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Post date: June 12 2000

Spitzer Honors State's Top Consumer Lawyer On 40 Years Of Service In A.G.'s Office

Attorney General Spitzer today honored Assistant A.G. Stephen (Sandy) Mindell, the state's top consumer protection lawyer, on 40 years of service with the office.

Mindell is one of the most respected consumer protection advocates in the country. He's the author of many ground breaking consumer laws and settlements, including:

  • New York's New and Used Car Lemon Laws. The laws established significant protections for car buyers, including a first-in-the-nation state-run arbitration process to resolve new and used car disputes. Since the laws' inception over a decade ago, consumers have recovered over $150 million in refunds or replacements for defective new vehicles, and over $7 million for defective used cars;

  • Recovery of rent overcharges. In the 1980's, Mindell was responsible for uncovering massive rent overcharging of New York City rent stabilized tenants. As a result, consumers received over $15 million in refunds;

  • Nutrition- In 1986, Mindell negotiated first-ever agreements with Arby's, Burger King, McDonald's, KFC, and Wendy's requiring the companies to make nutritional information about their food available free of charge;

  • Credit Reporting- In 1991-92, Mindell was part of a group of attorneys from a number of states that reached agreement with the big three credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Trans Union, and TRW (now "Experian") -- which fundamentally changed the way the companies gather and report information on consumers.

Spitzer honored Mindell today with a surprise party and presented him with a plaque.

"Sandy represents the very best of what public interest law is all about. He has literally dedicated his life and career to helping consumers," said Spitzer.

"Whether it's bad cars, bad landlords, or bad products, Sandy has spent the past 40 years fighting for the little guy and making New York a better, and safer place, for all of us.

"He's a man of immense talent, energy and integrity who, if he chose, could have had great success working in private practice. Instead, all of us are fortunate that he chose to dedicate his life to public service."

Mindell, 66, was hired by Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz in July, 1960. He's a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Scholar. Following school, he taught at Rutgers Law School for one year before joining the A.G.'s office.

In 1996 he was the first recipient of the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators Advocates Award.

He and his wife Margrecia live on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Their son Jim, is an Assistant A.G. in Syracuse, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Mindell has served under five Attorneys General. He is currently the second-longest serving A.A.G. in the state.