Every association is different, as everyone knows, and mobile home parks are a little different than most. As Tom Moriarty, a founding principal of Moriarty Bielan & Malloy LLC, explains it, owners of mobile homes own their structure, but not the land it sits on. So, when a national organization swoops in and acquires the property – as is happening more and more often – mobile home owners are more vulnerable than a traditional association.
This attitude of giving back without hesitation is embedded in the DNA of Moriarty Bielan & Malloy.
It’s a situation that confronted Easton Mobile Home Park of Easton, Mass., when the property was bought in the early 2000s by Morgan Management of Buffalo, New York. At its height, Morgan Management owned 180 properties and 36,000 units in 14 states – and had little interest in a distant mobile home park with a maximum capacity of only 122 units.
CALL IT DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH
Over the decade-plus of Morgan Management’s owner- ship, conditions at Easton Mobile Home Park deteriorated dramatically. According to Thomas Aylesworth, also a principal of Moriarty Bielan & Malloy, all of the infrastructure systems were dilapidated, including roadways, the drinking water system, the stormwater drainage system, and, most seriously, the onsite septic system, which had failed to the point that open sewage was flowing down streets and lawns. When Morgan Management refused to make much-needed repairs, despite being directed to do so by the town’s rent-control board, the case ended up in court.
That’s when Aylesworth got involved. Working then with a different firm, he started representing the Easton Mobile Home Park Homeowners’ Association on the case. Even after the association won in superior court, Morgan Management still refused to comply. “We won the battle, but the war was still raging,” Aylesworth says.
When Aylesworth transitioned to Moriarty Bielan & Malloy in 2018, he was eager to continue his partnership with the Easton Mobile Home Park Homeowners’ Association, but he knew by that point it would have to be on a pro bono basis. He approached Moriarty with that request. “We said, ‘Absolutely! This is right in our wheelhouse, and this is the kind of thing we want to lend our expertise to,’” Moriarty recalls.
“The fact that this firm would, without hesitation, be supportive of what is a fairly major undertaking – it’s not a small case, and it requires a lot of work – it sure means a lot to me, because I share the views of the other attorneys here that we have an obligation to give back when we can,” Aylesworth says. “I’m very proud that we were able to take this on.”
The association since joined an action that succeeded in putting the park into receivership in January of this year. Aylesworth now is taking steps to try to enable the association to purchase the park. “At least we have hope now,” says Scott Walsh, president of the Easton Mobile Home Park Homeowners’ Association. “If it weren’t for attorney Thom Aylesworth and his firm, it would be a very dismal situation. Thom Aylesworth is a great attorney that’s done great work for us and has made it affordable.”
A CORPORATE CULTURE OF GIVING BACK
This attitude of giving back without hesitation is embedded in the DNA of Moriarty Bielan & Malloy. Already a familiar presence in the New England condominium industry, the firm was founded in February 2017 by three attorneys, each with substantial experience in condominium law. Based in Boston, Mass., with offices also in Quincy and on Cape Cod, the firm represents associations throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. It is, as Moriarty puts it, a “one-stop shop” for condominium law, providing litigation, transactional, general counsel, and lien enforcement.
While its focus is primarily condominiums and homeowner associations, it also represents developers, property management companies, and commercial real estate clients. The firm collectively boasts over a century of experience in the industry – with roughly half that total attributed to the principals alone. And the firm’s founding attorneys have been personally involved in many of the most important developments in Boston and Massachusetts condominium law in the past two decades.
To Moriarty, however, what really sets Moriarty Bielan & Malloy apart from other law firms is its corporate culture of philanthropy. “We’re a for-profit business, but we also want to feel that we’re doing good at the same time that we’re serving our client base,” he says. “We think it’s important that we contribute.”
Toward that end, members of the firm frequently offer pro bono services, such as Aylesworth’s work on behalf of Easton Mobile Home Park. The firm’s commitment to philanthropy doesn’t end there, however. Community service is also actively encouraged.
HOLIDAY CHEER FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
The primary beneficiary of Moriarty Bielan & Malloy’s community service is the South Shore YMCA, which serves locations throughout the Boston’s South Shore. Particularly poignant for Moriarty is the “$100 for 100” Interactive Giving Program for Children, which is an exclusive Moriarty Bielan & Malloy event. Every holiday season, the South Shore YMCA identifies 100 deserving children and youths from its Germantown Neighborhood Center, a community center that provides education, childcare, after-school programs, and other services and support to an under-served section of Quincy, Mass.
With financial support from clients, business partners, and staff and attorneys of the firm, Moriarty Bielan & Malloy gives each of the children a $100 gift card for use at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Dedham, Mass., so that they can shop for the holidays. On a specified day during the holiday season, the store throws open its doors to the children before opening to the public, and volunteer staff from the law firm and the South Shore YMCA accompany the children, if they wish it, to help them shop. “For some kids, this might be their first shopping experience, so they don’t have an idea of how to budget or how to allocate,” Moriarty explains. “Our volunteers give them help and direction. It’s truly an interactive event.”
To Paul J. Gorman, president & CEO of the South Shore YMCA, the impact on the children is enormous. “The immediate impact is the big smile on their face when they walk in – they just light up,” he observes. “But the second part of it is, for the kids and their families, it’s the impact of normalcy. When they’re in with their friends shopping in Dick’s, they get a gift card, so it’s not like they’re getting a hand-out. They’re just like anybody getting Christmas gifts. It’s that feeling of being like everybody else.”
“It’s a great, great experience for us and for everybody involved,” Moriarty says.
The staff at Moriarty Bielan & Malloy join equally enthusiastically in the South Shore YMCA’s annual “Adopt-a-Family” holiday program. Designed to provide toys, meals, clothing, and more to hundreds of families across the South Shore, the program invites individuals, families, and businesses to “adopt” disadvantaged area families. Participating parents are asked to provide holiday wish lists for their kids, and the YMCA then reaches out to donors and volunteers to help fulfill them.
Instead of simply donating goods and time to the cause, staff members at Moriarty Bielan & Malloy elect specific families to “adopt.” The firm provides the funding, and employees do the shopping and deliver the holiday package directly to the family they chose. “It’s just great,” says Gorman. “It’s a personal one-on-one.”
Moriarty Bielan & Malloy’s support for the South Shore YMCA doesn’t stop there. Staff also participate in the YMCA’s two annual fundraising events: a summer golf tournament and the Taste of the South Shore event in the fall.
“It takes effort to put the ‘$100 for 100’ event together, and it takes time to organize the families that we adopt. It takes us away from work, but we do it,” says Moriarty. “We do it every year because it’s an important thing for us, for our firm’s culture. We get satisfaction from knowing that our hard work and success as lawyers really can do good.”
For more information about how Moriarty Bielan & Malloy can benefit your association, email Info@mbmllc.com, visit mbmllc.com, or call one of the company’s three offices: 617-934-4550 (Boston), 781-817-4900 (Braintree), or 508-459-8516 (Cape Cod).