BrokerageIndustry News

Federal hearing begins in MLS antitrust complaint

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

The administrative hearing is underway for a Michigan multiple listing service accused by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of setting restrictions on a type of property-listing agreement in violation of antitrust law, and early witnesses called to testify include a broker for a flat-fee listing company and a publisher for a real estate information company. The trial-like hearing process, which began Tuesday, is expected to last about two weeks, with the FTC's Chief Administrative Law Judge Stephen J. McGuire presiding. Administrative law judges are employed by federal government agencies to consider complaints filed by those agencies. Realcomp II Ltd., which has about 15,000 members and is the largest Realtor-owned MLS in Michigan, is receiving financial assistance in the case from the National Association of Realtors trade group, which approved a maximum $175,000 contribution. The FTC charged in its October 2006 complaint that Realcomp II has adopted rules that prevent the MLS's dist...