Lee & Associates Nabs Four New Hires

The burgeoning brokerage Lee & Associates is adding more brokers, including another executive from the bankrupt real estate services company Grubb & Ellis, executives at the firm revealed.

Robert Kunikoff, a retail leasing executive at Grubb & Ellis, will be moving over to Lee & Associates starting this week the executives said.

james wacht Lee & Associates Nabs Four New Hires

James Wacht, Lee & Associates.

Mr. Kunikoff is the latest Grubb & Ellis hire at the company, which last month recruited the Grubb & Ellis office leasing executives Howard Rosen and John Cannon.

In addition to Mr. Kunikoff, Lee & Associates, is bringing on two leasing brokers who formerly worked for the real estate investment company George Comfort & Sons, Dennis Someck and Mitchell Kunikoff, who is Robert Kunikoff’s brother. A broker from Jones Lang LaSalle has also been hired but the identity of that executive could not be learned by press time.

“I’m just blown away with the level of response from the brokerage community, it’s just been phenomenal,” Jim Wacht, president of Lee & Associates told The Commercial Observer. “Months ago I really expected to get five or six brokers but we’ve been open about two months and have been able to recruit about 12 guys, which has exceeded where our goals were.”

Mr. Wacht confirmed that Robert Kunikoff had joined the firm but would not comment on Mr. Kunikoff’s brother Mitch or Mr. Someck or the JLL broker. He said that announcements would be forthcoming.

Grubb & Ellis declared bankruptcy on Monday and announced that it intended to sell its assets to BGC Partners, the senior holder of debt on the company and the parent of the major New York brokerage company Newmark Knight Frank.

Questions have since swirled at Grubb & Ellis, which had been in financial trouble for months before the bankruptcy, what will happen to the company’s personnel and whether BGC intends to acquire all or just parts of the company’s operations. The uncertainty has prompted some brokers to contemplate exit strategies according to a number of off the record interviews The Commercial Observer has had in recent days with several executives at the firm.

Dgeiger@observer.com