These Guys Go Way Back
It’s pretty easy to trust your lawyer when you grew up playing sports and learning how to talk to girls with him. MNS general counsel and SVP Adam Ginder and CEO Andrew Baroccas first met on the basketball court in Rockland County’s New City. They can’t remember whether they were 7 or 8, but Andrew remembers that Adam’s uniform was red. That may be because Adam was always the best player, Andrew tells us, and Andrew was No. 2. They were both plenty athletic, though, moving from the little league minors to the majors a year ahead of average. (They also point out that Halstead’s Robin Schneiderman moved up a year behind average.)
After college, Andrew went to work for Citi Habitats to get some experience before joining the family garment-making business. After a year, his dad offered him a $30k/year gig, which he turned down, considering he’d made $170k showing apartments. He opened four offices for Citi over four years until it sold to Corcoran parent NRT. In ’05, he struck out on his own, founding The Real Estate Group. In ’09, that company entered a strategic JV with The Developers Group, and in 2011, Andrew renamed the company MNS.
Adam, meanwhile, graduated from law school and joined Wolf Haldenstein’s real estate department, starting out on a lot of transaction work and over the years picking up more litigation, including repping co-op and condo boards. But he’d always thought of himself more as a businessman and entrepreneur and called his old friend Andrew to see if he could help MNS out. They chatted about the possibility during an outing to the zoo, but doing business isn’t Andrew’s overriding memory of the day. Rather, he recalls a camel sneezing on Adam. (Puts that sniffly guy next to you on the subway into perspective, doesn’t it?)
Replacing his third-party legal representation with his Felix Festa Middle School and Clarkstown North High classmate (and bar mitzvah buddy) as in-house counsel has proved a big relief for Andrew, who says it takes a lot off his shoulders because he can trust his old friend. And now MNS's new development division (the company also does rental and resale brokerage and investment sales) is bringing 5,500 apartments and condo units to market over the next 24 months, putting it in top three in market share, Andrew says.