Tag Archives: gallagher & kennedy

Michelle De Blasi

2013 Top Lawyers list: Environmental law

Az Business magazine’s 2013 top lawyer list was created after the editorial department asked Arizona law firms to nominate their two best attorneys from 16 different categories for consideration. Those nominees were put on a ballot and were voted on by their peers in the legal community and the readers of Az Business magazine to determine the exclusive 2013 Az Business Magazine Top Lawyers list.

Robert D. Anderson
Fennemore Craig, P.C.
602-916-5455
www.fclaw.com
Anderson practices in the areas of environmental, natural resources and water law and chairs the firm’s natural resources and environmental practice.

Michelle De Blasi
Greenberg Traurig LLP
602-445-8485
www.gtlaw.com
De Blasi advises clients on energy and environmental sustainability, including traditional and renewable energy, climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Carla Consoli
Lewis and Roca LLP
602-262-5347
www.lrlaw.com
The industries which regularly call on Consoli include mines, alternative energy developers, large-scale residential and commercial developers, manufacturers, and investors in these industries.

Peter W. Culp
Squire Sanders
602-528-4063
www.squiresanders.com
Culp practices in the areas of environmental, water and natural resources. Culp was recognized by Chambers USA 2012 as a leading individual for environmental matters, including water rights.

J. Stanton Curry
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.
602-530-8222
www.gknet.com
Curry practices environmental law with an emphasis on air quality, Superfund and environmental auditing matters.

Joseph Drazek
Quarles & Brady LLP
602-229-5335
www.quarles.com
Drazek’s practice focuses on regulatory and litigation matters within the Firm’s Environmental Group and spans a variety of industries including mining companies, high technology companies, fenvironmental testing laboratories, and water companies.

Mark Freeze
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
602-257-5215
www.steptoe.com
Freeze is of counsel in Steptoe’s Phoenix office, and has more than 23 years of experience. He practices in the areas of labor and employment law and environmental law.

Karen Gaylor
Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, LLP
602-234-7808
www.jhc-law.com
Gaylord’s practice focuses on environmental and natural resource matters. She has counseled businesses, municipalities, water providers, insurers, and individuals for more than 25 years.

David P. Kimball, III
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.
602-530-8130
www.gknet.com
Kimball is head of the firm’s environmental and natural resources department and is recognized nationally as an expert in all areas of federal, state and local environmental and natural resources law.

Mitchell Klein
Polsinelli
602-650-2303
www.polsinelli.com
Klein has extensive experience working with many state and federal agencies in all areas of natural resource and environmental law.

Lucas Narducci
Polsinelli
602-650-2301
polsinelli.com
Narducci’s practice is focused on various aspects of mining, environmental, natural resources, energy, safety and health law, as well as regulatory counseling and permitting, workplace exposure issues, and workplace safety.

Sheryl Sweeney
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
rcalaw.com
Sweeney practices in the areas of water law, environmental law, electric utility law and special taxing districts. She is chair of the Water, Energy, Resources and Environment practice group at Ryley Carlock.

law

2013 Top Lawyers list: Employment and labor

Az Business magazine’s 2013 top lawyer list was created after the editorial department asked Arizona law firms to nominate their two best attorneys from 16 different categories for consideration. Those nominees were put on a ballot and were voted on by their peers in the legal community and the readers of Az Business magazine to determine the exclusive 2013 Az Business Magazine Top Lawyers list.

Adrian L. Barton
Sacks Tierney P.A.
480-425-2629
www.sackstierney.com
Barton has several labor-related publications, including “Employee Voting Rights: Arizona Employer Obligations,” “Social Networking and the Workplace,” and “Reducing the Risk of Wrongful Termination.”

James L. Blair
Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA
602-256-3020
www.rcdmlaw.com
Blair is his firm’s chair of the Employment Law and Litigation Practice Group and was a contributor to the “Compendium of Significant Employment-Related Case Law and Statutes,” ALFA International, from 2003-2009.

Joseph T. Clees
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
602-778-3700
www.ogletreedeakins.com
Clees represents employers throughout the United States in discrimination and wrongful discharge cases and labor relations.

Scott Gibson
Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLL480-344-0918
www.davismiles.com
Over the years, Gibson has developed a reputation for his uncanny ability to quickly discern the most important issues in a case and to focus on ways to resolve rather than to expand litigation.

Donald Peder Johnsen
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.
602-530-8437
www.gknet.com
Johnsen practices exclusively in the area of employment and labor law and has been listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” from 2007-2013.

Pamela L. Kingsley
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6015
www.tblaw.com
Kingsley’s counseling and advice often includes drafting and analyzing agreements for employment and severance, confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation; policies for sexual harassment and oppressive or violent conduct, drug testing, safety, absences, and disabilities.

Michael D. Moberly
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
602-440-4821
www.rcalaw.com
Moberly is an elected Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a national organization established to recognize those attorneys who have distinguished themselves as leaders in the fields of labor and employment law.

Tibor Nagy, Jr.
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
520-575-7442
www.ogletreedeakins.com
Nagy represents employers in all facets of labor and employment relations law, including discrimination and wrongful discharge cases, wage and hour law, employment contracts and manuals, and labor-management relations.

Stephanie Quincy
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
602-257-5230
www.steptoe.com
Quincy maintains a regular case load of employment litigation matters. Cases include civil rights (race, age, religion, gender and disability), wrongful termination, sexual harassment, defamation, and breach of contract claims.

Deanna Rader
Gordon Rees
602-794-2460
www.gordonrees.com
Rader has extensive experience advising public employers on constitutional matters, personnel issues, student rights, conflicts of interest, open meeting law, due process under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and public records issues.

Lawrence J. Rosenfeld
Squire Sanders
602-528-4886
www.squiresanders.com
Rosenfeld has more than 35 years of experience in the area of employment law and is a fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Debora Verdier
Sanders & Parks, P.C.
602-532-5760
www.sandersandparks.com
Verdier counsels companies with an eye toward preventing disputes and providing pre-litigation solutions and has experience in defending employers against EEOC charges and in litigating employment disputes.

Lisa Borowsky, partner, Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC

2013 Top Lawyers list: Construction litigation

Az Business magazine’s 2013 top lawyer list was created after the editorial department asked Arizona law firms to nominate their two best attorneys from 16 different categories for consideration. Those nominees were put on a ballot and were voted on by their peers in the legal community and the readers of Az Business magazine to determine the exclusive 2013 Az Business Magazine Top Lawyers list.

Lisa Borowsky
Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC
480-733-6800
www.davismiles.com
The former Scottsdale City Council member’s areas of expertise include HOA, complex civil litigation, real estate, and general business law.

John Condrey
Gordon & Rees LLP
602-794-2460
www.gordonrees.com
For more than 20 years, Condrey has representwd general contractors, architects, engineers, developers and owners in matters including negligence claims, default terminations, delay and disruption claims, project development, land use, and other types of construction disputes.

Andy Kvesic
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
602-440-4854
www.rcalaw.com
Kvesic represents clients in the construction industry litigating construction defect claims and mechanics’ liens rights.  Super Lawyers magazine recently recognized him as a 2012 Southwest Rising Star.

D. Kim Lough
Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, LLP
602-234-7824
www.jhc-law.com
Lough devotes a substantial majority of his practice to litigation. He has extensive trial experience in complex construction, employment discrimination and other civil and administrative cases.

Matthew B. Meaker
Sacks Tierney P.A.
480-425-2620
www.sackstierney.com
Meaker has been a business litigator since 2003, with his practice emphasizing providing legal advice to clients on all facets of commercial law and development issues.

William Nebeker
Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck, LLP
602-256-0000
www.knchlaw.com
Nebeker practices in the area of insurance litigation defense with an emphasis on personal injury and construction defect litigation.

Kevin P. Nelson
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6028
www.tblaw.com
Nelson practices extensively in all areas of risk management related to the construction, real estate and mortgage industries.

Kevin E. O’Malley
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.
602-530-8430
www.gknet.com
O’Malley is head of the firm’s litigation department.  His practice covers a variety of civil litigation areas.

William J. Simon
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6004
www.tblaw.com
Simon concentrates in construction related issues, both transactional and litigation. He also practices in insurance and commercial litigation and governmental administrative matters.

David C. Tierney
Sacks Tierney P.A.
480-425-2620
www.sackstierney.com
From 2003-2013, Tierney has been named to The Best Lawyers in America for arbitration, commercial litigation, construction litigation, mediation, and real estate litigation.

Denise J. Wachholz
Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA
602-256-3073
www.rcdmlaw.com
Wachholz is her firm’s chair for the Construction Litigation Practice Group, which focuses on proceedings involving architects, engineers, and other design professionals; contractors, subcontractors, and project managers; and material and equipment suppliers.

Mark Worischeck
Sanders & Parks, P.C.
602-532-5795
www.sandersandparks.com
Worischeck’s practice emphasizes complex civil litigation, primarily in the areas of insurance coverage and insurance bad faith, aviation, construction litigation, directors and officers’ liability, professional liability defense and products liability.

Top Arizona Legal Cases - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

2013 Top Lawyers list: Commercial litigation

Az Business magazine’s 2013 top lawyer list was created after the editorial department asked Arizona law firms to nominate their two best attorneys from 16 different categories for consideration. Those nominees were put on a ballot and were voted on by their peers in the legal community and the readers of Az Business magazine to determine the exclusive 2013 Az Business Magazine Top Lawyers list.

Edward O. Comitz
Comitz | Beethe
480-998-7800
www.disabilitycounsel.net
Comitz heads the healthcare and disability insurance practice, earning a national reputation for prosecuting disability insurance claims on behalf of individuals based on bad faith and unfair business practices.

John R. (Jack) Cunningham
Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, LLP
602-234-7814
www.jhc-law.com
Cunningham’s practice includes both prosecution and defense of personal injury cases, all types of professional malpractice cases, litigation of insurance coverage and bad faith issues, general commercial litigation, as well as general trial and appellate work.

Garrick Gallagher
Sanders & Parks, P.C.
602-532-5720
www.sandersandparks.com
Gallagher’s practice includes insurance bad faith, insurance coverage, insurance coverage litigation, excess and surplus lines, directors and officers liability, personal injury, wrongful death, products liability, professional negligence, construction, and intellectual property litigation.

Richard H. Himelrick
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6021
www.tblaw.com
Himelrick chairs Tiffany & Bosco’s Civil and Commercial Litigation Department. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Southwest Super Lawyers, Litigation Counsel of America and Who’s Who in American Law.

Michael K. Kennedy
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.
602-530-8504
www.gknet.com
Kennedy, co-founding partner of Gallagher & Kennedy, practices in general civil litigation and serves as local, regional and national counsel to a variety of business clients.

Christopher A. LaVoy
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-452-2731
www.tblaw.com
LaVoy concentrates his practice in commercial litigation with significant experience in the following areas: business buy-sell disputes; partnership and shareholder disputes; insurance coverage disputes; commercial landlord-tenant disputes; and business torts.

Thomas Littler
Gordon Silver
602-256-0400
www.gordonsilver.com
The focus of Littler’s practice is representing debtors and creditors, trustees, official committees, and secured creditors in reorganizations throughout a wide range of industries including construction, real estate, and technology.

Steven G. Mesaros
Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA
602-256-3002
www.rcdmlaw.com
Mesaros is the firm practice group chair in both the Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith and Professional Liability groups.

Gregory L. Miles
Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC
480-344-4048
www.davismiles.com
Miles, who has an “AV Preeminent” rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system, focuses his practice on business, commercial litigation and real estate.

Mark A. Nadeau
DLA Piper
480-606-5110
www.dlapiper.com
Nadeau is a published author, with articles concerning trade competition, product liability and dispute resolution for transfers of technology.

Leon Silver
Polsinelli
602-650-2066
www.polsinelli.com
Silver is a trial lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience handling complex commercial and real estate disputes. His clients include national and multi-national retailers, restaurants and manufacturers, and real estate investors and developers.

Donald A. Wall
Squire Sanders
602-528-4005
www.squiresanders.com
Wall has nearly 40 years of experience handling a broad range of commercial litigation and other methods of dispute resolution. He is recognized in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Goldwater Institute

2013 Top Lawyers list: Business/corporate law

Az Business magazine’s 2013 top lawyer list was created after the editorial department asked Arizona law firms to nominate their two best attorneys from 16 different categories for consideration. Those nominees were put on a ballot and were voted on by their peers in the legal community and the readers of Az Business magazine to determine the exclusive 2013 Az Business Magazine Top Lawyers list.

Jessica Benford
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
602-440-4866
www.rcalaw.com
Benford counsels clients regarding general corporate representation, including corporate formation and governance. She also handles securities enforcement and regulation matters.

Charles E. Davis
Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC
480-733-6800
www.davismiles.com
Davis has an “AV Preeminent” rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings system, which connotes the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.

Gerald Gregory Eagleburger
Sanders & Parks, P.C.
602-532-5692
www.sandersandparks.com
Eagleburger’s practice includes all types of transactional, commercial/business and personal asset matters, including formation and governance of corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies.

Stephanie Fierro
The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC
602-606-9300
www.frutkinlaw.com
Fierro’s practice focuses on general counsel business law and estate planning. She brings the firm a wide range of experience and interests including all aspects of corporate transactional work, estate planning, and tax representation.

Jonathan B. Frutkin
The Frutkin Law Firm, PLC
602-606-9300
www.frutkinlaw.com
Frutkin is the principal attorney at The Frutkin Law Firm and brings areas of expertise in the practice areas of corporate and business law, corporate bankruptcy, and commercial litigation.

Phillip Guttilla
Polsinelli
602-650-2327
www.polsinelli.com
Guttilla Guttilla serves as general corporate counsel to his clients ranging from emerging growth companies to multi-national enterprises.

Gregory R. Hall
DLA Piper
480-606-5128
www.dlapiper.com
Hall regularly counsels clients on a broad range of corporate, securities and business-related matters and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy, including directors’ duties and responsibilities and other aspects of corporate governance.

Travis J. Leach
Jennings Strouss
602-262-5806
www.jsslaw.com
Leach focuses his practice in the area of corporate, securities, and finance. He also helps lead the firm’s Sports and Entertainment practice, coinseling professional athletes, coaches, entertainers, and ownership groups.

Brian Moll
Polsinelli
602-650-2302
www.polsinelli.com
Moll practices in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial contracts. He has extensive experience in assisting businesses in all stages of their operations, from start-up to a mature business.

Robert A. Royal
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6011
www.tblaw.com
Royal’s practice emphasizes intra-corporate dispute and director, officer and manager liability issues.

Terence W. Thompson
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.
602-530-8515
www.gknet.com
Thompson’s practice emphasizes corporate business acquisitions; public-private projects, including strategic joint ventures; Native American enterprises and projects; water/wastewater infrastructure development; sports facility financing; and physician-hospital contracts.

Nancy White
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
602-257-5213
www.steptoe.com
White’s practice emphasizes international and domestic transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, purchases and sales of capital assets and real property, project finance, asset-based financings, asset securitizations, and private placements of debt and equity securities..

law

2013 Top Lawyers list: Bankruptcy/reorganization

Az Business magazine’s 2013 top lawyer list was created after the editorial department asked Arizona law firms to nominate their two best attorneys from 16 different categories for consideration. Those nominees were put on a ballot and were voted on by their peers in the legal community and the readers of Az Business magazine to determine the exclusive 2013 Az Business Magazine Top Lawyers list.

Joseph E. Cotterman
Andante Law Group of Daniel E. Garrison, PLLC
480-421-9449
www.andantelaw.com
Cotterman has more than 20 years of corporate restructuring, business bankruptcy, creditor’s rights, commercial litigation, and corporate and real estate transaction experience.

John R. Clemency
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.
602-530-8040
www.gknet.com
Clemency’s practice concentrates on workouts of troubled loans, business bankruptcies, and commercial litigation.

John Fries
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
602-440-4819
www.rcalaw.com
Fries’ practice focuses on bankruptcy and creditors’ rights issues, and includes representing banks and other creditors against debtors with respect to the enforcement of their loan and credit agreements and defending the rights of lenders against other creditors.

Daniel E. Garrison,
Andante Law Group of Daniel E. Garrison, PLLC
480-421-9449
www.andantelaw.com
Garrison has more than 15 years of corporate restructuring, business bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and corporate and real estate transaction experience.

John J. Hebert
Polsinelli
602-650-2011
www.polsinelli.com
Hebert has been involved in all aspects of bankruptcy and insolvency practice for 35 years.

Ronald Horwitz
Jaburg Wilk
602-248-1071
www.jaburgwilk.com
Client list includes national banking associations, mortgage companies, finance companies, equipment lessors, credit unions and companies that finance real estate, manufactured housing, automobiles, and equipment.

W. Scott Jenkins, Jr.
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
602-440-4890
www.rcalaw.com
The practice group Leader for the firm’s Bankruptcy, Creditors’ Rights, and Lending practice group, Jenkins is experienced in handling various types of commercial transactions and disputes.

Carolyn J. Johnsen
Jennings Strouss
602-262-5906
www.jsslaw.com
Johnsen is chair of the firm’s Business Restructuring & Reorganization Section and has extensive experience in every aspect of commercial reorganizations, representing both debtors and creditors

Christopher R. Kaup
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6024
www.tblaw.com
Kaup’s practice is focused on the representation of creditors and debtors in complex commercial bankruptcy matters, creditors’ rights, and commercial litigation.

Joseph Wm. Kruchek
Kutak Rock LLP
480-429-4889
www.kutakrock.com
Kruchek provides advice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including enforcement of lenders’ rights, obtaining relief from the automatic stay to permit a lender to proceed with state law foreclosure rights and remedies, debtor-in-possession financing, adequate protection and plans of reorganization.

Alan Levinsky
Buchalter Nemer
480-383-1840
www.buchalter.com
Levinsky is a shareholder in the firm’s Insolvency and Financial Solutions Practice Group in Scottsdale. He focuses his practice on creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, collections, post-judgment enforcement, and replevin.

Lawrence Wilk
Jaburg Wilk
602-248-1000
www.jaburgwilk.com
Wilk represents secured and unsecured creditors and trustees in bankruptcy; creditors in state court proceedings, including foreclosure proceedings and state court receiverships; and debtors in complex Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Brossart Diane final 9314 5-29-12

Valley Forward Exands its horizon

Timing is everything, even when it comes to Mother Nature.

“In 2010, we got an $85,000 grant to look at some federal issues on sustainability,” says Diane Brossart, president and CEO of Valley Forward, which brings business and civic leaders together to improve the environment and livability of Valley communities. “We were asked to target Arizona’s Congressional delegation and get them up to speed in regards to understanding a sustainability agenda for Arizona and what that meant.”

What grew from that seed was an initiative that had actually been germinating for more than a decade, Brossart says: taking the successful Marocopa County-centric Valley Forward and giving is a statewide focus. In August, Valley Forward’s board voted unanimously to to move forward with a business plan that will transition Valley Forward into Arizona Forward in January.

Brossart says the state is facing some serious issues related to the environment and the livability and vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by upcoming decisions related to:
* Land use planning and open space,
* A balanced multi-modal transportation system,
* Improving and maintaining healthy air quality,
* Solar and renewable energy technology,
*  Managing our water resources, and
* Protecting wilderness, parks, national monuments and other natural areas for Arizona’s tourism economy.

“As Arizona and the country recover from the Great Recession, a statewide dialogue is more important than ever,” says William F. Allison, a shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy. “The issues impacting us – water, energy, transportation, land use – involve the entire state rather than only the Valley. Arizona Forward will provide a forum to think outside the box and beyond the Valley.”

To get Arizona Forward to have its greatest statewide impact, Brossart and her staff connected with nine companies that had influence on communities along the Sun Corridor — the stretch of freeway that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff — to become charter members of Arizona Forward.

“The leaders of those companies have become our tour guides as we go into Pima County and Northern Arizona,” Brossart says. She points to Kurt Wadlington, employee-owner of Sundt Construction in Tucson, for opening doors for Arizona Forward to spread its wings into Southern Arizona.

“Southern Arizona already has a very strong environmental focus, but struggles with areas that are dependent on statewide engagement from both a funding and advocacy perspective,” Wadlington says. “(Valley Forward’s) shift (to a statewide focus) will provide Southern Arizona with added resources to coordinate its future growth in the larger context of the Sun Corridor.”

Experts agree that now is the perfect time for Valley Forward to shift to a statewide focus statewide because Arizona is at a turning point, economically and environmentally.

“There are major issues that affect the state like transportation; managing resources; and protecting the wilderness, parks, and national monuments,” says Alfie Gallegos, area sales manager for Republic Services. “These are not just environmental issues, but are issues that have an effect on Arizona’s economy statewide. I think Arizona is ready to start having more positive statewide conversations about finding ways to grow our economy in a manner that can be sustained and is environmentally friendly.”

Brossart says that while Arizona has had countless groups that have focused on making their communities better, Arizona Forward will be looking to help educate legislators become the glue that brings those regional organizations together in a spirit of cooperation and unity.

“So much of our goal is to drive a political agenda to the middle and bring folks on both sides of the aisle together,” Brossart says. “The issues that we focus on are sustainability and environmental. Everybody needs clean air, clean water, open space and parks. Those are the things that make a community viable, healthy and liveable. We all want that. Those aren’t political issues. But they do fall into a political arena that sometimes clouds the issues. But if we can be a reasoning voice of balance like we have been successfully in Maricopa County, if we can bring that statewide, it will be really good for Arizona — economically and environmentally.”

Valley Forward members expect the transition to Arizona Forward to foster additional collaboration and conversation on statewide issues, bring additional viewpoints on key issues and allow for a more global conversation.

“My hope is that we can, over time, have a collective vision that regardless of our own regional filters, we’re all in this together and need to find ways to move forward as one sustainable, economically successful state,” says Iain Hamp, community affairs representative, Wells Fargo Team Member Philanthropy Group.

Brossart says one of the biggest messages Arizona Forward will be trying to communicate is that making sound decisions about issues surrounding sustainability and the environment are good for business.

“If we make a case that shows the economic impact of parks and open space on the tourism industry, the business community will take notice and they are uniquely poised to deliver of that message and be heard,” Brossart says. “Parks groupies are great and they are important. But when the business community gets involved, people listen.”

Where Arizona Forward could have its biggest economic impact is on growth industries that rely on the state’s amazing natural resources.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of solar energy, as the clean, renewable energy source is experiencing massive growth and helping the state and country achieve greater energy independence,” says Patricia Browne, director of marketing and communications for SOLON Corporation in Tucson. “And Arizona has been at the center of this growth. This has been made possible not only by the companies developing the solutions, but by the state and local officials, Arizona-based businesses and individual residents who recognize the importance that solar plays in a number of ways such as a cleaner environment, economic development, and energy price stability. However, there are still challenges in making the adoption viable on a large scale, and Arizona Forward helps bring together the right players to help make this happen on a state level.”

Richard Mayol, communications and government relations director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, says Arizona Forward will give members in northern Arizona the opportunity to not only have a voice in discussions that affect the state today, but in decisions that impact what Arizona will be like 20 years from now.

“We hope it will help create an economy that provides the opportunity for prosperity without sacrificing the environment,” he says, “and makes northern Arizona an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

And that is what Arizona Forward’s mission is all about: bringing business and civic leaders together in order to convene thoughtful public dialogue on statewide issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.

“All areas of the state will benefit, from urban to rural and suburban areas in between due to a coordinated and planned strategy for such essential elements as affordable energy, water, transportation, affordable housing, and a wide band of employment opportunities,” says Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. “All geographic, economic, and environmental sectors of the state will increasingly become part of a larger, interdependent, connected system.”

GOALS OF ARIZONA FORWARD

* Establish cooperative relationships with like-minded Arizona conservation organizations and facilitate collaboration on sustainability initiatives.
* Bring business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environment and sustainability of Arizona.
* Increase awareness of and interest in environmental issues initially in the Sun Corridor and then beyond, statewide, building on an agenda of land use and open space planning, transportation, air quality, water, and energy.
* Support efforts to promote the Sun Corridor as an economic development area incorporating sustainability and smart growth principles.
* Serve as a technical resource on environmental issues through Arizona Forward’s and Valley Forward’s diverse membership of large corporations, small businesses, municipal governments, state agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

ARIZONA FORWARD CHARTER MEMBERS
Arizona Community Foundation
First Solar
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
National Bank of Arizona
SOLON Corporation
Sundt Construction
The Nature Conservancy
Total Transit
Wells Fargo

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Access Geographic, LLC; Adolfson & Peterson Construction Company; APS; Arizona Conservation Partnership; Arizona Department of Transportation; Arizona Heritage Alliance; Arizona Investment Council; Arizona State Parks Foundation; Arizona State University, Global Institute of Sustainability; Aubudon Arizona; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona; Breckenridge Group Architects/Planners; Caliber Group; City of Tucson; Environmental Fund of Arizona; Fennemore Craig; Gabor Lorant Architects; Gammage & Burnham; Godec Randall & Associates; Grand Canyon Trust; Guided Therapy Systems; Haley & Aldrich; Intellectual Energy, LLC; John Douglas Architects; Jones Studio; Kinney Construction Services, Inc.; Lewis and Roca LLP; Logan Halperin Landscape Architecture; Pima County; RSP Architects; Southwest Gas Corporation; SRP; University of Phoenix; TEP / UNS Energy Corp.; The Greenleaf Group

carrie_cover

Innovative CEO Martz offers advice on being an effective boss

Today is National Boss Day, so it’s the perfect time to get a business owner’s view on what it takes to be a successful and effective boss.

Carrie Martz founded the Martz Agency — the largest female-owned advertising and public relations firm in Arizona — in 1980 after spending a couple of years in the corporate world. Her client roster includes Chateau on Central, Pacific Links International, Mirabel, Yurbuds and dozens more.

Martz is known as a hands-on owner/CEO, a leader, an innovator, and a philanthropist whose Home of Miracles program has helped raise more than $8 million for Phoenix Children’s Hospital and other local charities. So, to celebrate National Boss Day, Az Business magazine asked one of the Valley’s most effective leaders to talk a little bit about being a great boss.

Az Business: What do you think your employees say about your management style behind your back?
Carrie Martz: I would imagine they would say the same to my face.  I am tough but fair and have a good memory for details.

AB: What qualities do you think an effective boss needs to have?
CM: Be upbeat, optimistic, set the tone for the business, be as transparent as you can. Never stop learning and always listen.

AB: Was there a significant lesson you learned early in your career that made you a more effective boss?  
CM: Don’t get too personally involved. Remember this is a business. It isn’t personal. If someone isn’t working out, help them find a better fit.

AB: How is being a boss in a creative industry different from being a boss in a more traditional business?
CM: You have to foster creativity and individualism.  A few more egos to manage and work with, but that comes with the territory. Plus, we must create a working environment that is fun and engaging.

AB: If you could give one piece of advice to women who aspire to be a boss like you, what would it be?
CM: Give up balance in life. You will never be everything to everyone all the time.  Just go for every opportunity you can with all you have. Make sure you have great back up in all aspects of your life.

To learn more about Martz Agency, visit http://www.martzagency.com/.

united way

United Way Honors Gallagher & Kennedy

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., received top honors at the Valley of the Sun United Way’s Annual Campaign Recognition Luncheon on April 20. Having contributed $108,146 to the cause, the full service business law firm was ranked the fifth Top Campaign of 2011 in its category of 100-249 employees. The Top Campaign awards are comprised of the top organizations with the highest achievement in employee and corporate giving for each category based on number of employees.

The firm also placed seventh for 2011 Top Tocqueville Society Campaigns with seven members raising a total of $72,500. The Top Tocqueville Society Campaigns recognizes organizations with the highest achievement in the number of Tocqueville members and total Tocqueville dollars raised.

The Valley of the Sun United Way hosts the awards luncheon each year to honor the dedication and contributions of the many individuals and businesses that support its mission to improve education, help people achieve financial stability and promote healthy lifestyles.

The United Way is just one of many local and national charities the firm supports throughout the year. For more information about Gallagher & Kennedy, visit www.gknet.com.

Short Sale - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

The Tax Implications From A Short Sale, Foreclosure

The truth of consequences: There can be tax implications from a short sale and foreclosure


The only sure things in life are death and taxes.

And like death, taxes can sometimes sneak up and surprise you. Some homeowners who have faced foreclosure or a short sale might be startled to learn that they may face tax penalties. And many won’t find out that they owe taxes until they open their mail and find a 1099.

“What most owners of residential homes being foreclosed upon or short selling do not realize is how uncertain, complicated and confusing the federal and state income tax rules are that apply to their situation,” says Eliot Kaplan, a partner with Squire Sanders in Phoenix.

So how is it possible that you can lose your home and still owe money?

“Cancellation of debt (COD)  is the term tax professionals use to describe the kind of income that arises for tax purposes when debt is cancelled or forgiven for less than its full face or principal amount,” says Kelly C. Mooney, a shareholder with the law firm of Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix. “COD income is specifically included in a taxpayer’s gross income … COD income is always treated as ‘ordinary’ income for federal tax purposes, such that the tax rates applicable to ordinary income — which can be as high as 35 percent for individuals — apply to COD income.”

Thankfully, all upside-down homeowners won’t face tax implications. Under the Debt Forgiveness Act of 2007, any debt forgiven on a loan used to purchase a principal residence is not taxable income. But if you took out a second mortgage, you might be in tax trouble.

For federal income tax purposes, a short sale or a foreclosure — whether via a judicial foreclosure or a trustee’s sale — can trigger income tax consequences, depending on whether the debt at issue is “recourse” or “nonrecourse” for federal tax purposes, says Mooney.

If your mortgage is non-recourse, your lender can’t make you pay the loan. The only thing it can do is foreclose and sell your house for payment on the debt. If the borrower defaults, the lender can seize the collateral, but the lender’s recovery is limited to the collateral.

“If the debt was nonrecourse, meaning the lender had no recourse other than to take the home back, the debt forgiveness is not taxable,” says Dale A. Walters, CPA, Keats, Connnelly and Associates in Phoenix. “However, there will be a reportable gain to the homeowner if the sales price of the home is greater than the mortgage. Many states allow you to walk away from your (no-recourse) mortgage because of anti-deficiency statutes that prohibit lenders from seeking judgments.”

States that have anti-deficiency laws are Arizona, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Where homeowners get into tax trouble is if they are facing a foreclosure or short sale and they have taken out a second mortgage or line of credit against their home.

“All second mortgages and lines of credit are recourse loans,” Walters says.

With a recourse loan, you’re personally responsible for repaying the bank or mortgage company. If you don’t repay the loan, or default, the bank can sue you for the remaining amount due on your loan if the proceeds from a foreclosure or short sale don’t cover the amount you owe. While mortgages are typically nonrecourse debt, a foreclosure can trigger the loan to become recourse debt at the request of the lending institution.

“The difference between a ‘recourse’ loan or a ‘nonrecourse’ loan under state law is whether the lender has the right to collect the deficiency,” Kaplan says.

And what about the tax implications?

Kaplan explains using this example: A homeowner purchased a residential home in 2007 for $1 million, used $100,000 cash as a downpayment, took out an interest-only recourse loan of $900,000 that was secured by the residential home, and used the home as his or her personal residence. In 2011, when the residential home had a fair market value of $700,000, the owner voluntarily gave back the home to the lender.

“Using the foreclosure and short sale facts above, if the lender decides as part of the foreclosure or the short sale to forgive the deficiency, the owner will have taxable ordinary income equal to the $200,000 deficiency,” Kaplan says.

“Fortunately, until January 1, 2013, the U.S. and Arizona have provided for relief from having to include the lender forgiveness of the $200,000 deficiency described in the above foreclosure or short sale as taxable income,” Kaplan says.

So how do you know if you’re going to face the tax man after a short sale or foreclosure?
“The best way to know is to ask your tax advisor,” says Lawrence Warfield of Warfield & Company, CPAs in Scottsdale. “The tax from some debt forgiveness can be avoided, but the facts and circumstances of each depend on various scenarios and issues.”

Understanding the terms: Foreclosure and Short Sale

Foreclosure: When a lender acquires ownership of the residential home securing its loan either through the owner of the residential home voluntarily transferring the residential home to lender or through the lender exercising its state law foreclosure rights.

Short sale: When the lender permits an owner of a residential home which secures its loan to sell such residential home for less than what is owed to the lender under the loan. Usually, the lender receives all the proceeds from such sale.


5 questions to ask

Here are some helpful questions that you will need to ask you tax professional:

1. Can I avoid paying taxes on the forgiven debt if I was insolvent at the time of the short sale?
2. Do I have to file bankruptcy to be considered insolvent?
3. If you already went through a short sale and paid taxes can you file an amended return and get a refund?
4. Does a IRS Form 982 have to be filed in order to be eligible for tax relief?
5. Am I protected under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Of 2007?


Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act (MFDRA)

Generally, the MFDRA lets you exclude from your taxable income most if not all of any cancelled or forgiven debt that might come about because of a foreclosure. There are limits, however:

1. The cancelled debt has to be on your principal residence. The debt can be from a loan that you took out to buy, build or substantially improve your home. It can also be for refinancing the mortgage on your home. Since it applies only to your principal residence, commercial and vacation properties usually don’t qualify.
2. Only debt that’s forgiven in 2007 through 2012 qualifies.
3. If you file a joint tax return with your spouse, you can exclude up to $2 million of forgiven debt from your income. If you’re married and file separately, you can exclude up to $1 million.
4. You have to report the amount of forgiven debt on a special IRS form, and attach it to your tax return.

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012

Income Tax Traps

Short Sales And Foreclosures: Income Tax Traps For The Unwary Homeowner

Short Sales and Foreclosures: Income Tax Traps for the Unwary Homeowner

by Stuart Pack, J.D. and Kelly C. Mooney, J.D., L.L.M.

When considering a short sale, foreclosure or other strategic default under the terms of a mortgage or deed of trust, most homeowners and many professionals focus on the immediate concern of whether the transaction will result in personal liability for any debt deficiency resulting from the short sale or foreclosure.

However, the income tax consequences of a short sale or foreclosure should also be given serious consideration, as, in many cases, the possibility of negative income tax consequences could outweigh any potential benefits of a decision to short sell or walk away from the property.

For federal income tax purposes, a short sale of real property or a foreclosure upon real property (whether via a judicial foreclosure or a trustee’s sale) can trigger two distinct types of income tax consequences, depending on whether the debt at issue is “recourse” or “non-recourse” for federal tax purposes. These income tax consequences and the differences between recourse and non-recourse debt are discussed below.

1. Tax Consequences of a Short Sale or Foreclosure With Respect to Recourse Debt

If the debt in question is recourse debt for federal tax purposes, any short sale or foreclosure that involves the forgiveness or cancellation of all or a portion of the debt typically triggers the recognition of (a) cancellation of indebtedness (“COD”) income to extent that the amount of the forgiven debt exceeds the fair market value of the foreclosed upon or short sold property; and (b) gain or loss from a “deemed” sale or exchange of the foreclosed upon or short sold property (i.e., the taxpayer is treated as though he or she sold the property for federal income tax purposes). Consequently, the federal income tax consequences of a short sale or foreclosure with respect to recourse debt are bifurcated between the recognition of COD income on the one hand and the recognition of gain or loss on a deemed sale or exchange of the property on the other.

(a) The COD Income Component

COD income is the term tax professionals use to describe the kind of income that arises for tax purposes when debt is cancelled or forgiven for less than its full face or principal amount.  COD income is specifically included in a taxpayer’s gross income under Section 61(a)(12) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Importantly, COD income is always treated as “ordinary” income for federal tax purposes, such that the tax rates applicable to ordinary income (which can be as high as 35% for individuals) apply to COD income.

(b) The Sale or Exchange Component

Like any sale or exchange of real property, the “deemed” sale or exchange of the short sold or foreclosed upon property that occurs upon the cancellation of recourse debt can trigger the recognition of gain or loss.  The amount of gain or loss is determined by comparing the fair market value of the property at the time of the short sale or foreclosure to the taxpayer’s adjusted tax basis in the property.

Most often, due to the current economic situation, short sales or foreclosures result in a loss because the taxpayer’s basis in the property exceeds the property’s fair market value.  In the event that the taxpayer held the property as a capital asset for a sufficient period of time, the gain or loss recognized on the deemed sale will be treated as capital gain or capital loss for federal income tax purposes.

While the recognition of capital gain can be beneficial, due to the lower (i.e., 15%) tax rate on capital gain, the recognition of capital loss may not be as helpful.  In general, capital losses can only be used to offset capital gain and cannot be used to offset ordinary income (like COD income), although individuals can use up to $3,000 in capital losses each year to offset ordinary income.

2. Tax Consequences of a Short Sale or Foreclosure With Respect to Non-Recourse Debt

If the debt in question is non-recourse debt, any short sale or foreclosure that involves the forgiveness or cancellation of all of a portion of the debt will only trigger the recognition of gain or loss on a “deemed” sale or exchange of property.  The forgiveness of non-recourse debt, in cases involving a short sale or foreclosure on real property, does not trigger the recognition of COD income.  In cases involving non-recourse debt, the amount of the gain or loss is determined by comparing the outstanding amount of the debt to the taxpayer’s adjusted tax basis in the property.  Again, the character of the gain or loss depends on whether the taxpayer held the property as a capital asset.

3. Distinguishing Recourse from Non-Recourse Debt

Often, the most difficult component in determining the likely tax consequences of a short sale or foreclosure is ascertaining whether the debt at issue is recourse or non-recourse for federal tax purposes.  In essence, “recourse” debt is debt for which the borrower is personally liable and “non-recourse” debt is debt for which the borrower is not personally liable, but which is usually secured by other assets, such as real estate.  That being said, a number of factors go into determining whether a particular debt is recourse or non-recourse, such as the language of the debt instrument, the applicability of any State anti-deficiency statutes (for example, Arizona’s anti-deficiency statutes may be viewed as turning an otherwise recourse debt into a non-recourse debt in cases in which the debt is purchase money and the other statutory requirements are satisfied), and, in some cases, the manner in which the debt is foreclosed upon.  Given the complexities that can arise, it is recommended that a tax or real estate professional be contacted for appropriate advice.

4. Exceptions and Exclusions

In cases in which a foreclosure or short sale is likely to trigger the recognition of taxable income, whether the income is COD income or capital gain, all may not be lost.  The Internal Revenue Code provides a number of exceptions and exclusions to the recognition of these types of income, one or more of which might apply.  Again, in cases in which the recognition of COD income is likely, a tax professional should be consulted to determine if any exceptions or exclusions are likely to apply.

(a) COD Income

Section 108 of the Internal Revenue Code provides a number of exclusions and exceptions to the recognition of COD income.  In cases involving a short sale or foreclosure, the most commonly applicable exclusions include:

i. Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act

Codified as Section 108(a)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code, this Act enables taxpayers to exclude up to $2 Million of COD income, so long as the cancelled debt was secured by the taxpayer’s principal residence and was incurred in the purchase, construction, or substantial improvement of the principal residence.  However, this exclusion is only in effect through December 31, 2012.

ii. Insolvency

When a taxpayer is “insolvent” for federal income tax purposes immediately before the event triggering the recognition of COD income, the COD income can be excluded from federal income tax to the extent of the taxpayer’s insolvency.

iii. Bankruptcy

If a bankruptcy petition is filed prior to the short sale or foreclosure, the taxpayer will not be required to recognize COD income by reason of the discharge.  However, if the bankruptcy petition is filed after the short sale or foreclosure then, unless some other exclusion applies, COD income would be recognized.

(b) Capital Gain

Under Section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code, any capital gain recognized on a “deemed” sale or exchange of a principal residence can be excluded from taxable income to the extent of $500,000 for married persons filing joint tax returns or $250,000 for unmarried persons.

Example
Taxpayer (T), a confirmed bachelor, buys a one family house in 1990 for $100,000 and finances it, in part, with a $50,000, 15-year mortgage loan.  In 2005, immediately after the mortgage loan is paid off in full, T decides to take advantage of the skyrocketing increase in real estate prices by taking out a new interest only mortgage loan in the amount of $300,000.  As part of the mortgage process, T’s house was appraised by his mortgage lender at $400,000.  T uses $250,000 of the new mortgage loan to buy a vintage DeLorean automobile and pay off his credit card debt and uses the other $50,000 to substantially improve the house.  In 2010, T comes to the unhappy realization that the fair market value of his house has plummeted to $200,000 and decides to short-sale the house.  T finds a buyer for $200,000 and T’s lender agrees to accept the $200,000 short sale proceeds to release the house from the lender’s deed of trust (and, in writing, the lender also agrees to release T from personal liability for the $100,000 deficiency).  What are the likely federal income tax consequences to T?

1. Capital Gain from the “Deemed” Sale of House

Since T bought the house in 1990 for $100,000 and made $50,000 of substantial improvements to the house, T’s adjusted tax basis in the house is $150,000.  Since T was deemed to have sold the house as part of the short sale in 2010 for $200,000, T will recognize $50,000 of capital gain (even thought T’s lender and not T, will receive all of the proceeds from the short sale).  If the house is T’s primary residence and other requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 121 are satisfied, the $50,000 capital gain can be excluded from T’s taxable income because of the $250,000 exclusion right.  If the house was not T’s primary residence, then the $250,000 exclusion does not apply and T will be required to recognize the $50,000 of capital gain.

2. Cancellation of Debt Income

Assuming the new mortgage loan is recourse debt for federal tax purposes (because the debt is non-purchase money, the debt may not be treated as non-recourse under an applicable anti-deficiency statute in the case of a short sale), T would also recognize $100,000 of COD income.  If the house was T’s primary residence, then the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act would enable T to exclude up to $50,000 of the $100,000 of COD income (because $50,000 of the $300,000 loan was used to substantially improve the house, it would be considered “qualified principal residence indebtedness”).  However, because the other $50,000 of the $100,000 deficiency was used to purchase the DeLorean and pay off T’s credit card debt, the other $50,000 would be taxable as ordinary COD income, unless T can establish he was insolvent at the time of the short sale or one of the other exclusions to the recognition of COD income applies.  If the house was not T’s primary residence, then the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act would not apply and the entire $100,000 deficiency would be treated as taxable COD income, unless T can establish he was insolvent at the time of the short sale or one of the other exclusions to the recognition of COD income applies.

Of course, as each individual homeowner’s situation may vary, it is vital in considering any short sale or foreclosure to discuss your individual income tax situation with a tax professional.

For more information about income tax traps:

Stuart Pack, J.D. is a partner with the law firm of Nagle Law Group, P.C. in Scottsdale, Ariz. He concentrates his practice in the area of commercial and residential real estate law. He can be reached at Stuart.Pack@naglelaw.com or 602-595-6951 (x122).

Kelly C. Mooney, J.D., L.L.M. (Taxation) is a shareholder with the law firm of Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. in Phoenix, Ariz. She practices in the area of federal tax law, with an emphasis on the taxation of individuals, corporations, partnerships, tax-exempt entities, and civil tax controversy matters. She can be reached at kcm@gknet.com or 602-530-8075.

Arizona Senate

Robert D. Dalager Confirmed by AZ State Senate, Named to AZ Commission

Attorney Robert D. Dalager of Phoenix-based law firm Gallagher & Kennedy, P. A. has been appointed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to the Commission on Trial Court Appointments for Maricopa County. This week he was confirmed by the Arizona State Senate into the new position.

Dalager is one of five attorneys out of 16 members that make up the Commission on Trial Court Appointments (Maricopa County Commission). The Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court serves as Chairman.

The members are tasked with reviewing judicial applications for Maricopa County Superior Court. They do so by conducting investigations, holding public hearings and taking public testimony.

Dalager was also appointed to the role of Chairman of the City of Phoenix Citizen’s Transit Commission by Phoenix Mayor Gordon in 2010.

Dalager’s practice focuses on governmental affairs and land use law at Gallagher & Kennedy. Before he joined the firm, Dalager was with the Arizona State Senate for nearly 10 years, assisting in the management of all aspects of Senate operations.

He also advised the President of the Senate and members of the majority party on a variety of legislative, as well as legal issues, and was involved in developing Arizona Capitol TV (ACTV) which provides a live broadcast of legislative committee and floor action.

Dalager reviewed his B.S. from Arizona State University and his J.D. from Creighton University.