‘Writing Is on the Wall’ for B6 as Talent Exits Amid Financial Struggles

Founder and CEO Paul Massey says company is 'focusing on moving ahead'

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B6 Real Estate Advisors is grappling with a mass exodus of talent, Commercial Observer has learned. 

The brokerage firm has lost more than half a dozen senior team members in September alone, sources familiar with the situation told CO. Sources also said they don’t see B6 surviving as a firm, with one saying “the writing is on the wall” and another saying “there will be one broker remaining next week.” 

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The slew of departures at B6 comes on the heels of an early August report by The Real Deal showing that the firm’s founder and CEO, Paul Massey, owes roughly $2 million in federal, state and city taxes, citing court records. Massey has also been struggling to make lease payments for B6’s Midtown offices at 1040 Avenue of the Americas, according to the TRD story. 

Massey, for his part, strenuously denied that the company would close.

“There is no way we are closing,” Massey said. “We’re open for business focusing on moving ahead.” 

Recent departures at B6 include Brian Whelan and Mitchel Flaherty, who left to lead Ripco Real Estate‘s investment sales division in northern Manhattan, Harlem and the Bronx. Both brokers confirmed their move to Ripco, but declined further comment.

Whelan and Flaherty both arrived at B6 in January 2019 following stints at Marcus & Millichap. The duo launched a new podcast earlier this year called “The Broker Brunch.” 

Alix Curtin has also left B6 after four years for an associate director role at Ariel Property Advisors, according to her LinkedIn profile. Curtin declined to comment.

Adrian Mercado, chief operating officer at B6 since its founding in July 2018, is also exiting the firm, with his LinkedIn profile showing his time at the firm concluding in September. Mercado also declined to comment. 

DJ Johnston, who joined B6 as a partner in 2018, and Brock Emmetsberger, senior managing director since 2021, have also left the firm for Nashville-based Matthews Real Estate Investment Services, TRD reported Wednesday. The two will help Matthews open a new New York City office and be joined by Corey Rosenthal, B6’s chief revenue officer, according to TRD and sources.

Another B6 broker headed to Matthews is Bobby Lawrence, director of investment sales March 2019, sources told CO.

IPRG hired B6 brokers Jared Friedman and Robert Rappa this month to expand the brokerage’s focus in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, according to the company’s founding partner, Steve Reynolds. Yanni Marmarou also left B6 earlier this year for IRPG to lead its expansion into New Jersey and Michael Murphy was recruited in November 2022 to run its east Brooklyn team.

The myriad exits at B6 this month also involved Thomas Donovan leaving for Meridian Capital Group as president of Queens investment sales, as first reported by CO. Donovan spent five years as a vice chairman and a partner at B6 specializing in investment sales in Northwest Queens.

Donovan could not be reached for comment.

Massey told CO that there had been some “unfortunate defections” but didn’t specify who was leaving as he affirmed that the business would remain open. 

Massey launched B6 in 2018, after a failed run for mayor, with the aim of specializing in investment sales and capital advisory deals ranging from $1 million to $200 million. He previously co-founded and led Massey Knakal Realty Services with Bob Knakal, which was famous for its territory system of investment sales, before selling the firm to Cushman & Wakefield in 2014.  

Andrew Coen can be reached at acoen@commercialobserver.com