Industry News

Maine ‘Open MLS’ petition drive fails

Supporters plan to launch Web site for agents, consumers

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Supporters of a ballot initiative proposal in Maine, who sought to create a statewide public multiple listing service, have canceled their petition drive for lack of financial support, said David Barry, a San Francisco lawyer who supported the effort. Barry, who has engaged in a series of antitrust lawsuits against Realtor groups throughout his career, in 2005 launched a similar petition drive in California -- that effort also failed to gather enough signatures to qualify as a ballot measure. Barry established the nonprofit Open MLS Institute and a separate group called Trust MLS, to support the establishment of a new nationwide MLS system. The current system of local, regional and statewide MLSs is dominated by Realtor-affiliated MLSs. Maine already has a statewide MLS, the Maine Real Estate Information System Inc., which has about 5,800 subscribers. That system is a subsidiary of the Maine Association of Realtors trade group. Many Realtor-affiliated MLSs require participants to be Re...