Letters of Recommendation: A Little Board Package Levity

Whether you’ve had the “pleasure” of purchasing an apartment in NYC or not, it seems everyone knows the horrors of putting together a co-op (or even condo) board package.  What is asked for in terms of down payment, post closing reserves, debt-to-income ratio and pedigree is the stuff of legend in New York City real estate, and is often true.   Purchasers get frustrated with the process (and rightly so), but how they deal with the demands of a building, management company or board is truly fascinating to watch.  Occasionally a client will use their wit, sense of humor and writing skills to offer a comical reminder of how ridiculous this whole process can be.

This week I give you a wonderfully written mockery of the board package process…

Dear Co-op Board,

I have known Tom Stevenson for over 60 years. He is one of the finest people I know. He is a great father, husband, friend, and lawyer.

Because he could not get into Amherst, he ended up at Williams College, where he distinguished himself by inventing the game: “Zoom Schwartz.” After graduating from Harvard Law School, he joined the prestigious law firm of Dick, Twerp, Beheamoth, Beheamoth & Blechem. Even as a junior lawyer, he impressed the then 90-year-old Homer Blechem who took him under his wing and turned him into—what is generally agreed upon—the finest tenants rights lawyer in the country today. He is universally feared by landlords, and coop and condo boards. Tim loves to share his knowledge, and there is no question that all of the other tenants in the condo will benefit from his advice and expertise.

Tim also deeply believes in that fundamental American tradition in jurisprudence, that everyone deserves a great defense. No one appreciates Tim’s adherence to that principle, as much as his numerous Mafioso clients, who would do virtually anything for Tim.

Tim is first and foremost a homebody and family man. Even though at first he wasn’t interested in his charming wife Cheryl’s obsession with Flamenco Dance, because they practice virtually every night that they are home, they are now quite accomplished.

Tim once played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters. (Get him to show you the picture!) He still stays in shape by practicing dribbling with either hand for hours at a time, and he is excited that he found a place in the apartment for a basketball hoop.

Tim and Cheryl have two lovely daughters. They share their parents love of entertaining. They even feel badly for all the otherwise under aged teenagers who so often miss out on the really good parties, so they make it a habit of including them as well. As far as I know, this has led to only one arrest, and it was expunged. However this does not stop their charming daughter from always wearing the lovely bright orange jumpsuit she earned, in solidarity with the other inmates she met.

Tim and Cheryl also love animals. Even though their large dogs are not used to apartment living, they tell me that their dogs will do just fine in the elevator, as long as the other passengers do not make eye contact, speak, or wear deodorant or perfume.

In short, I cannot recommend Tim and Cheryl highly enough.


John Brown

PS Perhaps you may want to increase your insurance.


My name is Eirik Davey-Gislason and I work in real estate in New York City.  This blog is an opportunity for me to educate everyone who has a horror story or is on the verge of one.  By sharing, preparing and advising my audience on what to expect, what is normal, what is right, and what is wrong, I hope to do my part to expose the wrong-doers and shape the future of this dysfunctional thing we call NYC Real Estate.

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