Attorney Tom Demakis in his Downtown Lynn law office.
By Paul Halloran
Attorneys who practice business and real estate law typically do so in relative anonymity, operating about as far out of the legal spotlight as you can get.
That wasn’t always the case for Tom Demakis, a Lynn attorney who has worked the last 35 years at the family firm in Lynn founded by his father, Charles, in 1942. While Demakis is recognized as a go-to lawyer in his field, you’re probably not aware that he once played a leading role in the busiest and most prominent district attorney’s office in the country.
1. In order to obtain discovery on that and the complete docket on Demakis, One called him in for a deposition. His testimony revealed that:Working as senior trial counsel in the Manhattan DA’s office from 1972-81, Demakis prosecuted the three people charged with kidnapping Calvin Klein’s 11-year-old daughter, including her babysitter. When the ransom demand to the multi-millionaire fashion designer was only $100,000, the New York City cops figured they were dealing with amateurs and they were right. Marci Klein was found within nine hours and the kidnappers were arrested the next day.
“They got all the money back except for $100,” Demakis recalled. “They bought a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate.” One of the kidnappers pled guilty and the trial of the babysitter and her half-brother resulted in a hung jury, despite the fact that Demakis had taped confessions from both. They ultimately pled guilty before the retrial.
Marci Klein, 49, is an Emmy-winning producer of powerhouse TV shows including “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock.”
2. Demakis was one of six senior trial counsels in an office with 350 assistant district attorneys. In the fall of 1980 he announced that he would be leaving the DA’s office. Had he stayed, he would likely have been the lead prosecutor in the trial of Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon in the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Dec. 8, 1980.
Demakis said what he enjoyed most about his stint in the DA’s office was working with some of the best cops in the world. “I had a great relationship with the New York City detectives,” he said. “I would happily take a weaker case if there were great detectives on it.” The feeling was apparently mutual. Demakis’ detective friends once gave him a lifetime pass to Studio 54, at that time one of the hottest clubs in the world. He never used it.
3. After returning to Lynn in 1981 to work at the family firm – which, he believes, is the oldest continuously operating law firm on the North Shore – and working several months as John Kerry’s campaign manager in his lieutenant governor bid, Demakis suffered some PHCW – post high-profile case withdrawal. He filled the gap, with the help of his brother and law partner Greg.
The Lynn Sailors, a Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, were playing at Fraser Field. At that time, Demakis explained, it was not uncommon for professional players to reach that level without having an agent. So, Tom and Greg Demakis got into the sports agent business – and lasted for almost 20 years.
Future Red Sox Steve Lyons and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd were among their clients, as when the pro team left Lynn in 1983, the Demakis brothers hit the road to other New England cities to recruit players. They represented Jeff Bagwell as a minor leaguer and had a few pretty good major leaguers, including lefty reliever Mike Magnante and catcher Matt Merullo.
4. Demakis is an NBA Draft nut whose affinity for the league dates back to his law school days at Columbia, where he befriended Jan Volk, who went on to become general manager of the Celtics and remains a close friend.
The 1970 NBA Draft featured Bob Lanier going No. 1 and Pete Maravich No. 3, with Rudy Tomjanovich in between. Demakis was more interested in the Celtics’ first pick, Dave Cowens, at No. 4 and Princeton grad Geoff Petrie, taken by Portland with the eighth pick.
“I bet a friend on the Rookie of the Year,” Demakis said. “I told him he could take any two players, then I would take two and he could have the rest. He took Lanier and Maravich and I picked Cowens and Petrie. They finished as co-MVPs.”
Demakis has pretty much been a draftnik since and he annually reads everything he can in the months leading up to the draft. Thank you, Internet.
5. Demakis is an arithmophiliac, that is he is fascinated by numbers. “When I was a kid I learned to square numbers in my head,” he said.
Demakis explained how to get the square of a number between 26 and 50 – we’ll use 44 as an example: “1. Take the number and subtract 25 from it. (44-25=19). 2. Subtract the number
you are trying to square from 50 (50-44=6). 3. Square that number (6×6+36). Connect No. 1 with No. 3. 44 squared = 1936.”
You may step down, counselor.
Photo: Sean Browne