BrokerageIndustry News

MLS must admit any licensed broker

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A federal district court has granted final approval of a settlement between the Department of Justice and a South Carolina multiple listing service that it accused of anticompetitive practices, but the potential for a dispute over the MLS's initiation fee for new members remains.The Department of Justice sued Columbia, S.C.-based Consolidated Multiple Listing Service Inc. (CMLS) in May 2008. The antitrust suit alleged the broker-operated MLS's membership restrictions and rules hindered discount and "fee-for-service" brokers from competing with traditional, full-service companies that allegedly controlled CMLS's board.At least 20 brokers testified that CMLS's rules either excluded them from the Columbia market or impeded their competition, the Justice Department said.Although CMLS disputed the allegations, the MLS changed some disputed policies in response to a Justice Department investigation that preceded the lawsuit. The two sides reached a proposed settlement in May (see s...