Mr. Tsunis is a current independent member of Arbor Realty Trust’s Board of Directors.
Mr. Tsunis is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chartwell Hotels as well as an attorney, developer, philanthropist and public policy advisor with a strong interest at the intersection of economic and foreign affairs.
Mr. Tsunis’ Chartwell Hotels is an innovative company that owns, develops and manages Hilton, Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group franchises across the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states. Under Mr. Tsunis’ leadership, Chartwell Hotels enjoyed tremendous growth since its founding in 2005, including through a national economy gripped by the Great Recession. Chartwell continues to grow, opening the first ever Generation 9 Marriott Residence Inn in Williamsport, PA, in January 2013. The firm’s focus also includes development for community renewal, which assists regions in benefitting from tourism, business travel and other investment dollars from around the nation and the world.
Prior to founding Chartwell, Mr. Tsunis was a partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler LLP, Long Island, NY’s largest law firm representing both private clients and municipalities in the practice areas of land use and zoning, real estate corporate law, municipal law and commercial litigation. Mr. Tsunis’ public service includes time as a Legislative Attorney at the New York City Council, Special Counsel to the Town of Huntington (NY) Environmental Open Space Committee and Counsel to the Dix Hills (NY) Water District.
Mr. Tsunis was a long-time member of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is a member of both the Faith and Leadership 100 Endowments. Mr. Tsunis was recognized with the Saint Paul’s Medal, the Greek Orthodox Church of America’s highest recognition for a layperson. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios personally awarded the Saint Paul’s Medal to him.
Mr. Tsunis is a member of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the highest ecclesiastical honor that can be bestowed upon a layman by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and also serves on its National Council. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios asked Mr. Tsunis to serve on the committee to assist in the design and rebuilding of Saint Nicholas Church at Ground Zero, the only religious institution to be destroyed during the 9/11 attacks.
Mr. Tsunis is a member of Hofstra University’s Board of Trustees and serves on its Academic Affairs and Development and Alumni Affairs Committees. He is also a Director of the Don Monti Cancer Research Foundation, Trustee of the Hellenic Initiative and member of Friends Academy’s Board of Trustees, serving as its Building and Grounds Committee Chair as well as a member of its Finance and Investment Committees. Through his role at Friends Academy, Mr. Tsunis recently oversaw the expansion and renovation of the Middle School building.
Mr. Tsunis is also a Director of the New York Convention Center’s (Jacob Javits Center) Operating Committee and Director of the New York Convention Center’s Development Committee.
Mr. Tsunis was a member of the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Leadership Committee and its Metropolitan Studies Leadership Council as well as a member of the Business Executives for National Security’s Board of Trustees. He has also previously served on the Board of Trustees at Dowling College, the American Red Cross Suffolk County Chapter, the Huntington (NY) Chamber of Commerce/Committee on Good Government, the Education and Assistance Corporation and the Private Industry Council of Suffolk. Furthermore, Mr. Tsunis was selected by Long Island Business News as one of the 40 most influential people on Long Island under 40 years old.
Mr. Tsunis’ interest in public affairs began in his youth with his selection and participation in the American Legion’s Boys State Program through which high school juniors participate in a one-week simulated government. Subsequently, in 1984, American Legion Post 694 Northport, NY, awarded Mr. Tsunis its Medal of Citizenship.
In 1999, Mr., Tsunis was awarded the Presidential Medal by Dowling College. In 2003, he received the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award from Long Island Cares. In 2007, he was the WLIW Honoree at its golf tournament.
Mr. Tsunis was the recipient of the Cyprus Federation’s Justice for Cyprus Award, which was personally awarded to him by the President of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, in 2010. In 2012, President Christofias also presented Mr. Tsunis with a plaque of sterling silver olive branches, signifying peace. This award is traditionally reserved for heads of state. In 2013, the new President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, similarly honored Mr. Tsunis for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of the children of Cyprus.
Mr. Tsunis was the Long Island Children’s Museum’s honoree at its 2012 Annual Gala, the recipient of the Dickey Humanitarian Award from the Lycoming County (PA) United Way and recognized as a member of the United Way’s Tocqueville Society. He additionally received the Israel Unity Award from the State of Israel Bonds of Central Pennsylvania Chapter. He was the Vice Chairman of the 2012 New York City Veterans Day Parade and recognized for his efforts in erecting a bronze statue, known as De Oppresso Liber, which overlooks Ground Zero in New York and honors the US Special Forces, also known as the Horse Soldiers.
In 2014, Mr. Tsunis was the Grand Marshall of the Greek Independence Day Parade in New York along with Senator Charles Schumer. He was the youngest Grand Marshall in the parade’s history. He was also an honoree at Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Queens Gala for his commitment to the borough of Queens and was also recognized by The Naupactian Brotherhood of New York for his efforts on behalf of the Greek community. In addition, Mr. Tsunis received the Lt. Detective Joseph Petrosino Association in America Humanitarian Award.
Also in 2014, Mr. Tsunis was the honoree and keynote speaker at Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies’ Celebration of Suburban Diversity Banquet. The following year, the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP), Huntington Chapter, awarded him its Freedom Fund Award.
Mr. Tsunis has established the George and Olga Tsunis Fellowship for Cancer Prevention at Stony Brook University Hospital. In furthering their belief in education, the Tsunis also established the James and Eleni Tsunis Endowed Distinguished Academic Scholarship at Hofstra University, the James George Tsunis Memorial Scholarship at Pennsylvania College of Technology and the George James Tsunis ’92 and the Xanthi and Father Alex Karloutsos Scholarships at St. John’s University’s School of Law, where Mr. Tsunis is also a member of the university’s Loughlin Society. The Tsunis also created the James and Eleni Tsunis Endowed Scholarship at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Mr. Tsunis also underwrote the James and Eleni Tsunis Library at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons in honor of his parents.
Mr. Tsunis received his Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and his Juris Doctor from St. John’s University’s School of Law. He is married to his wife, Olga, and they live in Matinecock, NY, with their three children.