Archive for the tag ‘lawyers’

We received the following e-mail from Ilya Novofastovsky, an area resident and partner in a Manhattan law firm who is turning his 25-member legal team to pro bono work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy:

My heart is breaking as I look at photos of the damage from Hurricane Sandy – water in the streets, electrical fires, Tatiana’s fallen façade, flooded basements and disabled vehicles – so many dreams are in shambles.  I hope you have all made it through safely and started the return to normal.
While my home and office remain without power, we were pretty lucky. I am beginning to have some reception and have mobilized my staff to assist those who are less fortunate.
Please feel free to email or call me at 917-226-6405. Also, please collect the contact information for everyone who suffered serious damages and wants help.  We will need their name, address, telephone, email and a brief description (loss of motor vehicle, flood-damaged basements, injuries, loss of business, etc.).  Make sure to tell everyone to take photos before they clean up and repair.
I will help everyone pro bono to apply for government aid/compensation and to submit insurance claims.  Via email, I am able to assist as early as this week.  Feel free to share my information and this offer with anyone that may need it.
Many of you have already contacted me for help.  Tomorrow at 1:00 PM, I was invited to address these issues on the Russian radio at 89.9 FM.
Take care,
Ilya Novofastovsky, Esq.
299 Broadway, 17th fl.
New York, N.Y. 10007

Strauss Discount Auto at 2570 Coney Island Avenue.

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

I remember years ago, passing by R & S Strauss Discount Auto at 2570 Coney Island Avenue on my way to get bagels from Hot Bagels (what’s it called now?) and getting a movie at Blockbuster (also, gone). The neighborhood constantly changes as businesses open up and close down.

R & S was in the community for quite some time, but the economic climate changed so dramatically in the past few years that every brick and mortar outlet is having a tough time paying the rent.

What happens if it happens to you? What happens if you’re a small business owner and you just can’t afford to keep the lights on anymore? You, like many other businesses around you, can file for Bankruptcy. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

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Source: Ian Muttoo/Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

In New York, there is what seems an almost endless debate between buying and renting a home; between owning a piece of property that you can say is yours, versus paying someone for the privilege of living in theirs.

There are pros and cons to both approaches, but if you’re going to go along with the theory that buying is the best way to spend your money, then you better know what’s in the Contract of Sale. And if you’re going to want to know what’s in the Contract of Sale, you better have a clear understanding with your attorney.

Far too often I find clients are simply ready to sign on the dotted line. If they’re buying a Dyson on Home Shopping, they’re certainly checking out the warranty to see what it covers. But if they’re putting down hundreds of thousands of dollars, many of them simply trust that the lawyer has done what the lawyer should do, and they sign away.

This, my friends, is a terrible mistake. A client should always know (and in my opinion has the responsibility to know) what it is that they’re agreeing to.

“But a lawyer should tell the client what they need to know when they buy real estate,” you say. Granted. Yes. But I find that sometimes clients will feel too intimidated to ask, and it’s to their detriment.

Here are some of the common questions you should ask your attorney if you’re buying some real estate in New York:

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Source: 401K/Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Okay, so let’s be real here. Whenever anyone discusses Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, inevitably, someone thinks, “Oh, I know what these people do. They max out their cards right before they file and then they get to keep all their stuff and get rid of the debt.”

Let’s address these two assumptions separately.

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Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

A client came to us recently in our Brooklyn office.  She was being sued by Mel S. Harris & Associates, a collection law firm in New York. Her bank account (actually her husband’s bank account) was frozen. The story is all too familiar.

She never received any summons and complaint. She never received any Notice of Motion for Default Judgment (which is an action a creditor takes in Court when you don’t respond to a summons and complaint in New York). She received no court papers at all. She wasn’t even aware that any debt existed under her name. All she knew was that she could no longer access her husband’s account, which had thousands of dollars in it.

We were able to unfreeze the account and have the case dismissed in less than 48 hours. That doesn’t guarantee that the same result will happen in each and every case. In fact, its an aberration in some respects. The lawyers there, after we showed them proof that our client did not live at the address where she was allegedly served, were quite courteous and did the right thing.  However, I need to stress that if your account is frozen in New York by a credit collector, the last thing you should do is call them immediately and try and settle the debt.

Keep reading to find out what you should do.

Source: danielmoyle/Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

Governor Paterson was one of the greatest governors in this state’s history. What’s that? I’m insane? Okay, fine. But here’s the thing: the last bill that Governor Paterson signed into law before leaving his post was a windfall to debtors that want to file bankruptcy and keep their stuff. Perhaps the most radical change to the bankruptcy laws since 2005, this bill has, and will continue to, change the way that people across New York, and especially Sheepshead Bay, will approach the topic of Bankruptcy for some time to come.

Keep reading to find out how.



Councilman Michael Nelson is offering free legal service to constituents of all income ranges, thanks to a partnership with the CUNY School of Law Legal Resources Network.

Advice and consultation will be served up in four locations throughout the district. Constituents can get help on civil litigation, landlord and tenant disputes, the drafting of legal documents and more – but actual representation will not be available.

Appointments are expected to last about 45 minutes to an hour.

We wonder if some of his colleagues will stop by to save on campaign funds

Check out the schedule and locations after the jump.

One of the most common reasons families square off against one another is over property and finances. Luckily for Sheepshead Bay, our friend (and a site sponsor) Bill Reinhardt is offering a free seminar next week to help residents get ahead in their estate plans and avoid the squabbles.

Estate planning is the best tool to eliminate uncertainties in case of death or incapacitation. It draws out the guidelines for divvying up your property, it maximizes the value of the estate by reducing taxes, and guardians are often designated for minor children.

Reinhardt, a Sheepshead Bay-based attorney with more than 25 years experience in real estate law and estate planning, is holding the seminar at The Reinhardt Professional Building at 2990 Avenue U (corner of Batchelder Street). He’s holding it in two time-slots on Wednesday, November 10 – either 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.

Call (718) 377-8880 or e-mail [email protected]. You can also check out the event flier.

Tuesday Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

A reader sent Sheepshead Bites the following letter this week:

I live in a two bedroom apartment in a Voorhies Avenue co-op. I wanted to discuss unfair rents where some people are charged $1,700 for a two bedroom, which is fair – a bit much, but fair – and others are charged up to $2,400. Let’s not forget the fact that the landlord (not the porter or the super) is lazy and won’t get anything done! He’s in it for the money – he owns half the building’s apartments!

The question basically is if it is okay for a landlord to charge $1,700 for a two bedroom apartment, and charge $2,400 for another, comparable apartment? In other words, is it legal to have such a large discrepancy in rent?

Well, is it? And what can you do if your landlord isn’t keeping up his side of the bargain? Find out.

Tuesday Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future. Today it comes on Wednesday. Live with it.

So you just got a summons on the door of your Sheepshead Bay apartment saying you owe $15,000 to a credit card from 2002. What are you going to do?

On my website, I’ve previously discussed what happens when you get sued by a creditor in New York and the available defenses you have. But let’s say the creditor served you correctly, and that you actually recognize the debt and it is an amount you owe. What in the world do you do now?

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