A year after fine, Massey Knakal stumbles again on broker licensing

Company names unlicensed new hire as head of Brooklyn, Queens offices

Robert DiBiase
Robert DiBiase

One year after top commercial firm Massey Knakal Realty Services paid a $4,000 fine for failing to properly license its Brooklyn and Queens manager, the company has again slipped up in a similar fashion.

The Midtown-based retail leasing, sales and mortgage brokerage introduced a new hire, Robert DiBiase, to its clients and the public on its website last week, describing him as managing director for the company’s Brooklyn and Queens divisions of the company. However, DiBiase does not have a broker’s license in New York, as is required by state law for a manager who will supervise agents.

Company CEO Paul Massey said DiBiase, who has been licensed as a salesperson in another state, was in the process of applying for his license here. DiBiase was formerly assistant vice president at Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate in McLean, Va., according to his biography on the Massey Knakal website.

“He doesn’t start supervisory activity until he’s got a license,” Massey said.

Massey noted that it was a clerical error to post his future title on the website. DiBiase did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In addition, the “managing director” title was no longer on his bio Tuesday.

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The title was removed before The Real Deal contacted Massey Knakal.

A spokesperson for the New York Department of State, which regulates and enforces laws governing real estate licensing, confirmed that DiBiase was not yet licensed, and that a application for his license had not yet been processed, which normally takes seven to 10 business days.

The company founded in 1988 is one of the leading commercial brokerages in the city. It completed $881 million in investment sales deals through 144 transactions last year — the highest number of property sales in a Real Deal survey for purchases of $1 million and more.

Last year, Massey and Robert Knakal, company chairman, each paid $2,000 in fines to the state, after they admitted permitting Kenneth Krasnow, former managing director of the Brooklyn and Queens divisions, to supervise the offices despite not being licensed, from Oct. 6, 2008 through Feb. 14, 2011.  They also admitted allowing three company executives to be licensed as salespersons instead of brokers, as required.