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Ontario real estate agent suspended after post about Israel-Hamas war

Ontario real estate agent suspended after post about Israel-Hamas war

Published Oct. 18, 2023 3:36 p.m. ET

Updated Oct. 18, 2023 5:33 p.m. ET

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A real estate brokerage has suspended a Vaughan-based realtor who was allegedly behind a social media post that appeared to make light of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The post was made over the weekend on the Facebook, X, and Instagram accounts belonging to Vadim Vilensky, the broker of record and CEO of Realtron Vadim Vilensky Realty.

It was titled “Coming soon to the market” followed by two laughing-face emojis and includes a photo of several buildings in Gaza that were destroyed by bombs.

That image is overlaid by the following text: “Off market.130 square miles. Ocean front lot. No utility. No power/water.”

The post has since been removed and Vilensky’s accounts on the social media platforms appear to have been deleted or disabled. CP24.com has, however, reviewed multiple screengrabs of the initial posts.

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7 more than 4,000 people on both sides of the conflict have died and the United Nations has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“RE/MAX Canada deeply disagrees with the actions and sentiments of Mr. Vilensky. Our business is a franchise organization made up of hundreds of independently owned and operated real estate offices, and each RE/MAX broker and agent is an independent contractor, including Mr. Vilensky,” the company wrote in a statement provided to CP24.com.

“The franchise owners that Mr. Vilensky works under are aware of this matter and they are addressing it directly, as we continue to hold our franchisees to the highest standards.” 

In a follow-up email, RE/MAX told CP24.com that Re/MAX Realtron has suspended Vilensky “pending further investigation.”

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, which represents more than 73,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespersons in and around the Greater Toronto Area, said it is aware of the social media posts in question and has launched a “formal Professional Standards investigation.”

“We are dealing with it according to our By-Law, rules and Code of Conduct as there is no place for intolerance or insensitivity during these concerning times in global affairs,” Paul Baron, TRREB President, said in a statement provided to CP24.com.

“The industry regulator, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), should also look into the matter.”

In a statement posted online, RECO said that it is aware of the post and is “investigating.”

“As this is already under investigation, additional complaints on the same issue are not necessary for RECO to proceed with its process,” the provincial real estate professional regulator wrote.

CP24.com has made repeated attempts to contact Vilensky directly for comment through both phone and email, but had not received a response as of publication.

In a message that appears to have been shared on his now deleted Facebook account, Vilensky did apologize for posting the image, which he described as “insensitive and wrong.”

“I am sorry to those that it offended. In my hurt, I didn’t realize the hurt it would cause others and shortly after I posted, I realized the mistake I made and removed it,” the post, which was shared with CP24.com by a source, read.

On Tuesday, an online petition that calls for the revocation of Vilensky’s real estate license was created.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, upwards of 7,000 people have signed it.

Scores of people have also taken to social media to denounce Vilensky’s post.

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