Archives: News


Thomas R. Slome Elected Treasurer of the NYC Bar Association

On May 22, 2019 –  Thomas R. Slome was elected Treasurer of the New York City Bar Association at the Annual Meetin of the City of the Bar.

The mission of the New York City Bar Association, which was founded in 1870 and has 24,000 members, is to equip and mobilize the legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest in our community, our nation, and throughout the world. www.nycbar.org


Paul F. Millus Appointed as a Delegate of the EDNY’s “Litigation Efficiency Roundtable”

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 – Paul F. Millus was selected as one of two delegates by the Chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association to participate in the Eastern District of New York’s “Litigation Efficiency Roundtable” with Judge Vitaliano, Magistrate Judge Gold, and Magistrate Judge Levy, which was held at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn.

The Roundtable provides an opportunity for members of the bar to talk to the judiciary about what practices are working and should be more widespread to yield a quick and efficient resolution of actions while ensuring that justice is done.


Matthew A. Marcucci Joins Meyer Suozzi’s Litigation Practice

May 22, 2019 (Garden City, N.Y.) – Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. is pleased to announce that Matthew A. Marcucci has joined the firm as an Associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department in the firm’s Garden City office.

Mr. Marcucci litigates and arbitrates complex commercial disputes.  He has prosecuted and defended actions alleging business torts, fraud, breach of contract, professional malpractice, and intellectual property violations. Before joining Meyer Suozzi, Mr. Marcucci worked at two boutique Manhattan-based law firms where he represented a diverse array of high-profile clients in advertising, arts and entertainment, real estate, manufacturing, finance, aviation, and hospitality.

Kevin Schlosser, Chair of Meyer, Suozzi’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department, said he was pleased that the firm was able to continue to grow the department with such talented additions:  “We welcome Matthew Marcucci to our experienced and skilled Litigation practice. He will undoubtedly provide excellent support and strengthen our ability to serve our clients in a first-rate manner.”

Mr. Marcucci received his J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law in 2014, where he was the Senior Writing & Research Editor of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal.  While in law school, Mr. Marcucci served as a judicial intern at the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009.

In addition to practicing law, Mr. Marcucci, a resident of New York, N.Y., has sung professionally, including a performance at Carnegie Hall.  He also has proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.


Meyer Suozzi Awards Scholarship to Six Veterans Attending Nassau Community College

May 9, 2019 – Meyer Suozzi is proud to announce that it has awarded scholarships to six veterans now enrolled at Nassau Community College (NCC). The NCC scholarship program, which was initiated by our firm in 2011, recognizes local veterans who are continuing their education after returning from military service.

The Meyer Suozzi scholarship committee is chaired by A. Thomas Levin, Chair of the firm’s Local Government, Land Use and Environmental Compliance and Professional Responsibility practices, and served as the past President of both the New York State Bar and Nassau County Bar Associations.

The scholarship awards ceremony had taken place on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at NCC.

“Our firm has had the honor of awarding scholarships to over 55 veterans, who excelled academically, over the past eight years,” said Meyer Suozzi Managing Attorney, Patricia Galteri. “We deeply appreciate those who serve in our military and their commitment to our country. We wish them great success in their future endeavors.”

About the scholarship recipients:

Erik Rodriquez, a resident of Westbury, proudly served five years in the United States Army. Mr. Rodriquez’s experience in Afghanistan helped instill better academic values. While stationed there Mr. Rodriquez became very interested in reading. He is a very hard working individual, working three jobs while being enrolled as a full-time student.

James Cornetta is a resident of Westbury. He was stationed in Afghanistan for about a year. Mr. Cornetta has been able to pursue his love of education, teaching, and molding the young minds of America as a future educator. Mr. Cornetta also plans to provide guidance to Veterans who have lost their way.

Joseph Kohout, a resident of Greenlawn, served in the United States Navy.  He is currently pursuing a degree in Engineering Science in hopes to use this degree to get a B.S. in civil engineering. Mr. Kohout has a background as a submarine nuclear water chemist which can help him solve the high nitrogen content in Long Island’s water. Currently, Mr. Kohout is an officer in the NCC Student Veterans of America chapter.

Ou Qiang, a resident of Mineola, served in the United States Navy.  Mr. Qiang has wanted to become an electrical engineer since High School and obtained his first electrical related work when joining the Navy.  After being honorably discharged, Mr. Qiang began pursuing his dream of getting an Associate’s degree in Engineering Science at NCC and he hopes to one day receive a Master’s Degree in the field.  As a full-time student, husband, and father, Mr. Quiang has a very busy life and his main source of income is doing funeral honor duty for N.O.S.C Long Island.

Patrick Connell, a resident of New Hyde Park, served in the United States Military. He is currently a National Guardsman. Mr. Connell is a husband and father and is new to the Long Island region. He has pursued a non-traditional career that involves properties that need rehabilitation. His goal is to eventually become a General Contractor.

Patrick Martins, a resident of Freeport, served in the Marines. He studies Electrical Engineering Technology at NCC and hopes to acquire a vast skill set in that field to use within his community. He would eventually like to open his own electronics business.

 


James Garbus Receives the Executive Circle Award

On May 16th, James D. Garbus will be awarded Long Island Business News’ Executive Circle Award.

The Executive Circle Awards celebrates c-suites, directors and other senior level executives who consistently demonstrate remarkable leadership skills, integrity, values, vision, commitment to excellence, company performance, community service, and diversity.


Richard Eisenberg Honored at Touro Law Center’s With Liberty & Justice For All Dinner

On May 16th, Richard Eisenberg was honored with the Paul S. Miller Award at Touro Law Center’s With Liberty & Justice For All Dinner.

Since 1995, Touro Law Center has honored distinguished members of our community and alumni at our annual “With Liberty & Justice for All” Dinner Celebration. Each year, we recognize their outstanding achievements and commitments to the community with an induction into the Builders Society. The Builders Society was created to recognize and celebrate those individuals who played a role in the establishment and in the creation of a solid foundation for the Law Center.

Hon. Randall Eng Honored at Queens County Bar Association

On May 2, 2019, Hon. Randall T. Eng was honored with the Charles W. Froessel Award at the Queens County Bar Association’s 142nd Annual Dinner and Installation of Officers and Managers.

The Queens County Bar Association hosted its annual installation dinner where over 300 professionals were in attendance, including many Judges of the trial courts and Appellate Divisions. Their special honorees this year were the soon to be retiring Queens County Civil Term Administrative Judge, the Honorable Jeremy Weinstein and Queens County District Attorney, the Honorable Richard Brown. They presented the Charles W. Froessel Award to the Honorable Randall T. Eng.


A. Thomas Levin Quoted in, “Residents raise issues with proposed Baxter house”

A site plan for the proposed replacement of the historic Baxter House was brought before the Village of Baxter Estates Landmarks Preservation Commission on Thursday.

Sabrina Wu, the owner of the property, demolished the home in October 2017 after a fire severely damaged it several months earlier.

Many of the residents who attended the public hearing at Village Hall said that the proposed replacement for the home that stood at 15 Shore Road for over 300 years was not the replica they were expecting.

A. Thomas Levin, Wu’s attorney, said that he and his client hold the position that the village cannot force them to build a replica of the home.

Wu purchased the Baxter House in 2003, and in 2005 the home’s exterior was landmarked in a decision that she opposed.

Shortly before the blaze, Wu of Flushing, Queens, submitted an application to demolish the home and rebuild a replica on the property.

The house, built in 1692, has historic roots dating back to the Revolutionary War, when it housed Hessian soldiers, and it was home to renowned architect Addison Mizner in the early 20th century.

Wu contracted with N2 Design + Architecture, based in Baxter Estates, to design the proposed home.

Frank Genese, the principal of the architectural firm and a trustee in Flower Hill, billed the proposed structure as a modern house with historic characteristics.

He said the proposed development follows current building codes and would not require any variances from the village Building Department.

Genese said he and his team did a lot of research to come up with a plan that would respect the character of the home without creating a replica of it.

Creating a replica would be almost impossible, he said, given the client’s program as well as zoning, setback and building code requirements.

He said the proposed design is governed by current codes, such as stormwater management and the state energy code.

“So even though we are trying to create a sympathetic design,” Genese said, “we have to meet those requirements by using modern materials.”

Genese said his firm incorporated elements from the former house such as the dormers, roof lines, brackets along the gable roof section, the hardware that attaches shutters and some of the profiles of the railings and banisters.

He said the original house was added onto over time which made it a conglomerate of several additions and not one cohesive structure.

The proposed structure is 44 feet wide and Genese said it is very close in square footage to the original house.

Historic gray was selected for the exterior of the home with solid white trim and a dark charcoal gray for the shutters.

The architects proposed building the exterior of the home out of a material called Hardie planks, a flame-resistant material used in lieu of wood.

Peter Salins, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, mentioned that the original home was shingled and said it would be helpful for the board to see an actual plank to review.

Genese said that he and his team did not believe a shingled look would be consistent with the style of the proposed home.

He said for the columns of the home, designers chose a 12-inch tapered column, which he said is a very good replica of the former home.

Genese said that the proposed house will not include a habitable attic and he expects the flooring of the home’s porches will be constructed with wood.

Resident Michael Scotto said he does not think the house is consistent with the site.

“While the commission may approve the construction of a structure with a similar architectural style, as [village Attorney Chris Prior] mentioned, I don’t believe that the proposed structure is in the best interest of the site or frankly appropriate,” Scotto said.

Scotto reminded the board that almost two years ago, the commission found that Wu allowed the house to deteriorate to a point where it was in disrepair and needed to be demolished.

He implored the commission to reject the proposal and require Wu to rebuild a house more consistent with plans of the architect Norman Nemec, which he believes are more uniform with the original home.

Steve Stalbaum, a resident whose home is adjacent to the property, raised concerns over lead in the soil.

He said that the lead on the exterior of the house was 183 times the allowable amount and when the house was demolished there was lead consistently in the air. He said he was advised by medical personnel to keep the windows and doors closed.

He suggested that the owner commission a lead test on the soil outside of the home.

Bob Barbach, the village’s superintendent of buildings, said he thinks it would be prudent to get a test or to see certification that there is no contamination in the soil, not only for lead but also for any other possible contaminants.

Third-generation Port Washington resident Jill Morrison, who is not a resident of Baxter Estates, said she wants to know what this proposed home has to do with the original structure.

“We were expecting a replica, and that’s not a replica, it’s an imitation,” she said.

Kathy Coley, a resident of Baxter Estates, said she doesn’t hate the proposed home but it was not the replica she was expecting.

“I hope we will have a new beautiful replica of our house, our Baxter House,” she said.

Levin said, “We have been working very hard to try to find something that’s suitable for the village and satisfactory in the village.”

He said he thinks the proposed design is appropriate under the required code sections and is compatible with the neighborhood and the nature of the property.

Barbach said in a statement that the design as currently proposed “is fully compliant with all zoning code requirements.”

Salins said in a statement that “the commission has jurisdiction to ensure that the project is in harmony with the historic nature of the site.” He said the board’s decision will be based on the design characteristics of the structure and the site plan and technical review by the village’s Building Department.

The board closed the public hearing at the meeting but did not make a decision on the site plan. The board postponed the decision for another meeting that is expected to occur within the next few weeks.


A. Thomas Levin Quoted in, “Baxter House Plan Presented To Village Commission”

The Baxter House: a centuries-old home that once stood on the premises of 15 Shore Rd. The namesake home of the village underwent a series of unfortunate events over the past few years as it sat atop its small hill overlooking the bay: decades of deterioration, a raging fire that consumed the home and, finally, its demolition in 2017.

Sabrina Wu purchased the home in 2003 for $990,000, and, two years later, the home was designated as a landmark. On April 12, she came before the Landmarks Preservation Commission of the Village of Baxter Estates, as Board of Jurisdiction, to present a site plan of a proposed new single family home pursuant to Village Code Section 147-1(A) and 118-6, with respect to new construction in historic sites.

“As this is a privately-owned property with a landmarked designation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is the board of jurisdiction that makes the decision as to the future of the property with technical guidance from our building department,” said Mayor Nora Haagenson in a statement. “The board and I have full confidence in the commission.”
To preface the public hearing, the commission’s attorney Christopher Prior explained that the commission would address its historic preservation duties and the site plan review of the project, reading both code sections aloud.

“New construction shall be consistent with the architectural styles of historic value at the historic site or within an historic district,” reads code section 118-6(F). “However, the commission may approve the construction of structures which have a dissimilar architectural style to that of the historic site or an historic district, if the commission determines that such new construction will be in the best interests of the historic site or the historic district.”

“The jurisdiction extends to exterior features of the structure; it’s only exterior features,” said Prior, explaining the commission has no input with regard to the interior unless the applicant asks for an advisory opinion from the board.

N2 Design + Architecture, PC,’s principal architect Frank Genese (also a commissioner on the Town of North Hempstead Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and trustee in the Village of Flower Hill) presented the plans on behalf of the applicant.

“We incorporated elements in the former house such as the dormers, the roof lines, the brackets along the gable roof section and many other features, the shudders, the profiles of the railing and banisters in order to create a new modern home that respects and is appropriate, which is a term we use in the Town of North Hempstead to determine whether or not something meets the characteristics of a historic structure, and we worked hard to try to make a structure we felt was appropriate for this site,” said Genese, who further explained that the new house would be governed by modern codes. “One of the factors we had to look at was the original house grew organically over a number of years, so it really wasn’t a cohesive design. It was a conglomeration of various additions that were put on that didn’t necessarily properly relate to each other. Because of the historic nature of the house, a lot of those things were looked over. When we looked at historic images of the house, we realized that many of the decisions were not made with full understanding of the global shape and mass of the house would be.”

Genese said the proposed home would be about 44 feet in width, similar in square footage and “could theoretically be bigger.” The exterior color of the home would be a historic pale blue-ish gray and the exterior would be made out of Hardie Planks made by James Hardie, a cementitious material. The trimmings, including moldings, windowsills and railings, proposed would be white Azek products, which Genese said are used on historic structures today. The windows and doors would be Anderson 400 series. The shutters would match the roof with a dark charcoal color.

Commission Chairman Peter Salins questioned why a planking system was used instead of shingles, which the original home had on its exterior.

“There are cementitious products that are shingles,” said Genese. “The shape can very easily be modified. The reason we chose Hardie Plank is because it’s energy efficient, maintenance free, insect free, it doesn’t stain, it’s cleanable, it doesn’t have to be painted. It’s more expensive than wood, but it’s a better product in the long run because, over time, it saves money.”

Landscape architect Damon Scott presented the landscape plan for the site and civic engineer Michael Rand explained that the proposed plan included new drainage that would capture 100 percent of the water in a 5-inch rain fall.

Community Responds

Many residents packed into village hall to hear the presentation and later give their thoughts on the site plan.

“The question today is whether the commission will allow the owner to alter the character of the property in our village by constructing a house, which I don’t think is consistent with the site,” said Michael Scotto, an administrator of the Save the Baxter House Facebook group. “While the commission may approve the construction of structures which have a dissimilar architectural style, I don’t believe the proposed structure is in the best interest of the site or appropriate. The Baxter House stood there for over 300 years. The house and its footprint is ingrained in the history of our community.”

“The first matter I’d like to bring up is lead on the property,” said Stulbaum. “My understanding [is that] the exterior was 183 times the allowable amount, and when the house was demolished there was lead consistently throughout the air, so much so that I was advised to close the windows and shut the doors by medical personnel. I think anything going forward needs to address that the dirt does not contain any lead. I would propose a simple lead test. Secondly, related to that I noticed the new structure has a second floor to the garage…from my property I am essentially losing a view from my backyard. There are three air condition units and a generator. Besides the fact that those are outside my kids’ windows, it was mentioned there is soundproofing needed for that. On the north side, where there are residents as opposed to the south side or side on Shore Road, easily you could put the air conditioning unit. If they’re so beautifully covered, have them beautifully covered where there’s already noise.”

Many residents voiced that they were expecting a replica of the Baxter House to be presented.

“This is very important to many of us in the room,” said Kathy Coley. “I don’t hate this house, but it’s not the replica we expected. I am really cheered by the questions you are asking. The thing we haven’t talked about is should this go forward, and I hope we’ll have a beautiful replica of our Baxter House. If we find any archaeological remains in the ground what happens? That was supposed to be a Native American village.”

Charlene Berman held similar sentiments, and said she was expecting a replica. Resident Richard Brody asked if the village has any protection in terms of recourse.

“I have seen the history of this property with this owner, the way various violations were addressed,” said Brody.

One resident, Jim Sacrestano agreed with the plans, and stated, “16 years this woman has been tortured.”

Conclusion

“I don’t think there is anything the matter with the submittals we’ve seen so far being modified such that if the board was interested, we could require a rendered landscape plan be provided with a little extra planting along the north façade, and the second thing is given the concern about the Hardie Plank, it would not be that difficult to assemble a board with the components together so you could get a feeling of how this material would or would not work to your satisfaction,” said building inspector Robert Barbach. “I think that the two weeks would be more than adequate time for these two submittals to be assembled and that would give each board member time to come by and see it prior to the next meeting.”

Regarding the lead test, Barbach explained, “This is an unusual circumstance given that the building had already been demolished under a demo permit issued by my predecessor. I’d like to say, but I don’t want to make promises, but given the concerns that have been raised about the potential contamination of the soil, I think it would be prudent to get a test or see certification there is no contamination. I think the building department would like to see the soil is clean before any issuance of permits.”

Regarding the possible Native American remains, Prior explained he will look into that. In response to comments, the applicant’s attorney
A. Thomas Levin said, “The village does not have the right to require a replica.”

The commission will meet again at a yet-to-be-determined date to discuss the plans and what they will and will not approve in depth. Site plans can be found at village hall located at 315 Main St.

Photo Credit to Mike Scotto of Save the Baxter House group snapped this in 2016.

Click here for the article on Port Washington News.


Paul Millus Quoted in, “Construction starting for Long Island’s first LGBT affordable housing project”

At 34 Park Ave in Bay Shore, New York, a brick exterior wall hides a turquoise room with a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. Inside, 30 people are saying goodbye to the place that gave them shelter for 16 years.

“This building has been the lifeline for so many,” Samantha Kutcher, a member of the LGBT Network, said.

A rainbow flag made of wood panels hangs on the wall behind her and a sign that reads, “Farewell (for now) Bay Shore Center” anticipates a moment that has been in the making for two years.

On Friday, March 22, members of the LGBT Network, a social services organization serving the LGBT community of Long Island and Queens, hosted a party to say goodbye to one of its centers. Before closing last week, the center was a location where at least 1,000 people a month went for HIV testing and attended social events for empowerment and support.

The 16-year-old structure is being torn down this April to make room for 75 units of budget-friendly residential properties, which will be built by The D&F Development Crew and expected to be ready for use by May 2020.

“The housing is just geared toward LGBT friendly people and allies,” Lauren Corcoran-Doolin, vice president for external affairs for the LGBT Network, said. “Anyone can apply for housing there, but it would be well known that the housing is very accepting of the LGBT community, which would probably drive away people who didn’t support [the community] to begin with.”

“It’s so difficult for a lot of trans people even though we have protections to get affordable housing,” Kutcher said. “The housing here that they will have available will be a blessing to so many. It will be a clean place to live, a safe place to live, and they will be able to congregate with their own community.”

Attorney Paul Millus, however, believes that the standard will be impossible to regulate.

“LGBT friendly is not a statutory term, you can’t really define it. How friendly do you need to be to be LGBT friendly,” Millus said. “Sexual orientation can not be a standard by which someone gets housing or doesn’t get housing in the state of New York.”

Board members at the Town of Islip voted unanimously in favor of the project in September 2017. The rent for a unit in the new building is expected to range from $1,000 to $1,600 a month per unit. The average price for renting an apartment in Bay Shore is around $1,715 according to RentCafe, an online listing service for finding living rentals.

“We are going to be back here in two years, but where we are going we will be able to grow even more,” President and Chief Executive Officer of the LGBT Network, David Kilmnick, said with tears in his eyes. “We are going to be able to grow even stronger as a community.”

Several homeowners on the block have already expressed they are welcoming of the new project.

“There are few vacant buildings around here, anything that is going to bring more people and make this street more of a community is a good thing,” Justin Haus, a resident who lives across from the center, said. “I don’t have any problem with how the building will be LGBT friendly, whoever it is, they will be here and apart of the neighborhood.”

The Bay Shore center was first opened in 2002, but the network has existed since 1993 under the Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY).

“Six years ago I came out as male to female transgender and I didn’t really have anyone to turn to,” Emily Iannielli, a member, said. “I found this beautiful place. I will be sad that [the center] is leaving Bay Shore for now.”

A new center will be built in Hauppauge for members of the Bay Shore center to continue to gather and is expected to be four times larger.

 

This article is republished from The Statesman.