A Florida-based Corcoran agent was fired this week after he reportedly sent out marketing emails that alluded to recent racial unrest in New York City and suggested real estate consumers move south in response.
A Corcoran spokesperson confirm to Inman via an emailed statement Tuesday that a Miami area agent “has been swiftly disassociated from our firm” after distributing an unapproved marketing campaign. The statement did not mention the agent by name, but The Real Deal, which first reported the news, identified him as Joseph Swedroe.
Swedroe worked out of Corcoran’s Surfside office. Though Corcoran’s statement did not provide details about the nature of his marketing campaign, The Real Deal reported that Swedroe sent out an email showing a picture of a burning New York police van. The email reportedly included the subject line “looking for change” and asked readers if they wanted “chaos or comfort.”
Corcoran’s statement said that the company “categorically rejects racist and fear-based rhetoric in any form.”
“Corcoran has been proud to call New York City home for 47 years, and we love this city and its people,” the statement concluded.
In a brief phone conversation with Inman, Swedroe said that the situation “was ridiculous” and said he would provide additional comment later. As of the time of publication, however, Inman had not heard back.
The controversy comes amid ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. The killing has reignited a broader debate about racism and police brutality, and has prompted some calls from activists to defund or dismantle police departments.
Though Inman was not immediately able to review the imagery in Swedroe’s email, some of the protests have involved the burning of vehicles and looting of businesses.
Swedroe told The Real Deal that the campaign was meant to get attention and connect him to New Yorkers who might consider moving to Florida — a place he described as “quieter and calmer” than New York, which has seen “riots and vandalism.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Swedroe’s profile had been removed from Corcoran’s website. However, a cached version of the page showed three active listings. The cached profile also states that he has years of experience in real estate and architecture.
Swedroe’s LinkedIn page indicates he joined Corcoran last year. He previously worked at Riviera Real Estate in Aventura, Florida. The page also indicates he is a partner at Robert M. Swedroe Architects & Planners, a multifamily architecture firm.
Swedroe’s firing comes about a week after Corcoran President and CEO Pam Liebman published a letter titled “Racism has no home here.” The letter stated that “people are hurting” in the wake of deaths like that of Floyd, and that “Corcoran stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of these communities.”