Real Estate Councils at Fund Assembly

By: Rene’ Rutan, Manager, Events & Affiliate, REC & Realtor® Relations

The Real Estate Councils were everywhere at Assembly!

Two of Florida ARECS’ Directors presented educational programs.  Brenda Ezell, who is also Past-President of the Jacksonville Area Real Estate Council (JAREC) teamed up with Pilar Willis Dixon to present Risky Business: It’s Not Just About Title Insurance! The “Dirt” on Commercial Lines and Other Insurance Products.  On Saturday, Nishad Khan, former Director of the Central Florida Real Estate Attorneys’ Council (CFREAC) presented Condos, Covenants and CDD’s.  Thank you, Brenda and Nishad!

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I hosted a booth in the Assembly Expo, which became “REC Central” as REC Members gathered to catch-up with each other and on the newest resources available to RECs and their Members.  I also spoke to attendees of The Fund’s New Member Training that was running concurrently with Assembly to provide them with an introduction to the Real Estate Council community and all of the reasons they should join the REC in their area.

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On Friday, the Attorneys’ Real Estate Councils of Florida hosted it’s first Assembly REC Luncheon in three years and new Fund President & CEO, Jeff Rogero welcomed attendees and reminded REC Members that The Fund remains committed to the Real Estate Councils.   The past two years have been a challenge for many RECs, so Jacqueline Revis, President of the Broward Attorneys’ Real Estate Council (BAREC) shared insights in how BAREC navigated the shutdowns and other challenges to become even stronger.

And in the highlight of the luncheon, the Board of Directors of BAREC presented one of their own, Gracie Livingston, with a special award recognizing her advocacy of an elderly client.  The client was 88 years old and selling her house in anticipation of moving in with her alleged 76-year-old fiancé’, who despite supposedly living in Jacksonville was in Dubai.  You probably see where this is going…  Gracie did too and was convinced this was a romance scam and set about proving it and convincing her client before it was too late.  The scammer, in an effort to provide evidence of their authenticity, presented the woman with a bank account number and social security number proving that he was very wealthy.  Gracie used the information to validate the bank account and, sure enough, there were millions of dollars in the account.  Still convinced this was a scam, it occurred to Gracie that a corporate tax identification number and social security number have the same number of digits.   When she Googled the TIN, she discovered the bank account was actually owned by a small Florida city.  She contacted the bank and affected city to advise them that their information was being used to support a scam.  She was also finally able to convince her client that her fiancé’ was not legitimate and that she had been a victim of a scam.  It turns out that the woman had already given the scammers nearly $200,000 and all she had left was her home.  Congratulations to Gracie and all the other dedicated real estate attorneys working to protect their clients every day.  Well done!

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