By Jon King /

A motion to dismiss a federal housing discrimination lawsuit filed against two local real estate agents has been denied.

The suit was filed in January against real estate agents Rick Beaudin of KW Realty Livingston and Mary Kay Ikens of RE/MAX Platinum in U.S. District Court in Detroit. It was brought forward on behalf of Verdell and Julie Franklin by the Fair Housing Center of Southeast and Mid-Michigan seeking punitive damages and to have Beaudin surrender his real estate license.

The Franklins, an interracial couple from Ohio, claim that Beaudin and Ikens conspired to prevent them from purchasing a home on Zukey Lake last September. Both agents have denied that claim and a motion filed by Ikens and RE/MAX in April asked the judge to dismiss the suit as no official offer was ever made on the house the couple was interested in, which was later sold to a white purchaser. “Merely, window shopping or touring residential property is insufficient to ‘engage in a real estate transaction’.”

However, U.S District Court Judge George Caram Steeh denied the motion on June 16th, stating that the defendants “must accept the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, which they have largely failed to do.” A scheduling conference in the case is set for July 22nd. His ruling is posted below.

Meanwhile, a separate civil lawsuit filed by Beaudin against his former employer remains active in Livingston County Circuit Court, with a status conference scheduled August 10th. In that litigation, which was filed by the Thomas More Law Center and Pinckney Attorney James K. Fett, Beaudin contends that RE/MAX Platinum committed a breach of contract when they fired him in June of 2020 after he posted to a community Facebook page that “All Lives Matter” in response to a planned protest in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

BLM activists and others say the phrase “All Lives Matter” is derogatory as it denies the racial component of a predominantly white law enforcement system they view as systemically racist. RE/MAX owner Joe DeKroub, who was also named in the lawsuit, said at the time he had previously warned Beaudin about using Facebook to engage in conduct seen as detrimental to the company’s standards.

Beaudin’s lawsuit, which claims that the firing was prompted by a complaint from a person identifying themselves as a BLM representative, seeks more than a million dollars in damages.