Directors for the National Association of Realtors have approved contributions of up to $100,000 for legal costs incurred by Realtor-affiliated multiple listing services and associations in South Carolina in response to U.S. Justice Department antitrust complaints. That spending was approved, along with an additional $208,000, to support Realtors in a variety of legal battles across the country. The Justice Department in May announced a lawsuit against Consolidated MLS in Columbia, S.C., which is a broker-operated MLS. The Justice Department charged that the MLS' rules illegally restrict competition among brokers and limit choice in real estate services, while MLS officials have countered that the rules are not anticompetitive. The trial is tentatively set for April 2009. The MLS has required an "initiation fee" of $2,500 to join, an MLS office visit "for a brief interview with the membership committee," and member offices must be located in a commercially...
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