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F. Redmond Griffin receives prestigious Jones Award

Prominent Troy attorney, Griffin is recognized by his peers.

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Troy – A staircase rising up from Congress Street to the front door of Russell Sage College’s Manning Hall is where F. Redmond  “Red” Griffin began developing his expertise in planning and zoning law. “I love it. You’re dealing with people in the areas that mean so much to them,” said Griffin, 82.

Griffin began his dive into planning and zoning when he volunteered to take on the case for Russell Sage College. He recounted how he convinced the city to grant a variance to allow the stairs to be erected at the corner of Congress and Second streets in the city right of way.

From that set of stairs Griffin continued an upward climb that has seen him tackle some of the largest projects in the city for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Samaritan Hospital, Troy Savings Bank and Russell Sage. When he looks around, he sees the buildings that he helped make possible through variances and planning.

Whether it’s dealing with legal issues for RPI regarding its nuclear reactor in Schenectady or getting the city to approve fraternities converting downtown churches into their frat houses, Griffin is the lawyer you go to in Troy.

“He did what some people thought would be impossible to do,” said Paul Marano, alumni advisor to the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.

The impossible was convincing the city to allow the former St. Francis de Sales Church on Congress Street to become the fraternity’s house.

“Red’s quite a character, very personable, a straight talker,” Marano said.

“He’s the king,” said Michael E. Ginsberg about his partner at Patterson, Sampson Ginsberg & Griffin.

The Rensselaer County Bar Association is recognizing Griffin and his 55-year legal career when it presents the 2015 Jones Award to him Thursday at a dinner.

The Jones Award is named for the late E. Stewart Jones Sr. of Troy, known for his legendary criminal defense work.

“Red Griffin is a fine example to each of us in the way he has conducted his private, public and professional life. A life that indeed reflects the dedication and service to both his profession and his community as did Mr. Jones,” said Kelly A. Cramer, president of the bar association.

Griffin, who was raised in Watervliet, graduated from La Salle Institute, Bowling Green University and Albany Law School. Griffin and his wife, Deborah, live in Brunswick. They have three children and four grandchildren.

The dinner’s proceeds support continuing restoration and preservation of the photos and oil on canvas paintings of the attorneys, judges and prominent community leaders of the past which were located in the Rensselaer County Courthouse when the historic edifice was restored in 1998. So far, nine pictures among the collection of more than 25 have been restored and returned to courthouse walls.

Griffin joins previous Jones Award recipients, all of whom are prominent in county legal circles. They include Jones’s son, E. Stewart Jones Jr., a trial attorney; Joyce M. Galante, a Troy matrimonial attorney; and retired Rensselaer County Surrogate Conrad H. Lang Jr.

The dinner will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bush Memorial, Russell Sage College.

For more information, call 436-4170. The dinner is open to the public.

Story by Ken Crowe, Times Union,, 518-454-5084