The closure of JFA appears to mark an abrupt end to the solo career of an architect who counted some of the richest men in the world among his clients. Fotiadis has not answered repeated calls, emails and text messages from CNBC with questions about his work in Eurasia or why he shuttered his company. He also declined to comment on whether he had been contacted by anyone from Mueller’s office. Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, also declined to comment.
A half-dozen of Fotiadis’ former colleagues and associates in the U.S. and Ukraine have likewise not responded to inquiries about the architect. Nor have his former clients.
Fotiadis was not always so press shy. Archived versions of his website, as well as news reports and real estate industry records, reveal that until this spring, Fotidias was frequently in the spotlight.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Fotiadis is in his mid-50s, with silver sideburns and fashionable, slim-cut suits. He’s also highly credentialed, with a master’s degree in architecture and urban design from Columbia University, licenses in New Jersey and New York, and a career spanning 30 years.
Fotiadis regularly spoke at architecture conferences in the United States and Ukraine, did media interviews and traveled abroad to architectural awards shows. In one of his most recent interviews, from July, Fotiadis said he was planning to do more work in Ukraine.
“We started [JFA] in 2009, and through a series of very interesting and lucky circumstances we wound up doing a lot of work in Eastern Europe, mostly in Ukraine, from 2009 to 2013,” Fotiadis said in a video interview with the Kiyv Post. “Then things went dark for a while, and now I’m back, because things seem to be coming back.” The interview was videoed on location at the Skyline, a high-rise condominium in downtown Kiev that Fotiadis helped design.
As a speaker at conferences, Fotiadis often embraces the academic side of architecture. At the 2016 International Architecture Forum in Kiev, he delivered a keynote address titled, “Modern Architecture NOW: Form, Function, Meaning Value — A Report from New York.”
Fotiadis’ biography posted on the IAF conference website is filled with the names of prestigious real estate developers who have hired him. It also lists cities around the world in which he has worked, including, “New York, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Cairo, Doha, Dubai, Seoul, Moscow, Panama City, Kyiv, Donetsk, Baku, Batumi, Athens, Istanbul and Ankara.”