Sign in

Real Estate Construction

New York, New York, United States
January 24, 2017

Contact this candidate


**-** **** ******

Astoria, NY 11106


Seasoned construction professional with extensive experience preventing problems and fixing troubled jobs.

Heavy experience in construction-related matters, including drafting, negotiating and administering agreements with architects, engineers (of every flavor) and constructors. Successful completion of healthcare, educational, commercial, industrial and military projects.

Resolved millions of dollars of mechanics’ liens filed against major expansion of medical center projects in Brooklyn and other contexts. Extensive experience handling imaging suites and specialty care installations

Published expert in risk management, including insurance coverage, insurance claims, vetting insurance coverage required from other parties (tenants, contractors and more) as well as advanced risk management (captives, self-insurance and risk purchasing groups).

Experience includes acquisition, financing, leasing, development and disposition of residential, commercial and institutional properties. Condo and Coop offerings and management of condo, coop and rental properties. Have handled synthetic leasing and mezzanine financing.

Frequently called upon to handle innovation. Wrote the electronic and legal protocols for the 60 Hudson Street “TelCo Hotel” at a time when “co-location” was unknown outside the Internet Community. Major player in the commercialization and privatization of the Internet, serving as general counsel to the company that opened up the first expansion of Internet. Wrote the licenses and protocols for New York’s very first rooftop antenna farm (9 West 57th Street for Swig, Weiler). Have served as a member of the Internet Engineering Studies Group.

Labor matters, including Davis-Bacon, collective bargaining, project labor agreements and resolution of jurisdictional disputes. Address prevailing wage mandates for DASNY financing.

Published expert on New York’s floridly complicated Lien Law.


Individual Private Practice June 2012 - present

Insurance Law, to include coverage reviews, placement of coverage and maintenance of claims

Compliance with law by contractors and developers

•Commercial and residential real estate transactions

•Mechanics' Lien enforcement and management

•Construction contract drafting, negotiation disputes resolution, to include lump-sum, cost-plus with and without GMP, design-build, EPC and EPC/O paradigms

•Commercial Property Casualty Insurance: structuring of programs and maintenance of claims

•General commercial litigation, to include equipment leasing


Shareholder March 2007 – June 2012

Worked with the real estate group to deliver integrated construction/risk management solutions for a variety of commercial, educational and health care projects

Principal contract negotiator for a wide variety of construction-related matters

Experienced in representing owners, developers, design professionals and constructors

Advise real estate developers and constructors with respect to legal compliance, to include Construction Contracts Act, Miller Act, insurance coverage, Fair Labor Standards and Davis-Bacon, SPEDES (Anti-pollution) compliance

Establishment and operation of captives, risk purchasing and risk retention groups

Principal handler of all mechanic’s lien claims and title insurance claims.

Development and delivery of internal and marketing-driven CLE programs, to include comprehensive training in property-casualty insurance coverage, bonding and mechanics’ liens

ZETLIN & DECHIARA, NEW YORK, NY January 2006 - March 2007

Of Counsel

Handled a wide variety of contract award and contract dispute matters

Extensive responsibility for preparation of Owner-side contracts and development of risk management programs

“Go” To” lawyer for all questions relating to insurance specifications and coverage.

Heavy experience in brownfields transactions and associated remediation contracts


Partner/Construction Department Head October 2001 – September 2005

Founder of the firm's construction group

Handle all construction projects for a major hedge fund including insurance

Extensive transactional real estate experience includes acquisition, development, financing, leasing and disposition of commercial properties nationwide

Major projects have included multiple conversions of legacy buildings to luxury residential condominiums, luxury residential developments, fit-outs for famous retailers, country clubs, higher educational institutions, industrial developments

Successful, economical resolution of construction defects and claims


Senior Associate 1998 – 2001

Full charge of firm's construction contracting practice

Extensive experience in risk management, to include development of insurance programs and monitoring for compliance and effectiveness

Handled wide variety of development projects, including high-technology fitouts, rooftop development, large out-of-the-ground and sophisticated interiors projects

Coordinated facility management programs (to include asbestos remediation and maintenance of historic buildings in San Francisco, Chicago and New York) for major Owner-Developer

Participate in preparation, negotiation and closing of condominium and cooperative projects

EATON & VAN WINKLE, New York, NY 1993 - 1997


Practiced with both the Business & Finance and Litigation groups, gaining experience in international trade, project finance, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and real estate transactions.

Liaison with banking supervisory agents regarding deposit-taking and loan-making by foreign bank branches, including Royal Bank of Kuwait, United Bank for Africa and Royal Bank of Scotland

Major player in the development of 60 Hudson Street as the first outpost in Silicon Alley, handling dozens of co-location and other high-tech deals, and handled all of the software licensing for a number of high-visibility financial software developers

Successful representation of CORE, the Internet Council of Registrars, in opening the Internet Domain Name System to include .biz, .info, .per, .nom, .mus and .air.

Successful defense of surety bond claims by contractors.

General Commercial Litigation. Forfaiting. Alcoholic Beverage Control litigation.

Successful representation of the liquidators of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (“BCCI”) and the rehabilitators of the New York Agency, United Bank for Africa plc.

SHAPIRO & BYRNE, P.C., Mineola, NY

Associate 1990 - 1992

Medical malpractice defense

General representation of Westchester Square Medical Center, to include risk management, revocation of physicians’ privileges

Representation of physicians before New York OPMC

Establishment of risk retention group for physicians employed by WSMC



FORDHAM COLLEGE, New York, NY B.A., cum laude 1976


Honorary Member, The Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy and of the John Pershing Society within that Association. “Friend of WestPoint”

Faculty member, The Practicing Law Institute (2007 - present)

Author of insurance coverage chapters for NYS Bar Association monographs on construction and operation of commercial real estate.

Presentation to American Association of Port Authorities, April 15, 2011 “Managing the Risks of Constructing, Owning and Operating Port Facilities”

Elected to New York Metro Super Lawyers annually since 2009 for Surety Practice.

Chapter 92 Warren's Weed New York Real Property: Mechanics Liens (Editor)

RealEstateWeekly-December-2010.pdf "Co-ordinating your construction risk" Real Estate Weekly (December 2010)

"Security for Contract Performance" The John Liner Review, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Summer 2010)

Book Chapter: "Insuring The Construction Project," Legal Issues In Risk Management - A Policyholder's Guide (Aspen Publishers, 2009).

"Mechanics liens, bonds and insolvency," Real Estate Weekly, Volume 56, Issue 10 (November 4, 2009)

"Mind the Gap," Risk Management Magazine (October 2009) (with Robert M. Horkovich)

"First Party Insurance and the FFE Project," Focus - New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association (May 2009) and Hospitality Lawyer's Risk Management Newsletter (August 2009)

“Finding Value in Historical Insurance Coverage,” Presentation to Anderson Kill’s annual policy holder conference on the importance of studying a target company’s insurance coverage before closing a merger or other acquisition, September 18, 2008.

“Handling the Risks of Underinsured Architects & Engineers,” New York Law Journal Outside Counsel Column (September 11, 2006).

Law of Internet Security and Privacy (Aspen Law & Business (3rd Edn. 2004). This survey of technology law is now in its third edition.

Marquis Who’s Who publications. Listed in (among other directories) Who’s Who in American Law since 1998 and Who’s Who in the World.

Multiple presentations to my firms’ employees (mandatory continuing legal education), NY County Lawyers’ Association, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, various clients’ legal departments and the Practicing Law Institute regarding construction risk management (especially Wrap-Up Programs), with occasional forays into insurance coverage and risk management generally.

Kevin J. Connolly Project Management Highlights

The Internet Domain Name System

Up until 1998, the vast majority of Internet addresses were assigned to only three “top-level”, .net and .org. At that time began a phenomenon known as the Domain Name Wars, triggered by the proposal to open up the system and allow for the creation of an unlimited range of internet address-names. I had the privilege of working with Dr. Jonathan Postel, the World Intellectual Property Organization, The Internet Society, the United States Department of Commerce and a battery of leading computer scientists, sociologists, politicians and capitalists to overcome the opposition of the well-connected organization (Network Solutions) that had monopolized the world of domain names. I was counsel to CORE, the Internet Council of Registrars. I helped them draft the constitution of CORE, which was formed as a Verein under the Swiss Uniform Business Code. I vetted the specifications for the “Shared Registration System” whereby any accredited organization would have the ability to update the Zone Files for a given internet domain. I wrote the security and authentication protocols for the system and participated in hundreds of hours of acid testing before we finally went “live” with domain names under .biz and .info, I also wrote the contracts for the engineering, procurement, delivery and operation of the system. The project ran into a snag when a gang of thieves stole the core of the system from the secure facility where the prototype was being tested. Due to preparedness and insurance coverage, the system went live on schedule in 2001 at no increased cost to CORE.

One Prudential Plaza, Chicago, Illinois

The second-tallest structure in Chicago is also home to one of the largest antenna farms in North America. Most of the television stations in Chicago have located their masts on this building, and none of those masts was suitable for HDTV. I had to coordinate the demolition and removal of the existing masts, transfer of broadcast facilities to secondary sites some of them using unutilized "windows" at the Sears Tower, and others requiring the negotiation of licenses to install temporary facilities on other buildings and installation of new, HDTV-capable masts and antennas. The project was made especially interesting by the fact that there is simply no way to remove the masts or bring in new ones except by helicopter, and the Prudential Tower directly underlies the approach path for the principal instrument runway at O'Hare Airport. I had to develop an air operations plan, meet with the FAA in Chicago and Washington, and handle the whole risk management process for the entire project as well as create and negotiate contracts for the construction activities needed to abate the asbestos-based insulation of the roof, remove and replace the masts, and install the technological fitouts onto the masts.

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

World Headquarters

In 1997, The McGraw-Hill Companies closed a billion-dollar deal with the New York City Industrial Development Agency to consolidate its headquaners operations into New York City. The resulting lease, of 2.2 million square feet, represented an interior fitout that would have been daunting had it been simple office space that was being built. It was not simple office space. McGraw-Hill has grown into much more than just a publishing giant. Its Standard & Poor's subsidiary is the best known of McGraw-Hill's information businesses, but McGraw-Hill is also a major player in the construction industry (largely through its F.W. Dodge subsidiary) and in the information industry, serving as a quiet industry leader in B-to-B information services. In addition to coordinating the design and construction of the buildings, I negotiated and administered contracts for technology acquisition and installation, security systems, and privacy protection policies, procedures and systems, as well as furniture, fixtures and equipment for the seven thousand corporate employees that McGraw-Hill needed to relocate and support, ensuring compliance throughout with the requirements of the IDA and the tax exemption programs it made available to McGraw-Hill.

McGraw-Hill Robotic E-commerce Fulfillment Centers

In 1998, recognized the advantages of fulfilling orders from the State of Delaware. The result was a million-square foot robotic fulfillment center just outside Wilmington that utilizes state-of-the art systems to track inventory, allocate inventory to new shipments, pack and ship millions of books every week. The continued growth and the McGraw-Hill scholastic book business resulted in the replication of the facility at DeSoto Texas, in an underutilized site that required the construction of robotic bridges that connected three buildings and spanned the very active US Route 7. I assisted in the process of qualifying and selecting architects and construction managers, the selection of automation systems, and handled the award of contracts for design, construction, and technology installations.

New York City Educational Construction Fund

The ECF builds large, complex projects. My role on the legal team is focused on risk management. I coordinate the development and enforcement of policies pertaining to insurance to be maintained by developers, construction managers and trades, review the ECF's own policies, and supervise claims-handling process. When a tower crane collapsed on one of ECF's projects, the program that I developed was tested and successfully covered the costs incurred and prevented disruption of the project as soon as the Department of Buildings lifted its stop work order thirty days after the collapse. I also review and comment on financial security documents, including mezzanine financing and related complicated financing arrangements.

United Nations

The process of building peace includes many kinds of contracts for goods and services. I led the team that helped the UN develop and implement a comprehensive program for letters of credit and "first demand" independent bank guarantees to meet these special needs while preserving the UN's ability to compete in the marketplace for goods and services.I gained significant experience in transnational dealings during this project, especially international credit enhancement techniques.

Tiger Woods Golf Clubs

The Tiger Woods organization was selected to develop the world's largest golf facility, to be constructed in Dubai. I represented the architects, and negotiated a series of documents that satisfied the owners' requirements for the project with the scope of services and responsibilities that were consonant with the architects' expectations. I then applied these same forms and practices to a series of design projects for the architect, including construction of casino resorts in the Caribbean, and a series of resort projects in the Middle East and Australia.

60 Hudson Street

I represented General Telecom, which in 1994 was the first international telephone carrier to take space in the old IT&T World Headquarters Building. I ended up having to write co-location protocols for sharing access to the bandwidth that was brought to the building, and coordinating the access agreements with real estate licenses that transformed the building into the Telephone Company Hotel. 60 Hudson Street remains the cornerstone of Silicon Alley and I made it happen.

Maimonides Medical Center

This center has been engaged in a major reconstruction and expansion of its facilities in Park Slope. The project has encountered numerous claims for delay and out-of-scope work, as well as nearly $50 Million in mechanics' liens, all of which were discharged without substantial expense to the Hospital.

The Milstein Pavilion New York Presbyterian Hospital

In 1998, a medical student, while leaving the building (which also housed Columbia University's School of Medicine) was struck on the head and killed by a brick that fell out of the curtain wall at a height of 50 stories. I was called upon to quarterback the process of qualifying a structural engineer, getting the original design architect of the building to return to participate in finding out what was going wrong with the façade of the building, and getting the curtain walls stabilized, which entailed the selective demolition of 25% of the exterior curtain wall of the building and its reconstruction, while carrying out a thorough investigation of the entire façade to ensure that there would be no recurrence of the tragic accident. All of this was carried out without disrupting patient care and the training of physicians over the eighteen months it took to perform the work.

Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy

The Long Gray Line has undertaken several projects intended to preserve and enhance the physical assets of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Occasioned by the bicentennial of the founding of the Academy as well as dissatisfaction with the handling of past projects by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and a shrinking government budget for service academies, the AOG has embarked on a novel approach to project delivery that takes advantage of its ability, as a private entity, to avoid many of the bureaucratic bottlenecks that have delayed and driven up the cost of past projects. Known as the "Margin of Excellence," the AOG is funneling gifts by graduates and friends of the academy into the enhancement of the Academy's physical plant as well as instructional programs. The projects include the construction of Randall Hall as an integral part of the Academy's athletic facilities, the construction of a new press box for Michie Stadium, the development of a life sports training facility for the use of the Academy's physical education department, construction of a new Rugby training and competition facility and the creation of a state of the art classroom for the Academy's Department of Military History. The last of these is required to do double duty by providing overflow exhibit space when needed for the West Point Museum. I handled the negotiation of all construction-related contracts for these projects (except the Hoffman Press Box), which I inherited from prior counsel.

United States Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association

The Coast Guard Academy has its own problems with reduced congressional funding, leading it to implement its own Margin of Excellence program. First up for the Coast Guard is an alumni hall to be located on the grounds of the academy. The alumni selected a design-build approach to the project while still requiring a robust design package including complete drawings and full specifications, requiring the negotiation of a wide range of unusual provisions in the design-build contract. This building was especially challenging because it is cantilevered over the Amtrak right of way in New London, requiring special attention to risk management, structural engineering, and securing rights over the rail road.

Bear, Stearns World Headquarters

I represented the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its operating affiliate, Metro-North

Railroad, in this matter. This building is constructed over the right of way of the Metro-North Railroad and over the Grand Central Terminal train shed. Its construction required very close cooperation with the railroad, since there were substantial economies to be realized by staging materials to the site without interference with the operation of the rail road. The contracts required reconciling the diverse interests of Bear, Stearns, its developer, the State of New York (which was an avid supporter of the project) and the MTA (which insisted throughout that there could be no disruption of the train operations and which was concerned about the environmental impact of demolishing the existing building on site, which was especially laden with friable asbestos). The project was completed on schedule without noticeable interference with train operations.

Prada USA corp.

I handled construction contracting for this company. I have written contracts for, among other things, the Beverly Hills store, which was exceptionally complicated due to the very tight fit of properties on Rodeo Drive and especially stringent traffic regulations imposed by the City, as well as showrooms in New York City and Milan.

Ross Stores Dress For Less

Duval & Stachenfeld represented the landlord for the Las Vegas location of this retailer. I successfully partnered with the tenant's team to achieve an especially-rapid out-of-the-ground design and build of this location, enabling the project to be turned over for fixturing ahead of schedule.

DaeLim International Chemicals

The DaeLim family of Korean corporations established a requirement for a petrochemical processing facility in or near the Pacific Rim. After a two-year search, they settled on Bangkok Thailand as offering the best mix of proximity to the Indonesian wellheads from which raw materials would be drawn, skilled labor pool, political stability, and access to markets for the finished products. The project was undertaken by a joint venture with British Petroleum, PTT (The Thailand Petroleum Authority) and Star Petroleum Refining Co., sized at approximately 150,000 barrels per day, and entered operation in July 1996. I negotiated the joint venture agreement and handled the award of the design and construction contracts.

Alfa Group of Companies

The Alfa Group has roots in Canada, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union. I handled the contract award phase as well as contract administration for the world headquarters of Alfa Bank, the largest private financial institution in the Russian Federation. The project a 500,000 square foot tower at the intersection of Arbat Street and Gogolovsky Boulevard was the largest privately commissioned work in Russia up until that time. I handled the award of architectural and construction contracts and participated in monthly project meetings, assisting the parties in interpreting the contract provisions as well as overseeing the change order process. Ultimately, I resolved claims for time, liquidated damages and cost overruns which were intricate due to cultural and linguistic gaps between the parties and brought the project in on time and within the developer’s contingency allowance.

Christie's, Inc.

The renowned auction house decided in 1998 to vacate its old, uncoordinated space in New York City, with auction, showroom and storage facilities at three locations into a single showpiece headquarters in Rockefeller Center. The original participants in the transaction Project Representative, General Contractor, and Owner's Counsel all proved unequal to the task of integrating the activities and bringing together the variety of skills needed to realize Christie's need for impressive, functional, secure space. I came onto the project team in the Spring of 1999 and oversaw the unwinding of the contracts, the reissuance of plans and specifications, the award of new contracts for all of the work (including technology contracts), resulting in the on time opening of Christie's new auction house in October 2000.

The Highline

New York City's position as the premier commercial city of the New World turned not only on its superb natural harbor but also on its extensive railroad network. In the 21st Century, that railroad network became something of a white elephant. A consortium of landowners throughout Manhattan utilized me to conclude (after twenty years of fruitless negotiations) the contracts necessary to demolish the railroad right of way and return the liberated air rights to the owners of the buildings. Unfortunately, the City then filed an eminent domain proceeding to preserve the Highline as a still to be developed recreational asset.

The Montgomery-Ward Catalog Buildings

For nearly 100 years, a dominant feature of the Chicago shoreline was the Montgomery-Ward catalog building and the associated structures. Totaling just over one million square feet and including the famous Montgomery-Ward Clock Tower, these beaux arts buildings were in danger of demolition after the Montgomery-Ward Company ceased operations. A consortium of real estate developers called upon us to negotiate construction contracts to convert the buildings into a renaissance center for Chicago, including a commercial/retail Riverwalk, luxury condominiums, and a cutting-edge technology center housing earth stations, microwave terminations, switching, internet access and co-location facilities for domestic and international telecommunication providers. Activities have included addressing major structural defects, water infiltration, claims by the construction manager for more than $4MM over a GMP of $7MM and more than $2MM in mechanic's liens claimed by subcontractors.

The New Pennsylvania Station

Ever since Stanford White's Pennsylvania Station came under the wrecking ball in the 196(Ys, developers have looked at the Farley Post Office Building, located just to the west of Penn Station, as a target for development. Preservationists have sought just as earnestly to prevent the destruction of this building, the last remaining monumental Stanford White building in New York. I represented the Empire State Development Corporation in its formation of a consortium to redevelop the Farley Building as "The New Pennsylvania Station." This included the negotiation of the architectural design contract with the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as well as the qualification process for the construction managers.

The John Hancock Building

The largest residential building in the world was acquired by a major real estate developer in the late 1990s and found to be in deplorable condition. The envelope of the building was anything but watertight, leading to significant damage to the interior of the building. To make matters especially interesting, there had been several piecemeal attempts over the years to caulk the exterior of the building, using compounds that included large amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls, a major environmental toxin, and the infiltrating water had reached the core of the building, causing significant amounts of asbestos-containing materials to leach into living areas. The client had to award contracts for environmental remediation, covering both the PCBs and asbestos, before work could even begin on waterproofing the shell of the building; ultimately, the client had to skin most of this 97-story condominium in order to restore it to its position as the premiere luxury building in Chicago.

Maryland Convention Center

The State of Maryland undertook a public/private development of a 1000-room hotel property and adjoining convention center. This $400 million project was especially complex, requiring attention to depots of hazardous material, and old underground facilities laden with asbestos and lead paint requiring abatement before construction could begin. Issues of responsibility for the stream of waste under the environmental laws had to be coordinated with construction documents, some of which had been prepared by architects and engineers without any input from counsel with respect to the General Requirements and General Conditions. In addition, public and private construction was to be performed in adjacent areas of a single building, requiring careful delineation of lines of responsibility, control, and funding.

Misner Country Club

A renowned developer of luxury communities acquired the Misner Country Club in Palm Beach, Florida, and began developing houses on the golf course. During this process, the golf maintenance facility sustained a substantial fire loss. Project Management mishandled the adjustment of the insurance claim, resulting in possible exposure to loss if the proceeds of the insurance turned out to be inadequate to reconstruct the facility. I reopened the adjustment process, engaged the insurance company's estimators as general contractor, and returned the maintenance facility to service in time for the 2002 peak season, resulting in no disappointed homeowners and no noticeable disruption in home sales. Following this success, the developer, a Fortune 200 company based near Philadelphia, engaged me to handle construction contracts

Contact this candidate