Tracey Foley

A Boston-area Redfin field agent was arrested today by the FBI on charges of being a Russian spy. In her job application, she identified herself as Tracey Foley, but called herself Ann.

Before we hired Ms. Foley in February of this year, at least two Redfin employees interviewed her, using a template that focuses on character, specifically situations where the candidate has put customers’ interests ahead of her own, and where the candidate has worked on a team. She interviewed well.

According to her application, she had worked since 2007 for the real estate brokerages Weichert and Channing Real Estate. As with every agent we hire, Redfin validated her social security number, her deal history and that her real estate license was in good standing; as with every agent we hire, we ran a criminal background check, which came up clean.

Once hired, Ms. Foley was responsible for showing homes, not representing clients. In our customer-service model, experienced lead agents represent clients. Field agents work for the lead agents, handling property showings when the lead agent is unavailable. Lead agents are all full-time employees. Field agents are largely contractors, mostly part-time.

Ms. Foley was a contract field agent. She represented a customer directly on one listing; the customer had hired her prior to her Redfin tenure. With Redfin customers, she only showed homes. She was well-liked by most of her touring customers, who are surveyed extensively about their experiences with any new field agent. The customer surveys for Ms. Foley described her as friendly and helpful.

We learned of her arrest by reading about it in the newspaper this afternoon, and haven’t communicated with her since. Because we don’t have a large human resources department to advise us on privacy matters, and since she has been accused of a grave crime, we have disclosed the facts of our relationship with Ms. Foley here, and would rather not venture opinions beyond that.

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