After having its chief loan officer dragged into the scandal surrounding Association of Independent Mortgage Experts’ CEO Anthony Casa and the nauseating comments he made about the wife of Quicken Loans executive Austin Niemiec, Paramount Residential Mortgage Group reached out to Mortgage Professional America to condemn Casa’s unfathomably juvenile behavior.
“PRMG and its owners, officers and leadership do not condone, support or tolerate any form of misogyny, sexism or bullying,” the company said in a written statement.
“Video messages from Anthony Casa of AIME, in which PRMG is a sponsor, were disseminated among certain individuals of which PRMG’s Chief Lending Officer, Kevin Peranio was one. Mr. Peranio was in disbelief that Mr. Casa would make the public comment he did and made his own video comment as a response to display his shock.”
The statement also included comments from PRMG’s founder and CEO, Paul Rozo.
“I was disturbed by the contents of the compliant filed against Mr. Casa. None of this is acceptable behavior. The statements and videos made by Anthony Casa about the spouse of an industry executive are unprofessional, inappropriate, and unacceptable. PRMG and Kevin Peranio stand with the victim in this case, Mrs. Niemiec, as no woman should be subjected to such behavior in or out of the workplace. It is sad to see that this type of behavior continues in our industry and society. PRMG is committed to doing our part, both internally and externally, to help eliminate gender inequality and harassment. PRMG has and will continue to remain actively involved in diversity and inclusion focused organizations including PRMG’s very own Women’s Advisory Counsel, NAHREP, NAREB, NAMMBA, AREAA and support their efforts as we have always done”.
Rozo called MPA directly to ensure the message was delivered and made himself available for a quick interview. After briefly touching on the questionable sincerity of Casa’s online apology, Rozo pulled no punches over the AIME CEO’s actions.
“What he did as a whole – forget about whether his apology was sincere or not – was disgusting. As a sponsor of AIME, I do not condone, I do not approve, and I find his behavior reprehensible. Absolutely. One hundred percent.”
Some stories written in the past 24 hours have made the point that Casa still enjoys backing from the wholesale lending community. Rozo doesn’t believe that to be the case. He points out that of AIME’s 40,000 members, fewer than 250 have provided online comments in support of their humiliated CEO.
“I’d like to believe it’s more about AIME, more about the broker community,” he says. “There’s 232 comments for a guy who rallies 40,000 people. That is far from being a true representation of the entire broker community and how they feel.”
Speculation is building that AIME’s major sponsors – PRMG among them – may start pulling their support of the organization. That’s a call Rozo is not yet prepared to make.
“At this point in time, I do not plan on pulling my sponsorship from AIME. But I am sitting back and waiting to see what further actions AIME will be taking on these matters, because there’s still a litany of things that can be done,” Rozo says, adding that he will be watching AIME’s management closely to see how seriously they respond to Casa’s actions and how they choose to support women’s causes going forward.
“I’m not going to follow the sheep off the ledge because I believe the broker community, and the brokers of AIME, are larger than just Anthony Casa at this point,” he says. “The AIME community, which is 40,000 brokers strong, is not just represented by one person.”
Rozo worries that the mortgage industry, and the thousands of outside observers now devouring the Casa story, will, in the heat of the moment, forget that AIME and Anthony Casa are separate entities. The latter deserves condemnation; the former has been, and can continue to be, a force for good.
“AIME invested a ton of money in the broker community to make them more efficient, to make them a viable source,” he says. “So I’m just going to walk away from them? Absolutely not.”