NAGLREP President Issues Apology – Asks for Healing and Moving Forward with Pride
June 13, 2020
NAGLREP Founder and President Jeff Berger says “Last week was a tough week for me and NAGLREP. I have learned when you’re running a successful, thriving organization you will have criticism and potential competitors. Last week, I let the criticism and threat of competition get to me. I said and did things that do not reflect the values of the organization I lead. For that I apologize. It will never happen again, and I will use this as a learning point to take us all to the next level. I will seek and use the guidance of those who can help me improve in the future. I appreciate everyone who continues to share our vision of building a more equal world for our LGBTQ community.”
June 12 NAGLREP member Katie Berry commented on the NAGLREP Members Only facebook group “I’m sorry this has happened but can you respond to the other allegations in the inman article because there were what seemed like some legitimate concerns raised and I haven’t seen a response to them. I posted that question on the group page but admin didn’t approve it.
Berger says “To Katie and all members, thank you for asking the hard questions. Here’s My story of events that lead us to where we are today.
I grew up in Jericho, NY just 30 minutes east of Manhattan and after college I got a job on Wall St as a stockbroker. My older brother took me to work with him and to this day I never made a resume.
The first day I learned 3 things
1. If you want a friend get a dog.
2. Believe nothing of what you hear, and half of what you see.
3. All roads lead to the graveyard. All roads of the financial district flow into Wall St and at the end is a graveyard.
Now the question is did Robert Peterson try to corner the LGBT real estate market by setting up Jeff Berger and NAGLREP through a hostile Corporate Takeover? Let’s look at the timeline.
Friday May 22 – Jeff Berger ends quarantine and visits his doctor for botox in his forehead. That afternoon he posts to his personal facebook page about a personal experience he had at the doctors office. Soon after Robert Peterson, Engel & Volkers advisor and NAGLREP member begins harassing Jeff with comments in the post and Robert instant messages his friends who are also NAGLREP members involved and en mass they continue to harass Jeff. Jeff’s was being cyber bullied and after a back and forth cyber spat, Jeff deleted a majority of the comments from his post because he felt the negative energy was inappropriate for his personal wall.
May 22 – 25 Robert Peterson continues to instant message many NAGLREP members and personal friends of Jeff Berger. The messages are defaming to Jeff’s reputation. The cyber bullying and negative noise is growing and growing and growing. Robert Peterson is using facebook instant messenger to engage hundreds of NAGLREP members and sharing defaming content about Jeff. Here is an example of what is happening.
May 26 Jeff Berger receives an email from Katelyn Castellano, Engel & Volkers, SVP Marketing. Engel & Volkers CEO Anthony Hitt is cc’d. The email advises “We’ve received several emails and phone calls today and over the weekend” numerous Engel & Volkers advisors are suggesting
Jeff replies to Katelyn and cc’s Anthony to clarify any concerns.
IMPORTANT: Berger’s original facebook post in question was Friday May 22, and Tuesday May 26 after the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, Katelyn says “We’ve received several emails and phone calls today and over the weekend”. Over the weekend was Saturday May 23, Sunday May 24, Memorial Day Holiday May 25. During the holiday weekend Robert Peterson began making baseless claims with zero evidence of wrong doing by Berger and NAGLREP. Peterson fabricated a story to defame Jeff Berger and NAGLREP. Day after day he doubled down because to him it didn’t matter if it was a lie.
May 26 Jeff Berger receives a phone call from Mary Mancera of Phase Two Communications, a consultant for NAGLREP. Mary advises Robert Peterson is defaming me to hundreds of NAGLREP members and is now calling NAGLREP sponsors with a similar message. Jeff Also receives phone calls from Teresa Palacios Smith of HSF Affiliates and Katelyn Castellano of Engel & Volkers advising there’s a lot of noise in the industry and it’s very bad noise about Jeff Berger and NAGLREP. Robert Peterson is the originating source.
Jeff Berger continues to be excessively bullied and harassed on Facebook. Jeff Berger had made an executive decision to expel such members because of their conduct of bullying, lying, harassment, and discrimination against Jeff Berger’s sexual orientation. These members include Robert Peterson and Gene Brake. Berger found their numerous defaming messages were threatening the continuity of NAGLREP and disturbing many members daily business and personal lives. During the quarantine the world was fragile enough. Berger tried to communicate with both of them with no success. Peterson and Brake were clearly moving forward with their defaming messages regardless. On an unknown date they create and manage a facebook group @realpride to continue their dogma and defame Berger and invite NAGLREP members to the group and encourage NAGLREP members to cancel their NAGLREP membership.
May 26 After Jeff “cleared the air” with Engel & Volkers, Jeff text messages Robert Peterson to try and understand what is the issue. Robert Peterson gets more extreme in his harassment and bullies Jeff Berger by text until almost 1am.
May 27 Jeff Berger advises sponsors and members he is being bullied. Jeff does not name names out of respect for the agents parent company.
May 27 Let’s understand now…. since 2014 when NAGLREP became a 501(c)(3) non profit, no members or sponsors have ever asked for any official documents from NAGLREP in reference to tax docs form 990, board success, and other items. The same for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Members and sponsors knew I and the board executed well and there was no need for concern. At this time Peterson and Brake have made crystal clear through numerous facebook, phone, and email communications including their facebook group for @realpride that they do not like Berger, nor do they like the way he manages NAGLREP. It is their biased opinion.
Robert Peterson and Gene Brake are aggressively sharing a defaming fabricated story that Jeff Berger is a fraud, Robert Peterson is saying NAGLREP is bankrupt, Robert Peterson is saying Jeff is mismanaging NAGLREP funds. Robert Peterson and Gene Brake are saying Jeff is not LGBT and is married to a woman. Jeff is bisexual and after years of raising his children decided to stay close to his children and not legally divorce. Jeff coparents with his children’s mom. And instead of respecting Jeff Berger’s sexual orientation, Robert Peterson and Gene Brake are calling numerous NAGLREP members and sponsors saying “Jeff is not gay, he’s a fraud and is married to a woman”.
Robert Peterson is also fabricating a story that NAGLREP is filing fraudulent tax returns and Peterson is basing it on a news article he found on google. The article states the accountant who processes NAGLREP tax returns was arrested in 2018 for a minor incident within his 40 year careeer, and therefore Robert Peterson fabricates a story that NAGLREP is filing fraudulent tax returns.
Robert Peterson jumped to conclusions with zero evidence again because he did a records search and found out Jeff Berger’s mother is the Secretary of NAGLREP, and Jeff Berger’s children’s mother is the Treasurer of NAGLREP. In addition to 3 other Board of Directors Eric Axelson, Bruce Williams, and Janis Lippman. While Jeff Berger mistakenly did not file a form to add the 3 additional BOD to the corporate charter, this was an error of oversight, and the 3 BOD served publicly and honestly from 2014 to May 11, 2020. Upon realizing the oversight error, Berger did file the appropriate document to add the 3 BOD to the corporate charter. Due to oversight, Berger also revised the naglrep.com website.
May 30 NAGLREP BOD hosts board meeting and within votes to set NAGLREP Member Code of Conduct to clarify NAGLREP’s position on NAGLREP member conduct of bullying and discrimination of members and non members.
NAGLREP Member Code of Conduct
NAGLREP members shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. NAGLREP members shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
-NAGLREP members in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
-NAGLREP members may not bully or cyber bully members or non members.
-If a NAGLREP member violates our Code of Conduct, NAGLREP reserves the right to discontinue membership.
June 2 Berger continues to be cyber bullied, and hears through many NAGLREP members that Robert Peterson, Gene Brake, and their “gang” and doing a lot of damage to my reputation and NAGLREP’s good name.
June 2 Berger has a realization that he requires to protect his reputation. He consults with numerous industry leaders and CEO’s. Berger then emails Engel & Volkers CEO Anthony Hitt and Katelyn Castellano including documents that prove all of Robert Peterson’s fabrications are false. Berger attaches NAGLREP bank accounts showing over $210,000 in NAGLREP accounts, 2018 and 2019 form 990 (there was an amendment valid under tax statute), 501(c)(3) in good standing, current BOD. Berger had expectations Engel & Volkers would now know Robert Peterson has been lying all this time about NAGLREP being bankrupt, having an invalid 501(c)(3), fake board, and harassment of Berger’s sexual orientation. Berger requested Engel & Volkers take the necessary actions against their rogue agent.
June 3 Engel & Volkers CEO Anthony Hitt replies to Berger’s email suggesting they talk on the phone. Berger calls Hitt and further advises Hitt of all the horrendous and deceitful behaviors of Robert Peterson and the “gang” he’s assembled that is cyber bullying and harassing him. Hitt confirms he has viewed the documents Berger sent him. Hitt told Berger he’s good friends with Robert Peterson and thinks he’s a great guy. Hitt advised he did not intend to take any action in reference to Peterson and his role at Engel & Volkers and he knows very well of what Robert is doing in his communications with me. Berger advised Hitt there is no longer a meeting of the minds and NAGLREP prefers to cease and desist it’s partnership with Engel & Volkers and emails such in writing because our core values no longer align.
June 4 Anthony Hitt releases defamatory and slanderous letter to real estate industry “The Future of NAGLREP/Jeff Berger”
June 5 Berger realizes Anthony Hitt is trying to save face, the cyber bullying against Berger is at an all time high.
June 6 The hit is on. Inman news is writing an article in response to Hitt’s letter, and Berger gets an extremely high level of anxiety. He mistakenly uses unprofessional language. He is so distraught and depressed at this point and knows he’s been set up by Robert Peterson so Peterson can defame Berger and NAGLREP and only then Peterson can have a spotlight to jumpstart his new lgbt re org realpride. Berger is nervous, anxious, and in a state of hysteria. Later that eve the article releases and immediately Berger’s remarks plus other defaming statements by Robert Peterson and Gene Brake damage Berger’s good reputation.
June 10 After Robert Peterson, Gene Brake, and the angry cyber bullying “gang” have influenced NAGLREP chapter Presidents to dislike Berger, many chapter presidents resign.
June 10 NAGLREP BOD Eric Axelson, Janice Lippman, and Bruce Williams resign.
Present NAGLREP’s budget has never been in debt, and currently has a surplus. No directors or officers have ever received any compensation for their service on the board. Berger is not an employee of NAGLREP. He serves as founding President. NAGLREP is continuing its mission and presently seeking to add new board members within the next 30 days.