BrokerageIndustry News

Proponents of ‘Open MLS’ proceed with petition drive

Maine association plans to oppose initiative if it reaches ballot

Proponents of a statewide public multiple listing service in Maine are working to qualify a ballot initiative for an election in 2008, and the state Realtor trade group is prepared to fight if the signature drive is successful. The Maine Association of Realtors operates a statewide MLS, the Maine Real Estate Information System Inc., as a subsidiary. The MLS has about 5,200 subscribers. David Barry, a San Francisco lawyer, in December 2005 launched a similar effort to introduce a ballot measure in California establishing an "Open MLS," though that effort was abandoned. Barry, who established the Open MLS Institute, a nonprofit corporation that has sought to create a nationwide MLS system that is open to the public, is well known in the industry for the many antitrust lawsuits he has filed against Realtor groups. Most of these legal challenges were not decided in his clients' favor, and Barry is the target of a California Association of Realtors lawsuit that alleges malicious prosecution...