ear Friends of REAL-Reform,
While the war is far from finished, the first battle over Designated Agency--that fatally flawed, anti-consumer legislation being pushed by the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA)--has been won and the beneficiaries of this victory are Wisconsin home buyers, sellers and also small real estate brokerage firms and their licensees.

In the Public Policy Forum of its April 2002 Wisconsin Realtor newsletter, Michael Theo--WRA Vice President of Public Affairs and chief WRA lobbyist--effectively concedes defeat on the Designated Agency issue within his article called, "Best and Worst of Times".

Mr. Theo, passing the defeat off to, "Demands on drafting attorneys and other legislative priorities...", and, "...the partisan split between the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled Assembly...", never bothers to give credit where credit is due...but the effect is the same, Wisconsin home buyers and sellers remain free from the deception of Designated Agency until at least the next legislative session, which begins in January of 2003.

And that gives us time.

Time for REAL-Reform to educate consumers, small real estate firms and even those who would ignorantly choose to practice Designated Agency at larger firms about the perils and pitfalls for all parties involved in this smoke and mirrors form of "representation".

REAL-Reform would like to extend its sincere thanks to all the people and organizations who have participated in handing the WRA this education in grass-roots (cyber) politics.

As a result of our efforts and your involvement, REAL-Reform kept the WRA from having its way in this session of the legislature by:

Raising the alarm on Designated Agency via this network on January 24, 2002.

Countering the WRA's specious claims about Designated Agency, including some overt misrepresentations made, on multiple occasions, by WRA Chief Counsel Richard Staff.

Producing opposition to Designated Agency from such notable sources as the Consumer Federation of America and the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents, to name a few.

Successfully lobbying the Wisconsin Real Estate Board and
the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing to withhold
support for Designated Agency.

Alerting legislators that any attempt to back-door this legislation by attaching it to the Budget Bill or any other Bill--as was done in Connecticut where they silently used Megan's Bill as the transport vehicle, AFTER Designated Agency was already defeated there in open session--would be greeted by a full-out expose across this network and in the press. (Admittedly, thisis still a possibility in our current legislative session, but would certainly appear to be nothing short of political suicidegiven the nature of this issue.)

Bottom line: The WRA can spin this issue any way it wants, but the truth is that REAL-Reform --a small, but growing, grass-roots organization--stopped the third largest association in the State of Wisconsin from foisting yet another anti-consumer piece of legislation onto the citizens of Wisconsin.

In addition to gearing up for round two of this war, REAL-Reform's next task will be to repeal the Agency "Reform" Act of '94 and to create a facilitator option in the State of Wisconsin, thus restoring to Wisconsin real estate buyers and sellers their right to receive full fiduciary services...while still leaving real estate companies with an honest option--provided they make full, upfront disclosure coupled with obtaining informed consumer consent--for servicing consumers when a conflict of interest arises.

Sometime in the next month, REAL-Reform will be sending out a message across this network requesting financial and/or volunteer support, so that we may be prepared to take our battle to the next level.

REAL-Reform will be incorporating as a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization which will be positioned to fight against WisconsinDesignated Agency as it re-emerges in 2003, fight for the return of the common law of agency to Wisconsin's real estate laws and upon achieving both of those goals, will then transition to defending our real estate agency laws from any future attempts at eroding consumer protections.

There will be consumer memberships and licensee memberships, each of which will come with some unique benefits. Please, when you are given the opportunity to contribute, keep in mind that REAL-Reform has already proven itself a worthy organization by winning round one in this war. Winning future rounds will almost certainly require getting the word out to more people, most especially consumers. To do this will take some money and/or some volunteering.

We don't need to have nearly the level of funding or manpower that the WRA has, because we have the truth on our side and nothing trumps the truth, provided you can get your message out before the masses. That, of course, is where the money and manpower comes in.

Thank you for your patience in reading this message and to those of you who are friends of REAL-Reform, Congratulations! We have won our first of--hopefully--many victories!