If you could just tell us a little bit about your role? I am a construction manager. As a program manager, I chart all the New York and New England design construction projects.
What led you to seek legal help with Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.? The building in particular that Adam was creative and helped us immensely with was a Brooklyn building that was leased. We leased the entire building. But I am sorry to say, due to the budgets and competition in the telecom industry we have neglected the building. A lot. And the landlord was calling us out a lot for a couple of years. I was not aware of it, apparently our legal team wasn’t aware of it, but operations was so when finally push came to shove they said this has to be done immediately effective or we are going into a lawsuit. So we quickly engaged Adams’ team and I said: where do we begin, what do we do, how do we get out of this? And they were so wonderful, over the matter of a day they put a team together, we tackled it, the landlord was so thankful. And within a couple days he was absolutely fine with putting everything on hold and had faith in us to pull the project off the way it should have been.
And how do you think Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. made that happen? Adam is very creative. And he is also a can-do. He never said it was any obstacles in the way. He just took it all in and came back. Immediately, within hours: This is our plan of attack, this is what we are going to do.
What we started with was the infrastructure of the building, the exterior, we quickly had to put that together, we had to get a design team together. He advised us: Joann, you get moving, get your design team together because we are going against the weather. We wanted to get the windows and roofs done before the winter months. It was unbelievable. He took the legal end of it and we took the design end of it and together we pulled it off.
So they were really involved in these two years? Absolutely. We had biweekly calls and we had onsite visits with the legal team to make sure everything was going the way it was. And he would get back to the attorneys for the landlord and keep up with the process.
So our attorneys Joanna Peck and Adam would come to those visits with the Fire Department, etc.? Yes, Joanna was instrumental. Once we had the infrastructure done, then it was violations by the dozens that had been neglected for a long time. So Joanna took that on hold so we started meeting regularly with the Fire Department and Building Department to get all these done and addressed. It wasn’t an easy task. At that point, we were meeting weekly.
But it worked out at the end? Absolutely. Joanna got a lot dismissed; a lot of fees reduced, which really was wonderful, we never expected that. You normally don’t get that from a firm. But they really went that extra mile. She negotiated as if it were coming out of her own pocket.
Going back to your role, you did a multi-million dollar renovation on that building. You led the project, correct? Yes.
Could you tell me more about this kind of project? Well, the difficulty about this project is that it’s a Call Center Environment project, which is a 24/7, so you have a fully operational building around the clock. And unionized. Those are two very difficult things to work around. And it got to point where the unions started pulling permits and stuff. They started to see if we actually had the number of restrooms, the number of elevators, the number of exits. So they started challenging every aspect of the project. And that’s where Adams team jumped in. And at one point he was very creative, the building was ready to walk out because they said there weren’t enough restrooms and all we had to do is look at vacation schedule and look at how many days they were actually on site. And it worked out perfectly. That is not something you would have thought of.
So Adam just looked at the vacation days? He said, “Pull a vacation schedule. Lets just look at the percentage of people that are out; illness, and vacation,” and sure enough it worked out, it was fantastic. We would have never thought of that.
Creative strategy? Certainly was.
I know you were at risk of eviction, right? Yes.
And of all things you were telling me helped in avoiding eviction? Absolutely. They, we all met with the legal team once. And Adam just laid it out. They figured it all out in one meeting.
It took one meeting to avoid eviction? One meeting. Before that, we couldn’t even get the landlord to sit at the table. It was awful. So it was wonderful from that point on. They knew Adam’s reputation and were very happy that we had acquired his help.
So the rehabilitation of the building was made easier with Adam’s creativity? Every step of the way. Because the building was built back in the fifties and a lot of things had to be changed and brought up to code because they were being neglected for so long. And his team would look up everything for us and would tell us what direction we should go and before we would waste the money on something we just have to rip out. So his team stayed in lockstep with us all the way.
Back to the ECB violations. I know you had a lot. Did Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. reduce them? Absolutely, they had a lot dismissed, a lot of the fees and fines reduced. And it was just so simple. You guys just put a spreadsheet for us and we just tackled it, section by section, by section. And Joanna spent hours and hours on negotiations on our part. Which is not an easy thing to do, just to get an audience at the Fire Department or the Building Department. But she did. And right in the middle of all this was storm, Sandy. And our project started in 2011 or 2012 and Brooklyn was a mess because of the shoreline. And his team still got to sit down with every person they needed to, to get this fines reduced, it helped us a lot.
In essence, the firm helped you save a lot of money? Absolutely, Yes, money and time. Because the landlord had faith in us. He gave us two years to finish the project and we did finish it in two years. Its constant work of art now, you have to maintain the building and stuff but to initially bring it back up to speed, which he did, we sure have.
For the violations, what kind of approach did Joanna take? I think what she used was very smart. She used our capital investment in the building. We put $18 million into the infrastructure alone. And then we put another $30 million on the interior. So she had the proof right there for everything that we were implementing. All she did was to show them what we were doing and how we were bettering things. So that’s how she made a lot of them go away.
Is there anything that stood out at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.? Their can-do, just the can-do attitude. That may sound so cliché but just anything you said, they said OK. We can do it. And I was like: Ok, because a lot of the attorneys I worked with in the past, they tend to make things more problematic, with a little different approaches or directions of a project can take. And I’m sure this project could have had done that in many ways. But Adam didn’t even let us fell that.
I heard that the adversary, the landlord ultimately hired Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. as well? Yes, he did.
Why do you think that happened? When he saw how well our project was handled he said: You know what? I’m going to acquire them. The lower level of our building is all retail, so they had a lot of problem issues with all of the retail clients. So he thought it would be fantastic to have Adam represent those on his behalf.
Besides the can-do attitude, what else differentiates our firm from other firms? They truly were a phone call away. I didn’t feel like I was intruding or bothering them when I made the phone call. I got right through to the person that I needed to. It was the whole team working on it, I never felt neglected in any way. They were always there and they had immediate answers. Fantastic, no matter how busy they are.
We proud ourselves in showing 24-hour response. Unbelievable, I can see that. You can see that just talking to him. And he really proved that in this job. This job was a two years, a long two years.
So you were happy with the results? Absolutely.
Would you hire Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. again? Absolutely. Without a doubt.
Would you recommend Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. to other companies? Absolutely, and I have several times.
Thank you so much!