The office of the Maryland attorney general is expected to decide within the next several weeks whether the presidents of three Montgomery County real estate firms may be liable for disciplinary action.
The presidents -- John P. Foley Jr. of Jack Foley Realty, Inc., John T. Carruthers Jr. of Colquitt-Carruthers, Inc., and Robert W. Leblinb of Bogley, Inc. -- were convicted in 1977 of conspiring to fix commissions on home sales. The state action follows their unsuccessful appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Specifically, the Maryland attorney general will be asked to rule whether their criminal convinction falls into the category of crimes involving bad faith, improprer dealings or moral turpitude. Price fixing is not listed in the Maryland code, so a ruling is necessary, a state spokesman said.
If the attorney general finds against the men, the Maryland Real Estate Commission may decide after a hearing to reprimand the three, suspend or revoke their licenses and/or fine them.
The commission met May 8 to hear motions by the brokers' attorney to dismiss complaints against them.
The commissioners did dismiss complaints against six real estate firms convicted in the same trial because the commission licenses only individuals, not corporations, said attorney James Ostendorf. In addition to the firms, the others exonerated were Shannon and Luchs, Schick and Pepe, and Robert L. Gruen, Inc. The Distrct Real Estate Commission has said it will take no action until after Maryland decides.
The firms and their presidents were convicted of conspiring to raise commission rates for 6 to 7 percent in Montgomery County in 1974. The increase allegedly cost home sellers, $700,000. The companies and their executives were fined a total of $200,000 for the offense.