Last week, New York City lawyer Randy Mastro’s Upper East Side townhouse was reportedly spray painted with graffiti epithets and the door lock was glued shut.
According to Mastro, the incident occurred because of the clients he represents, the nonprofit West Side Community Organization, which is litigating to remove a group of homeless people from the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side.
Two months earlier, attorneys at the Brooklyn firm of Balsamo, Rosenblatt & Hall were harassed by tenant advocates at the firm’s office during three days of anti-eviction protests.
In response to the recent trend of harassment against attorneys, NYSBA President Scott M. Karson issued the following statement:
“It is alarming to hear that another member of our esteemed profession has been targeted with a despicable act of harassment for simply providing legal counsel – a cherished principle of American jurisprudence. Everyone is entitled to legal representation and acts of harassment, threats and intimidation against lawyers are an assault on that right to counsel and must stop. The State Bar Association condemns the actions of all those responsible for this recent spate of harassment.”
Mastro, of New York’s Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said he was unaware that NYSBA would issue a statement following last week’s incident.
“… I appreciate the State Bar Association taking this extraordinary step of speaking out about this affront to our profession,” said Mastro. “This is a very sad day to see a genuine debate about serious issues involving the homeless devolve into vandalism targeting my family’s home. The persons who did this are criminals who should be brought to justice. And if they thought they were going to intimidate me, they picked the wrong guy.”