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RENO, NV-Colliers International Partnership (CIP) found out last Friday how intent its local office here is on governing itself. That is when 26 of the 31-person local operation informed the home office in San Jose, CA that they were leaving the company–just not the office. They simply formed two new companies–one for brokerage and one for property management–and sat back down at their desks, claiming a right of occupancy because five of them are shareholders in CIP and, therefore, signatories on the lease. Shortly thereafter, those who “left” had their phones turned off such that those who dial their direct lines receive a busy signal. When asked for the new number where the brokers could be reached, the receptionist at the Reno office told GlobeSt.com she could not provide forwarding numbers for the people still sitting right behind her. CIP’s San Jose-based CFO and principal Eric Neilson ultimately provided GlobeSt.com a forwarding number.”It’s tense,” Paul Perkins tells GlobeSt.com. Perkins is Colliers’ former SVP of industrial properties, a shareholder in that company and one of the leaders of the split. “We got a letter from their attorney a couple of days ago and we responded yesterday; it should be resolved within the next week or two.”The seeds of the split were planted last year, when the majority owners in San Jose offered to sell the management division to Marcus Clark, who was managing the operation. That offer prompted Clark, Perkins and other senior members of the Reno operation to make an offer for both the management and brokerage divisions in order to become their own Colliers franchise, separate from CIP, which has 10 offices–eight in Northern California and two in Nevada, one in Las Vegas and one in Reno. “We said ‘no, we are committed to Reno’,” Neilson tells GlobeSt.com. CIP then hired a 30-year industry veteran from CB Richard Ellis–who had done a lot in Connecticut and Los Angeles and retired to the Lake Tahoe area–to come in as the ranking member of the Reno office and “take it to the next level,” Neilson says. “We think we could have done it with the guys that left; they are good brokers, but our culture and model didn’t quite fit with them,” he says. “They weren’t too happy with having someone come in above them. Then we receive notification on Friday that they and all the staff were leaving immediately, no notice.”Perkins and the others who seceded have formed two related companies, Alliance Commercial Real Estate Services and Alliance Commercial Real Estate Management Services. The 14-person brokerage side includes CIP’s former retail and industrial teams and former CIP associate broker Dominic Brunetti, who with Scott Shanks, the former VP for ProLogis’ Reno office, will comprise Alliance CRES’ office brokerage team. The 13-person property management division is comprised of CIP’s entire former property management team. The new companies are like co-ops, says Perkins. They will not retain any sales profits; staffers will receive salaries and bonuses and profits will be distributed among the brokers based on their production. “We didn’t really want to leave the Colliers organization [but] felt it was time to develop as much governance locally as we could. Our geographic distance from the rest of the operation makes us kind of an oasis. We did enjoy being part of the [company] for a number of years, but with time come changes.”Despite only five people in Reno now–including its three-man office brokerage team led by Tim Ruffin, who respectfully declined comment–Neilson says CIP remains committed to the Reno market and is tapping senior staff from its other offices to cover the bases until new brokers and property managers can be hired, possibly from other real estate services firms in town.”We have a very large regional presence in retail and will start moving them into the area to help with Reno,” Neilson says. “We believe Reno deserves to have the professional support of a larger organization.”Perkins says no decisions have been made about whether Alliance CRES and Alliance CRMS will eventually affiliate with another well-known brand. “For the time being we’re going it alone,” he says. “We‘ll see what happens.”

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