Adam Leitman Bailey can practice law again

Attorney was suspended for months after telling a tenant he should commit suicide

Adam Leitman Bailey (Credit: iStock)
Adam Leitman Bailey (Credit: iStock)

Real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey is back in action roughly five months after the State of New York suspended him from practicing law based partially on him telling a tenant he should commit suicide.

Bailey’s suspension officially ended on Tuesday, according to court documents. The attorney told The Real Deal Wednesday that he was proud that his firm had continued to do well despite his absence and that he spent most of his suspension working on a new edition of the book “Real Estate Titles,” which was originally written in 1950 by Milton Jacobs.

“Our firm was extremely successful while I was gone, which, since I’m such a big part of the firm, was quite shocking,” he said, “and it meant the world to me.”

Bailey’s suspension began on May 3 following a petition from the state’s Attorney Grievance Committee that accused him of undignified conduct before a tribunal and threatening criminal charges to get an advantage in a civil matter.

The accusations were based on two instances. One took place in November 2016 when Bailey entered a conference room during an arbitration hearing while a witness was testifying, started taking photos with his phone and said, “This will be in the newspaper when I put this in there after we kick your asses. You should be ashamed of yourselves for kicking people out of a building, and you have to live with yourself.”

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The other took place in September 2016 after tenant James Dawson accused his landlord and Bailey’s client Lalezarian Properties of overcharging tenants in postings on a website. Bailey texted Dawson that he would sue him for millions of dollars over his postings and told him on a phone call that he “should commit suicide” and was “one of those people in the world that really should just kill themselves because you’re worthless.”

Bailey told TRD he was apologetic for his actions, saying he had always considered himself a role model for young attorneys and his community. He pledged that he would not make similar mistakes moving forward.

“People in my position cannot make the mistake that I made,” he said. “There was no excuse, and that can never happen again.”

Bailey was also disappointed that he was unable to help lobby for the real estate industry over the summer, when the state was enacting its strict new rules on rent-regulated apartments. He maintained that things might have turned out differently if he had more of a chance to weigh in on the process.

“I do feel responsible for those rent bills being passed. I really believe that I could have had a shot,” he said. “I don’t know if it would have made a difference, but I think I could have had a shot of giving them another opinion.”

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