Personnel shakeups at Guaranteed Rate, Essex, City of Chicago and more

by Meg White

Two new associates join Essex

Essex Realty Group announced last week that Ben Bakula and Jonathan Weissman will be joining two separate teams at the Chicago-based real estate investment firm. Prior to joining Essex, Bakula worked in mortgage banking in Buffalo, New York. He’ll be working under Brian Mond to facilitate multifamily transactions on Chicago’s South Side. Weissman is charged with asset valuation and database management, joining the team led by Essex Principal Doug Fisher.

Changes afoot at Chicago real estate regulators

Earlier this week, Chicago Housing Authority CEO Eugene Jones Jr. resigned suddenly, after more than four years at the agency. As WBEZ reported, his departure ends a relatively long tenure, as he’d been the CHA’s longest-serving leader in more than a decade. The move comes shortly after the departures of the agency’s board chair, John Hooker, and former chief of staff, José Alvarez.

Jones’ news comes as the city seeks to install its next Commissioner of Planning and Development. Last month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot nominated urban designer, architectural educator and former mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, Maurice D. Cox for the position. His appointment still awaits the approval of Chicago City Council, which should be coming up for a vote at the next Chicago City Council meeting on September 18, according to Cityscape.

Cox plans to leave a similar position with the city of Detroit sometime this fall to start work in Chicago, and Lightfoot noted in a press release that she hopes his tenure will be driven by a desire for equity across the city. “It is time that the city focuses on development that is directed throughout every community and into areas that have been overlooked for decades,” she said in a press release announcing the nomination. “Maurice Cox is uniquely qualified to help create a city where development addresses the fundamental needs of every neighborhood so that Chicago benefits and equitably works for all its residents.”

GRate adds tech leader to management team

Earlier this week, Guaranteed Rate announced Dominick Marchetti will be leading the company’s product innovation agenda. According to HousingWire, the mortgage industry was “shocked” when news broke that Marchetti would be leaving loanDepot, where he played a key role in the company’s technological work over the last few years, including the rollout of loanDepot’s proprietary digital lending platform.

Guaranteed Rate didn’t mention Marchetti’s former employer in the release, but company founder and CEO Victor Ciardelli made reference to the tech leader’s past and future. “Dom is one of the top mortgage technology leaders in the country,” Ciardelli said in the release. “Together, we will continue to lead the industry in technology innovation that advances the consumer experience as well as streamline the process for mortgage professionals.”

Former alderman joins real estate industry

Former Chicago Alderman Joe Moore has joined Diliberto Real Estate Services, a real estate advisory, property management and auction firm based in Palos Heights. Moore served 28 years as alderman of Chicago’s 49th Ward, which covers much of Rogers Park on the far North Side, winning reelection six times before losing to challenger Maria Hadden in 2019.

Moore will be leading the firm’s Municipal Economic Services Group. Before joining city council, Moore served seven years as a city attorney for Chicago, and as alderman served as chair of the Chicago City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate, a legacy mentioned in the announcement about the move released earlier this month. “Moore’s long record of service and national stature in municipal government makes him a leading authority on revitalizing cities and towns,” said Dino Diliberto, director at Diliberto Real Estate.

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