Refresher on AI Sham Election History

Previous AI Sham Election Victim Shares What HappenedHere’s a shoutout to Jim Amorin and Leslie Sellers as you are reading this right now – – here’s a refresher on Appraisal Institute history…

Like Craig Steinley, the 2007 victim of the unethical petition process I’ve covered over the previous two weeks, Anne L. Johnson was selected by the nominating committee to be Vice President after being vetted against a number of candidates. This sham petition process was implemented to get Leslie Sellers (he voted for himself after not making the cut with the nominating committee) on track to later become President and then led AI to exit TAF without a legitimate explanation – it caused me to quit and accelerated the deterioration of the once-great organization, essentially screwing its own membership by fostering its growing irrelevance.

To be clear, I want the Appraisal Institute to either thrive or get out of the way of the appraisal industry. This corrupt behavior is going to continue and the operations executives will keep overruling the voice of the membership, so that leadership can keep enjoying high pay and expensive perks, inappropriate to an organization that has lost a third of its membership over the decade, a steeper decline than credentialed U.S. appraisers. There is one thing they are doing now that should be good for appraisers – more on that next week. But any good continues to be overshadowed by current behavior that is corrosive to organizational credibility.

Unless this petition process is removed from the bylaws, the deterioration in credibility will continue.

To current Board Members, please pick one:

Are you:

A. simply sheep that sit on the board to pad your resume and remain afraid to make any move that gets the operational executives mad? or
B. an industry leader who knows right from wrong and can see the corruption right in front of you and are willing to do something about it to rebuild long-term organization integrity?

But I digress again…

Anne L. Johnson lays the situation out in her July 21, 2020 note that was sent in support of Craig Steinley, the current (only legitimate) nominating committee choice. I’m sure all board members are aware of this dark moment in Appraisal Institute history more than a decade ago and now is the time to start asking questions and demonstrate integrity. Fingers crossed.

July 21, 2020

RE: Reconsideration of National Nominating Committee (NNC) selection of Craig Steinley, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, AI-RRS as nominee for 2021 Appraisal Institute (AI) Vice President

To whom it may concern:

On 7/20/2020 I shared the following letter with the AI Board of Directors regarding my experience with the petition process now being used against Craig Steinley. I understand others would appreciate hearing my perspective on this situation, so following is the text of that letter.

“My selection by the NNC as AI Vice President was overturned by the AI BOD in 2007. Since that time, I have made it a policy to avoid commenting on the actions of the BOD and its officers. However, when I realized that the same action was being taken against the extremely qualified 2020 nominee, Craig Steinley, for the benefit of a Tennessee candidate, as was also true in my case, I decided my recollection of events might be helpful in your decision making.

* I was chosen by the National Nominating Committee (NNC) as the 2008 Vice President Nominee over four other candidates, Richard Borges, Misa Zane, Marcos Campos, and Leslie Sellers.

* I was personally introduced to the Board and membership at that time and was introduced to the public in the AI publications as the official nominee.

* Historically the candidate chosen by the NNC was affirmed by the BOD. *I began preparations for less time in the office and more time with AI, by not renewing my office lease.

* Traditionally the Executive Officers began grooming the Nominee for the new responsibilities, so they could “hit the ground running”. This time the officers avoided me and excluded me from all meetings. President-Terry Dunkin, President Elect-Wayne Pugh, and Vice President-Jim Amorin.

* A petition asking for reconsideration of all five candidates was later submitted to the BOD. Marcos Campos refused to be included in the petition. Reportedly the bylaws at that time allowed for the consideration of one rather than multiple additional candidates.

* Petition signatories included several first year BOD members who said that they did not know me. I had just completed my term of multiple years on the BOD as well as other national committees including Strategic Planning, but I had rolled off the Board in 2007.

* BOD members indicated they were advised, for liability protection, to limit communication with me to written questions for my written response. I responded to numerous questions. Of course, the other candidates on the Board continued to interact with the Board.

* Each candidate was given about 15 minutes to describe their attributes and plans at the meeting prior to the vote. No discussion of the legitimacy of the process was allowed.

* Two of the candidates, Zane and Sellers, were current BOD members and were allowed to vote in the election. Borges and I were not. Neither recused themselves for conflicts of interest, even though the person selected would receive almost 1/2 million dollars in compensation not to mention travel benefits, etc. Sellers was elected. I would like to say that I was unaffected by this series of events, but it wouldn’t be true. To be the only Vice President Nominee ever rejected by the BOD was humiliating. I had naively believed that the AI was a professional organization working to improve, recognize, and promote quality appraisers. Instead I found it to be a trade union with leadership primarily interested in preserving their power and benefits. One of the questions I was asked in my interview was “What will you do with all of your power.” I had never thought of it as a power issue, but rather as a mutual collaboration.

The NNC spends untold hours in review of candidate information and interviews, which is their main job. The BOD has numerous responsibilities, which they cannot be doing if they are second guessing the work of their own committee, the NNC. Nor does a ten minute candidate presentation at a meeting equate to the NNC’s extensive
work. It used to be that a candidate that was not selected one year would just try again the next year. One has to wonder why it was so critical for the Tennessee candidates to be chosen in 2007 and 2020 rather than to wait for the next year, as many had done before them.

It’s a disservice to the individuals involved in the nomination process, either as nominees or committee members, to be rejected for nebulous reasons by anonymous individuals in a petition secret from even the BOD. Doesn’t the BOD have liability for all actions of AI? To suggest that it is secret to protect the nominee is ludicrous. The whole petition process suggests that either the nominee or the NNC has been guilty of some inadequacy or wrongdoing, but there is no way for either to clear their names. Certainly, it doesn’t benefit the reputation of AI, as 13 years later I still hear derogatory remarks about this action. Ask yourself……..

* Who does this petition process benefit?

* What does this do to your members’ desire to submit to the leadership process?

* Has AI benefited from this process?

* Is this professional behavior on the part of your professional organization?

* Will this petition process become an annual recourse for unsuccessful candidates?

In spite of these actions, I never resigned from AI nor did I sue them as many recommended and expected, although I did withdraw from volunteer activities. But, my recently deceased husband was so incensed that he did give up his hard-earned MAI designation and membership. I still have faith that the many upstanding members of this organization will step forward to rebuild the reputation of this fine institution with the strong leadership of the NNC’s nominee, Craig Steinley. He doesn’t deserve the 2007 stigma.

Anne L. Johnson, MAI, SRA

So I’ve made my case. Now here is how members of the Appraisal Institute can take action NOW.

A plan of action has been laid out professionally by the North Texas Chapter and is not being critical of the Board of Directors.

Plan of Action by AI North TX Chapter


Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller is President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986. He is a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut, performing court testimony as an expert witness in various local, state and federal courts.

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Pat says:

    I wonder if the FNC deal could be an issue?

  2. Avatar Diana N says:

    One of the reasons I am a member of the American Guild of Appraisers and not the AI.


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Refresher on AI Sham Election History

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 6 min