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Maryland lawmaker receives official reprimand for real estate law

Real estate transactions are governed by strict laws, and we trust our lawmakers to protect all parties in a real estate deal by passing fair and balanced laws. And for the most part, they do. But a in a recent move, the Maryland House of Delegates took the unusual step of reprimanding one of its members, a man they accuse of attempting to pass real estate legislation for his personal benefit.

The House voted 127-3 to reprimand one of its delegates for inserting a small measure into an existing real estate bill that would have altered the law in his favor. The insertion would have allowed the man to renew his real estate license, which had previously been taken away under to accusations of unethical behavior.

The delegate, a professional real estate agent, lost his license in 2010 after an administrative judge ruled that he had behaved fraudulently when dealing with clients. He was forced to repay $75,000 that the state had given to his victims, and his license was suspended until the fee was paid.

The delegate's addition to the bill would have allowed him to be reinstated immediately. It also would have allowed him to save thousands of dollars by reducing the interest rate on his debt and waiving the administrative fees. When fellow lawmakers discovered the connection between the real estate agent and the law, their reaction was one of shock and anger, leading to the official reprimand that was passed down earlier this week.

As any commercial real estate attorney can attest, real estate laws can be very complex. However, this complexity is often the result of the law's good intention to protect the buying and selling parties. Those who must navigate real estate transactions can at least have faith in the knowledge that the laws are fair and that the process, though possibly complicated, will support the best interests of those involved. That is why the actions of this lawmaker deserve such a stern rebuke: they violate the trust that real estate owners have in their laws.

Source: The Washington Post, "Md. Lawmaker reprimanded for bill that would have helped his real-estate practice," Aaron C. Davis and Kate Havard, Feb. 5, 2013

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