Casandra Properties CEO James Prendamano sits down with his longtime friend and mentor, Mike Menicucci, Esq., Founder and Managing Partner of Menicucci Villa Cilmi PLLC . Mike has carved a niche in the New York City Area serving both individual and business clients, focusing on Real Estate Law, Banking & Finance Law, zoning work, and litigation. The company is headquartered on Victory Boulevard on in Staten Island, with an additional office in Manhattan.
“All roads lead through Mike Menicucci,” notes James as he kicks off the show.
It Starts With Passion. . .
Mike Menicucci recalls how he had studied college-level engineering at Susan Wagner High School in the early ‘70s, the equivalent of today’s AP offerings. He loved it, exceled, and was accepted into prestigious colleges, such as Polytech. Mike’s father, however, wanted him to attend St. John’s University over on Grymes Hill, Staten Island, so he could keep “an eye on him.” Unhappy about the situation, Menicucci left St. John’s with his tuition check in tow and moved to Miami for a few years. It was the mid-seventies and, along with engineering, Mike also had a passion for playing guitar. He tried to start up a music career in Miami but his funds eventually dried up. Mike then returned back home to Staten Island and attended St. John’s University, majoring in Business and Finance. (Incidentally, he would again return back to St. John’s for law school.)
Mike Menicucci has another passion: examining land; understanding how zoning has evolved; how land can be subdivided; and what case laws have brought forward as a result. James recounts how Mike had once cited a charter from an 1848 zoning manual while they were working together on a complex land development deal. James describes it as a million dollar deal that hit a brick wall. “That is,” says James, “until Mike Menicucci pulled out a slice of heaven from an 1848 zoning manual and made it work.” Menicucci adds, “If certain parts were not challenged, or they were and they held up, the laws remain – back to 1848.” “That’s value, folks,” says James, adding, “real estate transactions today are seldom just real estate transactions.”
Force Majeure AC (After Coronavirus)
Moving forward in this world AC, it is necessary to have exceptional legal representation. James points out that case after case are going to go before the courts and asks Mike Menicucci how he sees it all playing out.
Mike Menicucci offers his insight on the matter of Force Majeure and Coronavirus. Force Majeure clauses provide a list of extreme events that, if they occur, can excuse a party’s performance under the contract. The clauses can vary greatly in language and are based on unforeseen circumstances: “acts of G-d,” hurricanes, and the like, excusing overall performance or delay in performance. Pandemics may not fall into Force Majeure unless it’s contractually noted, says Menicucci. Standards are very high for Force Majeure. He says you also need to ask yourself -- Is it a complete impossibility for my business to stay alive or an impracticability? Contractual language, Menicucci says, must change moving forward. It will be hybridized – to make it fail-safe. James Prendamano then reaffirms that Mike Menicucci is a shining example of how important it is to have exceptional legal representation.
The Future of Remote Firms
Prendamano and Menicucci agree that remote firms are here to stay. However, they won’t replace all offices. Coronavirus has made us take a critical look at our lives, our relationships, our families, asserts Mike Menicucci. Technology is streamlining everything and making things more cost-effective. People’s lifestyles have changed dramatically during these unprecedented times, and business too will evolve because of it. James Prendamano asks: If you decentralize but you can work remotely, of course, it’s better for productivity and cost-effective. However, where does that leave the city at the end of the day?