4735.05 Organization of commission - confidentiality.

(A) The Ohio real estate commission is a part of the department of commerce for administrative purposes. The director of commerce is ex officio the executive officer of the commission, or the director may designate any employee of the department as superintendent of real estate and professional licensing to act as executive officer of the commission.

The commission and the real estate appraiser board created pursuant to section 4763.02 of the Revised Code shall each submit to the director a list of three persons whom the commission and the board consider qualified to be superintendent within sixty days after the office of superintendent becomes vacant. The director shall appoint a superintendent from the lists submitted by the commission and the board, and the superintendent shall serve at the pleasure of the director.

(B) The superintendent, except as otherwise provided, shall do all of the following in regard to this chapter:

(1) Administer this chapter;

(2) Issue all orders necessary to implement this chapter;

(3) Investigate complaints concerning the violation of this chapter or the conduct of any licensee;

(4) Establish and maintain an investigation and audit section to investigate complaints and conduct inspections, audits, and other inquiries as in the judgment of the superintendent are appropriate to enforce this chapter. The investigators or auditors have the right to review and audit the business records of licensees and continuing education course providers during normal business hours.

(5) Appoint a hearing examiner for any proceeding involving disciplinary action under section 3123.47 , 4735.052, or 4735.18 of the Revised Code;

(6) Administer the real estate recovery fund.

(C) The superintendent may do all of the following:

(1) In connection with investigations and audits under division (B) of this section, subpoena witnesses as provided in section 4735.04 of the Revised Code;

(2) Apply to the appropriate court to enjoin any violation of this chapter. Upon a showing by the superintendent that any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of this chapter, the court shall grant an injunction, restraining order, or other appropriate order.

(3) Upon the death of a licensed broker or the revocation or suspension of the broker's license, if there is no other licensed broker within the business entity of the broker, appoint upon application by any interested party, or, in the case of a deceased broker, subject to the approval by the appropriate probate court, recommend the appointment of, an ancillary trustee who is qualified as determined by the superintendent to conclude the business transactions of the deceased, revoked, or suspended broker;

(4) In conjunction with the enforcement of this chapter, when the superintendent of real estate has reasonable cause to believe that an applicant or licensee has committed a criminal offense, the superintendent of real estate may request the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation to conduct a criminal records check of the applicant or licensee. The superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation shall obtain information from the federal bureau of investigation as part of the criminal records check of the applicant or licensee. The superintendent of real estate may assess the applicant or licensee a fee equal to the fee assessed for the criminal records check.

(5) In conjunction with the enforcement of this chapter, issue advisory letters in lieu of initiating disciplinary action under section 4735.051 or 4735.052 of the Revised Code or issuing a citation under section 4735.16 or 4735.181 of the Revised Code.

(D) All information that is obtained by investigators and auditors performing investigations or conducting inspections, audits, and other inquiries pursuant to division (B)(4) of this section, from licensees, complainants, or other persons, and all reports, documents, and other work products that arise from that information and that are prepared by the investigators, auditors, or other personnel of the department, shall be held in confidence by the superintendent, the investigators and auditors, and other personnel of the department. Notwithstanding division (D) of section 2317.023 of the Revised Code, all information obtained by investigators or auditors from an informal mediation meeting held pursuant to section 4735.051 of the Revised Code, including but not limited to the agreement to mediate and the accommodation agreement, shall be held in confidence by the superintendent, investigators, auditors, and other personnel of the department.

(E) This section does not prevent the division of real estate and professional licensing from releasing information relating to licensees to the superintendent of financial institutions for purposes relating to the administration of sections 1322.01 to 1322.12 of the Revised Code, to the superintendent of insurance for purposes relating to the administration of Chapter 3953. of the Revised Code, to the attorney general, or to local law enforcement agencies and local prosecutors. Information released by the division pursuant to this section remains confidential.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Effective Date: 03-22-2001; 11-05-2004; 01-01-2007