Legal Tales! New York Attorneys Tell All

It's probably no surprise that no matter what field of law they practice in, attorneys have some pretty good stories. (The volume of television shows and movies devoted to lawyers and legal procedures may be one indicator of this.)

The attorneys who represent Gotham’s co-ops and condos are no different. Lawyers specializing in these buildings can easily find themselves players in unique and sometimes unbelievable stories—from the crazy cat lady who has imaginary felines running around in her backyard to the suspected mobster who may—or may not?—be running a house of ill repute out of his condo apartment.

While the above examples may be exaggerated a bit (or are they?), here are some real-life tales of the unique and bizarre shared by some of New York’s co-op and condo attorneys.

Protect the Box

Kenneth Jacobs, a partner with the law firm Smith Buss & Jacobs LLP in Yonkers, has seen a lot in his years practicing representing co-ops and condos. For example, there was the sponsor who made a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (better known as RICO) claim against him and his firm when he filed a Notice of Lien, alleging that he had forged the notary signatures and colluded with the process server to approve sewer service; or there was the time the ballot boxes disappeared from the back seat of a car owned by the election monitor from the independent monitoring agency who conducted the election in a 1,100-unit co-op, nullifying an election his insurgent group had spent preparing for.

For the latter story, Jacobs explains it involved the president of the co-op’s board, who owned two-thirds of the apartments himself, and was once hailed as a hero for helping the shareholders buy into the building that they wouldn’t have been able to afford without his purchase. The problem was, he consistently didn’t pay bills.


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