Alumni Profile: Michael Rikon

B.S. ’66
Business Administration
Current Position
President, Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton P.C.
Alumni Profile: Michael Rikon

Michael Rikon (B.S. ’66) is president and shareholder at Goldstein, Rikon, Rikon & Houghton P.C., the only New York law firm that specializes in eminent domain cases. Rikon joined the firm in 1994 after 14 years in private practice, merging his own law offices with Samuel Goldstein & Sons, which was founded in 1923. “Law firms always recommend us,” Rikon says. “And I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to speak about eminent domain at professional events several times a year from Canada to China.”

After earning his New York Tech degree, Rikon was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1969. As an assistant corporation counsel for the City of New York from 1969 to 1973, he worked as a senior trial attorney in the Condemnation Division. From 1973 to 1980, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Albert A. Blinder of the New York State Court of Claims. In 1980, he founded his own practice, Michael Rikon, P.C. Since then, Rikon has earned numerous professional distinctions, including:

  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World
  • Rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Ranked a “Super Lawyer” and “Best Lawyer” for Eminent Domain cases
  • Designated a “Top Attorney” by New York Magazine and Wall Street Journal
  • Eminent domain attorney for the Owners Counsel of America
  • Designated CRE by the Counselors of Real Estate
  • Appeared as a law expert on cable TV shows such as Fox News Domain Concerns

Rikon says the biggest myth about eminent domain—which is the government’s right to seize private property after offering “fair” compensation—is that the land has to be used for public purposes. “That’s what the U.S. Constitution states,” he says. “But over the years, public purpose has been so diluted as to mean anything. Small towns and villages can sell their power of eminent domain to land developers who set the purchase price and are then going to make billions of dollars.” Eminent domain may also result in lost jobs, decreased property values, and empty lots left behind by developers who abandon projects.

The potential for such corruption and abuse is why Rikon is dedicated to ensuring his clients receive the best possible “just compensation.” His clients have included Extell Properties, McDonald’s, Mobil Oil, Bank of New York, Best Buy, Grand Hyatt Hotel, and the Archdiocese of New York (among dozens of other globally recognized brands).

When Rikon attended New York Tech in the early 1960s, the Manhattan campus was located at the Knights of Pythias building on West 70th Street. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native first chose electrical engineering as his academic focus but switched to business administration after his first semester. It was a hectic time for the young undergraduate—both in the classroom and out.

“I was working a part-time job at a CPA firm while taking 18 credits a semester,” Rikon says. He enrolled in day and night classes, moving back and forth from his Manhattan office to the campus. He recalls how New York Tech professors were more than just academics.

“New York Tech had more practical teachers than other schools,” Rikon says. “They were hands-on in what they were doing while other schools were more theoretical.”

Rikon also wrote a restaurant column for the student newspaper, The Scope, served as president of the Student Government Association and Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and worked as a chief justice of the New York Tech student courts.

At New York Tech, Rikon did more than build the foundations of a successful career—he also met his wife, Leslie, at a fraternity party. The couple have been married for more than 48 years and have a daughter, Carrie (B.A. ’97), who followed in her father’s New York Tech footsteps. Their son, Joshua, is an attorney and partner in Rikon’s law firm. “When it came time for my daughter to select a college,” Rikon says, “I had no problem recommending my alma mater as the place where she could receive an education that emphasized career training and professionalism.”