A civil complaint has been filed alleging that a prominent Santa Clarita Valley Realtor, Michael Bjorkman, drugged and sexually assaulted multiple women several times over the past five years.
The complaint lists four women, three of whom are listed as “Jane Doe,” as its plaintiffs with the defendants being 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.
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.
“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,” the complaint says.
The complaint also alleged that eXp Realty as a whole was also liable because it “knew of such actions yet turned a blind eye.” EXp Realty and 100 others, excluding Bjorkman and Golden, are also listed as defendants.
Bjorkman was arrested and faced criminal charges in 2021 stemming from one of the alleged assaults listed in the complaint. This incident, like others listed in the complaint, took place at a company event 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.”
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 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.
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.”
Jane Doe 1 also alleges that Bjorkman took videos and photos of the incident, which he allegedly showed Jane Doe 1 as proof of her consent.
The modus operandi alleged to have been used during Jane Doe 1’s complaint is similar to the other three allegations listed in the complaint.
Jennifer Lenze, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said she’s very proud of the women who decided to come forward and tell their stories.
“We’re just extraordinarily proud of these women for standing up for themselves and bringing this action… bringing forward something that’s extraordinarily difficult,” said Lenze.
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.
Lenze confirmed a specific amount was not listed because her clients intend for the case to go to a jury trial.
David Chesnoff, Bjorkman’s attorney during his criminal trial, was not available for comment at the time of this publication.