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to file for bankruptcy

R.J. Russell Realtors
to file for bankruptcy

The Prudential R.J. Russell Realtors plans to file a petition under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
The filing–by one of Rochester’s largest residential brokers–is expected to have a ripple effect whose scope can now only be guessed at on a large number of residential real estate professionals in town.

R.J. Russell Realtors
to file for bankruptcy

The Prudential R.J. Russell Realtors plans to file a petition under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
The filing–by one of Rochester’s largest residential brokers–is expected to have a ripple effect whose scope can now only be guessed at on a large number of residential real estate professionals in town.
R.J. Russell principal broker Richard Russell today confirmed to the Rochester Business Journal that he plans to make the Chapter 11 filing, and that he has asked some 80 licensed agents who had worked for him to relocate to other offices.
Beyond that he declined to speak further.
“I’ll have more to say down the road . . . when it suits my purposes,” Russell said.
Among the questions left hanging until after R.J. Russell files for bankruptcy: Will agents from other brokerages get as-yet unpaid commissions for homes sold by Russell agents? And are R.J. Russell’s escrow accounts intact? Thousands of dollars in home buyers’ good-faith deposit money is supposed to be held inviolate in such accounts.
“I’m thinking positively. I’m being optimistic, and thinking the money is there,” said Michael Haymes, president of Re/Max Realty Group Inc.
In a worst-case scenario, he said, an untold number of agents could lose tens of thousands of dollars in commissions.
“This is one of the biggest brokerages in town. They’ve got to have deals all over the place.”
As to any home buyers whose deposit money could be lost, “that’s a question for (Russell’s) bankruptcy attorney,” Haymes said. “I don’t know.”
Haymes said one of Re/Max Realty Group’s agents has been waiting more than three weeks for his cut of a recently concluded deal on a home sold through R.J. Russell. Such commission checks are normally cut and mailed no more than four days after a closing, he said.
“That raised a red flag, but I’m still going to try and stay positive about this,” Haymes said of the delay.
Founded in 1975, R.J. Russell ranked second on the Rochester Business Journal’s May 24 list of Rochester-area residential real estate firms. The company then employed 81 full-time licensed agents.

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