A Look at the Attorney General's Office Governing Real Estate

Most New Yorkers are familiar with New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, but how many people have heard the name Kenneth Demario before? If you’re someone concerned with co-ops, condos or any real estate issues in the city, Demario is someone you need to know.

Demario is the bureau chief in charge of the Investor Protection Bureau in the Real Estate Finance Bureau, known as REFB, whose main function is to protect the public from fraud in real estate offerings, including cooperatives, condominiums, syndications and real estate investment trusts (REITS). The bureau commands a total of 700 attorneys who can be called upon to work on cases involving these housing issues.

According to the Attorney General’s office, “Many complaints received are from tenants in buildings undergoing cooperative or condominium conversion and concern allegations of improper disclosure, tenant harassment and misleading information provided to tenants.”

It’s up to Demario and those on his team to handle the complaints and enforce and mediate any issues that come to light.

History of the REFS

The Bureau began in the early 1970s, when New Yorkers were facing a number of housing issues and Louis J. Lefkowitz, the attorney general at the time, felt it necessary to organize a division in his ranks to help.


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  • If a sponsor still owns (and by their managing agent admits no intention to sell) over 41% of the units in our building, is that considered a violation of the offering plan? The coop was converted over 20 years ago. If anyone has info or advice on whether to contact the AG office? Thanks
  • Our coop is older too and we are still wondering when the AG, and Mr. Demario in particular, are going to care about our complaints? Seems the AG only concerns itself with new construction and/or only properties in Manhattan. What about the rest of NY?
  • go to www.rsunyc.wordpress.com to find out about a meeting Sept 10, 2008 to organize shareholders in buildings where sponsors are not selling apartments.
  • Can the AG's office assist the owner of a Condo unit to cause the board of directors and management to adhere to bylaws that were certified to by the AG office in the "black book"? In my specific situation I believe that the board of directors is in violation of the financial disclosure requirement in the by-laws that were certified by the AG office.
  • My condo was converted 25 years ago and sponsor does not sell more than 49% as they have to give up if % goes to 50% or more. Is this a violation of the offering plan and put the unit holders in dark for stealing the UH money.
  • has the attorney generals office released setauket meadows condo from the builder to the board. I can get any info from the builder or the board.? what stage are we up to? 1 Is the builder still responsible 2 has the builder been realest 3 should we have board of managers we have formed a committee and would like an appointment with someone in your office to help us. we are lost.