Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson LLP (AGMB) has announced that Neil B. Garfinkel, the firm’s Managing Partner and the Partner in Charge of its Real Estate and Banking Practices, has been appointed to the New York State Real Estate Board by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The term is for two years.
The New York State Real Estate Board has the authority to promulgate rules and regulations affecting real estate brokers and salespersons as they relate to the Real Property Law. As part of its responsibilities, the board studies the operations of the laws and regulations affecting real estate brokers and makes recommendations on related pending or proposed legislation.
Garfinkel serves as Broker Counsel to the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), where he hosts the REBNY Legal Line and authors the REBNY Question of the Week. Additionally, he and AGMB serve as Counsel to the Empire State Mortgage Bankers Association (ESMBA) and the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers (NYAMB). He maintains the Senior Real Estate Specialist designation and is certified by the New York Department of State as an instructor of real estate courses.
Garfinkel is a member of the New York State Bar Association, National Association of Realtors, New York State Association of Realtors, Long Island Board of Realtors, National Association of Mortgage Brokers, New York Association of Mortgage Brokers (Diamond Member), Mortgage Bankers Association of New York, and Community Bankers Mortgage Forum.
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a New York-based organization focused on setting benchmarks for healthier property and communities, has named Rachel Gutter as its new President. She succeeds Kamyar Vaghar, who is leaving IWBI after two years in this role.
Gutter joined IWBI as chief product officer in 2016. Prior to that, she was senior vice president of knowledge at the U.S. Green Building Council and was founding director of its Center for Green Schools. She is also co-chair Garrison Institute’s Board of Directors and serves on the Advisory Board of Paul Hawken’s Drawdown Project to reverse global warming.
“Having Rachel step into this role is all about what’s next for WELL and reflective of the growth of the global health and wellness movement,” said IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “With the successful launch last week of WELL v2, the next version of the popular WELL Building Standard, with the significant growth we are seeing in WELL registration and certification and in the uptake of the WELL APTM credential, she’s the right leader for the next phase of WELL’s global development.”
Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson (AGMB) has announced that Michael G. Barone, the Managing Partner of the firm’s Mortgage Compliance Practice, has been named Counsel to the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers (NYAMB). The firm already serves as Counsel to the Empire State Mortgage Banking Association (ESMBA).
Barone has extensive experience in representing and providing guidance to nationally recognized Mortgage Lenders and Mortgage Brokers and has worked on all types of federal and state compliance, transactional and litigation matters for the past 20 years. He is also a frequent speaker at various mortgage industry and association meetings across the country.
Barone is admitted to the Bars of New York State and New Jersey. He is a graduate of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, where he served as the Notes and Comments Editor for the Labor and Employment Law Journal.
NYAMB recently announced the creation of its NYAMB Compliance Line to provide members who have questions or concerns regarding residential mortgage compliance matters with an experienced, centralized source of information. Questions called into the Compliance Line will be responded to by Barone and AGMB’s team of attorneys.
Barone will also be providing quarterly Webinars, which are available to NYAMB members and serve as a frequent contributor to the NYAMB newsletter.
“AGMB is a Diamond Member of the NYAMB and it is an honor to serve as Counsel to a wonderful organization of which we have been members for so many years,” Barone said. “I will use my knowledge and experience in providing the necessary legal guidance in assisting the organization in meeting its mission.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced it is charging Syracuse, N.Y.-based property owners Nolo Contendere LLC and Nolo Contendere LLC Trust, and their agents with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to allow a woman with mental disabilities to keep an assistance animal.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from denying or limiting housing to persons with disabilities or from refusing to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices. This includes denying a request for an assistance animal.
“Persons who require assistance animals in order to maintain their independence shouldn't have their requests for such accommodations unlawfully denied,” said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action reaffirms HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to comply with the Fair Housing Act."
The case came to HUD's attention when a woman with mental disabilities filed a complaint alleging that Nolo Contendere LLC, which owns the apartment building she lives in, refused to allow her to keep an emotional support dog. HUD’s charge of discrimination alleges that the woman requires the use of an assistance animal to help with her disability. After bringing the animal home, however, an agent for Nolo Contendere confronted her and allegedly gave her a choice of either getting rid of the animal or being evicted, even though she provided a letter from her primary care physician attesting to her need for the animal.
According to the charge, the woman contacted Central New York Fair Housing (CNYFH), a HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program agency, for assistance. CNYFH contacted the agents and explained their obligations under the Fair Housing Act, but they refused to make an exception to their “no-pets” policy. One of the agents stated that the policy would also apply to seeing-eye dogs for blind tenants, and allegedly told the woman, “I know you're trying to play the disability game. We're not playing it.”
“This Charge represents HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing providers offer equal opportunities to persons with disabilities looking to rent a home,” said J. Paul Compton Jr., HUD’s General Counsel.
NYAMB’s 2018 Fall Convention & Trade Show will be held Wednesday-Thursday, October 10-11 at the Long Island Marriott, 101 James Doolittle Boulevard in Uniondale, N.Y.
For more informaiton, contact NYAMB Executive Director Edith C. Tella by phone at (914) 315-6644, e-mail ETella@teammgmtsvs.com or visit nyamb.org.
Michael McHugh, the former President and CEO of Continental Home Loans, passed away on May 16 at the age of 60 following a bout with cancer.
McHugh became Continental’s president in 1986, two years after the company was created. In 1999, Continental was acquired by to Puerto Rico-based RG Premier Bank, and its operations were folded into Orlando, Fla.-based Crown Bank, which was also purchased by RG Premier. In 2005, McHugh brought Continental back from RG Premier, and it is now headquartered in Melville, N.Y., with McHugh as president and CEO.
In November 2014, Freedom Mortgage Corp. acquired Continental. The company became CHL Mortgage, a division of Freedom Mortgage, with McHugh serving as a senior vice president of retail lending within Freedom Mortgage.
McHugh was also active in mortgage industry trade associations, serving terms as chairman of the Community Mortgage Lenders of American and the Empire State Mortgage Bankers Association.
In a September 2014 interview with National Mortgage Professional Magazine, McHugh acknowledged that mortgage banking was not his first career: during his high school and college years, he supported himself as a clammer in the waters off his native Long Island. When asked about the meaning of the old phrase “happy as a clam,” McHugh happily remarked: “I think they are happy because they are not disturbed … just laying there all alone. Definitely not like being a Mortgage Banker!”
Donations in the memory of Michael McHugh may be made to: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
One of Hollywood’s most influential filmmakers has been hit with a foreclosure lawsuit related to his townhouse in New York City’s Upper East Side.
The New York Post is reporting that Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese was sued for allegedly not paying for construction supplied used to renovate his four-story, 7,000-square-foot townhouse in 2014. Scorsese and his contractor, Smith Restoration Inc., are being accused by Extech Building Materials, the construction supplies company, of failing to pay a bill for $18,000 in materials. Extech filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court trying to force the sale of the property through the foreclosure process.
Scorsese purchased the property in 2007 for $12.5 million, and property records show the creator of “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas” took out a mortgage on the townhouse in 2016 for more than $10 million.
Steven Hochberg, a real estate lawyer representing Scorsese issued a statement that seemed to put the blame solely on the contractor.
Steven Hochberg, a real estate lawyer representing Scorsese issued a statement that seemed to put the blame solely on the contractor.
“This is a dispute between a contractor and a material supplier which names Mr. Scorsese only because he is the owner of the property where materials were allegedly supplied,” Hochberg said. “Mr. Scorsese fulfilled all of his obligations under his contract with Smith, and paid Smith in full, but allegedly Smith failed to pay the material supplier. If this cannot be resolved between the contractor and the material supplier, we will pursue all legal remedies.”
This is the second time that Scorsese has faced real estate problems: In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) put a hold on another Scorsese-owned property over a $2.85 million tax bill, which paid off one year later.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has named John C. Williams as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Williams, who is currently Chief Executive at the San Francisco Fed, will begin on June 18 and replace the retiring William C. Dudley.
Williams held the San Francisco Fed job since March 2011, when he succeeded Janet Yellen, who went on to become the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve. Williams’ appointment will be a disappointment to elected leaders and advocacy groups that demanded either a woman or a person or color take the leadership role at the New York Fed, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) publicly decrying the lack of diversity in the leadership ranks of the regional Fed banks.
Nonetheless, the New York Fed expressed satisfaction with their choice.
“After a thorough process, my fellow search committee members and I felt that John best fulfilled the criteria we’d identified as well as the feedback we’d received through our public outreach efforts,” said Sara Horowitz, Chairwoman of the New York Fed’s Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Search Committee. “John cares deeply and is committed to the dual mandate and has led extensive work on the U.S. labor markets and employment. He has meaningfully engaged with and supported the diverse communities that make up the San Francisco Fed’s district and understands the different economic realities of its vast geographies and demographics, which have extensive parallels to the Second District, including Puerto Rico. And, John has always been willing to speak his mind and encourage the Fed to be forward looking and reflective.”
Now, here is a data survey that hasn’t been tapped recently: An analysis of housing markets based on cash-out refinancing activity.
According to statistics released by LendingTree, Albany, N.Y., leads the nation’s major metro markets with the greatest share of refinance mortgages funded with cash-out portion: 73 percent, with an average loan amount of $166,504. Portland placed second with a 72 percent share and an average loan amount of $266,152, followed by Cape Coral, Fla., with a 72 percent share and an average loan amount of $162,975. Rounding out the top five are Boise City, Idaho, with a 72 percent share and an average loan amount of $209,033, and Scranton, Pa., with a 71 percent share and a $142,666 average loan amount.
As for the cities with the highest loan amounts for refinance cash-outs, the national leader was a city that rarely shows up at the top of housing data charts: Bridgeport, Conn., where the average loan amount is $453,307. Second and third places were taken up by a pair of Bay Area metros: San Jose, with an average loan amount of $451,777, and San Francisco, with an average loan amount of $442,099. Honolulu placed fourth with an average loan amount of $415,224 and San Diego came in fifth with an average loan amount of $373,039.
“Cash-out refinance loans have risen to 62 percent of all refinances in first quarter of 2018, up from 54 percent in the first quarter of 2017,” said LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze.
One of New York City’s most notorious juvenile detention centers is getting a new lease on life as a 700-unit affordable housing complex.
According to a New York Daily News report, the City Council Thursday unanimously approved plans to turn the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center in the Bronx into a $300 million, five-acre campus called The Peninsula, which will include ground-floor retail and light industrial manufacturing space in addition to new housing. All 700 of the units will be income-restricted, with apartments reserved for those making from 30 percent to 90 percent of the area median income.
Seventy-five units will be set aside for formerly homeless residents.
The massive and imposing Spofford was shut down in 2011 following years of complaints of harsh treatment of juvenile inmates. In a statement, Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the new project as opening a new chapter for the city, noting that “we are seeing a community rising and the righting of old wrongs.”