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A new lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses two eXp Realty agents of luring women to industry and company events with the promise of career advancement, only to then drug and sexually assault them.
The suit was filed in California on behalf of four women. It names as defendants agents Michael Bjorkman and David Golden, as well as both eXp Realty and parent company eXp World Holdings. The complaint describes Bjorkman as a former agent at eXp and Golden as a current agent — statuses that the two men’s LinkedIn pages appeared to confirm as of Wednesday afternoon.
The complaint ultimately argues that the two men participated in an “ongoing venture to entice women to travel in interstate commerce, recruit enthusiastic real estate agents with the promise of career advancement and coaching, and use their considerable influence in the real estate industry on these other real estate agents behalf, knowing that they would use means of force, fraud or coercion to cause these women to engage in a sex act.”
Asked about the case, eXp replied that it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Bjorkman and Golden did not immediately respond to Inman’s requests for comment Wednesday.
The complaint describes multiple specific instances of alleged sexual misconduct. In one 2018 episode, for example, a woman joined eXp with both Golden and Bjorkman as her sponsor agents. In July of that year, the complaint alleges, she went to a networking event at a California hotel. Golden encouraged her to attend the event for the sake of her career and later told her to share a room — which had separate beds — with Bjorkman.
Later, the woman had a drink with Bjorkman and blacked out, according to the complaint. She later allegedly woke up naked in a hotel bed with Bjorkman and another woman both naked in the room’s other bed. When the woman ran to the shower, Bjorkman “came into the bathroom naked, exposing himself to her and attempting to engage her in inappropriate sexual contact,” the complaint reads.
The complaint goes on to describe a similar incident in 2019 during which Bjorkman allegedly handed a woman a drink and she blacked out. The woman later woke up alone, naked, bleeding, in pain and with no memory of what happened, according to the complaint. The woman allegedly confronted Bjorkman and he said they had not had sex, though he later changed his story and admitted they had.
The complaint describes the incident as a rape and accuses Bjorkman of trying to “gaslight” the woman about what happened.
A third incident allegedly happened at an eXp recruiting event in August 2020 hosted by both Bjorkman and Golden. The complaint alleges that a woman attended the event and went to a get-together at a suite occupied by Bjorkman and Golden. The woman had a single drink, became ill and later woke up naked in her hotel bed with limited memories of what happened.
“After speaking with several people,” the complaint reads, the woman “realized that she was drugged/rendered incapacitated by” Bjorkman and Golden.
Yet another incident allegedly happened around the same time. The complaint alleges that the woman’s memory of the incident is “spotty,” but she “does recall being sexually assaulted” by Bjorkman.
The complaint also notes that Golden told that woman to lie about the episode to police.
The woman attended the event at the invitation of Bjorkman and Golden, and because “it was marketed to her as an eXp Realty recruiting event that would be good for her real estate career.”
Bjorkman was ultimately arrested in March 2021, according to the complaint. Along with the arrest, police at the time reportedly prepared a 27-page report “describing multiple occasions of multiple women being drugged and assaulted by defendant Bjorkman while attending eXp Realty recruiting events.”
A month after Bjorkman’s arrest, prosecutors in Las Vegas had charged him with two counts of sexual assault, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Journal also reported that an arrest warrant accused Bjorkman of assaulting people in Los Angeles, Maui and Denver and that the various allegations spanned more than a decade.
However, prosecutors dismissed the case two months later saying in a statement to the Journal that “after charges were filed in this case, we received additional information and evidence that led us to believe that we cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In addition to the allegations against Bjorkman and Golden, the complaint reads that one of the alleged victims approached both eXp founder Glenn Sanford and then-CEO Jason Gesing about the situation. The complaint accuses both company leaders of already knowing about a “pattern and practice of predatory sexual conduct” from Bjorkman and Golden but nevertheless not doing anything to help the woman.
The lawsuit ultimately asks for a jury trial and for monetary damages.
Though the agents named in the suit didn’t respond to requests for comment, Bjorkman’s attorney told the Journal in 2021 that he planned to “vigorously defend” against the criminal allegations. He also called the allegations in the arrest warrant about assaults in far-flung states “hearsay” and described their inclusion in the document as “outrageous.”
After the case was dismissed, Bjorkman’s attorney told the Journal that “we’re very gratified that we were able to see justice done here.”
In a statement to Inman Wednesday, attorney Andrea S. Hirsch — who is part of the team representing the plaintiffs in the case — said that “what happened to these women at eXp is disturbing and deplorable and we hope the bravery of these women will inspire others.”