BrokerageIndustry News

Jury finds Realtor, real estate brokerage guilty

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A jury has found a North Dakota Realtor and a brokerage guilty of fraud and breach of contract in the sale of a home that had structural problems. MoreLaw.com, a public access litigation digest, reported that a couple who purchased the home from Realtor Wesley "Wes" J. Bailey "discovered a false wall in the three-bedroom home that concealed a 'bowing, cracking and shifting' wood foundation." Thomas and Arel Axtmann, the Mandan, N.D., couple who purchased the home from Bailey, bought it for $59,500 in July 1999, and their complaint sought $59,550 in repair costs. A jury this month awarded the Axtmanns $75,000 in economic damages and $65,000 in exemplary damages. The litigation was complicated by an earlier lawsuit filed in 1995, also related to foundation problems, which led to a settlement in which Bailey took ownership of the home. "The issue really was the failure to fully disclose latent defects that the buyers were not likely to discover because of the false wall in the basement....