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Q&A WITH Elaine Colavito, President-Elect of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association

In addition to her family and matrimonial law practice and being a monthly contributor to the Suffolk Lawyer with her "Bench Briefs" column, Elaine Colavito will be installed as President-elect of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association on June 2017. In this interview, Elaine discusses her upcoming new role with the Nassau County Women's Bar Association and her ability to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

What is it like to soon be installed as the President-elect of the Nassau County Women's Bar Association?
It is an honor to be selected by my colleagues for this new position. I have been involved in the Nassau County Women's Bar Association for many years in various capacities. I have been able to see and participate in the good that it has done in promoting the advancement of women in law and women in general.

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FIRM NEWS

Miriam Villani Serves as Editor-in-Chief of NYSBA's New York Environmental Lawyer

Miriam Villani, a Partner with the Firm, serves as Editor-in-Chief of The New York Environmental Lawyer, a publication of the New York State Bar Association's Environmental Law Section, which recently published its Winter/Spring 2017 issue. In Ms. Villani's introductory message, she recounted the environmental progress that has been seen since the EPA was first established in the 1970s.

John P. Christopher Co-Chairs NYSBA Young Lawyers Section Trial Academy and Appears in Newsday "Winners" Section

John P. Christopher, a Partner with the Firm, was one of the Program Co-Chairs for the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Young Lawyers Section (YLS) Trial Academy, which was held on April 5-9 at Cornell Law School in Ithaca. The program covered all aspects of a jury trial, including jury selections; opening statements; trial ethics; direct and cross examinations; evidence, foundations and objections; trial motions and motions in limine; and closing arguments. Approximately 140 students and faculty members attended.

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Matthew E. Rappaport Joins Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC as Counsel

Matthew E. Rappaport has become Counsel to the Firm. He concentrates his practice in trusts and estates matters; business succession planning; asset protection; tax matters involving real estate, including § 1031 exchanges; and tax matters involving closely held companies, including mergers and acquisitions.

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National Law Journal and Super Lawyers Recognize Elaine Colavito

Elaine Colavito, an Associate with the Firm, has been named a Trailblazer in Divorce, Trusts & Estates by the National Law Journal. The Trailblazers Award honors the movers and shakers in the legal industry who have made an impact in the Divorce, Trusts and Estates sector through new types of strategies or innovative court cases. In a recent supplement published in The New York Times, Ms. Colavito was named a "Rising Star" in Family Law by Super Lawyers. It is the third consecutive year she has been recognized. She has also been named among the 2015 Super Lawyers' "Top Women Lawyers in New York."

Real Estate Transactions Update

Sahn Ward Coschignano Steers $10 Million Chinatown Purchase

Sahn Ward Coschignano represented the purchaser of a five-story mixed-use building in the Two Bridges/Chinatown area of Manhattan. The closing price was approximately $10 million, and the Firm guided the purchaser in securing $3.75 million in acquisition financing. The deal also included light and air, and egress easements with an adjoining parcel, adding significant complexity. The purchaser intends to renovate and double the number of residential units in the building. This once-quiet area of Manhattan has been a recent focus of new development with Extell's 800-foot-tall One Manhattan Square residential condominium under construction, and several others in the pipeline, reportedly totaling 3,500 new residential units.

Firm Represents Clients in Multimillion-Dollar Real Estate Transactions

Wayne G. Edwards, a Partner with the Firm, recently represented the buyer of a $6.7 million shopping center in Brownsville, Texas. He also handled the refinancing of a $34 million shopping center located in Staten Island, New York.

MATTERS OF INTEREST

Town of North Hempstead Approves North Shore Animal League Expansion
Bianca's Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center to be Housed in New 14,380-Square-Foot, Second-Floor Facility

Michael H. Sahn, the Firm's Managing Partner, and Jason Horowitz, a Partner with the Firm, successfully represented the North Shore Animal League before the Town of North Hempstead for construction of a second-story addition and complete renovation of its existing animal shelter building on Davis Avenue in Port Washington.

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Homeowner Granted Summary Judgment against Real Estate Agent Who Claimed Breach of Contract

Christian Browne, a Partner with the Firm, recently successfully represented a defendant homeowner in a real estate commission litigation matter.

The plaintiff, a real estate agent, alleged breach of real estate agency contract. In 2012, the client listed her and her late husband's home with an expiration date of November 1, 2012, which was extended to January 30, 2013. In the interim, a prospective buyer engaged in negotiations for the purchase of the property, but no agreement was reached. In July 2013, the agent contacted the client, indicating the same buyer was still interested in the property, and a price was agreed upon, requiring that the sale be made with no contingencies and the property be sold "as is."

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Wayne G. Edwards Obtains Approvals from Hempstead Town for Several New Projects

Wayne G. Edwards, a Partner with the Firm, recently successfully represented the Missionary Church before the Hempstead Town Board of Zoning Appeals for the conversion of a warehouse to a church, including securing parking variances and a special use permit to operate the church.

He also successfully represented a commercial real estate client before the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals in obtaining special permits and variances for a Starbucks to be located on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow. The Board also granted variances to allow a Codoba to be constructed also on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE LAW

New York State Raises Estate Tax Exemption, but Assets Still May Be Subject to Full Tax

New York raised the State's Estate Tax Exemption on April 1st, from $4,187,500.00 to $5,250,000.00 per person. While this sounds like good news at first glance, in fact, it is not necessarily the case. The way the law is written, everyone does not get the benefit of the exemption. The reason is that the law says that, if your assets exceed $5,512,500.00, you lose the exemption, unless your will is structured properly. In other words, there is no exemption at all in New York for people whose assets exceed $5,512,500.00, and the estate tax will be calculated on the first dollar of assets. So, proper planning for asset allocation is very important, and consideration must be given to revising estate plans.

Michael H. Sahn Cited by InnovateLI as State Opens Public Comments on SEQRA Reform

Michael H. Sahn, the Firm’s Managing Partner, was cited by InnovateLI in its March 28 e-newsletter describing how New York State is currently accepting public comments for a proposed overhaul of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The e-newsletter article included a link to an opinion editorial Mr. Sahn wrote last year, in which he discussed the need for better environmental review and oversight for large-scale development projects.

Click here to read the editorial.

Elaine Colavito's "Bench Briefs" Appears In Suffolk Lawyer

Elaine Colavito had her "Bench Briefs" column published in the April 2017 edition of The Suffolk Lawyer. "Bench Briefs" is a roundup of recent decisions from Suffolk County trial courts.

To review these decisions, click here.

OUT AND ABOUT

John Christopher Presents $8,500 Grant to Help Veterans in Need

Representing the New York Bar Foundation, Firm Partner John Christopher delivered a grant in the amount of $8,500 to Nassau Suffolk Law Services on April 12 for its Veterans Rights Project, which provides effective assistance and advocacy to veterans living on Long Island. The money was raised from the Help A Veteran 24-Hour Giving Challenge, which took place on November 11, 2016.

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Joshua D. Brookstein Coaches Students from The Crescent School to Elite Eight in New York State High School Mock Trial Competition

Joshua D. Brookstein, an Associate with the Firm, spent several months mentoring and coaching students from the Crescent School in Hempstead who participated in the New York State High School Mock Trial Tournament, which was sponsored by the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Law, Youth and Citizenship and The New York Bar Foundation. In Nassau County, the tournament was also sponsored by the Nassau County Bar Association. The Crescent School made it to the Elite 8 of the 48 teams participating.

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