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RMJM claim leaked NY eviction notice 'part of plan'

RMJM was served with eviction papers before leaving its former New York office, a document leaked to the AJ has shown

Last week the global practice issued a press release saying it was ‘was delighted to announce the opening of our new office in midtown Manhattan’ and that the move represented ‘the culmination of months of planning by our New York team’ (AJ 24.08.2012).

However a marshal’s legal possession document dated 22 August (attached) - effectively an eviction notice issued by the civil court of the City of New York - painted a rather different picture to that portrayed in the company email of 23 August.

But group commercial director Declan Thompson insisted the situation had been planned by the company nearly six months ago. He said: ‘We had to make some very difficult decisions and the US office has had a difficult time. [However] the exit of the lease [on the former office] will, over the course of that tenancy agreement [which was set to expire on 31 December 2013], save us some $1 million.

‘So we entered into very difficult commercial negotiations, adopted a pretty ballsy stance and had a fight wih the landlord.’

He added: ‘The marshal coming in was part of that process.’

Speaking about the future of the US office which, according to Thompson is now down to 52 staff from a peak of around 100, he added: ‘The new space has the capacity for 60 people and we have the intention of taking up the rest of the floor, meaning we could go upto 150 staff’

‘I have no doubt that this time next year New York will be twice the size it is now.’

Earlier this month group chief executive Peter Morrison told staff at the practice that it was was in ‘a strong position to quickly return to growth’.

The email came as the global group posted an £11 million pre-tax loss for the year to April 2011 – compared with a £1.6 million profit in the prior year.

The group also saw turnover drop from £81.2 million in 2010 to £71.6 million last year.

Readers' comments (5)

  • what a story

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  • What a global disaster of managing a firm. Ethics, integrity and talent would have served them well.

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  • How unfortunate and embarrassing for RMJM to have this dirty laundry posted online. I think it would be nice to hear an official statement from RMJM as there could be a reason behind this.

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  • As one of RMJM’s former American contract employees who were suddenly asked to leave one afternoon because the company had no cash to meet their staff payroll, and was never paid until several months later, the question always was, and still is:

    It’s understandable that RMJM “inherited” their “posh” 7th Avenue office after purchasing the Hillier Group at the “Top” of the worldwide market for architectural services, but why did these dishonest people continue to rent and occupy this "penthouse" office with 360 degree views of the most famous parts of Manhattan Island, in the heart of New York's Fashion district, one of the most expensive real estate zones on earth, if they did not even have enough cash-on-hand to pay their staff and temporary contractors in between collections from clients?

    I have seen complaints by other internet bloggers, who also were former employees, who say that in addition to “massive” unpaid obligations here in America, RMJM also owes money to former staff members and other staffing companies all over Britain, and Asia.....

    The British authorities should consider seeking injunctions that would force these unethical charlatans to cease operations, once and for all!

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  • Raised eyebrow.

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