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CMBS and the Real Estate Lawyer 2017: Lender and Borrower Issues in the Capital Market


Speaker(s): Alan Kronovet, Daniel B. Rubock, David W. Forti, Erin E. Stafford, Joseph Franzetti, Kim Diamond, Paul A. Keenan, Stacy G. Ackermann, Stephanie Petosa, Steven G. Horowitz, Thomas F. Nealon III
Recorded on: Feb. 6, 2017
PLI Program #: 185857

David W. Forti, co-chair of Dechert’s global finance and real estate practice groups and a member of the firm's Policy Committee, focuses his practice in the areas of real estate finance and securitization. Mr. Forti represents various lenders, issuers, funds, b-piece buyers, master servicers and special servicers in transactions involving loan origination, mezzanine financing, loan sales and purchases, preferred equity transactions, CMBS securitization, post-closing modifications, work-outs and foreclosures.

Mr. Forti is consistently recognized as a leading real estate lawyer by legal referral guide Chambers USA, which cited him as being a “terrific lawyer who is smart, cooperative and someone who works really hard for his clients.” He is also included in The Legal 500 (U.S.), the Guide to the World’s Leading Structured Finance and Securitization Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America. In 2017, Mr. Forti was honored by the Philadelphia Business Journal in its inaugural Best of the Bar Awards.


Erin Stafford is a Managing Director with DBRS Morningstar in the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) group responsible for DBRS CMBS ratings activity in the U.S. and Canada.  Ms. Stafford was appointed head of the combined DBRS and Morningstar Credit Ratings (MCR) agency following the acquisition of DBRS by MCR’s parent Morningstar, Inc. Prior to being appointed Head of North American CMBS in 2019, she managed the CMBS team for DBRS for over ten years.  Ms. Stafford initially joined DBRS in 2003 with a focus on CMBS surveillance for DBRS-rated transactions and commercial mortgage servicer evaluations. 

Ms. Stafford has over 22 years of experience working at rating agencies in the CMBS industry.  Prior to joining DBRS, Ms. Stafford was with Fitch Ratings in the CMBS group with a focus on monitoring ratings of existing CMBS transactions.  She has served as a co-chair of the Post Securitization committee of the CRE Finance Council (formerly CMSA) and as Chair for the Servicer's Forum of the CRE Finance Council.  Industry work for the CRE Finance Council also includes a White Paper on Canadian Defeasance and conducting IRP Tutorials as part of the Council's educational initiatives.  Erin has also served as Chair of the International Committee for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and currently serves as a member of the board of governors (COMBOG) and was elected to serve as the COMBOG member-elect on the association’s governing board.  

Ms. Stafford holds a Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management with a concentration in real estate and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Joseph Franzetti is a Senior Vice President at Berkadia, where he manages Capital Markets lending relationships.  He has over 30 year of mortgage finance experience. Prior to joining Berkadia in 2010, Mr. Franzetti was a Managing Director at Cohen Financial where he advised borrowers on loan restructurings and workouts. Prior to Cohen, he was responsible for loan originations and syndications at NY Credit Advisors, where he securitized commercial mortgage loans and invested in senior and subordinate debt positions. Prior to that, he managed the Commercial Mortgage Conduit at Citigroup where he was responsible for originations and underwriting. Earlier in his career, he managed the CMBS, RMBS and REIT ratings groups at both Standard and Poor’s and Duff & Phelps (now Fitch).

Mr. Franzetti is a past president of CMSA (now CRE Finance Council) and served on the board of governors of that trade association for nine years. He also served on the commercial board of governors of the Mortgage Bankers Association. His professional designations include Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and CRI (Chartered Realty Investor). He is a frequent speaker and writer on the topic of Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities. Mr. Franzetti has a M.B.A. from New York University and a B.S. in accounting from Villanova University.


Paul Keenan is the managing partner of the firm’s Parsippany office and co-chair of the Real Estate practice group.  He focuses his practice on the areas of real estate finance and the capital markets.

Mr. Keenan has particular experience in the representation of institutional lenders, investment banks and mezzanine funds in connection with the origination of commercial mortgage loans, mezzanine loans and preferred equity investments, fund formation, and loan restructurings.

Honors and Awards

Mr. Keenan was selected in 2013-2017 for inclusion in the Real Estate Law area as one of The Best Lawyers
in America
©.  A description of the selection methodology can be found at www.bestlawyers.com/about/MethodologyBasic.aspx.

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Speaking Engagement

“How Lenders are Competing in Today’s Challenging Marketplace,” CRE Finance Council, New York, NY, November 2, 2015.

“So Much Capital. So Many Lenders. Where Are We Heading?,” Kelley Drye Seminar, September 10, 2015.

Bar Admissions

New Jersey, 1994
New York, 1995

Education

Seton Hall University School of Law
J.D., magna cum laude, 1994

Rutgers University
B.A, 1989


Steven G. Horowitz serves as Chief Legal and Risk Officer at Open Space Institute, based in New York.  At OSI he focuses on land conservation, environmental mitigation, climate change and a wide range of resiliency activities.  He recently retired after many years as a partner of Cleary Gottlieb where he regularly represented U.S. and international commercial and investment banks, foreign and domestic institutional investors, property owners and corporations in their real estate matters. Transaction types encompassed all forms of joint ventures, mortgage finance and securitization, loan syndication, mortgage loan trading and subordinate debt, restructuring and real estate-related mergers and acquisitions.  In addition, he focused on credit tenant and portfolio leasing, workout and bankruptcy matters, investment entity formation and tax-oriented finance transactions, and investments in non-traditional property types such as resorts and hotels, Indian gaming casinos, mines, timber, utilities, sports fitness clubs, hospitals and nursing homes.

Steven repeatedly has been recognized by the business and legal press for his work on behalf of clients, including The Best Lawyers in America, which includes him in its 2018 edition, making Steven one of a small group to receive this honor for more than 15 consecutive years.  Prior to Law School, he worked as a housing and urban development planner in the New York City Department of City Planning.


Alan Kronovet is an executive vice president and the group head of Wells Fargo Commercial Mortgage Servicing. Based in Charlotte, N.C., he leads more than 900 team members, primarily located in Charlotte; the San Francisco Bay Area; greater Washington, D.C.; and India.

Commercial Mortgage Servicing serves clients throughout the United States including individual borrowers, institutional investors, financial institutions, internationally recognized investment banks, and other third-party investment groups. Alan has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate finance including loan origination, securitization, and servicing and asset management of securitized loans and GSE loans.

Most recently, Alan held an executive role at Fannie Mae, where he was responsible for leading the Multifamily Mortgage Operations group. Prior to Fannie Mae, Alan worked at Wells Fargo, Wachovia, and First Union for fourteen years in various commercial real estate roles, most recently in commercial real estate loan servicing and asset management.

Alan is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) and Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREFC). He has served as the MBA Servicer Council co-vice chair since 2013, and on the MBA Servicing Conference Steering Committee in both 2014 and 2015. He assisted with the MBA’s Council to Shape Change, and chaired the joint CREFC/MBA Loan Assumption Task Force. Alan regularly attends industry conferences, often as an expert panelist, and has authored or co-authored four published articles on various aspects of CMBS.


Dan Rubock is Senior Vice President and senior counsel with the Commercial Real Estate Finance Group at Moody’s Investors Service, helping Moody’s develop its policy for structural and legal issues in CMBS.

Prior to joining Moody’s in 1999, Dan practiced law with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, Dechert Price & Rhoads and White & Case, concentrating in commercial real estate law and real estate litigation.

Dan is a graduate of Yale College and Columbia Law School. He was elected a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers in 2007, is a Certified Mortgage Banker, and is a member of the editorial board of CRE Finance World.


Kim Diamond is a former Founding Executive and Senior Managing Director at Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc. (KBRA).  In addition to running KBRA’s Structured Finance Ratings group, Kim played a pivotal role in the establishment, growth and sale of the start-up ratings firm. Prior to joining Kroll, Kim was a Managing Director at Standard and Poor's responsible for the US Commercial Mortgage Ratings Business. In 2008 she became Business Leader for S&P's U.S. Mortgage Group, which comprised new issuance and surveillance for both commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities and Servicer Evaluations. She also managed S&P’s Asia Pacific Structured Finance business on an interim basis as a member of the company’s Tokyo, Japan office.  Kim currently sits on the Board of Governors of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREFC) and as CREFC’s Programming Committee Chair serves on the organization’s Executive Council.  Kim has previously held positions as Membership Chair and Treasurer and has been a recipient of the trade association’s prestigious Founder’s Award. She has also served on the Commercial Board of Governors (COMBOG) for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Kim received a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia University.


Stacy Ackermann is a partner in the firm’s Charlotte office and is practice area leader for the global finance practice group of K&L Gates. Her work includes the representation of servicers, lenders, investors, and other market participants in all aspects of various financial and credit market transactions. Stacy has extensive experience representing servicers of commercial mortgage-backed securities, including in connection with securitizations, the purchase and sale of servicing rights, and loan workout and restructurings. She also regularly represents servicers and lenders in all other aspects of loan-level asset management, including loan assumptions, leasing matters and defeasances.
Stacy routinely serves on panels and leads training sessions relating to current issues in structured finance transactions. She is also an active member of CREFC and the MBA.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • CREFC
  • MBA

Education
J.D., University of South Carolina, 2001 (magna cum laude; associate editor-in-chief of the South Carolina Law Review; Order of the Coif; Order of the Wig and the Robe)

B.A., Furman University, 1998 (cum laude)


Stephanie M. Petosa is a managing director in Fitch Ratings’ commercial mortgage group. She is responsible for operational risk reviews of CMBS loan originators, publishes related research on underwriting trends and is a frequent participant on panels at industry events. Stephanie has been at Fitch for over 15 years and has 25+ years’ experience in the industry. 

Prior to joining Fitch in 1998, Stephanie was an investor liaison at GE Capital where she managed the business relationship between GE Capital Commercial Loan Services and investors, rating agencies, issuers, and special servicers.
Stephanie earned a BS in marketing and management from Clarkson University and an MBA in management from Houston Baptist University.


Thomas F. Nealon III is Vice Chairman and Director of Legal Affairs for LNR Partners, LLC. LNR Partners, LLC is the largest special servicer in the CMBS industry. Mr. Nealon joined LNR’s predecessor in 1992. Since then Mr. Nealon has been actively involved and instrumental in helping LNR achieve its position as the leading Special Servicer in the CMBS industry. In his role as General Counsel, Mr. Nealon was involved in the day-to-day management of all legal issues related to LNR Partners’ special servicing activities. He was also actively engaged in and oversaw all legal issues relating to workouts, creditor’s rights litigation and bankruptcy matters, including the retention and supervision of all outside counsel. Mr. Nealon is also an active participant in industry groups, particularly CREFC, addressing significant CMBS issues.

Mr. Nealon is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Georgetown University Law Center and is admitted to practice in the states of New York and Florida. Mr. Nealon is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami School of Law where he teaches “Securitization of Commercial Real Estate” and “Distressed Property Workouts” as part of the University’s LL.M. in Real Property Development Program. He is also a Co-Author, together with Talcott J. Franklin of “Mortgage and Asset Backed Securities Litigation Handbook” (Thomson West). Mr. Nealon is also a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL).