Reprinted from Yale Law School 50th Reunion
Background (1933-1951) Born to working parents (a half-size-dress business) living on West End Avenue in Manhattan, I was moved to Great Neck, L. I. (West Egg) in 1936 with the arrival of my brother, David. Reading poorly and plagued with mirror-image writing, I was retained in first grade; after I grasped the concepts, I was skipped ahead and from ages 9 to 15 I read practically a book a day, finishing Shakespeare and Schiller before junior high. Starting in 1946, mother wintered in Hollywood, Florida, with sister, Bonnie, and brother, while dad commuted – spending 10 days in Florida and 5 days in NYC. 1946 was also the year dad purchased a Garment Center building, starting his real-estate business. In 1949, 11th grade, I started at Hebron Academy, in Maine. Before “prep” school I had summered at boys’ camps; after, I caddied, worked and played golf (Glen Oaks C.C., then handicap 12, where Art Levitt ’52 so regaled me about Williams that, applying only to it, I turned down an invitation to Harvard made through Hebron). I remember Miami Airport with only one airline (National) and two gates – and the DC-3’s that flew to Lewistown, Marine – and the Boston & Maine train to Williamstown.
Williams College (1951-55) After a few weeks in Political Science 1, I was moved to Poly Sci 18 with wonderful Fredrick Schuman – most courses the next 3 years were less exciting. I wasn’t rushed, received B – B+ grades; enjoyed my roommates, started the Williams College Jewish Association (now the Williams Jewish Religious Center) and, with the late David Sterling, Williams ‘55, drafted the revised College Constitution. Admitted to Harvard and Yale Law, chose Yale – foregoing a NYU Law “Root-Tilden” designation. After, while in the part-time program at NYU Graduate School of Business, I summered as the order clerk for a suburban NYSE member firm and worked a year in NYC as an assistant hotel manager.
Yale Law School (1955-60) Fred Rodell’s class; then, many other stimulations, though less grade success than classmate respect. I found Williams classmate Art LaFave, (YLS ’58), waitered at the law-school dining hall first semester to pay for NYC clubbing (Harwyn, El Morocco, Little Club, Blue Angel) and took time out for Army Reserve duty. From 1957-59, with Jack Wells, Esq. (Dwight, Royall, Rogers & Casky), I participated in a successful proxy fight for The Central Foundry Company (NYSE), see: “Voting Rights of After-Record-Date Shareholders,” my authored article (thanks to Professor Coker’s kind insistence), 71 YLJ 1205 (June, 1962). After taking Summer courses (continued after YLS graduation) at NYU Graduate School of Business I luxuriated final term with Mike Nassau ’59, in an YLS tutorial. On April 4, 1960, I married Lynne Lateiner.
Saxe, Bacon & O’Shea (1960-64) Started in the family real-estate business (with the threat of a Chrysler proxy fight removed, Debevoise had decided I wasn’t needed), studied taxes (NYU Graduate School of Law), became a director of Central Foundry (NYSE), and came to work for Roy Cohn, Esq. – 1961 starting salary $6,000; 1963’s, $44,000 – many interesting cases: Rosensteil divorce, Ingmar Johansen prize and IRS fights, Tel-a-Sign proxy fight, Fifth Avenue Coach condemnation litigation (I also brokered its $2 Million financing). I left Roy in 1964 to form my own firm, initially Wiener, Maidman and Chase, and to expand the real-estate business. Two sons: Patrick, 1962; Mitchel, 1964.
Empire Building Real Estate (1964-1974); Central Foundry – see: Maidman v. Central Fdy. Co., 27 A.D. 2d 923 (1965); and, law (then and now). Many fine law clients: Countess Margit Bessenyey-Thyssen, William Bodouva, Lazrus and Samuel Heyman, Richard and Jonathan Otto (Rockbottom Stores, PriceLine), Nelson Peltz, Alan Sackman, David Walantas (Two Trees), Fred Wilpon (Hanover Properties), David Yagoda; worked with Zohar Ben-Dov, Edward Breger, Richard Lieb, Samuel Lipman, Henry Lowet ’57, Richard Marlin ‘58, Jerry Morgulas ’59, Steve Seldin ’59, Jack Weprin, Ed Winnick ’59. Managed proxy fights against Jager Machinery and Builders’ Transport, and represented independent shareholders in Conde Nast appraisal proceeding (Newhouse takeover). Built, renovated, and owned, several score NYC buildings and owned and operated parking facilities for thousands of cars; borrowed, floating over prime, dozens of millions more in fixed-rate mortgages. Among my special guardianships for Surrogate DiFalco, was the appraisal of the land value of the SW corner of Park Avenue and 57th Street (now 450 Park Avenue). Sold our Central Foundry interests and control to J. B. Fugua for bonds convertible into CF shares (1969-70); when they doubled in value (1971), Dad cashed out. I was politically active as General Counsel, then Co-chair Board of Advisors, NY Young Republican Club; Chairman, Metropolitan Republican Club (the official “silk-stocking” district club) in the Rockefeller, Javits, and Lindsay days and Finance Chair for e.g., Rep. Ted Kupferman. Daughter, Dagny, born 1968. Moved in 1972 to Sands Point, L. I. (East Egg), renovating a 19th Century Victorian house to plans by architect Richard Meier. See: Richard Meier Houses, Rizzoli (1996), p. 64, Richard Meier Architect (1964-76), Rizzoli, p. 86.
Surviving (1973-1985) As Prime went from 5 ¾% to 21%, and the “Oil Crisis” accompanied both the West Side Highway’s collapse and the Chapter XI of the Chase Bank’s REIT, I again attended NYU Graduate School of Law (Harvey Miller, Richard Lieb – reorganization law). In 1974 and from 1978 to 1983, I became a DIP – after unearthing Chapter XII – and I gave Chase a deed-in-lieu for our city home-to-be at 57 East 75th Street. My reorganization Plan (consolidating 7 cases) reduced our holdings to 20-some buildings and several hundred car spaces. While maintaining my NYC practice, I worked in D.C., real estate with Franco Lazzeretti, Rodman Rockefeller Pierre Tilmans, and the Farr brothers (Joel and Jim), as general counsel and a partner. Together we built, renovated, bought and sold, and/or managed: 2001 Penn. Av.; 1726 ‘M’ Street; 2020 ‘K’ Street; 815, 1211, and 1301 Conn. Av.; Lafayette Center; and, more. From Harold Vernon, I purchased (with tax-shelter investors) the Barcelona Hotel, Miami Beach, and apartment houses in Lubbock, Texas, and Forest Hills, NY; and with investors and the principals of Cooper-Horowitz, I built condominiums in Florida. In 1981, as an appointee of a New York court, I served as Receiver for the East 48-49th Street, Lexington-Avenue blockfront (now a Marriott Hotel). I was first listed in Who’s Who in 1983. By obtaining reversals of decisions of Joel Lewittes,’59, I established a debtor’s right to have the Bankruptcy Court reduce a New York City real-estate assessment (1981 SDNY, Lexis 14445), and as the land trustee of the Barcelona Hotel (see: 668 F. 2d 682, 1982), I battled Wachtel, Lipton to a foreclosure settlement.
Stabilizing (1984-1998) Lost my healthy 90+ mother in 1986 and in 1987 my 27-year marriage (divorce); met my Gail in 1991 (nee Lowe, then divorcing) and married in 1998; finished paying the Chapter XII debt, converted buildings to cooperative ownership and rebuilt with partners Samuel Lipman and Martin Meyers our Manhattan Parking Systems Group to several dozen locations. I became “Of Counsel” to Maidman and Mittelman, LLP, with my son Mitchel, previously with Dreyer & Traub (Cardozo ’88; YLS attendee, ‘87-88), and my nephew, Gregory Maidman, previously with Fried, Frank (NYU Law ’89).
Enjoying (1998-2009) Remarried. 3-week European honeymoon. Annual trips throughout Europe. Less active in law practice, but still obtained a $20+ Million trial judgment for a matrimonial client after successive First Department reversals. See: Haymes v. Haymes 221 A.D. 2d 73 (1996) [rev.], 252 A.D. 2d 73 (1998) [rev.] and 298 A.D. 2d 117 (2002) [mod.]. Primarily residing in Gail’s East 79th Street apartment, but weekending in Sands Point. In 1999, lost my 96 year old, never-before-sick mentor dad; in 2000 began construction of a 20,000 sq. ft. “spec” townhouse (now mostly unsold) being enlarged 33% as a 60-foot multi-family apartment house at 35-39 E. 63rd St.; in 2001 purchased, rebuilt and sold the 200-unit “Chelsea” apartment house, sold our 25’ 20-story 113 West 42nd Street building to the Durst interests (now Bank of America Tower), and built a 32-story Third Avenue apartment house at 556 East 37th Street, now substantially rented to Marriott. Son, Mitchel (Arlene) attorney, New York City (2 children) works with me; son, Patrick, M.D. (Jacqueline) Distinguished Fellow, APA, Cumberland, Maine (3 children); daughter, Dagny (Williams ’90, YLS ’94), Managing Director, Credit Suisse, San Francisco – see: Barron’s June 11, 2007, “9th Top Female Investment Advisor”; Time Magazine, Bonus Section “Inside Business,” October 2008; stepson, Evan (Regina), (one toddler) and stepdaughter, Starr, New York City.
Future (2010-20??) No retirement, continue: married; chairing our real-estate; and, practicing law, in my fashion, as a “legal consultant” for substantial clients – as an itinerant general counsel.