Disgraced agent's drink-drive history

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

The high-flyer dubbed "Million dollar Marnie" who had her real estate licence suspended for six months this week also has three convictions for drink-driving and appeared to lead a life of privilege while working for her former employer, Bayleys.

But Margaret "Marnie" Adams says she was only reported to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal by Bayleys because they knew she intended to leave them.

The tribunal this week suspended her licence and fined her $10,000 plus $5000 costs for not disclosing she was part of a group buying a property she marketed. She pleaded guilty.

But as details emerged in the past couple of days of a drink-driving history and unique working arrangements with Bayleys, Adams has hit back.

"The reality is there was no vendor complaint, there was no purchaser complaint. I shouldn't even have been in front of the [tribunal] because they are there to protect the vendor and the purchaser," Adams says.

But her former boss, Mike Bayley, says he was bound by mandatory rules to report the offence. "You have to inform the REAA. If Bayleys hadn't done that we would have been breaching the laws."

Adams says her partnership with Bayleys had become strained in the months before she left to join rival firm, Sotheby's International.

"I wasn't respected at work. It was a culture thing. There were a lot of things going on there that were very detrimental to me."

But sources say Adams, 57, who has three drink-driving convictions, the latest in 2009, had a chauffeured car supplied by Bayleys, regular international travel and was even allowed her dog in the company's waterfront offices.

Court documents show she drove through a police checkpoint on Shore Rd in Remuera, without stopping, on a Wednesday night in April 2009. She was pulled over by an officer and registered 160mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - more than twice the legal limit.

The convictions were something the woman who sold many millions of dollars of real estate was not keen to talk about. "You don't have to mention what you were talking about there," she said before hanging up the phone.

A public relations consultant acting for Adams later rang to say she was "extremely distressed".

Adams was widowed at age 34 when her husband died of cancer, and was left with two children - six and four - and a mountain of debt.

Former owner of Bayleys St Heliers, Eric Chase, introduced Adams into real estate in 2003.

"Sure she's got an ego, a high performer is high maintenance. I've trained people from zero to hero and I've seen some enormous egos develop. Anyone earning a million bucks a year is going to have an ego."

Another former colleague, who does not want to be named, says he liked Adams - although she threw frequent tantrums and displayed diva-ish behaviour.

"She was quite hot tempered, she'd be upset or angry and she'd be screaming and shouting. She doesn't take anything lying down, she goes for the jugular."

Adams' business profile says she has sold $400,000,000 worth of property in her career and Bayleys' website once called that performance "truly unparalleled in the industry".

But that was then. Adams' suspension comes into force next month. Fourteen properties were listed for sale under her name yesterday. Five open homes were booked to take place today and she fronted at an open home in Karaka yesterday.

- Herald on Sunday

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