2016 Conference Speakers
Mary B. Foster — 1031 Services, Inc.
(Conference Co-Chair) is currently President of 1031 Services, Inc., in Bellevue, Washington. She has been involved in numerous exchanges as attorney and intermediary and she frequently lectures before professional groups and investors on the topic of tax-deferred exchanges. Ms. Foster is co-author of Tax-Free Exchanges under § 1031, published by Thomson Reuters/West. She is past President and Board Member of the Federation of Exchange Accommodators, a member of the ABA Tax Section and former Chair of the Committee on Sales, Exchanges and Basis, and a member of the Washington State Bar Tax Section, and is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. Ms. Foster is a contributing author to Real Estate Taxation, Matthew Bender’s Federal Tax Service, Real Estate Tax Digest, Journal of Passthrough Entities, Business Law Today, NYU Tax Institute, and Journal of Accountancy. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley Law.
Louis S. Weller — Weller Partners LLP
(Conference Co-Chair) is Managing Partner of Weller Partners, LLP in Sausalito, California. He also serves as Managing Director of Stewart Institutional Exchange Services, LLC, a qualified intermediary and exchange accommodation titleholder subsidiary of Stewart Title Company. Lou is a retired Principal in Deloitte Tax, LLP, where he served as National Director, Real Estate Transaction Planning and also led the firm’s Like-Kind Exchange practice group. He is co-author of Real Property Exchanges, 3rd edition, published by California Continuing Education of the Bar, is the Real Estate department Editor of the Journal of Taxation and serves on the Advisory Board for the Journal of Passthrough Entities. Lou is past Chair of the ABA Tax Section’s Real Estate Committee, a past Chair of the Taxation Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, past member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California Taxation Section and is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel. He received his B.A. cum laude from Yale University and J.D. and Masters in Public Policy degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. In his spare time Lou is trying to become a barely adequate golfer.
Professor Howard Abrams— University of San Diego School of Law
is Warren Distinguished Professor and Director of Tax Programs at the University of San Diego School of Law. Professor Abrams is a partnership and corporate tax specialist, receiving his B.A. from the University of California (Irvine) and his J.D. from Harvard University. He has written four books, the BNA Tax Management Portfolios on Disregarded Entities and on Partnership Options (forthcoming), and more than fifty articles on taxation. Professor Abrams taught at Emory University from 1983 until 2013, spent the 1999-2000 academic year with the national office of Deloitte Tax as the Director of Real Estate Tax Knowledge, and from January of 2003 through August of 2004 was of counsel to Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, DC. He teaches regularly at Leiden University in the Netherlands and is a member of the American Law Institute and the California and DC Bars. Prior to joining the Emory faculty, Professor Abrams was a law clerk to Chief Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., of the United States Tax Court and practiced in Los Angeles with the firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Professor Abrams has taught as a Visiting Professor at Cornell, Berkeley, Yale, and Harvard.
Stephen M. Breitstone — Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP
in addition to being the Vice Chairman of the firm, also leads the Private Wealth & Taxation Group at Meltzer Lippe. Steve is a frequent lecturer and author of numerous published articles on taxation of real estate transactions and estate planning for real estate owners. Steve currently teaches the course in Tax and Business Planning for Real Estate Transactions as an adjunct professor at Cardozo Law School. Steve has lectured at the NYU Institute on Federal Taxation, Practicing Law Institute, Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Conference, Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Real Estate Board, Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Estate Planning Board, National Multi¬Housing Conference, and the Federation of (1031) Exchange Accommodators and for many more institutions. Steve has also lectured at the American Bar Association Tax Section on topics such as Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate and Income Tax and Estate Planning for leveraged real estate and many other topics.
Terence F. Cuff — Loeb & Loeb, LLP
is of counsel at Loeb & Loeb, LLP, Los Angeles, CA. He has been practicing federal income tax law since 1977. He represents clients in a broad range of partnership tax and real estate tax transactions, particularly designing tax-optimized asset and entity acquisition and disposition strategies. Mr. Cuff is a prolific author and regularly lectures at tax institutes and seminars across the country. Terry received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1974, his J.D. from the University of Southern California in 1977 (Order of the Coif), and his LL.M. (Taxation) from New York University in 1979.
Jon G. Finkelstein — KPMG
is a Principal in the Passthroughs group of KPMG’s Washington National Tax practice. Jon’s practice is primarily focused on providing tax planning advice to partnerships, limited liability companies and other passthrough entities. Jon has particular expertise in structuring complex joint ventures, restructurings, acquisitions, and dispositions involving operating businesses and real estate assets. Jon is a former Chair of the Real Estate Committee of the American Bar Association (Tax Section) and is the current Vice Chair of the Passthroughs and Real Estate Committee of the District of Columbia Bar Association (Tax Section). He is also a member of the Real Estate Roundtable’s Tax Policy Advisory Committee. Jon frequently publishes articles in leading tax publications and speaks at professional conferences across the country. Prior to joining KPMG, Jon was a partner a McDermott Will & Emery LLP, an international law firm.
David E. Franasiak — Williams & Jensen
became a Principal of Williams & Jensen in 1992. As Vice President of Finance and a member of the Executive Committee since 1993 and specializes in a legislative and administrative practice focused on tax, securities, financial institutions and natural resources. David was formerly Director of Tax at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and Staff Director of the Tax Oversight Subcommittee of the U. S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee, and worked for the US Chamber, BP, and Ernst& Young. In addition to serving Williams & Jensen clients, Mr. Franasiak teaches a public policy seminar at the University at Buffalo New York City Program in Finance and Law. He is a member of the Board of the International Stock Exchange Executives Emeriti (ISEEE) and the board of the Parent- Child Home Program. Mr. Franasiak holds a B.A., an M.B.A., and a J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Adam M. Handler — PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
is a Principal in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ National Tax Services and the leader of its Like-Kind Exchange Tax Consulting Practice. Based in Los Angeles, California, he specializes in structuring like-kind exchanges and other complex transactions. As an attorney-advisor in the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy, Mr. Handler wrote many of the current like-kind exchange rules and regulations. He is a past Chair of the ABA Tax Section’s Committee on Sales, Exchanges & Basis, a member of the Government Relations Committee of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and a frequent speaker on a variety of real estate tax topics. Mr. Handler has written extensively on tax matters and has had numerous articles published. He received his B.S. from Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum Laude, Honors in Chemistry) and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.
Ciro M. Immordino — California Franchise Tax Board
is a Senior Tax Counsel at the California Franchise Tax Board and specializes in like-kind exchanges, partnerships, accounting methods, and abusive tax avoidance transactions. Before joining the Franchise Tax Board, Mr. Immordino worked at a Big Four accounting firm, in the tax department of one of the nation’s largest private commercial construction companies, at an international law firm in Tokyo, Japan, and at a tax law firm based in Sacramento. Mr. Immordino is an attorney and CPA. He is currently the chair of Tax Policy, Practice and Legislation Committee of the State Bar of California’s Taxation Section. Mr. Immordino also teaches taxation and accounting courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Mr. Immordino received his B.S. in Accountancy from CSU Sacramento and his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Warren J. Kessler — Kessler & Kessler, a Law Corporation
is a shareholder of Kessler & Kessler, A Law Corporation located in Los Angeles, California. The firm’s practice focuses on tax planning for complex real estate transactions with an emphasis on forward and reverse Section 1031 exchange transactions and tax planning for partnerships and limited liability companies undertaking Section 1031 exchange transactions. He received his AB degree from Cornell University and his law degree from The University of Michigan Law School (cum laude). Mr. Kessler is a frequent speaker on Section 1031 exchange transactions.
Sue-Jean Kim — Assistant to the Branch Chief in Branch 6 of Income Tax & Accounting (ITA)
is the Assistant to the Branch Chief in Branch 6 of the IRS Office of Chief Counsel (Income Tax & Accounting). For more than 16 years, Sue-Jean has worked on a wide range of Federal income tax matters including sales or exchanges of property, recognition or nonrecognition of gains or losses, tax treatment of debt and equity, changes in accounting methods and periods, capitalization and cost recovery, and accounting methods for long-term contracts. In addition, she has developed and drafted several regulations implementing the tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Before joining the Office of Chief Counsel in 2009, Sue-Jean was a senior manager at an accounting firm in the Washington, DC, area. She served as a law clerk for Hon. Stephen Swift and for Hon. Carolyn Miller Parr, both of the United States Tax Court. Sue-Jean studied history at Seoul National University (A.B. 1992) and Princeton University (A.M. 1997; ABD), and law at the American University (J.D. 2000) and Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M. 2010).
Howard J. Levine — Roberts & Holland LLP
is a partner in Roberts & Holland LLP in Washington, D.C. and New York, New York, which is the largest law firm in the United States that is devoted exclusively to tax and tax related matters. He is a former Assistant Branch Chief, Litigation Division, Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service (1972-1976). Mr. Levine served as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School (LLM Tax) and George Washington University Law School (LLM Tax). He is a Contributing Editor of The Journal of Real Estate Taxation, a Member of the Advisory Board of BNA Tax Management, and a past member of the advisory board of the CCH Journal of Global Transactions. Mr. Levine is an author of numerous articles and publications including BNA Tax Management Portfolio # 567-4th, Tax Free Exchanges Under Section 1031 and BNA Tax Management Portfolio # 936, Limitation on Benefits of US Income Tax Treaties. A frequent speaker at numerous Tax Institutes around the country, Mr. Levine is a member of the American Bar Association Tax Section (Former Chairman, Committee on Sales, Exchanges and Basis, Former Subcommittee Chair on Like-Kind Exchanges; Former Subcommittee co-chair on U.S. Activities of Foreigners and Tax Treaties), the New York Bar, and the District of Columbia Bar. Mr. Levine received a B.A. from Hunter College, his J.D. cum laude from SUNY at Buffalo, and LL.M. (Taxation) from Georgetown Law School.
Robert D. Schachat — Ernst & Young, LLP
is a member of the Real Estate Group in the National Tax Department of Ernst & Young, LLP in Washington, DC. He consults with clients in all federal income tax aspects of real estate, including REIT, partnership, limited liability company and S corporation formations, acquisitions, like-kind exchanges, development, leases, financing, workouts, dispositions and liquidations. Mr. Schachat is Chair of the Real Estate Committee and is a member of the Committee on Government Relations of the Section of Taxation of the American Bar Association. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Journal of Passthrough Entities, the Board of Contributing Editors and Advisers of Real Estate Taxation and the Tax Management Advisory Board for Corporate Tax and Business Planning. He is co-author of the CCH treatise entitled “Taxation of REITs and UPREITs”. He has served as Vice Chair of the Tax Policy Advisory Committee of the Real Estate Roundtable and is a past co-chair of the Cost Recovery Committee and member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Schachat received his S.B., Phi Beta Kappa, in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, his J.D. from Columbia University Law School in 1976 and his LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law in 1981.
David Shechtman — Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
is Chair of the Business Tax Group at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has developed a national practice structuring and documenting like-kind exchanges of real estate and other assets for real estate investors, exchange intermediaries, and major corporations. Mr. Shechtman is the former Chair of the Committee on Sales, Exchanges and Basis of the American Bar Association’s Tax Section. He is a regular speaker at ABA Tax Section meetings and other tax conferences and has published articles in the Journal of Real Estate Taxation, Journal of Taxation of Investments, Tax Notes and the NYU Institute on Federal Taxation. He received a B.A. degree, with high honors, in Economics from Swarthmore College in 1974, and a J.D. degree from Cornell University Law School in 1977. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Tax law at the Temple University Law School.
Derrick M. Tharpe — Wells Fargo 1031 Exchange Services
is a Vice President and Senior Counsel with the Wells Fargo Law Department. Mr. Tharpe received his undergraduate degree from Catawba College, in Salisbury, NC where he earned dean’s list honors with a B.A. in Political Science and Business Administration. He was also a member of the Student Honor Court and played varsity basketball for 4 years under head coach Sam Moir. Mr. Tharpe received his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill, NC, and is licensed to practice law in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Mr. Tharpe was a practicing attorney at law primarily focused on real estate related matters. He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, Section on Taxation, as well as the American Bar Association’s Section on Taxation. He is also a member of the ABA Tax Section’s Sales, Basis & Exchange Committee, and the Subcommittee on §1031 Like Kind Exchanges. Mr. Tharpe is a frequent speaker on the topic of §1031 exchanges, and has served as a speaker and faculty member for programs on behalf of the ABA Tax Section, North Carolina Bar Association, Tax Executives Institute, National Business Institute, Georgia Federal Tax Conference, South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, and the Florida Institute Certified Public Accountants. He has also published numerous articles on the subject of like-kind exchanges, including articles for various commercial publications as well as legal publications on behalf of the South Carolina Bar, the Florida Bar, and also for the Campbell Law School Observer.
Martin E. Verdick — RSM US LLP
is a partner with RSM US LLP, based in Champaign, Illinois, with over 30 years of experience in the field of real estate taxation. Mr. Verdick serves as the firm’s lead specialist for like-kind exchanges. He has been an instructor at RSM’s national tax conference on the topic of advanced concepts in like-kind exchanges and is a visiting lecturer in the Finance and Accountancy departments at the University of Illinois and at the University of Illinois School of Law. Mr. Verdick has been a speaker for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education on the subject of like kind exchanges. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Joyce L. Welch — Deloitte Tax LLP
is a Managing Director in Deloitte’s Washington National Tax – Federal Tax Accounting, Periods, Methods and Credits Group, based in San Diego. Her professional practice emphasizes tax planning for acquisition/disposition of highly appreciated assets. Ms. Welch has practiced accounting and tax services for over 25 years and has been involved in complex partnership tax structuring and the development and implementation of deferred and reverse like-kind exchanges, sale-leasebacks, and other capital gain preservation strategies for REITs, private equity funds and other public and private owners of real estate and other tangible property. Ms. Welch has been a featured speaker at several real estate industry conferences and has published articles in Journal of Taxation, Real Estate Tax Digest and Tax Management Memorandum and was a contributing author of the treatise, Real Property Exchange, 3rd edition, published by the Continuing Education of the Bar of California. Ms. Welch received her B.S. in Accounting at Arizona State University. She holds her CPA in Arizona, California and Hawaii.