1 MIAMI-dade NEW YORK DEVELOPER BUYS 3 ACRES NEAR MIAMI RIVER See Page A9 TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 Official Court Newspaper of South Florida DailyBusinessReview.com vol. 88, no. 222 $2.00 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW INSIDE law Supreme Court to hear fish tale The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of a Florida fisherman who wants the court to throw out his conviction for getting rid of some small grouper under a federal law originally aimed at the accounting industry. A2 Sheriffs oppose medical Pot The Florida Sheriff s Association is set to make a large push against the legalization of marijuana. Voters will decide on the legalization of medical marijuana in November. A3 Forensic ACCOuntants team up Veteran forensic accountants Soneet Kapila and Barry Mukamal are joining forces, opening the consulting firm KapilaMukamal LLP with offices in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. A3 Dewey trial may take months The government said it expects the trial of Dewey & LeBoeuf s former leaders to take more than four months and that one likely witness is John Altorelli, a former Dewey executive committee member who is now a partner at DLA Piper. A5 Practice Focus: Employment Suhaill Machado of the Fort Lauderdale office of Fisher & Phillips takes a look at the effescts of President Barack Obama s executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees for disclosing their pay levels to co-workers. A8 commercial real estate Existing Homes sales hit record NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says improved weather allowed more buyers to see homes and make offers on them. A9 Marijuana Two former state prosecutors launch medical pot practice by Julie Kay At the Miami-Dade state attorney s office, Julian Stroleny and Christopher Pagan routinely sent marijuana growers and those in possession of pot to jail and wrestled with their guilt at night. Now, the 29-year-old lawyers will be helping the same people they once prosecuted in their new private law practice, consulting with medical marijuana growers and entrepreneurs. In mid-april, Stroleny and Pagan quit their public jobs and started a criminal defense law firm in downtown Miami called Pagan & Stroleny. While handling rape, animal cruelty and other criminal defense matters, the firm will carve out a specialty in medical marijuana consulting. see marijuana, Page A4 Development Luxury projects in works for downtown Fort Lauderdale J. Albert Diaz Julian Stroleny and Christopher Pagan are part of a burgeoning niche in Florida and elsewhere focusing on the legal implications of liberalized marijuana laws. Transactions Four vacant lots added to Russian s Miami holdings by Eleazar David Melendez public notices & the courts Public notices, court information and business leads, including foreclosures, bid notices and court calendars. B1 Public notices from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach also available at DailyBusinessReview.com/ public_notices.jsp. Public notices published in newspapers statewide available at FloridaPublicNotices.com. Should you have delivery questions, call Postmaster: Send address changes to Daily Business Review, PO Box , Miami, FL Published daily Monday through Friday, except legal holidays, by ALM Properties, LLC., 1 SE 3rd Ave., Suite 900, Miami, FL 33131, (305) ALM, Daily Business Review (USPS ) (ISSN ) Miami Subscription Rates: One year (253) issues - basic (individual and small firms) $429 plus tax; discounted group rates available. Single copies (M-F) - $2. Back issues when available (M-F) - $6. Periodicals postage paid at Miami, FL. Premier Developers soon will demolish the old Sunrise Hall East motel to make room for Riva, a 100-unit condo development seen in a rendering above. by Samantha Joseph The tide is turning for high-end real estate on the water in Fort Lauderdale as investors return to create luxury developments after about a seven-year lull. In the next 30 days, Premier Developers will demolish the old Sunrise Hall East motel to make room for Riva, a 100-unit condo development with private pontoon water taxi, dock, boat slips, cafe and private park. Just north of Sunrise Boulevard at 1180 N. Federal Highway, on the Middle River across from George English Park, the developer will put $50 million into a once-booming submarket that investors say is re- see river, page A11 A Russian billionaire who has been snapping up parcels in Miami s Edgewater neighborhood has added to his significant holdings. Oleg Baybakov, the Russian mining tycoon behind 700 Edgewater Development LLC, has amassed much of the property near the waterfront between Northeast 26th Street and Northeast 26th Terrace. His largest purchase came in February when he paid $21.5 million for the residential tower at 700 NE 26th Terrace. The latest purchases involve four lots just east of that property. Baybakov paid an average of $271 per square foot for a combined 32,040 square feet in transactions that closed April 16 and 17, Miami-Dade County records show. As see baybakov, page A9 ON APPEAL 5th DCA extends media protection to graduate student blogger See Page A16 Robert Rogers
2 A2 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW From the Courts Supreme Court to hear tale of three missing fish by Mark Sherman The Associated Press Not even U.S. Supreme Court justices can resist a good fish story. The court said Monday that it will hear the case of a Florida fisherman who wants the court to throw out his conviction for getting rid of some small grouper under a federal law originally aimed at the accounting industry. Commercial fishing boat captain John Yates argues that the federal government used its mighty power to convict him of tossing overboard three fish that were under the 20-inch minimum legal size for red grouper caught in the Gulf of Mexico. Yates was prosecuted under part of the law Congress passed in 2002 in response to the Enron scandal and abuses in the accounting industry. He said the law s anti-shredding provision is intended to prevent the destruction of financial records. The Obama administration said the law plainly prohibits the destruction of tangible objects, including fish. The tale begins in 2007 on board the Miss Katie, a commercial fishing boat out of Cortez on the Gulf of Mexico. A Florida fish and wildlife officer boarded the Miss Katie in the Gulf for a routine inspection, according to court documents. The officer noticed several fish that appeared to be too small and eventually counted 72 red grouper that were under 20 inches long. He ordered those fish to be set aside so that authorities could seize them when the boat returned to port. Four days later, after a federal inspector got involved in the case, the same Florida officer measured the fish again and this time counted only 69 that were too small. The officer suspected that the A commercial fishing boat captain was convicted of tossing overboard three red grouper that were under the 20-inch minimum legal size. He was prosecuted under part of the law Congress passed in 2002 in response to the Enron scandal and abuses in the accounting industry. undersized fish he looked at in port were not the same ones he measured at sea. A member of the boat s crew was questioned by federal agents and eventually said Yates ordered the undersized fish to be thrown overboard, according to a federal appeals court opinion. A jury convicted Yates of getting rid of the undersize fish and a judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail. The federal appeals court based in Atlanta upheld the conviction. Yates disputed that any fish were too small, but the Supreme Court case turns only on the use of the federal law against him. He said owners of fishing boats refuse to hire him because they fear his presence on their boats would lead to more trouble with the federal government. I am now unable to make a living doing what I love to do, he said in article he wrote for Politico. Yates said he can t believe that a fisherman could be ensnared by a law intended to stop the white-collar crime of destroying evidence to frustrate an investigation. Something smells rotten in his story, he said, and it isn t the fish. Yates v. U.S., , will be argued in the fall. Senate unanimously passes child-welfare reform bill by Margie Menzel News Service of Florida Until the last minute, members of the Florida Senate amended their child-welfare reform measure and then, by a vote of 37-0, sent it to the House its last legislative hurdle before going to Gov. Rick Scott. The House version (HB 7169) was unanimously approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. The two chambers are ever closer on policy details, and on Tuesday they quickly agreed on funding an additional $47 million for child protection in the budget year that begins July 1. Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee Chairwoman Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, and Nancy Detert, the Venice Republican known for championing young adults aging out of foster care, proposed a series of amendments. One stipulated that a safety plan for at-risk children can t rely on parental promises to stop drinking or allowing abusive boyfriends in the home. Another provision requires the privatized community-based care agencies, which oversee adoption, foster care and other services, to post their top executives salaries on their websites. mark foley/ bloomberg news State Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, said the DCF reform bill needed to be passed ASAP. Detert also offered an amendment tweaking perhaps her top priority: stipends for non-relative caregivers, the neighbors and teachers and family friends who take in abused and neglected children but who aren t blood relatives and don t qualify for financial support. The bill had already added these foster families to those eligible for small stipends. But Detert discovered that the foster children of non-relative caregivers wouldn t qualify for the same help with higher education as other foster kids. Since the bill will put children placed with nonrelatives in the Relative Caregiver Program, we needed to revise the tuition-exemption statutes slightly to include those children, she said. We do not want to inadvertently keep kids from getting tuition because they re (placed with) nonrelatives. The legislative scrutiny had been underway for months, following media reports of a wave of child deaths from abuse and neglect. Wider legislative efforts ramped up as it became clear that many of the victims had already been known to the Department of Children and Families. Overall, both chambers bills require more transparency from DCF about child deaths and more accountability from the lead community-based care agencies. Both would use tuition waivers and loan forgiveness programs to help front-line staff get their social-work degrees. The bills would create rapid-response teams to conduct immediate investigations of child deaths, establish the Florida Institute for Child Welfare to conduct policy research and create the position of assistant secretary for child welfare at DCF. Both would keep siblings together and medically fragile children in their communities whenever possible. The issue of keeping siblings together is deeply important to the advocates for youth who lobby lawmakers about improving the child welfare system. It prompted another Detert amendment, addressing earlier bill language about keeping siblings together in group homes when space is available. Advocates have argued that the bill language could lead to more children being placed there than with foster families. Detert said studies have shown that toddlers who were placed in foster homes were much more likely to form attachments with their caregivers than children who had been institutionalized. Foster homes with a loving foster family should be our first placement for every child, Detert said. But Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican who sits on the board of directors of A Kid s Place a group home in his district that prides itself on providing a family setting said foster homes aren t always available to take sibling groups. Senator Detert wants to try to keep them together, and so do I, he said. We prefer to keep them together in a foster facility, but that s not always practical. The amended bill passed the Senate to applause. This bill needs to be passed ASAP, Sobel said. CORRECTIONS In an article published April 24, the Daily Business Review incorrectly reported the Third District Court of Appeal reversed monetary sanctions against DuPont & Co. and its counsel, Shook Hardy & Bacon, in litigation over the fungicide Benlate. There were no monetary sanctions against DuPont and no sanctions of any type against its law firm. The trial judge struck DuPont s pleadings as a sanction. The appellate court found DuPont did not commit a fraud upon the court and also vacated a $1.4 million jury verdict. In a verdict summary published April 24, Jeffrey L. Blostein of the Law Office of Jay Cohen in Fort Lauderdale was incorrectly listed as a defense attorney in a medical malpractice case that produced a $30 million award. Blostein represented Wellington Regional Medical Center, which won summary judgment in its favor and was not involved in the trial. Dr. David Adler also was dismissed from the case before trial.
3 FLORIDA LAW REVIEW DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 dailybusinessreview.com A3 Florida, Seminole tribe near new gambling deal by Gary Fineout The Associated Press Scott Gov. Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida are close to reaching a new deal that could force legislators to once again consider the future of gambling in the state. So far there haven t been any details released, but legislative leaders have confirmed that Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera met with them last week to let them know a deal with the Hard Rock hotel and casino owner could be reached soon. We basically said, When you have a deal, let us know what it is, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford said Friday. We d love to look at it and we ll tell you what we think. A spokeswoman for Florida Senate President Don Gaetz said that Gaetz told Lopez-Cantera he would be interested in learning more if negotiations are finalized. A person close to the negotiations says the Scott administration is considering a May spe- Lopez-Cantera cial session to consider a new compact with the tribe. The person requested anonymity because the person isn t authorized to discuss the deal. A spokesman for the Seminole Tribe said they wouldn t comment. Frank Collins, a spokesman for Scott, emphasized that a final deal has not been reached. There is no deal, and without a deal, there cannot be any decision on how to ratify a deal, Collins said. The Seminoles and Florida reached a deal in 2010 to give the Seminole exclusive rights to have blackjack and other table games at three Broward County casinos and others in Immokalee and Tampa. Part of that deal expires in That deal guaranteed more than $1 billion in revenue to the state. Florida legislators earlier this year were considering a comprehensive gambling bill that could have resulted in competition for the tribe by allowing new resort casinos coming to South Florida. But the legislation stalled after Weatherford said he wanted Scott to renegotiate the compact with the tribe before proceeding any further. Weatherford also said he wants to place a constitutional amendment before voters that would require any future gambling expansions to be approved by voters. Talk of the latest deal is coming when legislators are just days away from ending their annual session on Friday. If the governor asked legislators to consider a deal with the tribe next month it would come when he has the proposed $75 billion state budget on his desk. Scott has line-item veto power that gives him the ability to eliminate individual spending items being sought by legislators. But that may not guarantee that lawmakers would go along with a new Weatherford compact with the tribe. I don t see the Florida House being leveraged into anything, Weatherford said. We have been very good to the governor this year. Some legislators may not consider giving a new deal to the tribe if legislators do not promise help to the state s existing dog tracks and horse tracks. And Democratic legislators say they may not vote for a compact if they aren t included in the negotiations. Democrats are in the minority, but they may prove crucial in a vote on a new compact. In the past some Republicans have been unwilling to vote for anything that could be viewed as condoning or expanding gambling. Quite frankly, we don t have any motivation just to ratify what the governor does, said Florida House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Plantation. Florida ranked fourth overall in gambling revenue among Indian casinos with $2.2 billion in 2012, behind California, Oklahoma and Washington. The figure is a 3 percent increase, the second straight year of growth after a decline in Florida sheriffs campaigning against medical marijuana The Associated Press The Florida Sheriff s Association is set to make a large push against the legalization of marijuana. Voters will decide on the legalization of medical marijuana in November. The association sent an to sheriffs across the state during the winter asking for their support. The Tampa Bay Times reported that 63 of 67 sheriffs were in favor of opposing any measures to legalize the drug. The association is also looking for the support of substance-abuse awareness and antidrug groups to be part of the Don t Let Florida Go To Pot campaign. It also says there has been a spike in crime and traffic accidents in states that have passed similar legislation. Of the 20 states with the highest driver acknowledgement of drugged driving, 15 were states that have passed legislation legalizing marijuana, the association said in a statement. The Los Angeles and Denver police departments have reported significant increases in crime since marijuana was legalized in their respective states. The association said marijuana has a high potential for abuse and presents significant dangers to youths in the state. The legalization of marijuana will make this drug more readily available and easier to obtain by teens, as they would not need parental consent to get a physician s certification for marijuana, the association said. With no quality or dosage control, there is nothing in place to prevent these storefront marijuana dispensaries from selling to minors. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said he doesn t have an issue with legitimate uses of medical marijuana, but believes, the real purpose of this amendment is for recreational marijuana to be legalized.
4 A4 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW law briefs Kapila, Mukamal Open Consulting Firm Veteran forensic accountants Soneet Kapila and Barry Mukamal are joining forces, opening the consulting firm KapilaMukamal LLP with offices in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Kapila and Mukamal, both certified public accountants, will serve as co-managing partners. As sitting members on the panel of U.S. Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees in the Southern District of Florida, Kapila and Mukamal are regularly appointed as chief restructuring officer, corporate monitor, examiner, Chapter 11 trustee, liquidating trustee or receiver for troubled companies. The new firm will offer fiduciary and insolvency services including restructuring, forensic and investigative consulting; litigation support services such as expert witness testimony; and business valuations and matrimonial forensics. Kapila has been operating Kapila & Co. in Fort Lauderdale since 1993, while Mukamal has practiced with Marcum LLP in Miami since (Julie Kay) Florida Senate approves local pension reform A compromise measure that would change the rules on how local governments can spend insurance-premium tax dollars to fund firefighter and police pensions sailed through the Senate on Monday despite indications it could get caught up in a broader debate about retirement plans for public employees. The Senate voted 36-0 to pass the legislation (SB 246), which would allow local governments and labor unions to negotiate over how to spend the premium tax money. If the two sides can t reach a deal, the money would be sifted through a complicated formula. State law currently restricts how the money can be spent. The House version of the overhaul (HB 7181) links the local reforms with a proposal by Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, to revamp the Florida Retirement System. Weatherford s plan is bitterly opposed by unions representing the state and county employees who are members of the FRS. (News Service of Florida) Flood insurance bill gets House OK After homeowners received a major scare about rate increases, the Florida House on Monday approved a bill aimed at drawing more private insurers to write flood-insurance coverage in the state. House members voted to approve the bill (SB 542). The Senate approved the bill earlier, but the measure will have to return to the Senate because of changes made in the House. Lawmakers began looking for ways to expand private coverage after it appeared that tens of thousands of Florida homeowners could get hit with massive increases under the National Flood Insurance Program. While Congress has alleviated those concerns, state lawmakers have continued working on the issue. House sponsor Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, questioned whether the federal government and Congress would take care of flood-insurance needs and said the bill gets the government off our back. Added state Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg: We need this bill. It doesn t solve everything. It doesn t fix the entire problem. But it s a good step in the right direction. But state Rep. Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democrat and insurance agent, said people should buy coverage backed by the federal government. We don t need this bill to move forward, Rader said. (News Service of Florida) House backs Alzheimer s research program Pointing to the prevalence of Alzheimer s disease in Florida, the state House on Monday unanimously approved a bill (HB 709) that would create a new research program and lead to standards for memorydisorder clinics. This is a looming issue for our state and our nation, bill sponsor Matt Hudson, R-Naples, said. The bill would create the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer s Disease Research Program named after Hudson s grandparents that would help fund research at universities and research institutes into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of the disease. (News Service of Florida) FROM PAGE A1 Marijuana: Decision to launch firm was largely financial Frankly, I was very happy at the state attorney s office, Stroleny said. Coming out of law school, it s one of the top jobs you can get in the country. I got wonderful trial experience. But we were both put in a position where we couldn t afford to stay any longer. Stroleny and Pagan are part of a burgeoning niche in Florida and elsewhere focusing on the legal implications of liberalized marijuana laws. As Florida gears up for a November ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana, and as marijuana bills move through the state Legislature, lawyers are wasting no time launching practices to help entrepreneurs hoping to start medical marijuana businesses either farms, grow houses, dispensaries or franchises. Miami lawyer Jeffrey Feiler is selling franchises for $75,000 and has a number of orders already. Other lawyers starting practices to help medical marijuana dispensers are Norm Kent of Kent & Cormican in Fort Lauderdale. Stroleny and Pagan said their reason for launching the new firm was largely financial. However, they also want to help those in need of medical marijuana due to illness, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions. Gray Areas Stroleny, a graduate of Florida International University College of Law, has $215,000 in college loans and was making $41,000 at the state attorney s office. Pagan, a graduate of Syracuse University School of Law, has $177,000 in college loans and was making $46,000 a year as a prosecutor. Stroleny said he came to the realization he had to leave the state attorney s office and go into private practice after his father died suddenly in December. He had been financially subsidized by his family but knew that was no longer an option. At roughly the same time, Pagan learned his girlfriend was pregnant and had the same financial epiphany. The two friends looked at each other one day and said, Let s do this. We had always gotten along, we knew we were capable of this, and we knew as prosecutors some people would see us as a dream team, Stroleny said. If I was starting a medical marijuana business, I d probably want ex-prosecutors helping me saying you can do this, you can t do this. It s still a gray area and not defined yet, and you don t want to make any mistakes. Stroleny had fulfilled only half of a three-year commitment to the state attorney s office, but State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle waived the rest of it as a favor to him. Pagan completed his three-year commitment in April. A spokesman for Rundle s office said she had no comment on the prosecutors resignations or their new practice. After quitting their jobs, the duo leased office space in the White Building in downtown Miami and launched their website, They did not consult with The Florida Bar about their plans. The Bar has no rules on attorneys advising medical marijuana clients, although other bar associations are considering them. In Nevada, where medical marijuana just became legal, four city attorneys and the Nevada Bar Association have written to the Nevada Supreme Court asking for guidance on whether attorneys can ethically advise clients because state and federal drug laws conflict. Business Knowledge In addition to numerous criminal defense clients, Pagan and Stroleny are working with two major medical marijuana clients and have a retained a Tallahassee lobbyist for their cause. Those that wait until November will be too late, Stroleny said. We re ahead of the game. We can get clients access to the licenses. Kent, the Fort Lauderdale lawyer, said he s concerned about lawyers like Stroleny and Pagan with little or no business background jumping into the pot business like it s a gold rush. I hope that people who ultimately engage individuals to be consultants will properly After quitting their jobs at the state attorney s office, Pagan and Stroleny leased office space in the White Building in downtown Miami and launched their website, screen the qualifications and experience of their potential counselors, Kent said. While it s free enterprise, I don t know that these prosecutors who were prosecuting drug cases a couple weeks ago have a skill set in business consultations. It worries me how quickly people are stepping into this as a get-rich-quick scheme. There s a wealth of experience that goes into this, and if you make a mistake your client is going to jail. The young lawyers are not only motivated by the cash they will earn. They also have strong feelings that medical marijuana should be legal. Marijuana is an untapped resource that should be available to the general public, said Pagan, who formerly prosecuted drug trafficking and grow house operators. Too many people are suffering from ailments, and it s unfortunate that marijuana has been illegal. Harsh Laws Knowing friends and family undergoing chemotherapy or suffering from multiple sclerosis or AIDS who would be helped by medical marijuana, Stroleny felt increasingly conflicted about his job. Because I m forced to uphold the law and the constitution, my hands were bound, Pagan said. He was able to get veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who were busted for pot possession into diversionary programs. Pagan was also feeling a clash between his job and his personal views. The laws right now are harsh for grow houses, he said. They do a threeyear mandatory minimum. Sometimes, the people prosecuted are just those who are watering the plants, Cubans and Haitians who need money or a place to stay. When asked whether they themselves have ever smoked pot, Stroleny and Pagan answer affirmatively. We all went to high school, Pagan laughed. Julie Kay can be reached at (305)
5 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 dailybusinessreview.com A5 the firm Prosecution says Dewey trial could last several months by Christine Simmons The government said it expects the trial of Dewey & LeBoeuf s former leaders to take more than four months, and that one likely witness is John Altorelli, a former Dewey executive committee member who is now a partner at DLA Piper. Prosecutors from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and defense counsel returned Monday to the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz to discuss discovery and trial schedule. The four Dewey defendants former chairman Steven Davis, former executive director Stephen DiCarmine, former CFO Joel Sanders, who moved to Greenspoon Marder in Fort Lauderdale, and ex-client relations manager Zachary Warren are accused of taking part in a scheme to defraud and steal from the firm s lenders, investors and others. They have pleaded not guilty. Stolz told the parties he wanted to see a trial start by January Assistant District Attorney Peirce Moser said it could take four to six months to present the government s case. Moser said that one issue still to be addressed was the representation by Zuckerman Spaeder of both Warren, a defendant, and Altorelli, a prosecution witness. The people have an independent obligation to make the court aware of any potential conflict, Moser said. maggie soladay Four Dewey & LeBoeuf defendants are accused of taking part in a scheme to defraud and steal from the firm s lenders, investors and others. They have pleaded not guilty. It is likely that Altorelli will be called as a witness, Moser said, adding that a question remains whether or not he [Altorelli] will testify in a way that s adverse to defendant Warren. Zuckerman partner Paul Shechtman, who represents Warren, said the conflict is not a serious one and has been waived by both sides. Stolz asked that Warren and his attorneys return to court at a later date to address the issue. Warren left Dewey in mid-2009 and enrolled in Georgetown University Law Center. He is a clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Altorelli left Dewey in Spring 2012 for DLA, where he is co-chair of its U.S. finance group. Shortly before Dewey filed for bankruptcy, Altorelli said he had five of the best years of my career at Dewey. He said if the firm s fatal merger had happened earlier, Dewey would be in different circumstances. It s just unfortunate timing, he said at the time. In the interview, Altorelli said most lawyers are not good about taking advice given to clients. They are surprisingly obtuse when it comes to their own situation, he said. Altorelli also said that Davis was a solid person who put everyone s interests above his own, but the CEO is a guy who takes the axe. He did not return a call for comment on Monday. Altorelli made headlines in April 2012, when The New York Post reported that he was in a relationship and living with Russian spy Anna Chapman before she was deported. Warren is named in one indictment with Davis, DiCarmine and Sanders and is also named in a separate indictment. Moser told Stolz that prosecutors will seek to consolidate the cases. But Shechtman raised the likelihood of moving to sever Warren s case. Our case is a very short trial, he said. Prosecutors began turning over documents to the defense on Monday. Moser told Stolz there are more than 1.1 million documents in discovery and they would be delivered to defense attorneys in the next two to three weeks. Stolz set a May 13 date for the parties to provide an update on discovery and motions. Davis was the only defendant to appear in court Monday. He sat during the hearing between his lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, a partner at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, and Shechtman.Christine Simmons reports for The American Lawyer, an ALM affiliate of the Daily Business Review. experience the new LAW.coM Perfect Your PrActice Law.com introduces national and regional news by practice area, from the ALM sources you trust. With real time news, powerful insights, and expert contributors, it s the perfect way to explore the news that matters to you.
6 A6 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW legal people Lissette M. Carreras, Jeremy S. Korch and Hayley E. Gerson join Bast Amron as associates. Carreras practices commercial litigation and insolvency. She was an assistant state attorney. Carreras received her law degree from George Washington University and her bachelor degree from Florida International University. Korch, who was with Tew Cardenas, practices in the area of commercial litigation, real estate litigation and insolvency. Korch received his law degree from the University of Miami and his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Gerson Today Miami-Dade chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers: Inaugural biennial reception for judicial candidates. 5:30-7:30 p.m. City National Bank, Downtown Flagler Banking Center, 25 W. Flagler St., Miami. Cost: Free. For more information or to RSVP, contact Madelin D Arce at May 1 Miami Beach Bar Association: American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters annual law day judicial lunch featuring keynote speaker Miami-Dade School Board attorney Walter Harvey. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Jewish Museum located at 301 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach. Cost: $50 for members, $60 for nonmembers, $45 for current judges in advance; additional $10 day of event. RSVP to Jodie Breece at (786) or gmail.com. 24th annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar: Hosted by Stearns Weaver Miller at the Trump National Doral. Cost: $130 regular registration fee for first attendee, $110 reduced rate for additional attendees from the same company. For more information, visit or Open%20lo-res.pdf. To register, contact Kaylan Domond at or (305) Florida Association for Women Lawyers Miami-Dade chapter: Second annual Law Day presentation with Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch. 12-1:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Ave., Miami. Contact Deborah Baker at legal events practices bankruptcy, insolvency and commercial litigation. Gerson received her law degree from the University of Florida Gerson and bachelor degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Brendan Aloysius Barry, a real estate partner in Shutts & Bowen s Fort Lauderdale office, has been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to the offroad vehicle advisory committee of the Big Cypress National Preserve. It s a three-year term. Barry represents Barry owners, developers and lenders across Florida. Terri Meyers, Michael T. Landen and Justin B. Kaplan have been promoted to partner at Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine. Meyers is a litigator who focuses on a broad range of complex Federalist Society Miami Lawyers Division: Mortgage Foreclosures: Are Home Values Higher when Courts are not Involved? Should the Florida Legislature Remove Judges from the Process? with guest speaker Paul Willen of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. 5:30-8 p.m. Coral Gables Country Club, 990 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables. Cost: Free admission and hors d oeuvres with cash bar. To RSVP or for more information, contact Jefferson Knigh at or (305) May 2 Employment law seminar: One Day, Many Solutions with labor and employment attorneys from Fisher & Phillips. 8-9 a.m. registration and breakfast, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. seminar. Westin Fort Lauderdale, 400 Corporate Drive, Ft. Lauderdale. Cost: $165 per person, includes breakfast and lunch. For more information, contact Elizabeth Hickman at (954) or Register at com/2014seminars Dade County Bar Association Criminal Courts Committee and Young Lawyers Section: Judicial roundtable p.m. Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 SE Second Ave., Miami. Cost: $20 DCBA members, $35 nonmembers, $50 at the door, free for the first 30 government attorneys to register. For more informations, contact Jude Faccidomo at Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Business Law Section: Professional Fiduciary: Responsibilities and Duties. 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Cost: $295. May 8 Legal Services of Greater Miami: Fifth annual Heart of Giving celebration and judicial reception honoring U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz and Florida Third DCA Judge Vance E. Salter. 5-6 commercial cases. She has a law degree from Nova Southeastern and a bachelor degree from George Washington University. Landen focuses his practice on commercial litigation and labor and employment law. He has a law degree from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor degree from the University of Florida. Kaplan focuses on complex business disputes, real estate litigation and suits for replevin of personal property. He has a law degree from the University of Miami and a bachelor degree from the University of Florida. p.m. private judicial reception, 6-9 p.m. main event. Maps Production House, 255 NW 25th St., Studio 255, Miami. Cost: $250 (or $220 with charitable donation) for private reception; $100 (or $70 with charitable donation) for main event, free for judiciary. For more information, contact Marcia Rabinowitz at May 9-11 Bankruptcy Bar Association-Southern District of Florida: 30th annual weekend retreat, Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo. May 14 Criminal justice symposium and panel discussion: Inside Look at Today s Justice System. 6:30 p.m. Florida National University, Hialeah Campus, 4425 W. Jose Regueiro (20th) Ave., Hialeah. Free. To RSVP, contact Naomi Mitjans at or call , ext May 15 South Miami Kendall Bar Association: Annual installation banquet. 7 p.m. reception with cash bar, 8 p.m. dinner. Coral Gables Country Club, 990 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables. Cost: $95 per person. RSVP by April 10. For more information, May 22 Legal Marketing Association Southeast chapter: Annual media panel lunch program with presenters Carolina Bolado of Law 360, Mark Keller of Latin Trade, Eric Kalis of The Real Deal, Richard Westlund of The South Florida Legal Guide, Sara Fiedelholtz of Executive South Florida and Julie Kay of the Daily Business Review. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Bilzin Sumberg, 1450 Brickell Ave., Miami. Cost: $30 members, $50 nonmembers. To register, contact Michelle Martinez Reyes at (305) or LEGAL PRACTICES DIRECTORY 2014 ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. 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7 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 dailybusinessreview.com A7 by Marcos Aleman The Associated Press El Salvador s Mara street gangs are arming themselves with high-powered rifles and some gang members have tried to join the army to get military training, a top official said. Public Safety Minister Ricardo Perdomo said the Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 street gangs are buying automatic rifles in the black market in Honduras and Guatemala, and also getting them from the brutal Zetas drug cartel. We have evidence (the gangs) are buying these weapons, Perdomo said Friday. Authorities recently arrested a person in downtown San Salvador who sold gang members 15 M-16 rifles, Perdomo told the TCS television network. He said he couldn t give any other details because there is an open investigation. Another way gangs are getting weapons is by stealing them from private security APPRAISALS & AUCTIONS FOCUS LATIN AMERICA Official: Salvadoran gangs buying automatic rifles Salvador Melendez/The Associated Press A police officer walks past graffiti depicting gang members who have died during a patrol in a neighborhood controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha gang in Ilopango, El Salvador. Public Safety Minister Ricardo Perdomo says the gang has increased its attacks against police. guards, he said. Army recruiters recently detained 26 gang members who tried to join the military. They RESOURCE GUIDE BANK SEARCH BUILDING FOR LEASE told authorities that joining the army was part of a plan to get military training and then steal military uniforms and weapons, another sign that gangs are looking to be better armed and better trained, Perdomo said. In 2012, El Salvador s Mara Litigation and Trial Support Financial Services Office Space for Lease and Sale BUILDING FOR LEASE Salvatrucha and the rival Mara 18 gang declared a truce in several cities but the government said earlier this month that attacks against police are rising again. After the gangs agreed to the truce homicides dropped from 14 to five per day but since January they have risen to an average of 9 per day, according to authorities. Perdomo said the gangs have also increased their attacks against police. He said members of the Mara 18 gang have orders to take revenge against police and soldiers who wound or kill one of their own. If there is a shootout with police and a gang member is killed or wounded, the whole gang has to take revenge on the officer who fired against that gang member, that s the order, Perdomo added. Since January, there have been 61 attacks on police in El Salvador, up from 30 in the same period of An estimated 20,000 Salvadorans belong to street gangs that deal drugs and extort businesses. EXPERT WITNESS OFFICE SPACE OFFICE/RETAIL SPACE TENANT EVICTIONS LEARN HOW TO BE FEATURED IN THE RESOURCE GUIDE Call , ext. 6647
8 A8 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW practice focus / Labor & employment A glance at what Obama s nonretaliation mandate may mean Commentary by Suhaill Machado Machado Will disclosing employee compensation make wages more equal? On April 8, President Barack Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees for disclosing their pay levels to coworkers. This is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Obama administration targeting pay issues for workers employed by both federal contractors and employers in general. Since taking office in 2008, President Obama has placed heavy emphasis on pay equity and wage transparency. In fact, the first bill that he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended time periods for employees to file claims for wages lost as a result of discrimination. The president has also supported the Pay Check Fairness Act, which requires employers to show that any pay disparity between men and women is not based on gender. Also on April 8, the president issued a memorandum directing the secretary of labor to propose rules that will require federal contractors and BOARD OF CONTRIBUTORS subcontractors to submit to the Department of Labor a summary of data regarding employee compensation, including a breakdown of the data by sex and race. Since the president is unlikely to get legislation addressing wage issues passed in the near future, the executive order seems like a last-ditch effort to move the pay equity discussion forward. Regs To Follow The president s executive order, entitled Nonretaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information, amends Executive Order by prohibiting federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating or retaliating against any employee or applicant for employment because such employee or applicant has inquired about, discussed or disclosed the compensation of the employee or applicant or another employee or applicant. Additionally, the executive order instructs the secretary of labor to propose Scan to read more Boards of Contributors implementing regulations within 160 days, and these regulations will likely be enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The White House said President Obama s executive order would encourage transparency by allowing employees of federal contractors to compare notes on their pay, discover violations and seek corrective actions. The executive order also indicates that allowing for the discussion of compensation information would contribute to a more efficient market in federal contracting. Notably, the executive order s nonretaliation mandate does not apply to unauthorized disclosures of pay information by those who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as part of such employee s essential job functions. This includes employees who work in human resources, payroll or any other position that has access to compensation information for other employees or applicants. When one of these employees discloses such information, the appropriate disciplinary measures may still be taken. Protected Activity Thus, this provision of the executive order attempts to balance an employee s personal free speech rights with the employer s right to protect its confidential business information. However, the executive order s nonretaliation mandate applies when such information is disclosed by these employees in response to a formal complaint or charge; in furtherance of an investigation proceeding, hearing or action including an investigation conducted by the employer; or is consistent with the contractor s legal duty to furnish information. Prior to the executive order, the National Labor Relations Board has long held that employees who discuss the terms and conditions of their employment including wages engage in protected concerted activity. Thus, the compensation data disclosures that form the bases of the executive order are already protected by the National Labor Relations Act. However, the NLRA generally extends only to concerted activity (i.e., two or more employees jointly complaining about their wages, benefits or other terms and conditions of employment), while the executive order s nonretaliation mandate extends coverage to any discussions about pay. Additionally, the NLRA excludes managers and supervisors from its protection, whereas the executive order does not. Thus, the executive order would provide employees with greater anti-retaliation coverage. Opponents of the executive order, however, are reluctant to see how it would provide more protections to employees with regard to discriminatory compensation practices, arguing that wage discrimination is already illegal. These opponents maintain that this regulation would prompt frivolous lawsuits by employees and discourage companies from hiring. The executive order s regulations should be implemented towards the end of 2014; however, it is clear that compensation equality will remain a focus of government scrutiny. Therefore, employers should not wait to review their policies regarding the confidentiality of employee compensation. Employers should seek to update and eliminate any policies that may prohibit employees from discussing or disclosing their compensation information, and they should also remove any policies that would subject employees to discipline for such disclosures. Employers should also consider providing training regarding these policy updates to supervisors and human resources personnel. Suhaill Machado is an associate in the Fort Lauderdale office of Fisher & Phillips. She defends employers in state and federal court litigation and arbitration on a wide variety of employment-related claims. She can be reached at first monday special focus Space Deadline: April 30 ranking the 100 largest firms in florida by headcount financial results from some of the state s leading firms Issue Date: May 5 For more information: Director of Client Development Carlos Curbelo can be reached at or , ext 6647 or by at DailyBusinessReview.com
9 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 dailybusinessreview.com A9 COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE by ELEAZAR DAVID MELENDEZ SOUTH FLORIDA transactions DEAL OF THE DAY New York developer buys 3 acres near Miami River Address: South of Southwest Third Street between Miami Avenue and Southwest First Avenue Property type: 2.97 acres permitted for dense development Price: $33.1 million, or $11,144,781 Seller: Riverfront Parcel 6 LLLP Buyer: MRP Parcel 6 LLC Past sale: $11.88 million j. albert diaz Lake Worth warehouse sells for $11.45 million Address: 1519 N. Dixie Highway, Lake Worth Property type: 111,615-square-foot distribution terminal on 3.4 acres Price: $11.45 million, or $ per square foot Seller: Ample Storage Lake Worth LLC Buyer: CubeSmart LP Past sale: Land sold for $742,000 in October 1998 Fort Lauderdale parking lot goes for $3.6 million Address: 921 N. Victoria Park Road, Fort Lauderdale Property type: 6,750-square-foot parking lot Price: $3.6 million, or $ per square foot Seller: BBX Capital Asset Management LLC Buyer: New Urban/BBX Development LLC West Park dealership acquired for less than 2007 Address: 3805 State Road 7 and 3990 SW 59th Terrace, West Park Property type: 13,891-square-foot car dealership on 2.88 acres and a 6,506-square-foot vacant land across the street Price: $3.5 million Seller: Countyline Auto Center Inc., doing business as Countyline Lexus Buyer: Auto Sale LLC Past sale: $6.38 million in November 2007 D.R. Horton buys land in Homestead Address: SW 137th Ave., Homestead Property type: acres of undeveloped land zoned for single-family homes Price: $3.2 million, or $180,281 an acre Seller: Newland 137 LLC Buyer: D.R. Horton Inc. Past sale: $1.75 million in November 2012 Miami restaurant building fetches $3.08 million Address: 3112 Commodore Plaza, Miami Property type: 5,560-square-foot, twostory restaurant on a 8,686-square-foot lot Price: $3.08 million Seller: Commodore Capital LLC Buyer: Commodore Plaza Investments LLC Past sale: $1.88 million in September 2005 by Lorraine Woellert Bloomberg News Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes climbed in March by the most in almost three years, showing residential real estate was starting to stabilize entering the spring selling season. The pending home sales index rose 3.4 percent, the most since May 2011 and the first gain in nine months, after a 0.5 percent drop in February that was smaller than initially reported, the National Association of Realtors said Monday in Washington. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1 percent increase. The gauge is 7.4 percent below a year earlier. Housing demand has weakened since the middle of last year as rising prices and borrowing costs put ownership out of reach for some prospective buyers. An improving employment outlook and easier access to credit would help entice more house hunters to sign purchase contracts. The backdrop in general for housing remains reasonably positive, said Jim O Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics Ltd. in Valhalla, N.Y., who projected a 2.5 percent gain. The labor market is improving, confidence generally has been edging up and mortgage rates are still pretty low. Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 35 economists ranged from a 2 percent These reports are based on public records filed with the clerks of courts. Building area is cited in gross square footage, the total area of a property as computed for assessment purposes by the county appraiser. Pending sales of existing homes rise most since 2011 carol t. powers/bloomberg news NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said better weather allowed more buyers look at homes and make contract offers. decline to a 7 percent increase after a previously reported 0.8 percent drop in February. NAR Projections Purchase contracts fell from the year prior after a 10 percent decrease in the 12 months that ended in February on an unadjusted basis. Existing-home sales are projected to total just over 4.9 million this year, less than the 5.1 million in 2013, the trade group said. The pending sales index was A reading of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity in 2001, according to the Realtors group. Three of four regions showed an increase from February, with contract signings up 5.7 percent in the West, 5.6 percent in the South and 1.4 percent in the Northeast. Pending sales dropped 0.8 percent in the Midwest. FROM PAGE A1 Baybakov: Russian amasses more property in Miami neighborhood a result, his companies own all but the southwest corner lots of the 2.75-acre block facing Biscayne Bay. Baybakov s plans for the properties have not been disclosed. The rental building at 700 NE 26th St. has been aggressively shedding tenants for years, and Baybakov s firm has in the past two months initiated eviction proceedings against three tenants. Reached Monday, the leasing agent for the building said there was just one apartment available for rent. A previous owner envisioned tearing down the 58-unit project built in 1980 to make way for a 39-story condo. Baybakov s net worth has not been recently estimated by reliable media sources, but he is believed to be a multibillionaire. He is a frequent business partner of Mikhail Prokhorov, one of the richest Russians alive, telling the Wall Street Journal in 2010 he was a silent partner in Prokhorov s most famous American venture, the Brooklyn Nets professional basketball franchise. The two men also commonly mingle in the same leisure circles: Both were arrested together in 2007 for allegedly bringing prostitutes to their Alpine retreat in the French resort town of Courchevel. The charges were later dropped. In South Florida, Baybakov also has real estate holdings in Miami s Brickell neighborhood and Miami Beach. Eleazar David Melendez can be reached at (305) J. Albert Diaz Russian billionaire Oleg Baybakov picked up this property at 601 NE 26th St. in Miami as part of a purchase of parcels just east of a property he also owns. Lamar Fisher By Order of the City of North Miami Beach Multi-Family Property 1970 NE 161st St. North Miami Beach, FL Thurs., May 22, 11am, ET, Onsite Two 1bedroom/1bathroom units w/ living area, kitchen, porch Convenient area, close to major highways, shopping - etc. fisherauction.com % Broker Co-op AU93:AB106 Subject to all terms of sale
10 A10 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW commercial real estate Fate of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac rests with Senate by Clea Benson and Cheyenne Hopkins Bloomberg News A U.S. Senate plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the most thorough yet for winding down the two mortgage financiers, faces a first test this week with its authors making last-minute changes to gather more support. The 22 members of the Senate Banking Committee will decide as early as Tuesday if the bill, the culmination of more than a year of delicate negotiations among Democrats and Republicans, gains momentum or fizzles. The legislation would replace the companies over five years with federal insurance for mortgage bonds that would kick in only after private investors were wiped out. Current shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be in line behind the U.S. in getting any compensation from the wind-down. To keep the bill from stalling, committee leaders are trying to win over at least a few of the half-dozen Democrats on the panel who haven t publicly embraced it. They have proposed changes including ones that would prevent big banks from monopolizing the mortgage business and add stronger protections for lending in disadvantaged communities. An impasse would leave the two companies operating indefinitely under federal control without resolving the status of their privately owned shares. This might be the only real chance this decade we have to achieve reform, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said during a speech in New York last week. Let s not waste it. TJ kirkpatrick/bloomberg news U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said of the Senate bill, This might be the only real chance this decade we have to achieve reform. Restructuring the mortgage market is the largest piece of unfinished U.S. business from the 2008 credit crisis, when regulators seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they careened toward insolvency. The companies were bailed out with $187.5 billion from the Treasury while backing a growing share of mortgages as private capital dried up. Hedge Funds Only recently did they return to financial health, sparking calls from private shareholders including Bruce Berkowitz s Fairholme Capital Management and hedge fund Perry Capital LLC to share in profits they are returning to taxpayers. Six Democrats and six Republicans on the banking panel have previously endorsed the concept of the bill, written by chairman Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, and its senior Republican, Mike Crapo of Idaho. That would be enough to move it out of the committee. Still, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, is expected to allow a full Senate vote only if more party members come on board, said Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at Compass Point Research and Trading LLC in Washington. Reid has expressed reservations about winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because the companies ensure that homebuyers are able to get affordable fixed-rate mortgages. Senate leadership appears far from enthused by the prospects of a floor vote on the measure, Boltansky said in an interview. Reforming the mortgage market just doesn t fit into the pre-election priorities of either party. Johnson and Crapo will also have to ensure that any changes they make do not alienate Republicans. Leadership has to walk an incredibly fine line in order to secure the uncommitted liberal votes on the committee without eroding the right-leaning senators who support the concept of the bill, Boltansky said. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, long political flash points in Washington, buy mortgages from lenders and package them into securities on which they guarantee payments of principal and interest; they now back about two-thirds of new home loans. That dominance has led them to post record profits over the past two years as the housing market rebounded. Fannie Mae reported an $84 billion profit for 2013, the highest-ever for the 80-yearold firm, while Freddie Mac likewise reported a record profit of $48.7 billion. Urging Delay The Johnson-Crapo bill is the most detailed congressional proposal on how the two companies would be liquidated and how the system that replaces them would operate. It also is the first to try to balance the Republican goal of heading off future taxpayer bailouts with the desire of Democrats to preserve broad access to the fixed-rate 30-year mortgage. Texas lures Toyota sales office away from California by Alan Ohnsman Bloomberg News Toyota Motor Corp. is moving substantial parts of its U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif., to suburban Dallas as the world s largest automaker seeks savings from its U.S. sales unit, people familiar with the matter said. Employees were informed of the plan Monday, said the people, who asked not to be identified disclosing private conversations. Steve Curtis, a Toyota spokesman, didn t immediately return a call on the matter. The surprise move is a blow to the Golden State, the biggest U.S. auto market and proponent of the strictest clean-air rules. Toyota s Prius hybrid has been California s top-selling model for the past two years and helped secure a leading 22 percent market share. It also represents a victory for Texas Governor Rick Perry, who s made repeated visits to California to lure businesses to his state with promises of lower taxes and easier regulations. It would be very consequential for Southern California, said Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for vehicle-price data service Kelley Blue Book in Irvine, Calif. There might be some brain drain and tumult for employees, though it should be largely seamless to the consumer. This kind of thing can create some disruption of momentum. Destination Texas Toyota has more than 5,300 California employees, most at its Torrance campus in sales, finance, marketing, engineering and product planning. When Nissan Motor Co. moved its North American headquarters to lower-cost Tennessee in 2006, only 42 percent of employees initially chose to relocate. The new regional sales headquarters may be in or near Plano, Texas, said three of the people who asked not to be named as the plan isn t yet public. The majority of Toyota s Torrance operations may move to Texas over a two-year period, the people said. Lucy Nashed and Felix Browne, spokesmen for Perry, didn t respond to s on the matter. Perry, in his final year as governor, began airing radio commercials in California during his March swing through the state that highlighted its high taxes. A year ago, I was here, in California, encouraging companies to look to Texas for expansion and relocation, he said in the ad, paid for by a group called Americans for Economic Freedom. Over the past year and a half, more than 50 California companies have announced plans to expand or relocate in Texas, creating more than 14,000 jobs. While Texas is home to Toyota s pickup truck plant in San Antonio and a General Motors Co. factory in Arlington, the state traditionally hasn t been a center of auto industry activity. Separately, Toyota said it s restructuring the Torrance-based U.S. marketing organization as part of an efficiency push without detailing how many jobs may be eliminated. Some employees are being reassigned to other parts of the company and there is a voluntary exit program for people who choose to leave, Toyota said yesterday in a statement. The revamped marketing unit will begin operating mike fuente/ bloomberg news Texas Governor Rick Perry made repeated visits to California to lure businesses such as the Toyota headquarters in Torrance to Texas with promise of lower taxes and easier regulations. from May 1. Toyota Earnings Toyota s decision to scale back in California, where it established operations in 1957, comes as the company expects to report a record $18.3 billion of net income when it releases fiscal year results next month. Along with rising sales in North America and other international markets, Toyota s earnings this year are benefiting from a decline in the value of the yen, which surged in Since the company made that forecast, it agreed to a $1.2 billion fine to settle a U.S. Justice Department investigation into how it delayed recalling popular models after complaints of unintended acceleration. U.S. sales for Toyota last year totaled 2.24 million cars and light trucks, off a record 2.62 million in Combined sales for the carmaker s three brands fell 1.6 percent to 520,997 in the year s first three months.
11 FROM PAGE A1 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 dailybusinessreview.com A11 River: Rents expected to climb 3 percent this year Melanie Bell Bradley Deckelbaum s family-owned Premier Developers has a penchant for boutique projects with contemporary architecture and prices that surpass $1 million. turning to pre-recession levels. Fort Lauderdale in general is right, with very strong demand, said Premier Developers principal Bradley Deckelbaum, whose family-owned firm has a penchant for boutique projects with contemporary architecture and prices that surpass $1 million. Premier is returning to Fort Lauderdale after building La Rive downtown in Drawn by strong demand, the company will start work in November on 100 luxury riverfront condominiums priced from $555,000 to $1.3 million for two- and three-bedroom condos and from $2.45 million to about $4 million for penthouse and custom units. Now that things are beginning to pick up, they picked up where the last cycle left off, said Patrick Campbell, vice president of the Related Group Inc. This was the next area slated for the development. Related is at work on New River Yacht Club, a $75 million development scheduled for completion in July. The downtown property on the river at 400 SW First Ave. was long vacant before construction started in At the time that we got our approvals, we were the first building approved in five years, Campbell said. The project is one of two residential developments that will help finish construction on the south side of the Riverwalk, the brick walkway connecting downtown to the riverfront. Miami-based Cymbal Development also will chip in as part of its work creating a mixed-use complex with residences, retail, restaurants and marina on a six-acre waterfront site at SW Third Ave. and 424 SW Fourth Ave. New Promise The return of new capital investment also means rents are on the rise, promising investors higher returns, analysts suggest. Rents in the wider Fort Lauderdale market are expected to climb 3 percent in 2014 to a monthly average $1,277, according to Marcus & Millichap s national apartment report. But riverfront rates could spike even further as much as 15 percent, Campbell predicted. Related s 249-unit Related s New River Yacht Club will be a $96 million development on 1.36 acres at 401 SW First Ave. development commands $1,400 to $4,000 per month for studios to three bedrooms. Related is planning a bigger development on the river when the first project wraps in July. The second phase of its New River Yacht Club will be a $96 million development on 1.36 acres at 401 SW First Ave. The company plans 349 apartments with ground-floor retail and restaurants across the street from its current Riverwalk project. For five years nothing was happening, but we believe in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Campbell said. Samantha Joseph can be reached at (954)
12 A12 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW Susan Moynihan-Rose has joined Atlass Insurance Group as senior account manager. She was most recently with Alliance Marine, where she was employed for more than 26 years. David M. Deza joins TD Bank as vice president, relationship manager in commercial business banking. Deza worked for Wells Fargo. Deza is a graduate of Florida International University. Donna Holm has been appointed director of tax for the West Palm Beach offices of Harless & Associates. Holm has a bachelor degree from St. Thomas University and masters degree from Florida International University. Apollo Bank has promoted four banking professionals based in its headquarters in the people Rose Deza Reyes Martinez Escoto Lacle Robie Brickell Financial District. Dan Reyes has been named senior vice president-bsl/aml compliance officer, Melissa Martinez vice president of human resources, Otto Escoto assistant vice president-assistant controller and Carmen Susana Lacle assistant vice president-global BUSINESS briefs banking officer. Reyes will perform necessary quality control reviews and ensure compliance with all bank policies and procedures. Reyes earned a bachelor degree from the University of Miami. Martinez will be responsible for leading the human resources department. Martinez has a master s in business administration and a bachelor degree from Florida International University. Escoto will focus on assisting the CFO/comptroller in supervising the quality of accounting and financial reporting. Escoto earned a bachelor degree from Florida International University. Lacle will be responsible for developing new international deposits. Mat Robie has been named vice president business strategy and development for Miami Jewish Health Systems. Robie worked for United HomeCare Services. Advertisers back away from L.A. Clippers Advertisers are backing away from the Los Angeles Clippers after racist comments attributed to the NBA team s owner. Used car dealership chain CarMax and airline Virgin America said Monday that they are ending their sponsorships of the Clippers in the wake of comments allegedly made by the team s owner, Donald Sterling. A third sponsor, Kia Motors America, said it is suspending its advertising and sponsorship activities with the team. A fourth, insurer State Farm said it will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization. Sterling has come under fire for comments he is alleged to have made in a recorded conversation with a woman. Portions of that conversation were released over the weekend by TMZ and Deadspin, leading to a national outcry. The NBA is planning a news conference today on its investigation into Sterling. (The Associated Press) Fed likely to reiterate flexible policy on rates In her first weeks as Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen has made one thing clear: The Fed will keep all options open in deciding when to raise interest rates from record lows. Gone are the benchmarks that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, used to try to guide investors: That by a certain point in the future or when unemployment reached a specific rate, the Fed would consider slowing its stimulus for the economy. In a speech this month, Yellen said the Fed must respond to significant unexpected twists and turns the economy may take. On Wednesday, when it ends a policy meeting, the Fed will likely repeat that theme and echo a point it made after Yellen s first meeting as chair last month: That even after the job market strengthens and the Fed starts raising rates, it will likely keep rates unusually low to support a stillsubpar economy. Yellen s message of flexibility may help convey the Fed s willingness to respond to abrupt shifts in the economy. Yet it can also be tricky. It can leave investors uncertain and fearful of a sudden shift in the Fed s approach to interest rates. Financial markets hate uncertainty. (The Associated Press) Energy Transfer buying company in $1.8B deal Energy Transfer Partners LP is buying Susser Holdings Corp., an operator of convenience stores that sell gas, in a deal valued at about $1.8 billion. Energy Transfer bought Sunoco Inc. for about $5.5 billion in The company said that adding Corpus Christi-based Susser to Sunoco s more than 5,000 retail stores which are mostly on the East Coast will expand Sunoco s geographic reach. Susser operates 630 Stripes and Sac- N-Pac convenience stores in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Susser shareholders will choose either $80.25 in cash, Energy Transfer common units, or a combination of both for each share held. (The Associated Press) Forest Labs to buy Furiex in $1.5B deal A $25 billion bid to buy Forest Laboratories hasn t stopped the drugmaker from continuing to shop for deals of its own. Forest said Monday that it will spend as much as $1.5 billion to buy Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a deal that will give it one of the broadest product lines for gastrointestinal disease treatments. Shares of Morrisville, N.C.-based Furiex soared in trading after the companies announced the deal. Forest s latest acquisition bid comes more than two months after Ireland-based Actavis PLC said that it planned to buy Forest in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $25 billion that is expected to close by the middle of the year. Forest spokeswoman Mandy Kaufman said Monday that Actavis agreed to the Furiex acquisition bid and supports it. (The Associated Press) Comcast selling some cable systems to Charter Comcast announced on Monday a series of transactions designed to lower its debt and help clear the way for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, including the sale of cable systems with 1.4 million subscribers to Charter and the spinoff of an additional 2.5 million subscribers into a new company. The approximately 2.5 million subscribers will be part of a new publicly traded cable provider that Philadelphia-based Comcast is creating and spinning off. Charter Communications Inc. will form a new holding company that will own about a third of the Comcast spinoff, while shareholders of Comcast and the former Time Warner Cable will own the remaining 67 percent of the new company. In February Comcast Corp. s $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. topped Charter s offer. Charter President and CEO Thomas Rutledge said during a conference call that the transactions will help broaden Charter s footprint in the Midwest and Southeast. The Stamford, Conn., company will acquire systems in Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana and Alabama. It will also shed systems in California, New England, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Oregon, Washington and Virginia. (The Associated Press) Frontier cutting fares but charging for carry-ons Frontier Airlines is lowering its fares, but passengers will have to pay fees for any extras beyond a seat on the plane. Starting Monday, the Denver-based airline is cutting economy prices by an average of about 12 percent. Passengers will get to bring one item that fits under the seat, but will have to pay extra to either put a bag in the overhead bin or check a bag. They ll also have to pay extra to select a seat in advance or to get a drink or food. Passengers who want everything included can still buy a more expensive classic plus ticket. (The Associated Press) Alibaba, partner invest $1.2B in China video site E-commerce giant Alibaba Group is expanding its online entertainment presence by investing $1.2 billion with a partner in video website Youku Tudou. Alibaba will gain a 16.5 percent stake in the company and its partner Yunfeng Capital will get 2 percent, Youku Tudou Inc. said Monday. China s major Internet companies have invested billions of dollars over the past year to expand beyond their core businesses by creating or acquiring entertainment, consumer finance and other services. They are trying to retain users as Chinese Web surfers shift rapidly to going online via smartphones and other mobile devices, which is shaking up the traditional Internet markets. (The Associated Press) Pfizer still pursuing AstraZeneca after rebuff Pfizer Inc. was turned down twice by fellow drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC, but the maker of Viagra and Lipitor said Monday that its proposed $100 billion acquisition makes sense for shareholders of both companies, and it s considering its next steps. A tie-up would bring new and complementary products to Pfizer, executives said on a conference call, important as patents on profitable medicines expire. Pressure on Pfizer for a deal also may be coming from a desire to save big money on taxes on the piles of cash it earned and keeps overseas. During conference calls with investors and journalists, Pfizer executives said a combination would also bring major savings meaning job and other cost cuts. Pfizer, the world s second-biggest drugmaker by revenue, said acquiring No. 8 AstraZeneca would strengthen research programs and potentially produce drugs sooner in Pfizer s priority areas, particularly cancer, heart disease, pain and immune disorders. That could eventually benefit patients. (The Associated Press) Xbox begins original programming plan When it comes to original programming, Microsoft is going to throw it at the Xbox and see what sticks. After nearly two years since launching a studio to create new shows to be streamed on Xbox consoles, Microsoft is finally ready to serve an assorted helping of original programming this summer for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. However, viewers shouldn t expect Xbox Originals, as they re called, to be available the same way that content is provided on Netflix and Hulu. We don t necessarily know what approach will work, and we don t necessarily know what approach won t work, noted Nancy Tellem, the president of Xbox Entertainment Studios during a recent press preview of Xbox Originals at Microsoft s offices in Santa Monica, Calif. (The Associated Press) Genting s N.Y. casino bid includes hotels The operator of the Resorts World Casino New York City at the Aqueduct Racetrack has released details of a resort casino it s hoping to build in Orange County. Genting Group says Monday that it s proposing a 238-acre resort on the site of the Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center that will include a casino, two hotels, restaurants and facilities for year-round outdoor recreation, including skiing. The property was home to a botanical garden opened by Dutch Queen Beatrix in 1958 and has long hosted the New York Renaissance Faire. Malaysia-based Genting says the project would create more than 2,000 jobs. Developers hoping to win one of four upstate casino licenses paid application fees to the state last week. Twenty-two fees of $1 million each were submitted. Selections will be made this fall. (The Associated Press)
13 BANKING / FINANCE DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 dailybusinessreview.com A13 Bank of America stung after making error to Fed by Hugh Son, Michael J. Moore and Zachary Tracer Bloomberg News pete marovich/ bloomberg news Chief executive officer Brian T. Moynihan had planned on boosting Bank of America s quarterly payout, but that will be revisited. Bank of America Corp. fell the most in a year after suspending a dividend increase and $4 billion of planned share repurchases because of an error in its stress-test submission to the Federal Reserve. Bank of America will resubmit its proposal, the Charlotte, N.C.-based lender said Monday in a statement. The company said it incorrectly adjusted for cumulative realized losses on structured notes issued by Merrill Lynch. Chief executive officer Brian T. Moynihan had planned on boosting the bank s quarterly payout to 5 cents a share from 1 cent, five years after the firm cut the dividend to a token amount during the financial crisis. Bank of America said its revised proposal will probably feature lower payouts than in its original plan. Bank of America is by far not the first big bank to make a mistake in its CCAR submission, David Hilder, an analyst at Drexel Hamilton LLC in New York, said in a phone interview, referring to the Fed s Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review. He said that while Bank of America noticed the error and probably has sufficient capital for the payout, the setback is embarrassing for the company. Leverage Ratio The bank s estimated Tier 1 capital ratio is actually 11.9 percent as of March 31, which is 21 basis points below what the company previously reported, according to the statement. The Tier 1 leverage ratio was 7.4 percent, or 12 basis points lower. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point. Bank of America discovered the mistake last week as it prepared its 10-Q quarterly regulatory filing and immediately notified the Fed, said a person with direct knowledge of the process. The error had gone undetected since the firm s acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2009, said the person, who requested anonymity because the information hasn t been made public. The lender must resubmit a capital plan within 30 days and undertake a review to ensure no other errors, the Fed said today in a separate statement. Bank of America, led by Moynihan since 2010, has been working for years to resolve headaches inherited with the purchases under his predecessor of Merrill Lynch and mortgage-lender Countrywide Financial Corp. during the financial crisis. The company this month reported a $276 million deficit for the three months ended March 31, its fourth quarterly loss under Moynihan. Mortgage Costs Today s retreat is another setback for the CEO, who has underestimated the costs tied to mortgages as he sought to return capital to shareholders. In March of 2011, the company said the Fed objected to its plan to raise its dividend. Months earlier, Moynihan told investors, I don t see anything that would stop us from raising the payout in The more recent reversal erases what had seemed to be a victory last month with its approval even as Citigroup Inc. s plan was rejected by the Fed. The Citigroup decision was based on concerns about the quality of its process, including defects the Fed had flagged before. Citigroup was also seeking its first dividend since the crisis, as well as a $6.4 billion buyback. JPMorgan curbs daily risk in triparty repossessions by Rick Green Bloomberg News JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of two banks that dominate clearing in the $1.8 trillion tri-party repurchase agreement market, said it curtailed daily credit risk that regulators blamed for fueling the 2008 financial crisis. All clients have been moved to a system that includes rolling settlement, simultaneous exchange of cash and collateral and creation of a secured committed clearance advance facility, JPMorgan said Monday in a statement. Collectively, the changes provide the bank with more protection against losses while reducing the need of Wall Street dealers for intraday loans. The Federal Reserve has been urging JPMorgan and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. to speed improvements in repo markets, which are used by the Fed s primary dealers for short-term funding. The system neared collapse in business events ron antonelli/ bloomberg news JPMorgan Chase said it curtailed daily credit risk that regulators blamed for fueling the amid the demise of Bear Stearns Cos. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Bankers had pledged to finish upgrades by 2016, prompting the Fed to say industry-led efforts were too slow. Every new piece of functionality introduced over the last four years has allowed us to reduce materially the systemic risk previously created by over-reliance on clearing-bank credit, Michael Albanese, head of JPMorgan s U.S. triparty repo clearing and collateral management, said in the statement. BNY Mellon, the industry leader, and JPMorgan act as middlemen to process repo transactions and keep charge of collateral. The role required the two New York-based banks to temporarily extend hundreds of billions of dollars in credit for several hours during the day, which puts their safety at risk if the market breaks down before the deals are unwound. The Fed s goal was to curb the need for the lenders to finance the deals, peo- financial crisis. ple familiar with the plans have said. The market is the biggest source of financing for primary dealers, the 22 firms that act as counterparties for the central bank. BNY Mellon is fully on track for practically eliminating intraday credit risk this year and enabling market participants to continue to efficiently and effectively fund their operations, Kevin Heine, a spokesman for the company, said in an ed statement. The lender, which handles about 80 percent of the transactions, expects to have the final pieces of its upgrade in place by the end of this year, according to the firm s website. Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed s chairman during 2008, told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that a breakdown of the tri-party market in 2008 almost created a black hole as financial firms lost access to cash for daily operations. The commission in a report cited structural flaws in the market as one of the biggest causes of the crisis. Today Miami Women s Chamber of Commerce: Annual president s reception. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Carlton Fields Jorden & Burt, Miami Tower, 100 S.E. Second St., Ste. 4200, Miami. Cost: Free for members and guests, $15 for future members, $25 for future members and at the door. RSVP at d=871233&eventviewmode=eventdetails. Miami Finance Forum: Networking event. 6-8 p.m. Joe s Stone Crab, 11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Cost: Free for members, $25 for nonmembers. Register at April 29-May 1 Hotel Opportunities Latin America: Networking reception with keynote closing presentation by Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico. JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Miami, 255 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. RSVP to Elisabeth Lockerby, May 1 Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce: Banking & Finance Committee presents a CEO Roundtable with leaders of South Florida financial institutions. 11:30 a.m. registration and lunch, 12:30-1:30 p.m. program. Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell, 50 SW 12th St., Miami. Cost: $35 members, $45 nonmembers, $50 on-site. Contact Cornelia Pereira at (305) or Information and registration available at www. MiamiChamber.com May 2 Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce: Technology Leaders of the Year Awards. 11 a.m. registration and networking, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. awards luncheon. Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Treetop Ballroom, Miami. Cost: $80 per person. Contact Maribel Pozo at (305) or miamichamber.com. Information and registration available at May 6 CREW Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beach: What is the Buzz in South Florida s Hot Hospitality Market? luncheon. 11:30 a.m., Marriott North, 6650 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Cost: $40 members, $55 nonmembers. RSVP at Contact Mary Beth Reed at (954) or May 9 LeTip East Broward: Business professionals networking breakfast. 7 a.m. Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport, 1825 Griffin Rd., Dania. For more information, call (954) May 14 CREW Miami: The Power of the Purse lunch program with Emmy-award winning journalist Jackie Nespral of NBC 6 as emcee. 11 a.m. Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Cost: $150 per person. RSVP to Joann Soman at Submit information about upcoming events to
14 A14 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 DAILY BUSINESS REVIEW by Jim Brunsden Bloomberg News Global regulators face a backlash from some of the world s largest asset managers including Pacific Investment Management Co., Fidelity Investments, and BlackRock Inc. over plans that could single them out for tougher regulation. Draft proposals for identifying financial institutions other than banks and insurers that are considered too-big-to-fail are based on an incorrect analysis of the investment-fund industry, the companies said in written responses to a consultation by international standard setters. The blueprint is fundamentally flawed and should be withdrawn, Pimco said in its consultation response, published on the website of the International Organization of Securities Commissions. The plan does not accurately reflect the risks associated with investment funds or the asset management industry as a whole. Financial Stability Board The too-big-to-fail proposals follow moves by global regulators in the Financial Stability Board to rank banks and insurers by their potential to cause a global meltdown and demand bigger financial cushions to avert a repeat of the turmoil that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., was added to an FSB list of too-big-to-fail banks in November. Insurers such as American International Group Inc. and Allianz SE were deemed systemically important in July. Global regulators have yet to say what kind of extra rules systemic funds BANKING / FINANCE Mortgage whistleblower stands alone in latest lawsuit by Jef Feeley and David McLaughlin Bloomberg News Two years after Lynn Szymoniak helped the U.S. recover $95 million from Bank of America Corp. and other lenders for mortgage-fraud tied to the housing bubble, the whistleblower said the government is ignoring a chance to collect more money for identical claims against other banks. Szymoniak got $18 million when the U.S. Justice Department intervened in her foreclosure-fraud lawsuit. The government negotiated a settlement with five lenders including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The other banks accused of the same behavior, including Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings Plc, are still fighting Szymoniak s suit, saying she isn t a true whistle-blower. And the U.S., while continuing its crackdown on banks that packaged risky loans for sale as securities, hasn t joined with her this time, leaving her to fight the banks alone. U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson in Columbia, S.C., is considering whether to throw the case out. This is a case the government should take a stand on, Reuben Guttman, one of Szymoniak s lawyers, said in an interview. It is curious as to why the government is not vigorously pursuing this along with us. They are leaving money on the table. Bank of America last month agreed to a $9.5 billion accord with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the overseer of mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which bought $26.6 billion in mortgage-backed securities. Regulators said a unit of the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank misrepresented the bonds quality. Prosecutors are seeking more than $13 billion to end federal and state probes of its sale of bonds in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, people familiar with the matter have said. Szymoniak s lawyers said the Justice Department so far isn t interested in getting involved in the remaining claims of her suit. The government can intervene at any time, with court permission. Allison Price, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment on why the government hasn t joined the case against the remaining lenders. Szymoniak, a West Palm Beach lawyer and insurancefraud investigator, sued under a law allowing a private citizen to file fraud claims on behalf of taxpayers. She began investigating foreclosure practices across the U.S. after her lender sought to seize her home in She contended in court filings that lawyers for the noteholder used forged documents in her foreclosure case. Large asset managers protest expansion of too big to fail Carney Forged Documents The lawyer said she discovered that lenders used backdated, forged documents and records signed in bulk by people without knowledge of the facts, a practice known as robo-signing. Szymoniak said lenders relied on fraudulent paperwork in foreclosures and then used those documents to recover payments from the U.S. on defaulted loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. When banks packaged mortgages into securities, some lenders failed to ensure that legal paperwork was filed transferring the loans from one owner to another, the whistle-blower alleged. After being hit with a wave of defaults during the recession, banks and mortgage servicers that couldn t produce loanownership documents used forged records, Szymoniak said. Her findings helped the Justice Department reach a $95 million settlement with Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. The accord was part of a $25 billion settlement the U.S. and states reached with the banks, which agreed to provide mortgage relief to homeowners. Other banks she still accuses of mishandling mortgage documents include Deutsche Bank, based in Frankfurt, Londonbased HSBC, Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and Minneapolisbased US Bancorp. Lawyers for Deutsche Bank and other lenders argue that Szymoniak s claims should be dismissed because she isn t a true whistle-blower. Allegations concerning the preparation and use of purportedly false or fraudulent mortgage assignments were in the public domain well before December 2009, when Szymoniak alleges she commenced her investigation, the banks said in court papers. Kevin Heine, a spokesman for BNY Mellon, and Juanita Gutierrez, a U.S.-based HSBC spokeswoman, declined to comment on Szymoniak s claims. Ari Cohen, a U.S.-based Deutsche Bank representative, also declined to comment on them, as did Nicole Garrison-Sprenger of US Bancorp. Government Resources If the Justice Department decides to join the suit, it shares andrey rudakow/ bloomberg news The United States has refused to join Lynn Szymoniak in a mortgage fraud lawsuit against Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings Plc. the work and brings the government s resources to the case. On her own, Szymoniak is at a greater disadvantage, given the resources available to the banks. But if she wins, she will get a bigger payout. Government intervention means a whistleblower like Szymoniak can receive a maximum of 25 percent of any recovery under the law, known as the False Claims Act. If the Justice Department declines to join the case, a whistle-blower may get as much as 30 percent of any jury award or settlement. The remainder would go into the government s coffers, said Joan Krause, a University of North Carolina law professor who teaches about the antifraud statute. There could be a variety of reasons why the government would choose not to intervene in the remaining claims, Krause could face. In the case of banks and insurers, firms identified as too-big-to-fail face tougher capital requirements so that they can absorb losses, and more scrutiny by regulators to ensure that they can be safely wound down if they fail. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, the FSB s chairman, has said that the push to target other kinds of financial firms is integral to solving the problem of institutions whose collapse could threaten the financial system. Under the plans published in January by the FSB and Iosco, investment funds with over $100 billion in assets could be labeled too-big-to-fail. The proposals also indicate a possible alternative approach where the asset managers in charge of large funds would be the focus for extra rules. The size of a fund is not indicative of systemic risk, and most of the largest funds today are unlikely to pose systemic risk issues, BlackRock said in its consultation response. said in an interview. Given the limitations on resources, they may not have the manpower to devote to this case. The Justice Department may also be of the view that the evidence against the other defendants may not be as strong as it was against the banks that settled earlier. Guttman, Szymoniak s attorney, said the allegations against the remaining banks are indistinguishable from the ones against the banks that settled. The government is missing an opportunity here to hold banks responsible for engaging in conduct so egregious and pervasive it is passed off as a mere statistic, Guttman said. It makes no sense to us. The case is Szymoniak v. American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc., 10-cv-01465, U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina (Columbia). Wrong Approach Focusing on the asset managers themselves would also be the wrong approach, it said. They are dramatically less susceptible to financial distress than banks, broker-dealers or insurers. BlackRock, Fidelity, and Pimco were among firms to say in their consultation responses that the international standard-setters should scrap plans to focus on labeling specific funds, or possibly asset managers, as too-big-to-fail, and to focus instead on identifying activities that could be systemically important. Other types of firms covered by the draft rules include securities broker-dealers as well as finance companies that provide services such as business funding, personal loans, store credit and car loans. The FSB and Iosco have said that they will come forward at a later stage with plans for what additional measures such firms should face.
15 A15 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 OFFICE HOURS Monday Friday, 8:30 am 5 pm TEL: (855) (855-8LAWJOB) PUBLISHES DAILY: Monday Friday COPYRIGHTS All property rights and copyright interest in advertisement, materials and proofs produced are retained by the publisher. Advertisers may not reproduce, copy or republish advertisements, materials, or proofs, nor permit such without prior written permission of the publisher. DEADLINES Deadline for placing or correcting an ad is 2:00 pm each day for the next day s paper except for ads with photos, logos or special typesetting. The deadline for ads with special handling is 2:00 pm, two days prior to publication. Deadline for cancelling an ad is 11:00 am each day for the next day s paper. COPY CONDITIONS/POLICY The Daily Business Review reserves the right to reject any copy and/or advertisement. While every effort is made to ensure ads run correctly, typographical errors may occur. Please check your ad the first day it appears to verify for accuracy. In the event of an error, compensation for correction will be given in the form of credit toward future advertising. Liability for errors shall not exceed the cost of the space occupied by the error. Employment Attorneys Employment Attorneys ASSOCIATE The Miami office of Shutts & Bowen LLP is seeking an associate with 2-4 years of sophisticated real estate experience to join its busy Real Estate Practice Group. Top academic credentials and Florida Bar membership strongly preferred. Large law firm and land use/zoning experience preferred. Please submit resume and cover letter using Shutts & Bowen's online submission form on their website, Advertising that works! Call in Dade, or 855-8LAWJOB, ext Employment Attorneys Employment Attorneys ATTORNEY AV RATED Coral Gables midsize firm with extensive construction practice seeks an associate with 1-3 years litigation experience or practical construction experience. Send resume to ATTORNEY AV RATED Coral Gables midsize firm seeks an associate with 1-3 years experience representing condominium associations. Send resume to Employment Professional Opportunities ADMINISTRATIVE Employment Professional Opportunities ADMINISTRATIVE RECEPTIONIST Law firm experience desired. Skills/Qualifications: High school diploma or equivalent. Ability to handle multi-line telephone system. Good written and verbal communication skills. Computer knowledge and ability to type. Duties include but not limited to data entry, docket, , maintenance of conference room, copier and supplies, schedule and greeting of visitors. A professional appearance, good interpersonal skills and customer service skills are necessary as are politeness, professionalism and a helpful nature. Send resume to: POSITIONS WANTED / FREELANCE TO PLACE YOUR AD IN THE POSITION WANTED OR FREELANCE SECTION Please contact DANNY WILLIAMS at (855-8LAWJOB) or via at SOLO PRACTITIONERS: DOCUMENT DRAFTING QUICK TURN-AROUND, PROFESSIONALLY DONE. BY THE HOUR, BY THE DAY. Over 30 years law firm experience. Located in Broward County. Call Andrea at or References.
16 on appeal by NOREEN MARCUS For full appellate case opinions, please visit dailybusinessreview.com. A16 dailybusinessreview.com TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014 Blogger enjoys protections of news media Tentatively taking on Internet libel law, a Florida appellate court extended a protection created for news media to a graduate student blogger. His commentary followed a May 2008 video that went viral: Two Siberian huskies in a pasture, shot repeatedly while their owner tries to protect them. The dogs were accused of attacking cattle. The shooter, Christopher Comins, was a friend of the Orange County landowner. The commentator was a University of Florida doctoral candidate named Matthew Frederick VanVoorhis, although for his blog Public Intellectual he used the pseudonym M. Frederick Voorhees. After seeing the video, he started posting blog items about it; soon death threats and Comins contact information popped up in public comments. Comins lawyer wrote Voorhees in care of the university, asking him to take down the blog, or at least the death threats and contact info. In May 2009, after tracking down VanVoorhis name and address, he filed a libel complaint. The dogs survived. Comins was acquitted of animal cruelty charges. And the complaint against VanVoorhis was summarily dismissed because Comins failed to comply with a law requiring libel plaintiffs to demand a retraction before filing suit. The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial judge s ruling for VanVoorhis on April 11. Citing a 64-yearold precedent, the court loosely fashioned a two-part guideline for determining whether a blogger is, like a media defendant, entitled to a retraction demand: the medium should invite public comment and present both sides of an issue. Even-handed Style There are many outstanding blogs on particular topics, managed by persons of exceptional expertise, to whom we look for the most immediate information on recent developments, Judge Jacqueline Griffin wrote for a unanimous panel. Other blogs run the gamut of quality of expertise, explanation and even-handed treatment of their subjects. Public Intellectual passed the test, suggesting it s broad enough to include editorializing. On the subject of Comins and the dog shooting, VanVoorhis wasn t exactly objective. Last week a Google search for Christopher Comins produced at the top of the list this June 2008 commentary on Public Intellectual: Barbarian Hillbilly Dog-Assassin (w/ Friends in High Places). A comment by Voorhees said, So far Holland & Knight s Robert Rogers wrote about the case on his firm s website, calling it a win for independent news gatherers and publishers in Florida. I haven t deleted anything Mr. Commins [sic] said here, even though most of it is pure drivel, as I believe in free speech and open dialogue. He quotes Voltaire. I don t think objectivity is necessary to meet the Fifth District s standard, said Marc Randazza, the lead trial attorney for VanVoorhis. They re not deciding that media is something you are, they re going to look at what you do, so technically anyone can be media as long as what they re doing is journalism, he said. Randazza s firm, Randazza Legal Group, with offices in Las Vegas and Miami, concentrates on defamation defense. He said his client depended on reliable sources. Therefore, I think the record shows that Mr. VanVoorhis was doing journalism. Robert Rogers, an associate in Holland & Knight s Orlando office, wasn t involved in the case but wrote about it for his firm s website. He was generally approving, calling the Fifth District ruling a win for independent news gatherers and publishers in Florida. But in an interview he agreed the court didn t provide a model of clarity for future reference. The big question is what kind of blogger is not going to qualify for protection under the test enunciated by the Fifth DCA? Rogers asked. CHRISTOPHER M. COMINS, APPELLANT, V. MATTHEW FREDERICK VANVOORHIS, APPELLEE Case No.: 5D Date: April 11, 2014 Case type: Defamation Court: Fifth District Court of Appeal Author of opinion: Judge Jacqueline R. Griffin Lawyers for petitioner: Frank H. Killgore Jr. and Christopher M. Harne, Killgore, Pearlman, Stamp, Ornstein & Squires, Orlando Lawyers for respondent: Marc J. Randazza, Las Vegas, and Jason A. Fischer, Miami, Randazza Legal Group; Richard A. Sherman Sr., Richard A. Sherman P.A., Fort Lauderdale; and C. Richard Fulmer Jr., Fulmer LeRoy Albee, Fort Lauderdale Panel: Judges Griffin, C. Alan Lawson and Jay P. Cohen Originating court: Orange Circuit Court Retraction Law The law discussed in Comins v. VanVoorhis, Florida Statutes Section , states, in part, Before any civil action is brought for publication or broadcast, in a newspaper, periodical or other medium, of a libel or slander, the plaintiff shall, at least five days before [suing] serve notice in writing on the defendant, specifying the article or broadcast and the statements therein which he or she alleges to be false and defamatory. Enacted in 1933, the law survived an equal protection challenge in The Florida Supreme Court, in Ross v. Gore, defended granting a special privilege to newspapers and periodicals. The Legislature s purpose was to give them an opportunity in every case to make a full and fair retraction in mitigation of the damages which a person may have suffered by reason of the publication. This objective is a salutary one, and we do not think it constitutes unjust discrimination in favor of newspapers and periodicals, the court wrote. Later the law was amended to include broadcast media. Judges expanded the definition of other medium to include wire services and, now, the Internet. Rogers said a writer s anonymity, as with Voorhees/VanVoorhis, can undermine the need for speed in correcting libelous statements. Usually you want to move quickly. That s the whole reason it s a short time frame, he said. When you have to take steps to find out who you re talking to, that delay can cause harm. In his online alert, he advises clients to always send a retraction demand, no matter who the defendant may be. Lawyers for Comins could not be reached to ask if they will try to appeal the Fifth District decision to the Florida Supreme Court. Randazza wouldn t welcome the move. I think the order s clear, and I don t think there s anything for the Florida Supreme Court to review, he said. At the same time, if Comins lawyers seek an appeal and the court agrees, I ll see them in Tallahassee.