Smile, you're on candid camera

Though I was originally licensed in 1966, I didn't start selling real estate in NYC until the early 80's. Under the tutelage of Neil Binder (a smart guy) at Bellmarc Realty I thought I had learned my craft well and even carried a certain je sais tout and not the more appropriate je ne sais pas attitude.
On this particular day I was working on a new co-op deal when the attorney for the buyer requested seeing the minutes of co-op Board's meetings. I know this is standard today, but in the early to mid 80's, and in my experience, it was unheard of. I challenged the attorney on this request, saying I had never had such a request and what was he trying to pull. He was a good attorney, calm and willing to set me straight. "Well, Leigh", he said "that may have been the case up to now, but you'll see, you're going to get this request from now on, and it's because of me." I asked why. He then told me this story: He had recently been hired to represent another buyer on the purchase of a co-op on West 12th Street (some of you will remember this building). He did his usual due diligence, the contract was signed, and the title eventually passed. A few weeks after closing he received a certified letter from a new attorney for the buyer threatening to sue him for malpractice. What was going on? A few days earlier a big news story broke concerning this building. Apparently there was a doctor on the first floor who was treating AIDs patients and the building was trying to evict him. This was at the height of public paranoia when some things were known but many people still chose to believe their own set of truths--like the disease could be caught through the plumbing, from eating Chinese food, etc.--some really wild stuff--but anyway, the purchasers felt an attorney should have know this controversy was going on and informed them. He asked how could he have known and they said the board had been trying to evict the doctor for months and it had been discussed ad nauseam during board meetings. Very simply, he should have known by reading the minutes. He confessed to me, "You know, Leigh, they were right". I asked what happened next. He told me he had to meet with the partners at his firm to tell them the bad news. One of them mentioned he'd heard about the whole mess on the 6 o'clock news a few days earlier and reporters were interviewing tenants going in and out the building. Well, there was a brief silence, they all looked at each other and he tore out of the room to head for the TV studios. Apparently, this particular purchase had been made by parents for their daughter who had just moved to the Village. Sure enough she had been interviewed on TV and the interview went something like this: "Oh, this is so ridiculous, what are these people complaining about, there's absolutely nothing to worry about, this is all so unfair, I just LOVE my new apartment, it's so wonderful, my neighbors are the BEST, I LOVE living here,"...and on and on. "So, what did you do?". "Well, I requested a video of the interview, I taped my business card to the cassette, and sent it to the other attorney, certified, no cover letter, just the cassette. I never heard another word from them after that...But, never again." Sure enough, every deal I had after that day included a request to review the minutes of the Board, the word got around real fast.