St. Pete Beach, Florida -- A top-selling real estate agent, recently arrested for crack cocaine, has faced charges of prostitution, grand theft and drugs several times in the past decade in Pinellas County.
Knowing Kim Beiningen's criminal history, the state of Florida still granted her a real estate license, Century 21 hired her and sellers are trusting her with their million-dollar properties.
"Her record speaks for itself," said home seller Debbie Breitweiser. She's referring to her agent, Beiningen's sales record with Century 21, not her criminal record, which Breitweiser just learned about after she listed her nearly million-dollar home.
"We do know Kim, and we've known her before she listed our house. She's a great person. She does a great job, and I think people need to move on and let her move on with her life," Breitweiser said.
A top selling St. Pete Beach realtor is arrested for drugs. The state knew about her criminal record, but still granted her a license. WTSP
In May, workers at the Shell gas station in St. Petersburg, 1800 34th St. South, called police when Beiningen refused to move her Mercedes Benz that was blocking the parking spot for disabled drivers. Investigators say they found a crack pipe and prescription drugs on her. Beiningen reportedly told them she bought and smoked the drugs after breaking up with her boyfriend.
It's her latest arrest: In 2006, St. Pete police pulled her over for tossing a crack pipe out her car window and say they found another used pipe inside.
Since 2002, Beiningen has been given probation for prostitution, lewd behavior, resisting arrest and disorderly intoxication. She had to enter a jail diversion program for grand theft.
The Florida Real Estate Commission approved Beiningen for a license in 2009 despite her record.
Here's the timeline from the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation:
• 01/12/2009 - DBPR received initial application for Real Estate Sales Associate license from Beiningen.
• 03/25/2009 - Correspondence sent from DBPR to Beiningen to appear before the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) meeting on April 22, 2009.
• 04/22/2009 - Initial application for Real Estate Sales Associate license denied by FREC.
• 08/26/2009 - DBPR received new application for Real Estate Sales Associate license from Beiningen.
• 09/24/2009 - Correspondence sent from DBPR to Beiningen to appear before the FREC on October 23, 2009.
• 10/23/2009 - She appeared before the FREC and was approved by a vote of four to two.
• 11/23/2009 - Initial Sales Associate license (#3228288) approved for Beiningen.
Every month, the commission weighs licensing convicted felons and says that each application is handled case-by-case.
Applicants are required to disclose their criminal history, submit fingerprints and complete a state background check. However, the state doesn't track how many real estate agents have admitted to having trouble with law enforcement.
It doesn't matter to Breitweiser. There's a sale pending on her house.
"She's completely trustworthy, completely," Breitweiser said. "I'm supportive of her."
The owner of Century 21 Beggins Enterprise, Jim Beggins, didn't want to speak on camera, but said that he knew about Beiningen's past, and she was vetted by the Real Estate Commission twice after she was denied her license the first time. Beggins says he stands behind one of his best agents, who's now getting treatment.
And we asked on our 10 News Facebook page: Would you still use a real estate agent if you knew they had a history with drugs, but were good at selling houses?
The comments were split.
Tammie writes, "Yes and it's none of our business of what's going on behind their door."
However CJ writes, "You have to check the Realtor's family too since they have access to lock box codes and keys to your home. I had a home listed only to find out the Realtor's son was a junkie who robbed houses to support his habit, some were his mother's listings."
The state encourages buyers and sellers to verify licenses and check out prior complaints with the Department of Business and Regulation.