25      "Newsday" investigation, what do you make of the







                                                                   87
       1      fact that it seems as though there was not a single

       2      agent disciplined after all of this?

       3             Clearly, and I think we've gathered this from

       4      a number of the panelists today, your colleagues,

       5      that there is some acknowledgment that steering

       6      exists.

       7             Not a single agent -- I mean, perhaps you

       8      and, you know, a number of others could argue that

       9      the allegations were not credible.

      10             But to suggest that every single allegation

      11      in the "Newsday" expos� was not credible I think is

      12      outrageous and outlandish.

      13             JOSEPH JANNACE:  I agree.

      14             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  So what do you make of the

      15      fact that not a single person lost their job, not a

      16      single person was disciplined?

      17             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Well, you know, I can't

      18      speak for other real-estate companies, and I can't

      19      speak for other individuals.

      20             But I think you expecting the brokers to do

      21      something, when there is State hearings that are

      22      pending before them, when there's board of realtors'

      23      hearings before them, you're asking them to make a

      24      determination on someone's innocence or guilt based

      25      on a newspaper article or tape.







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       1             And, meanwhile, how could someone -- if a

       2      broker terminates their agent, they're admitting to

       3      the department of state that they made a mistake.

       4             So as long as there are open investigations,

       5      you can't have people -- it's like putting them at a

       6      double-edge sword.

       7             But I will say this, someone -- the

       8      number-one question that's asked to every

       9      real-estate broker by every customer is:

      10             How are the schools?

      11             What are the schools like?

      12             And I always tell them, go speak to the

      13      administrators.

      14             But when agents are asked those questions

      15      every single day, by somebody, the public has to be

      16      made aware that agents aren't allowed to answer

      17      those questions, in addition to us being trained not

      18      to answer them.

      19             But we are asked those questions every single

      20      day by almost every customer.

      21             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  I'd like to just -- thank

      22      you for that answer.

      23             Can I just hone in on the first part of what

      24      you just said.

      25             So you believe that the reason why we haven't







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       1      seen any discipline from brokers with their agents

       2      is concern that that discipline might preempt the --

       3      either hearings or attorney general's investigation

       4      or the state agency oversight.

       5             That's the reason why you think that there

       6      hasn't been discipline?

       7             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Well, I used to own my own

       8      company at one time, with three offices.

       9             And I wouldn't put my -- yeah, I would think

      10      that, if I -- if a broker acknowledges something,

      11      you're putting them in a position where they now

      12      admitted they did something wrong, before the

      13      department of state and the board of realtors.

      14             So until everything plays out --

      15             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Mr. Cafarela, is --

      16             JOSEPH JANNACE:  -- you really can't have ...

      17             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Thank you for that.

      18             Mr. Cafarela, is -- is that -- do you agree

      19      with that statement?

      20             Is that why there has been no discipline in

      21      your company; not because of, contrary to what you

      22      have said over the past hour and a half, contrary

      23      to, you know, what you've said, which is, you know,

      24      I don't believe that any of the behavior rose to

      25      levels of discipline?







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       1             Have you not taken discipline because you did

       2      not want to preempt these other investigations?

       3             BART CAFARELA:  No, absolutely not.

       4             No.

       5             And I fully understand my responsibilities as

       6      the broker here.

       7             And, you know, that's not the reason at all.

       8             We actually chose to take the education

       9      route, because I do believe, what I have learned

      10      throughout this process, Senator, is we could talk a

      11      lot about intentions and implicit biases.

      12             And Elaine Gross's program really pointed out

      13      implicit biases, and I think -- that we all have.

      14             And is that an excuse for -- is that another

      15      way of saying it's unintentional?  No.

      16             But I think -- I can't comment -- like Joe

      17      said, I can't comment on the other brokers'

      18      situations, only because I haven't looked into them.

      19             I was concerned about my three agents and

      20      their conduct.  And I wanted to make sure that I was

      21      satisfied that everyone was -- was fine with that.

      22             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Let me ask you, if I may,

      23      so say one of these state investigations, attorney

      24      general, department of state, whoever it might be,

      25      comes down and does find violations, and revokes one







                                                                   91
       1      of your agent's licenses.

       2             What's going to be your response to that?

       3             I mean, do you remain defiant at that point

       4      that, you know, they did nothing wrong?

       5             Or do you perhaps reflect, well, maybe

       6      I wasn't looking at this properly, and I should have

       7      taken some disciplinary action?

       8             What's going to be your response if that

       9      happens?

      10             BART CAFARELA:  I don't expect that to

      11      happen, and I'm not sure what my response would be,

      12      because I'm not sure I understand the question, if

      13      one of our agents are found to be guilty in one

      14      [indiscernible] form or fashion.

      15             I'll -- listen, we -- we've kind of --

      16      I think we maybe see things a little bit different

      17      here.

      18             And I know the prism you're looking through

      19      everything here as well.

      20             So we -- we -- I couldn't give you that

      21      answer right now.

      22             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.  Fair enough.

      23             Senator Kavanagh or Thomas, do you have

      24      anything further?

      25             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  No.  I think I'm done with







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       1      questions, other than, you know, thank you to all

       2      the panelists for, you know, participating today.

       3             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Senator Thomas?

       4             SENATOR THOMAS:  I have a few questions for

       5      Mr. Cafarela.

       6             Sorry.

       7             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Don't apologize.

       8             Go ahead.

       9             SENATOR THOMAS:  So just going back to our

      10      original questioning -- right? -- about the

      11      supervisory ability, how do you otherwise keep tabs

      12      on what an agent says that could be disparate or

      13      even unintentionally discriminatory?

      14             Like, how do you keep tabs on these things?

      15             BART CAFARELA:  You know, most of the work

      16      being done today is being done from home right now,

      17      so it's almost impossible to keep tabs on

      18      conversations people have.

      19             We don't censor their phone calls, we don't

      20      censor their e-mails.

      21             So I don't understand that.

      22             We can't keep tabs on conversations.

      23             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.

      24             BART CAFARELA:  The best I -- we try to

      25      attempt to do, Senator, is we -- we -- we try to







                                                                   93
       1      train them over and over and over again, and teach

       2      them, and let them know that, should any issue --

       3      today, should any situation come up that they're not

       4      sure how to handle, they know where to go for those

       5      answers.

       6             SENATOR THOMAS:  So last week during some

       7      testimony, a number of agents testified that their

       8      training was inadequate.

       9             Can you talk about the trainings that you

      10      give your agents?

      11             BART CAFARELA:  I can.

      12             We provided -- there you go (holding up a

      13      stack of documents) -- a lot of samples to Senator

      14      Skoufis of what we've done.

      15             Most of the trainings we do are broker-given

      16      trainings and experts out of the real-estate

      17      business.

      18             If you want to talk directly about the

      19      fair-housing training, in my opening remarks, we

      20      have done a tremendous amount of that over the year.

      21             We've quite -- we really stepped it up now

      22      with our online program, because I believe the

      23      State -- the State-mandated training, and the

      24      approved training from the State, is somewhat

      25      outdated and certainly ineffective.







                                                                   94
       1             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.

       2             BART CAFARELA:  Because it's compliance

       3      training, and I have been through those courses.

       4             I think some of the investigators have been

       5      through those courses.

       6             And we realized that it's just not cutting it

       7      in the real world today, and we can do a better job.

       8             We've taken it upon ourselves do that, at

       9      great cost and expense and time allocated to this.

      10             And I would -- I offer the training to the

      11      division of human rights, to take a look at it, to

      12      make sure it meets with their approval.

      13             And I would do the same with you, Senator.

      14             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.

      15             Mr. Cafarela, thank you for that answer.

      16             Now, can you tell me if any of the agents,

      17      like, when they go into the training, they feel like

      18      they're confident enough after the training to sell

      19      a house?

      20             Like, do you get any sort of like feedback on

      21      their trainings?

      22             Because we heard from a number of agents that

      23      they were inadequate.  They just had an attorney

      24      spew a lot of legalese, and they were just on their

      25      own.







                                                                   95
       1             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, good question, Senator.

       2      Thank you.

       3             Our organization doesn't -- we rarely --

       4      I shouldn't say never -- we rarely take on brand-new

       5      licensees.

       6             Most of the agents that join our firm have

       7      some field experience and have worked in other

       8      companies.

       9             This type of training both my partner and

      10      myself do tremendously.

      11             We do our own -- do a lot of the fair-housing

      12      training ourselves so it can be interpreted into

      13      real-life situations.

      14             We don't put people in a room, sit down,

      15      here's 10 hours worth of training.  They come out.

      16             What have they learned?

      17             They really don't learn.

      18             So when we developed our current program,

      19      I -- I -- I did a lot of research on this.  And

      20      I not only wanted a program that was effective, but

      21      I wanted to make sure our agents understood what was

      22      being taught.

      23             So our internal program has questions and

      24      answers, so they make sure -- there's testing in our

      25      program, that if you don't pass the test, you have







                                                                   96
       1      to take the program over again.

       2             And we're able to do this and monitor this

       3      program, you know, over the Internet, so they

       4      understand exactly what we are trying to teach them.

       5             And it's not the compliance training that the

       6      State would provide.

       7             It's our internal real-life training, and it

       8      talks about what happens, and we'd like to think it

       9      talks about real life.

      10             SENATOR THOMAS:  Would --

      11             BART CAFARELA:  As -- if I may, I know I'm

      12      long-winded with this, but I'm a little passionate

      13      about this.

      14             SENATOR THOMAS:  Got it.  I understand.

      15             But, you know, my time is limited here.

      16             BART CAFARELA:  Okay.  I appreciate that.

      17             Maybe we can meet at another day, then,

      18      because I know you're local.

      19             SENATOR THOMAS:  Yes.

      20             Now, in terms of one-on-one trainings, do you

      21      give those to sales agents?

      22             BART CAFARELA:  We do.  [Indiscernible]

      23      agents individually as well.

      24             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.  And how often is that

      25      done?







                                                                   97
       1             BART CAFARELA:  As needed.

       2             SENATOR THOMAS:  As needed.

       3             Does it have to specifically request for

       4      one-on-one, or is it like part of the training

       5      regimen that you have?

       6             BART CAFARELA:  They request a one-on-one.

       7             They would request it, yeah.

       8             SENATOR THOMAS:  Would you recommend, after

       9      all of this, that it be not a request, but mandatory

      10      that they do a one-on-one with an experienced sales

      11      agent before they go out?

      12             BART CAFARELA:  Well, that's exactly how we

      13      do it, Senator.

      14             We -- like I said earlier, most of our agents

      15      are experienced.

      16             Any brand-new licensee that we take on, which

      17      is very few, they do work with an experienced agent.

      18             SENATOR THOMAS:  Okay.

      19             So --

      20             BART CAFARELA:  So we don't -- I'm sorry.

      21             So we don't just put them in a two-week

      22      training program and throw them out to the street.

      23             No, that doesn't happen.

      24             SENATOR THOMAS:  Going back to the number of

      25      agents that work under your brokering license --







                                                                   98
       1      right? -- do you believe that you can supervise 400?

       2      Is that like something that you can actually do?

       3             BART CAFARELA:  Yeah, a lot of people ask

       4      that question, how do we do that?

       5             We do it quite effectively through a lot

       6      of -- because our organization was built to support

       7      our sales people, and to supervise our sales people.

       8             So it's -- we -- that's the primary role of

       9      my partner and myself to do that, along with our

      10      administrative staff to help us with that.

      11             So that's what we do.

      12             SENATOR THOMAS:  Do you think [indiscernible]

      13      if we were to introduce legislation to limit the

      14      number of people working under your license, would

      15      that be an issue for you guys?

      16             BART CAFARELA:  I -- well, you're asking an

      17      opinion now, and I -- I'd -- I would love to talk to

      18      you at another time about that, quite frankly,

      19      Senator, because I don't think that would be

      20      effective in your ultimate goal.

      21             SENATOR THOMAS:  Well, ultimate goal is to

      22      make sure this doesn't happen again.

      23             And I think that, from listening to a lot of

      24      testimony here for the past -- I mean, today and

      25      last week, it just seems that, you know, there are







                                                                   99
       1      way too many people that you guys have to supervise,

       2      and it's just not adequate enough.

       3             So, thank you for your responses.

       4             And over to you, Senator Skoufis.

       5             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.  We'll go out for one

       6      last call.

       7             Any final questions?

       8             Seeing no hands, I want to thank each of you

       9      for your testimony.

      10             It's been almost two hours.

      11             And, you know, I think this was informative,

      12      it was enlightening, and we appreciate the answers.

      13             We know that sometimes you have been on the

      14      hot seat these past couple of hours, but we do thank

      15      you for it.

      16             It helps us inform our path forward now, as

      17      legislators, in how to respond to, you know, what

      18      we've seen and heard.

      19             So thank you very much for being with us.

      20             BART CAFARELA:  Thank you.

      21             JOSEPH JANNACE:  Thank you.

      22             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  I want to thank everyone

      23      for -- for -- who are tuned in, for tuning in.

      24             And I want to particularly thank my two

      25      co-chairs, Senator Thomas and Senator Kavanagh, and







                                                                   100
       1      our staffs, at central staff, who, as usual with

       2      these very substantive hearings, put in an enormous

       3      amount of work, helping us make sure that these run

       4      smoothly, and properly, and that we maximize our

       5      benefit, and get all the information that we're

       6      looking for.

       7             [Indiscernible.]

       8             SENATOR KAVANAGH:  Great.

       9             And I would -- yeah, I would just echo the

      10      sentiments [indiscernible].

      11             Thank you, Senator Skoufis and

      12      Senator Thomas, and all of the work from

      13      Andra Stanley, our committee counsel, and housing,

      14      and all the other committees.

      15             It's been a great collaborative effort.

      16             I would also just would remind folks who are

      17      tuned in, that, you know, we began last week's --

      18      the beginning of this hearing, by saying we have a

      19      number of legislative solutions.  A couple of them

      20      have been mentioned today.

      21             But we will be pursuing those as well.

      22             So -- but, again, thank -- thank you

      23      everybody who has been involved in this.

      24             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Are you good,

      25      Senator Thomas?







                                                                   101
       1             SENATOR THOMAS:  Yes.

       2             Thank you so much to everyone.

       3             Thank you to staff.

       4             Thank you to central staff for getting this

       5      panel here after last week's debacle.

       6             And thank you, everyone, that testified.

       7             God bless.

       8             SENATOR SKOUFIS:  Okay.

       9             See you all soon.

      10             Thanks very much.

      11

      12                (Whereupon, the joint virtual public

      13        hearing concluded, and adjourned.)

      14

      15                            --oOo--

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