Wendell Willick, co-founder and CEO for real estate marketing and technology provider Point2 Technologies, resigned his position last week and this week entered a guilty plea for sexual exploitation of a teen from January 1996 to November 1999 while serving as a church elder in the teen’s congregation, according to news reports and court records.
Willick is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 5 in Queen’s Bench Court in Saskatoon, Canada. He faces a maximum sentence of five years, according to Kristen Crowell, a spokeswoman for Saskatchewan Law Courts.
Roger Noujeim, a spokesman for Point2, said today that the personal legal charges against Willick are “completely unrelated to the business of Point2” and that Willick’s responsibilities have been assumed by existing company executives.
“(Willick) was hands off, leaving the leadership of the business divisions to the business-division leaders, mainly Brendan (King) for the real estate business, and, if required, Chester Hagen for the heavy-equipment business.”
While the Point2 Web site had listed company president Barry Willick, Wendell’s brother, as president and CEO, Noujeim said that the company board determined that an interim CEO position was not necessary, and Barry Willick continues to serve as president and chief technology officer. Company managers in the real estate and heavy equipment divisions are in charge of business decisions for their divisions, he said. “The Point2 real estate business has always been envisioned and moved and driven by the existing team.”
Point2’s real estate division operates the Point2 National Listing Service, which allows real estate professionals to form individual marketing agreements to display property information on multiple real estate Web sites and to decide which third-party Web sites to select in marketing properties. The system has about 150,312 members and includes members in 85 countries, mostly the United States and Canada, with about 100,300 unique visitors per day according to company statistics.
When the company launched in 1996 it targeted heavy-equipment dealers, and launched real estate marketing services in January 2003. The company has reported 130 clients in the heavy-equipment industry that together represent annual revenues of about $100 million in U.S. dollars. Point2, which employs a staff of 100, has a headquarters in Saskatoon and also has offices in Vancouver, Canada.
Willick, who is married and has three children, was charged with engaging in a sexual relationship with a teen who was a member of his congregation beginning when the teen was 14 and ending when she was 17, according to court records. “They both belonged to the Jehovah’s Witness church and attended the same ‘book studies,’ ” court records state.
Willick’s “perspective was that the sexual relationship was ‘very consensual’ and that the (teen) was a very willing participant. In fact he went so far as to suggest that the (teen) was so ‘infatuated’ with him that he feared that terminating the relationship would spark reprisals from (her),” according to court records. Willick reported that the teen was “self abusing” and had run away from home, and he was asked to assist the teen in his capacity as a church elder, the records state.
The Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper reported that the allegations about Willick were first reported to police in 2004, and that Willick had changed his plea in the case to guilty after court Justice Martin Popescul “rejected his application earlier this week to have the charge stayed.” The newspaper also reported that Willick remains free pending sentencing but was ordered to turn over his passport.