Washington short-sale brokers will fight license revocation

Michael and Tara Hellickson accused of multiple, serious license violations

A husband-and-wife broker team who specialize in short sales and bank-owned properties can continue to operate their business while they appeal a 10-year suspension of their licenses by Washington regulators.

An Aug. 5 final order by the Washington state Department of License revoking the licenses of Michael Hellickson, his wife Tara Hellickson, and their Pierce County-based brokerage, Hellickson.com Inc., won’t take effect for 35 days, allowing the Hellicksons to seek a stay of the order while they appeal it in court.

Regulators claim the couple committed multiple, serious violations of licensing law, including listing homes at artificially reduced prices below what the owner was willing to accept in order to generate multiple lowball offers.

An attorney for the Hellicksons, Douglas Tingvall, said the Hellicksons will file suit in Pierce County Superior Court seeking a stay of the order pending judicial review.

He called the order "unprecedented," saying the Department of Licensing has never revoked a real estate broker’s license "for anything other than theft of trust funds or criminal felony convictions."