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FORT LEE, NJ-Billy Procida has sold his interest in Palisades Financial, the real estate lending firm he founded, and has simultaneously resigned as chairman and CEO of the firm. Palfi is now owned by the five remaining partners, Mark Zurlini, David McLain, Ira Bergstein, Jack Chimento and James F. Calvano.

Terms of the transaction were not released. Procida remains the largest investor in Palfi’s Palisades Regional Investment Funds and will act as an advisor to his old firm. PRIF I was launched in 2002 and has invested in real estate valued at more than $500 million to date, and PRIF II has currently raising $200 million to invest in transactions of between $2 million and $50 million-plus.

With the departure, Procida will revive Palfi’s predecessor firm, William Procida Inc., the workout and repositioning vehicle he founded in 1995 after 16 years of operating his own development company and a stint with the Trump Org.

“After 13 years at Palisades and its predecessor WPI, and while I’m only 46, I figured I had one last opportunity to challenge myself,” Procida says. “Palisades’ fund out-performed almost all of its peers last year, and it was the right time to sell out to management.”

According to information released by Palfi, its average returns over the past five years have outpaced the S&P, Dow Jones Industrial and major REIT indexes, including returning 17% this year. “Others were down considerably,” Procida says.

“I started in this business 27 years ago fixing troubled projects,” Procida says. “When I started Palisades, we fixed troubled projects. Seems like I should be able to get some work in this environment. But first a few months of golf. I’ve been a 20 handicap for too long.”

“All of the partners and staff at Palisades Financial wish Billy continued success in his future endeavors,” says Calvano. “At Palisades, we’re fortunate to have a very deep bench and the firm’s day-to-day operations have been essentially managed by our five other partners for the past few years. So there will be no disruption to our operation.”

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