If the Commission finds that the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action, it may summarily suspend a license without a hearing or opportunity for the licensee to be heard. A motion for summary suspension is presented to the Chairman of the Commission by its counsel and may be presented ex parte — without the licensee’s presence. The Commission must then schedule a hearing at the earliest practicable date on the merits of the charges, which will be set out in a notice of hearing. This will be served on the licensee as soon as possible. The summary suspension is not effective until it has been served on the licensee. A summarily suspended broker may petition the Commission to vacate the summary suspension order. If the Chairman of the Commission finds that the summary suspension order was issued in error or on insufficient factual grounds to justify the emergency action, the Chairman may vacate the order.
Responding to an Inquiry and Investigation
If you received a Letter of Inquiry from the Commission, this generally means the following has occurred: a complaint has been submitted to the Commission and reviewed by staff and legal counsel. You should have received an initial letter, along with a copy of the complaint, requesting a response to the allegations. The Letter of Inquiry sets forth the subject matter being investigated. You are required to respond, typically within 14 calendar days. You also are required to fully cooperate in connection with any inquiry the Commission makes.
In addition, the Commission may initiate cases if the staff has received information from different sources, including certificate renewals, government agencies, and the news media. Upon receipt of the information, the staff will review the information and determine whether a case should be opened. In this instance, you may receive a letter summarizing the case and requesting a response.
In drafting a response to an inquiry, it is important for you to include all information and documentation necessary to fairly and fully respond to the allegations. However, it is equally important for you to include only the pertinent information and documentation. We help our clients make these judgments and determinations from an objective standpoint and with knowledge and experience concerning the process in defending Commission matters. We regularly assist clients with written responses and are flexible in the amount of assistance we provide, ranging from preparing and signing responses on clients’ behalf to reviewing responses prepared by clients and having them submit the responses in their own names. We help shoulder the burden of defending against a complaint and dealing the accompanying stress.
After receiving the initial response, the Commission may send your reply back to the Complainant for a response. You should be aware before responding that the Complainant may see your response. The investigative process may require additional information or evidence from you, the Complainant or any related parties. Whether additional information and investigation is necessary and how much needs to be collected varies significantly depending on the type of case.
After it concludes the investigation or inquiry, the Commission may close the case if it finds the information does not substantiate a violation. However, if the Commission finds probable cause that a violation its law has occurred, the Commission may offer the licensee a Consent Order in settlement of the case or hold a formal hearing.
If the Commission does not close the case, the Commission’s legal staff may propose a consent order to the broker. The Commission may approve or reject any proposal to dispose of the matter by consent or stipulation. We help our clients evaluate and determine whether they should accept a proposed Consent Order and negotiate the terms.