Michael Fourte is an accomplished attorney, real estate investor, and Veteran of the United States Navy. In 2002 Michael purchased his first investment property—an apartment building just outside of New York City. Since the property was a fixer-upper, Michael put in a lot of time and effort to renovate it and make it attractive to potential tenants. During this period Michael was also teaching ROTC at Fordham University and State University of New York (SUNY). In the evening he earned a JD from Fordham Law School because he realized that knowledge of law would be useful as a real estate investor. Michael’s passion for both law and real estate have resulted in synergistic success over the years, and he looks forward to continuing to grow as a professional in both areas.
Before Michael Fourte became involved in real estate or law, his first love was actually computer programming. At the age of six, Michael learned to code in BASIC. Since Michael’s math and analytical skills were developed early, he excelled in these areas. Michael believes that his attraction to analytical thinking influenced his embrace of law. One of the aspects that Michael enjoys most about law is its logical nature. With real estate, Michael was initially attracted to the “concrete” nature of owning property. “Companies can go bankrupt or disappear,” Michael says. “But when you own property, it can’t go to zero. Real estate may decrease in value, but it will always be worth something.”
Michael attended college at the United States Naval Academy, located in Maryland’s capital city of Annapolis. He received the nomination to attend the academy in 1994 from the late Senator Paul Wellstone. At the Naval Academy, he chose to major in Computer Science. He became the first student in the academy’s history to validate Advanced Computer Programming (C++) as well as Fundamentals of Microcomputers (Assembly Language). During this time, he co-wrote mathematics software with one of his math professors and a National Security Agency employee. He was also the co-author of an article on chess that was published in the Journal of Recreational Mathematics. In addition to excelling academically, Michael Fourte was an NCAA Division I athlete, running both cross-country and track. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1998 and received a commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy from President Bill Clinton.
In December 2002, Michael began a role as an Assistant Professor at the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Home Page program in New York City, teaching an accredited course in Naval History at both Fordham University and the State University of New York Maritime College. During this time, he came to the realization that obtaining a graduate degree would be an essential part of his success in competitive corporate America. Michael Fourte applied to Fordham University School of Law, ranked among the top 25 law schools in the country. During his time in law school, he chose to take business-focused electives, including business management, investment banking, corporate tax strategy and global corporate taxation. He gained enough experience in the field of real estate finance that by his final year of law school he served as a guest speaker in a senior level real estate finance course, where he shared his own experiences in real estate.
While still enrolled in law school, Michael also enrolled in real estate broker school at the Frank W. Kovats School of Real Estate located in Maywood, New Jersey. Here, Michael Fourte received his real estate broker’s and instructor’s license. After graduated from the school, the late Frank Kovats Sr. hired him to teach title insurance licensing law and real estate at different colleges and schools throughout the state of New Jersey. During a long career, Michael was the only instructor ever trusted by Kovats Sr. to substitute teach the title insurance course.
During the real estate boom of the 21st century, Michael began using the equity of his real estate portfolio to acquire additional multifamily properties. By 2006, his portfolio had grown to include 14 different residential apartments located in Northern New Jersey. From 2006 through 2007, Michael took a Military assignment in London. While overseas, Michael Fourte led real estate buying seminars to servicemembers, educating them on mortgage applications, credit and contracts. His class on buying a home was so well received by the troops that eventually he returned to the Middle East to give seminars there in 2007 and 2008 as part of the Fleet and Family Support programs.
He received his first major law case in 2007 when he had only been out of law school for less than a year. He filed a Federal lawsuit Countrywide Home Loans because of its unwillingness to abide by Federal statutes concerning Servicemember home loans. This lawsuit became the first significant servicemember class action lawsuit filed against a top-tiered bank. Michael Fourte served as the lead plaintiff for four years, before eventually settling in 2011. Following Michael’s suit, similar class action lawsuits were filed by other plaintiffs against other large banks.
Currently, Michael is managing a real estate portfolio with a value of over $3.1 million. He earned his Master in Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Business at DeVry University and graduated in April 2018. He earned his MBA with an internal concentration in Information Systems.
Working and finding success in both law and real estate is not without its challenges. Michael Fourte believes that adapting to new technology is one of the most difficult challenges facing the legal industry. As technology influences and alters aspects of society, the law has to adapt or risk failing to serve society properly. The real estate industry is also not without its own modern challenges. Real estate owners face many outside factors that affect ownership. On a regular basis, an owner must resolve issues with banks, contractors, tenants, and in some cases the municipalities where the properties are located. Navigating these hurdles is not always easy, but Michael has found that it becomes easier as one gains more experience and education in the industry.
Michael Fourte’s years of experience in law, real estate, and the military have taught him numerous valuable lessons. One of the most important lessons that every real estate owner must learn is how to thoroughly screen tenants. While a rental property must have tenants to be successful, the wrong tenants can result in unnecessary headaches. During his law career, Michael has learned to value judgment as an endearing quality. It is his opinion that a successful litigant is one who is very measured and only takes legal action when there is a clear case of wrongdoing.
He is admitted to practice law in the states of New York, New Jersey and the Armed Forces Court of Appeals. Michael Fourte has appeared in more than 40 cases in various courts. He is the only lawyer on his prior Naval commands staff with a background in law, and he has used his knowledge to offer free legal counsel to his fellow servicemembers.
Michael Fourte has recently accepted an assignment and will be serving as part of the Chief of Naval Operations’ audit staff in Washington D.C. for the next 6 months. In this position, Michael will be responsible for reviewing financial audits and corrective actions for the Navy. He is incredibly excited for the opportunity.
In addition to his sundry experience in law and real estate, Michael also has significant strategic and operational planning experience as a result of serving in the Navy. Visit Michael’s military blog to learn more.