MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — An industry leader says a realtor made a questionable, but not illegal choice when she showed a home with offensive items.
Muskegon police officer Charles Anderson was put on leave after a couple toured his home and saw items like a framed Ku Klux Klan application.
Some had questioned if showing the home was a violation of fair housing laws, which protects people from discrimination, or if the realtor had any responsibility when she listed the house.
Dale Zahn, CEO of West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors, works with Anderson’s realtor, Deborah Grenell. He said the realtor, in this case, made the wrong move but acted within her legal right.
“It’s absolutely legal under Michigan law, federal law and Michigan code of ethics,” Zahn said.
Zahn said a realtor’s choice to show a house with a symbol of hate on the wall is only a matter of right versus wrong.
“It probably would have been a good idea to say, ‘you know, you might want to consider moving that,’” Zahn said.
Zahn said what’s underneath Anderson’s roof is his business and has no legal bearing on Grenell.
“Was it a good idea to have it on display when home seekers are coming through? Probably not a good idea,” Zahn said.
Like any realtor, Grenell can make recommendations on what should be visible, but Zahn said she doesn’t have the final say.
“I think Deborah and all of the other realtors should be cognizant of looking for things that might be deemed objectionable,” Zahn said. “This one clearly is objectionable.”
Anderson’s home also had a Confederate flag in the garage and a Confederate flag centerpiece on the dining room table.
It’s not illegal for a realtor to put the house on the market, but Zahn said it is illegal for any realtor to blatantly discriminate against any buyer.
“If there was any intent to discriminate or be involved in any kind of effort to discriminate and deny housing opportunities, (that’s a) violation of the code,” Zahn said.
News 8 went to Grenell’s office, but she wasn’t there. Over the phone, Grenell said she had no comment.
Zahn said buyers who feel like their realtor violated a code of ethics can file a complaint.
At last check, the couple, who found the items in Anderson’s home offensive, has not filed one.