Paul J. Newman, 49, is the president of Cohesion Studios. He’s also facing charges in three counties for pretending to be an architect. According to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Newman worked on numerous housing projects in the Capital Region despite being neither licensed nor registered. He is accused of defrauding construction companies, business owners and municipalities.
Discovered through an investigation dubbed “Operation Vandelay Industries”, Newman allegedly drafted architectural renderings for over 100 properties, as well as foundation inspections, field reports, energy compliance certificates and engineer letters. On each, he signed as a registered and license architect, using a forged New York State Registered Architect Stamp or Professional Engineer Stamp. Among his alleged victims are municipal governments and senior living facilities.
These are serious charges: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, nine counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, three counts of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession, and thirteen counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. These are all felonies—and they're just in Rensselaer County alone. He’s also charged with felonies in Albany County and Saratoga County. If convicted of the highest count charged, Newman faces somewhere between 5 and 15 years.
Some Archinecters have already commented on the case in the forum, predominantly wondering how this slipped through the system. “Nobody thought to go to the NYSED website and verify this guy's license for seven years?” asks David Cole, AIA.