Real estate agent to pay fine for a drink of milk

The world's most expensive milkshake is the epitome of luxury: a gold-flecked creation of Madagascar vanilla beans, donkey milk caramel sauce and Venezuelan cocoa that comes in a Swarovski crystal-encrusted glass and sells for $100 a pop.

A Canadian real estate agent will have to pay more than 150 times that much for taking a swig of plain milk.

After a home surveillance camera caught Mike Rose drinking milk straight out of the container at a house he was showing, the British Columbia Financial Services Authority, a government agency tasked with regulating the Canadian province's financial institutions, on July 18 deemed Rose's actions "unbecoming" under the British Columbia Real Estate Services Act. It fined him 20,000 Canadian dollars, or approximately $15,162. The agency also ordered Rose to pay an additional 2,500 Canadian dollars, or almost $1,896, in enforcement expenses, records show.

Rose did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, in a statement to local outlet CFJC Today, he apologized for the "very unfortunate, and very uncharacteristic, decision."

"I have never done this kind of thing before, nor will I ever behave in this way again," Rose said. "... Although I have apologized directly to the homeowners, I know that actions like this are not quickly forgiven nor easily forgotten. I will be spending the next few weeks considering my actions, better understanding why I would do this, and work to ensure this kind of [behavior] never occurs again."

The incident occurred on July 16, 2022, in the city of Kamloops, before potential buyers were scheduled to arrive at the house for a viewing.

That day, homeowner Lyska Fullerton and her family had left the house ready, clean and with the lights on for what they initially thought would only be one viewing. Later in the evening, though, the Fullertons' real estate agent told them there had been a second showing.

That's when Fullerton went back to her Ring camera - a device originally "intended for my teenage kids, so I could keep an eye on them and make sure they went home on time," she told The Washington Post. She figured she would see a real estate agent guiding a group of prospective buyers.

But what she found left her "utterly speechless, in shock and creeped out," Fullerton said.

The footage showed Rose entering the home some 30 minutes before the buyers. That afternoon, he walked into the kitchen and pulled the window blinds open. Then, he opened the fridge, pulled out a carton of milk and took a long gulp. Rose then put the milk back inside the fridge and closed the door, the video showed.

To make matters worse, Fullerton added, the video also showed Rose sitting on the couch while the potential buyers visited the house. He broke the couch's arm, she said.

"This was unprofessional in so many ways," Fullerton said. "Every part of it was just such an invasion of privacy and such an invasion of our home."

Seeing the video left Fullerton disgusted, she said - particularly because the incident happened during a global pandemic that heightened observations of personal hygiene and killed both her and her husband's parents.

"In what world do you think that this is ever okay to do?" Fullerton said. "I wouldn't even do that in my own family's home."

According to the order from the British Columbia Financial Services Authority, Rose told the agency he was "unusually dehydrated" at the time because of a new medication. He was also under "considerable stress," the report shows.

Fullerton confronted Rose two days after the incident, when the prospective buyers went back for another viewing. When she asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell her about his last visit to the home, Fullerton said Rose replied, "The milk?"

She reported him after that.

For Fullerton, it's not so much that Rose drank the milk - it's how he didn't let anyone know that he had done so, she said.

"It doesn't bother me that he drank milk. I mean, maybe he had an upset stomach, for all I know," she said. "But to do it in that way? He didn't even leave a note or tell us this happened. I had to find out because of my camera, and that's just gross and plain wrong."

"It makes you question your trust in people who visit your home," she added.

That's the reason the financial services agency cited in fining Rose. In its order, the agency said Rose's behavior was in violation of statutes in the British Columbia Real Estate Services Act, which deems "unbecoming" conduct as behavior that "undermines public confidence in the real estate industry" and "brings the real estate industry into disrepute."

Despite the milk situation, the prospective buyers wound up becoming the home's owners, and the Fullertons moved out later that month.

"We sold it pretty quickly right after that, which is great," she said. "Because the new people can go on and have new memories there, and we don't have to stick with the memories of what happened."

As for the milk jug that started it all, Fullerton said she immediately poured it out.

"My husband came back home and watched me throw a half a gallon of milk in the trash," she said. "He's looking at me like I'm crazy and asked, 'What are you doing?'"

She told him: "You don't even want to know."

Upcoming Events