A New York developer faces scrutiny from state and city regulators after a New York Times investigation revealed several high-profile development projects may have had faked oversight from an architect. The signature of a retired architect, Warren L. Schiffman, was used in recent building designs in NYC, including the 51-story Hudson Yards hotel, which is still under construction.
The NY Times reports Schiffman didn’t review the projects and isn’t actively working on them. Instead, the developer faked his signature. The architect reportedly agreed in 2016 with Marx Development Group CEO David Marx, on a plan for how the developer’s design group could continue using his signature for building projects after he retired in exchange for receiving quarterly payments. The architect’s signature was also attached to building designs of two high-rise residential buildings in Queens and a hotel close to LaGuardia airport.
NYC building professionals said the allegations about the faked signature were highly unusual. And if they’re proved true, the developer and architect could face severe penalties, even jail time. NY state law requires oversight of registered architects of building plans to ensure they don’t pose a safety risk. And state law also says it could be considered a Class E felony if a licensed professional help an unlicensed person to practice a profession or “fraudulently sell” a license. If the allegations are true, it could tarnish the developer and architect’s reputations for a long time, on top of the penalties they could face.