Civil enforcement action lodged against local real estate agent

  • Civil enforcement action has been taken against Linda Gray, a real estate agent based out of Greenfield, for violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 10:6AM
“She does not know who did it other than it was not her,” Johnson said in an email.

A local real estate agent was fined for violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act, according to a release from the state attorney general’s office.

The state’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau lodged the complaint against Greenfield resident Linda Gray, a real estate broker at the Bean Group. The attorney general says Gray falsified a water test while representing a buyer for a house in Chesterfield. That test indicated the property’s well water contained an “extremely elevated level of arsenic.”

The move allowed Gray’s client to secure a “significant” price reduction from the seller of the property, according to the release, issued by state Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald. A subsequent investigation by the bureau determined the property’s well didn’t have elevated arsenic levels and that the water testing company, whose form was falsified, didn’t perform any test for arsenic, the release said.

As part of a settlement agreement, Gray will pay $5,000 in restitution to the seller of the Chesterfield property, she is also ordered to pay of $1,500 in civil penalties, and reimburse the state $1,500 toward the cost of the investigation and prosecution. The state specifies that the settlement agreement doesn’t constitute an admission of liability. A phone message left with Gray was returned by Matthew R. Johnson, an attorney at Devine Millimet & Branch, who said he was handling questions on Gray’s behalf. 

In a statement sent to the Ledger-Transcript, Johnson said his client “steadfastly and unequivocally denied all of the allegations asserted by the Attorney General’s Office.”

“She agreed to settle the civil complaint because it would have been cost prohibitive to fight the state and so she could move on with her life,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s statement goes on to say that Gray agreed to the terms of the settlement agreement as drafted only because a central part of it “stated expressly that she was not admitting to any of the conduct the state alleges and that she was denying all liability.”

Johnson said Gray testified under oath and answered all of the questions asked of her.

“She repeatedly explained to them that she did not engage in any improper conduct and did not falsify a water test report,” Johnson said. “Even with her full cooperation and explanation, for some reason, the attorney general’s office decided to bring a civil complaint against her.”

He said his client has stated that somebody else involved in the transaction must have altered the report. 

“She does not know who did it other than it was not her,” Johnson said in an email.

He said Gray will be able to continue her work as a real estate agent at the Bean Group. 

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.akessler@ledgertranscript.com.