State opens investigation into alleged real estate license violations

Inquiry follows TRD article that agents at Massey Knakal, Eastern, others, lacked licenses

The New York State Department of State opened an investigation yesterday into allegations that individuals were improperly engaging in real estate activities without proper licensing.

The probe was prompted by an article on The Real Deal’s website that revealed that individuals at firms such as Massey Knakal Realty Services and Eastern Consolidated were not properly licensed.

“The department’s investigation will determine the merits of the allegations and if there is a sufficient basis to commence disciplinary proceedings against the relevant real estate brokerage licensees,” agency spokesperson Daniel Shapiro said. “Depending on the nature and severity of the transgression, possible disciplinary measures include return of commission, fine, suspension or revocation.”

Shapiro did not identify which firms or brokers would be looked at and declined to provide any other details.

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The Department of State is the agency that issues licenses to brokers and salespeople and enforces the law concerning those licenses.

Paul Massey, CEO of Massey Knakal, declined to comment on the investigation, saying it was a legal matter.

Yesterday, The Real Deal reported that Massey Knakal employed Kenneth Krasnow as a manager in the Brooklyn office, despite the fact that he did not have a broker’s license, which is required by state law. Krasnow was temporarily removed from his position and replaced by vice president Cory Rosenthal until he can obtain a license, Massey said yesterday. In addition, a sales manager for Robert Knakal, company chairman, did not have a proper license for more than a year. He has since had his license approved.

Eastern Consolidated had two agents with expired licenses and several other firms had agents listed on their websites who were not properly licensed. Meanwhile, the new residential firm, Blu Realty Group, which has been promoting itself publicly as a real estate firm, didn’t have a license in the firm’s name. A license is required for such activity by state law, an agency spokesperson said. A spokesperson for Blu said yesterday the firm didn’t intend to broker any transactions before obtaining a proper license.