Allegations of drugging & sexual assault, coverup lead to amended civil complaint     

Filler art of The Signal.

New defendants have been named in an amended version of a civil complaint alleging that a prominent Santa Clarita Valley Realtor drugged and sexually assaulted multiple women several times over a period of five years.  

The complaint lists four women, three of whom are listed as “Jane Doe,” as its plaintiffs, as well as a man listed as “John Doe.” The original defendants were Mike Bjorkman and his colleague David S. Golden, who worked for eXp Realty — an international company boasting more than 86,000 employees and 2022 third-quarter revenues of $1.2 billion. EXp is also listed as a defendant.  

The amended version now specifically lists the CEO of eXp Realty, Glenn Sanford, as a defendant in the complaint — which alleges Sanford knew about the alleged assaults, but “acted as if (he) were hearing the assault complaints for the first time,” each time they were brought up to him.  

“Sanford knew about the multiple assaults, he was asked what would he do when this came out publicly. (Sanford’s) response was to say, ‘So what? It is only going to be in the news cycle for three to five days, and nothing will happen,’” read the complaint. “Rather than conducting a legitimate investigation into the plaintiffs’ complaints… Sanford did a cost-benefit analysis and decided it made economic sense to continue to pay (Golden and Bjorkman).” 

According to the complaint, Bjorkman used the company’s platform as a basis to lure female Realtors to company recruitment events with the promise of career advancement.  

Bjorkman denies it all. When reached by phone last week, he said, “Everything is absolutely not true.”  

“It’s just crazy, like, I’ve been through hell, you know? I’ve been dragged through this mud over and over… I’m just exhausted,” added Bjorkman, who said he now lives in Oxnard, before deferring all remaining questions to his attorneys. 

The complaint alleges: “This is a case about the sexual assault of women, real estate agents, brought in as recruits to a larger real estate corporation operated in a pyramid-style scheme, not only for the financial benefit of both individual agents who recruited them, but which also gave license to its’ agents to prey upon these women during recruiting events.” 

Bjorkman was arrested and faced criminal charges in 2021 stemming from one of the alleged assaults listed in the complaint, under the story of Jane Doe 2. This incident, like others listed in the complaint, is alleged to have taken place at a company event — this one being in Las Vegas. The case was dismissed later that year.   

“After charges were filed in this case, we received additional information and evidence that led us to believe that we cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt,” read a statement by the Clark County District Attorney’s office following the case’s dismissal. “Therefore, it is our ethical obligation to dismiss the charges. We will not be proceeding with this case.”  

Bjorkman’s attorneys said they expect the civil case to go similarly to the criminal case, and hope the outcome will also be the same.  

“We were successful in bringing exculpatory information to light in the Las Vegas case, which resulted in the dismissal of the prosecution,” read a statement from Bjorkman’s attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld. “If Mr. Bjorkman is served with the amended complaint, we will fight this case with the same vigor.” 

The civil complaint alleges Jane Doe 2 attended an eXp company event at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas where Bjorkman and Goldman held a private gathering in their suite. Jane Doe 2 attended this private gathering, had one drink, and then headed to a dinner at Caesar’s Palace with some friends, the complaint says. Jane Doe 2 said she vaguely remembers the dinner, but does remember going to the bathroom to vomit. The complaint states that Jane Doe 2 later woke up in her hotel room the next morning, naked and alone.    

The arrest warrant issued by the Las Vegas Police Department was cited frequently throughout the civil complaint. The warrant alleged Bjorkman and Golden “recreationally” used gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and also used it to drug women before sexually assaulting them.   

In the complaint of Jane Doe 1, a female Realtor attended a networking event at a hotel in Beverly Hills in 2019. At this event, the complaint alleges Jane Doe said she was handed one drink, by Bjorkman, after being invited to a hotel room by the event’s unnamed host.   

Shortly after, the complaint reads, Jane Doe 1 blacked out until the next morning when she woke up naked and alone in her hotel room. When Jane Doe 1 questioned Bjorkman about what had happened the previous night, the complaint said he “gaslit her repeatedly” by telling her that “she was crazy and that nothing happened,” the complaint alleges.   

In many of the stories listed in the complaint, the women named either Bjorkman or Golden as their “sponsored agent,” which are titles structured along “tiers” through which an employee can advance (called an upline) by recruiting new members. 

Both the original and amended complaints point to the structure of eXp as facilitating the assaults, and new allegations in the amended version attempt to prove this point. The amended version alleges Brent Gove, an eXp Realtor and new defendant listed, was complicit in what attorneys representing the plaintiffs allege was a cover-up.  

“EXp REALTY attempted to cover up the criminal conduct of (Bjorkman) and (Golden) through the attempted use of non-disclosure agreements… Upon information and belief, (Gove) actively attempted to solicit agents to make false statements to extricate (Golden) and (Bjorkman),” read the complaint.  

The amended complaint also has several new allegations — one being that Bjorkman continues, to this day, to make money from eXp’s profit-share program. It also alleges eXp removed Bjorkman from its license but continued to allow him to go to events, socialize and continued to pay him “substantial amounts of money,” while the plaintiffs were excluded from these profit shares. 

When asked last week if he still profited from eXp in any way, Bjorkman said, “No.” 

“Jane Doe 1 was entitled to half of the revenue share of (Bjorkman). However, (eXp) is giving 100% of the revenue share to (Bjorkman) and none to Jane Doe 1,” read the complaint. “EXp Realty would not allow plaintiffs who had (Bjorkman) as their sponsor to move lines, forcing them to financially support their rapist.”  

Andrea Hirsch, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said Gove and Sanford were complicit in attempting to push the whole situation under the rug.  

“Gove threatened to pull his whole line of agents out of eXp, and, as well as Sanford, after he knew, did nothing to help the women and continued to receive a financial benefit from them,” said Hirsch. “So because of those two things, we added them as well as additional allegations to the complaint.” 

Hirsch said, as the case moves forward, the complaint will continue to be amended and that she, and the other attorneys representing the plaintiffs, aim to be as transparent as possible throughout the process.  

“You know, one of our key goals is to share with the public the facts of what happened to our clients, and as well, holding the people responsible to account and we just want to highlight how courageous our plaintiffs are, and that they deserve to have their voices heard,” said Hirsch.  

The complaint for damages cites three federal sex trafficking statutes as well as sexual battery, civil battery, negligent hiring, retention and supervision, among others. The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial and did not list a specific monetary value for damages.    

EXp Realty and Gove have not responded to requests for comment, at the time of this publication. When a call was placed to eXp’s headquarters in Bellingham, Washington, a person who answered the phone denied it was their headquarters. The recorded phone welcome message stated that it was.  

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