The Arkansas Real Estate Commission is currently conducting an investigation into the real estate transactions of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA). This comes after a complaint was filed against FCRA Executive Director Daniel Mann and FCRA by Steve Beam, president of Steve Beam Construction. The complaint alleges that Mann and FCRA may have violated state real estate licensing law.
According to the complaint, there is a violation in regards to Arkansas State Real Estate Law and The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The FCRA attorney, Dalton Person, has stated that RESPA is a federal law that does not apply to this situation as it is related to real estate mortgage loans.
The complaint was filed by Steve Beam, who has been critical of FCRA and its executive director. Beam alleges that the 2% merit compensation included in Mann’s contract has led to questionable real estate transactions. The merit compensation is to be paid to Mann for all real property transactions in which FCRA is the seller, as long as he remains the CEO.
Beam cited FCRA dealings with various entities, including the City of Barling, Alejandro Fuentes, and the City of Fort Smith, as examples of these questionable transactions. He argues that the merit pay is essentially a commission on real estate transactions, which he believes is in violation of Arkansas real estate law.
However, Person asserts that his research has shown that the merit pay is legal. He points to an exception in Arkansas Code 17-42-104, which allows for a person employed by the owner of the property being sold to receive commission. In this case, Mann is employed by FCRA, which owns the property at Chaffee that is being sold.
It is important to note that since the merit pay was added to Mann’s contract, the FCRA trustees have instituted policies that provide them with oversight of all real estate offers. Additionally, FCRA decided to end its use of real estate brokers in October 2022, meaning that the responsibility of selling the property now falls primarily on Mann.
The investigation by the Arkansas Real Estate Commission will determine whether Mann and FCRA indeed violated state real estate licensing law.