When Lenders Go Wild: Mortgage Broker Brawl Goes Viral
Mortgage lenders are usually a reserved bunch, but a brawl between two mortgage banks in a Harrah’s Atlantic City casino on Tuesday proved lenders do more than push pencils — they apparently pack punches too.
Twitter user @BeatinTheBookie broke the news of the fight on Tuesday, saying a friend sent him the 52-second video of the melee that included multiple people shouting, throwing chairs, pushing tables and wrestling in what looked to be the seating section of a bar.
Several bystanders uninvolved with the fight attempted to escape ground zero by hopping over a rail separating tables from the greater lobby, as security guards struggled to get the fight under control. Most commenters under the video weren’t shocked by the display, saying fights like this are a frequent occurrence in Atlantic City’s casinos.
“Ahh Atlantic City, the dollar store version of Vegas,” said Twitter user @TM411327.
The video gained little traction outside of the original poster’s network until popular real estate humor page The Broke Agent reposted the video on Friday, claiming the fight happened at the Triple Play Realtor Convention and Trade Expo this week.
“Brutal fight breaks out at the Triple Play Realtor Convention in Atlantic City,” read the caption of the video, which garnered nearly 1,600 comments in three hours. “Hundreds of mortgage lenders and Realtors were at the conference, and it apparently took place at Harrah’s Resort after some parties. Does anyone know the context of the fight?”
Hundreds of commenters took the opportunity to share a few comical theories about the origin of the fight — ranging from listing disagreements, contract contingencies and brand loyalties to repair requests, commission discounts, and bidding wars.
“Instead of highest and best, last man standing wins the house,” wrote @kaceycarrigrealtor.
“Realtors vs Realators,” user @ra_allah_ added about the battle over the correct way to say Realtor.
Instagrammer @highlandsnjrealtor took a jab at the longstanding tension between Keller Williams and eXp agents, saying, “It was between eXp and KW.”
Amid the jokes, commenters were concerned about the safety of those roped into the brawl and lamented about the video adding to the criticism real estate professionals already face.
“This is what we can’t have nice things,” @realtormouse said. “Glad I stayed home this time.”
An hour after The Broke Agent released the video, The New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR), The New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) and the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR) released a joint statement on the Triple Play Realtor Convention and Trade Expo Facebook page, disassociating their members from the fight.
“We are aware of an isolated incident that occurred during the evening hours of Tuesday, Dec. 7 at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City; however, it was not affiliated with any official Triple Play events,” the statement read. “Harrah’s was not a convention headquarters or overflow hotel for the 2021 convention.”
“The official Triple Play convention event for attendees for the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 7 was the Icebreaker Reception in the Palladium Ballroom at Caesar’s, which was well attended without incident,” it added.
Several tipsters confirmed to The Broke Agent NJAR, NYSAR and PAR’s version of events, saying the fight didn’t happen at an official Triple Play event. It’s unclear if the mortgage brokers in the video were registered conference attendees.
“I was right next to the fight,” real estate agent Nick Zestanakis told The Broke Agent. “I think it was mortgage lenders because I knew two of the guys. The lenders threw the parties, not the agents.”
“This is absolutely true,” another tipster, who opted to stay anonymous, said. “I was staying at that hotel [and] the conference for continuing education, so Realtors were there all week.”
“At night, mortgage companies throw networking events, a.k.a. parties, to get more business,” they added. “It’s a shame that we are all getting affected by the unprofessional nature that occurs in the industry. Does not represent what this conference was about!”
Additional witnesses said the fight happened after a group of New Jersey mortgage brokers removed drunken New York City mortgage brokers from their party. After the party, the NYC brokers came back to pick a fight.
“A mortgage bank was hosting a party [and] another crew from a mortgage bank showed up wasted and sloppy,” a witness said. “They got kicked out [and] as retaliation, they waited till the party was over and jumped [the New Jersey brokers].”
“[Lenders] are very strict with not letting other lenders into their parties. They are strictly for thanking existing Realtors for their business as well as [soliciting] new Realtors to work with them,” added another witness. “It’s pretty taboo for another lender to crash a competing lenders’ party.”
Inman searched the social media profiles of the nearly 50 mortgage companies represented at the conference, and none of them have made a statement at the time of publication.
According to the New York Post, the investigation of the fight is over unless someone comes forward with the names of the alleged assailants and decides to press charges. No one was seriously injured, the Atlantic City PD said.
“Police said the fight had already de-escalated by the time they arrived,” the Post said on Friday. “No arrests were made because no one on the scene wanted to sign a criminal complaint.”