New York Press - March 17, 1998
SERVE IT FORTH
Over 20 years ago Irving Botwinick was managing a law firm in Manhattan and farming out work to freelance process servers. Process servers are needed by attorneys because summonses and complaints sometimes need to be served personally and the delivery-the”service”- has to stand up to the scrutiny of an exacting and demanding judge. One guy Botwinick gave a summons to serve couldn’t find the Empire State Building, much less the guy whose name was on the petition. This infuriated him. He quit the law firm. And that was when Serving by Irving was born.
The main offices for Serving by Irving are in a suite on the 10th floor of the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan. Botwinick, who is 51, rents out some of the suite to lawyers. “Usually it’s the other way around,” he laughs. Call the office and a polite receptionist answer the phone; “Serving by Irving, how may we serve you?”
Business is great. Botwinick has 15 full-time regular process servers on staff and a few pat-times who handle the “special” work; his company handled over 50,00 summonses last year.
“If they’re alive we’ll serve them,” Botwinick says. “If they’re dead, we’ll tell you where they are buried.”
“We’ve had people go out dressed like homeless people so they can catch someone by surprise coming out of a building. Homeless people bled in around New York They go unnoticed… I’ve sent out strippergrams and singing telegrams to get papers served. We’ve had out workers pose as patients to get into doctors’ offices. We basically do what it takes to get the person out from behind the sanctuary of a locked door. All you need to personally serve a person is to physically see them up close. At that point you can just fling the papers at them and tell them they’re served. It used to be that you had to touch them. Sometimes we have our servers take pictures to prove the papers were served properly.”
It’s a simple business Botwinick says.
“We get a call we go. We’ve served people like Donald Trump, the entire ABC Eyewitness new team, Julio Igleslas, Ben Bereen and Judge [Sol] Wachtler. We even served Marla Maples papers over her dessert at the Four Seasons.” He pauses and offers the slightest hint of a smile.
“She didn't like that.”
Serving By Irving, 233 Broadway (Park