Some will object when a person accused of a crime faces sanctions from a professional organization before conviction.
But organizations often have bylaws that enable them to take such action, and that’s as it should be.
Take the case of local real estate broker Roger Shoot, whose license was suspended July 9 by the Indiana Real Estate Commission.
Shoot is the target of a civil lawsuit by the Indiana Attorney General’s office and criminal charges by the Madison County Prosecutor’s office.
The local charges include forgery, theft, perjury and corrupt business influence, stemming from Shoot’s alleged indiscretions in local real estate transactions. In all, he faces 32 criminal counts. Authorities claim that, among other crimes, he failed to follow through on his agreement to pay property taxes and insurance premiums on local properties he brokered.
On Monday, Shoot pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. Shoot’s long-time bookkeeper, Roberta Curson, faces 31 counts of similar criminal charges. She also pleaded not guilty Monday.
So, how could the state real estate commission have the temerity to suspend Shoot’s license for 90 days, when he maintains he is not guilty and a court of law has not yet found otherwise?
It’s simple. The real estate commission, based largely on evidence from the state attorney general’s office, determined that there is reason to suspect that he might have acted unethically or illegally while practicing under his state license.
The suspension is not the passing of a final judgment. It’s just to say, in layman’s terms, let’s suspend his license while we look into this further and determine whether to reinstate the license or perhaps revoke it.
If Shoot did the things that he’s accused of doing, he is a danger to people who might come his way looking to buy property. The real estate commission’s suspension, in part, protects consumers from that potential danger.
In the eyes of the law, Shoot is innocent until proved guilty. He deserves a fair shot at proving he’s not guilty.
But the real estate commission had to look deeper than the law and determine the potential risk posed by letting a man who is charged with more than 30 criminal counts continue to practice real estate brokering.
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