board members
reject petition

Judy Sobin, who was fired as chief executive officer of the Honolulu Board of Realtors in October, has lost the first round in her fight for reinstatement.


Judy Sobin: After she was fired as head of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, her supporters are seeking action

The organization's 15-member board of directors voted Friday against removing six of its own members, which Sobin's supporters had demanded in a petition submitted last month. A tally of the vote, which was taken in closed session, was not released.

Organizers of the petition say the six members were Sobin opponents who were instrumental in the decision to dismiss her from the top administrative position at the Board of Realtors, the state's largest trade organization with around 5,000 members.

But Board of Realtors President Judy Kalbrenner said the board of directors is united.

"While we sometimes have differing opinions, our board truly speaks -- and acts -- as one on behalf of our members," she said. "It would have been unfair, and uncalled for, to single out any individuals."

Sobin was the third person to occupy the board's top administrative post since 2002.

She and her supporters blame the turnover in her post on some members of the board of directors, whom they accuse of micromanagement.

Those targeted by the petition were Bob DeYoung of Ena Road Realty, Berton Hamamoto of Property Profiles Inc., Allison Lum of Plum Associates Inc., Joyce Nakamura of Premier Realty 2000 Inc., Alice Saul of Alice Saul Real Estate Broker and Liz Moore of Realty Group, who also is the Board of Realtors secretary.

None of them have offered comment. The Board of Realtors also has declined comment on the circumstances regarding Sobin's removal, saying personnel matters are confidential.

However, a September review of Sobin's performance indicated that she had butted heads with some existing staff since taking over.

Sobin's supporters will have another chance to air their grievances. A second petition calling for a general membership meeting to consider Sobin's reinstatement has been submitted to Kalbrenner, who has yet to set a date for the meeting.

The board's bylaws are unclear on whether the outcome of such a meeting would carry enough weight to restore Sobin.

Failing that, Sobin said yesterday she would not pursue legal action against the board of directors.

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