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Homeland Security Warns Against Threats to US Infrastructure

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 25 October 2017
Cybersecurity breaches and risk management continue to be a concern for businesses of all sizes and types. A recent warning distributed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI regarding targeted hacks in several critical industries is an illustration that anyone can be vulnerable such tactics, including the hospitality industry. My partner Bob Braun, senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and co-chair of JMBM’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Group, summarizes the recent report and its conclusions below.
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Hotel Lawyer: Tips on negotiating your annual hotel budget

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 9 October 2017
It is budget season again — that time when operators and owners sit down to agree on the financial blueprint for the next year. My partner Bob Braun has worked on many hundreds of hotel management agreements and issues arising under them. Today, he shares some insights about the how to maximize the budget opportunity for constructive dialog between owners and operators.

Resort Fee Litigation Advisory Group: How Resort Fees became an explosive $2.7 billion issue

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 6 October 2017
Resort Fees are a $2.7 billion issue — a juicy target for Federal and State governments as well as plaintiffs’ lawyers. It is very likely that the Resort Fee issue will present challenges in the near future to all stakeholders in the hospitality industry. The prior articles in this series talked about what Resort Fees are, and key developments that warn of an eruption of government and private claims over Resort Fees.

Resort Fee Litigation Advisory Group: National task force of 47 Attorneys General goes after Resort Fees

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 3 October 2017
esort Fees: It is not just the FTC. Now there are 47 Attorneys General focused going after perceived abuses of Resort Fees Consumer complaints have been protesting Resort Fees for almost two decades. In 2012, the FTC took its first major action. The hotel industry took some action, but many consumer groups and regulators apparently don’t think it is enough. In May 2016, a national investigation was initiated by the Attorneys General of 46 states and the District of Columbia as to whether DC’s consumer Protection Procedures Act (the “CPPA”) and similar acts of other states have been violated by deceptive price advertising techniques related to drip pricing regarding Resort Fees.
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Resort Fee Litigation Advisory Group: An eruption of government and private claims over Resort Fees? Part 1 - The FTC 2017 Report

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 29 September 2017
Two significant developments may signal an eruption of government and private claims over Resort Fees — (1) publication of the FTC 2017 Report and (2) commencement of proceedings regarding Resort Fees by a national task force of Attorneys General for 46 states plus the District of Columbia. This article focuses on the FTC Report. The next article will discuss the national task force.
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Resort Fee Litigation Advisory Group: Impending eruption of litigation over Resort Fees?

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 25 September 2017
Impending eruption of government and private litigation over Resort Fees (mandatory service fees) There were earthquakes and tremblors for at least 17 years before Pompeii was destroyed in the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The past is prelude. What are Resort Fees?

Hotel Lawyer: Tax Alert for Partnerships and LLCs

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 18 September 2017
As of January 1, 2018 owners of General Partnerships, Limited Partnerships or multi-member Limited Liability Companies may soon find themselves economically liable for the unpaid tax of former partners/members of those entities. JMBM Tax Attorney Jamie Ogden briefly describes the new audit regime, who it affects, and what you need to do to protect yourself from uncertainties.
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Hotel Lawyers at The Lodging Conference 2017: EB-5, Mixed-Use Development and Deal Making

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 18 September 2017
The Lodging Conference is taking place at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, October 30-November 2, 2017, and hotel lawyers from JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® will be there to visit our friends in the hospitality industry, share our knowledge, learn from the experts (and do some deals!). At the conference, I will moderate the panel, Navigating the EB-5 Landscape taking place at 4:00 pm on October 31st. Funding obtained through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program continues to play a vital role in the capital stack for new hotel development and we will provide up-to-the-minute information on the status of the program, as well as share some great success stories. To get up to speed on what’s happening with EB-5, check out my recent blogs.

EB-5 Finance Lawyer: President's Trump's budget deal includes extension of EB-5 through 12-8-17

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 7 September 2017
President Trump’s budget deal with Congress includes extension of EB-5 through December 8, 2017 In a message to members of the Public Policy Committee today, the IIUSA confirmed the extension of the EB-5 regional center program as part of the budget deal struck yesterday by President Trump and Congressional leaders.
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EB-5 Finance Lawyer: The Developer's EB-5 Handbook is now published

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 15 August 2017
JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and EB-5 Finance Group™ are pleased to announce the publication of The Developer’s EB-5 Handbook for EB-5 Construction Financing, a “must-read” resource for developers who are considering using EB-5 financing to complete or enhance their capital stack for construction projects . This is the much talked-about and often (inappropriately) maligned EB-5 program, also known as the immigrant investment visa program.
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EB-5 Financing Lawyer: What JMBM does to help developers with EB-5 financing

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 6 August 2017
Client confidentiality precludes us from listing clients and projects we have assisted with this program, but suffice it to say that some of the best known names in the business are tapping into this funding source to fill out their capital stack at a favorable cost. And we have helped some of the biggest and highest profile players. JMBM has closed more than $1.5 billion of EB-5 financing and has sourced more than half of that for our development clients.
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EB-5 Financing Lawyer: Why you do NOT want to form your own regional center

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 4 August 2017
Although the EB-5 immigrant visa program has been around since 1990, the current trend of using it as a source of financing for hotel and other real estate started 20 years later – around 2010. We worked on one of the first hotel EB-5 financings for the W Hotel & Residences in Hollywood, and we have since worked on more than 100 EB-5 projects all over the country. Now, the use of EB-5 financing for construction has gone mainstream. High profile EB-5 financing closings include $450 million for the Century Plaza Los Angeles, $100 million for the Ritz Carlton & JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, $150 million for the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills, and $1 billion for the Silverstein project at the World Trade Center in New York City (with a Four Seasons Hotel).
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EB-5 Financing Lawyer: The 5 questions every developer is asking about EB-5 financing

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 2 August 2017
The use of EB-5 financing has exploded over the past 8 years as an important funding source for new development – particularly for hotel developments. It is clearly now part of the “mainstream.” It is used by many institutional players, including government entities such as port authorities, major hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton, and some of America’s most successful and respected companies, such as Great Wolf Resorts, the Related Companies, and Silverstein Properties.
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EB-5 Financing Lawyer: EB-5 construction financing term sheet for top developers

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 1 August 2017
JMBM believes that for most developers, EB-5 financing is best structured as mezzanine debt or preferred equity, to optimize the total amount of financing and reduce the cost of the capital stack. Normally, senior construction debt (secured by a first priority lien) will be significantly cheaper than EB-5 money, but senior lenders (particularly if the subject project is a hotel) rarely lend more than 50% to 55% of the total cost of construction. Most of our clients like to use this cheap senior debt and then add some low-cost EB-5 mezzanine debt on top of it to get total loan-to-cost ratios up to 80% or more.
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EB-5 Financing Lawyer: FAQs: Essentials of EB-5 construction financing for developers

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 1 August 2017
EB-5 is a provision in the United States immigration laws. It is the fifth “Employment Based” immigration provision providing expedited visa processing (hence “EB-5”). The program is a win-win-win arrangement, giving wealthy immigrants the opportunity to earn a “fast-track” to US citizenship if they make a minimum investment of $500,000, and create a minimum of at least 10 new jobs in the United States. In return, communities get the benefit of economic stimulation created by this investment and the new jobs. And developers get a valuable source of financing for new projects that is otherwise more difficult to obtain and more expensive from other sources.
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EB-5 Financing Lawyer: How JMBM has helped developers close more than $1.5 billion of EB-5 construction financing for development

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 29 July 2017
EB-5 financing is an important and viable source of construction financing for hotels, hotel enhanced mixed-use, and other development projects. Eight years ago, when JMBM started helping hotel developers with EB-5 financing, many worried about whether this is a legitimate and reliable financing source. Now, after billions of dollars of development have been funded with EB-5, this type of financing is regarded as mainstream. It is used by many institutional players, including government entities such as port authorities, major hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton, and some of America’s most successful and respected companies, such as Great Wolf Resorts, the Related Companies and Silverstein Properties.

EB-5 Finance Lawyer: Are hotels still the darling of EB-5 financing?

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 25 July 2017
The EB-5 immigrant investor visa program has provided billions of dollars of affordable construction financing for a wide variety of projects ranging from high tech and alternate energy to traditional types of commercial real estate. Over the last decade, EB-5 investors have overwhelmingly chosen real estate projects, particularly those with hotel, multifamily, senior living, and mixed-use components. While the enabling legislation for the program does not limit the type of project financed, it does require that at least 10 new jobs be created in the United States for each investor seeking a visa. This article discusses why hotels are consistently among the investments most favored for EB-5 financing, and why they are likely to remain so for some time to come.
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Tips to avoid the 6 most common mistakes developers make with EB-5

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 20 July 2017
EB-5 generates billions of dollars of affordable construction financing for developments located in the United States that create new jobs for US citizens. JMBM’s EB-5 financing group has closed more than $1.5 billion of EB-5 financing for our clients’ development projects, and we sourced more than half of that amount. Although there are many exciting success stories, we see developers frequently blundering into a small number of easily avoided mistakes, which can be very costly. So here is our short list of the mistakes and tips to avoid them.
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Hotel Cybersecurity: Protecting your guests and your property from vendor data breaches

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 19 July 2017
Hotels rely on third-party vendors to help run their properties efficiently, and often must give them access to sensitive guest data. This leaves hotels vulnerable to cyber attacks; they’re only as secure as their vendors are, and may find themselves directly liable for a data breach. My partner Bob Braun, senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and co-chair of JMBM’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Group, discusses recent hotel cybersecurity breaches and how hotel owners can protect themselves.
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The Lodging Industry Investment Council's Top Ten: investment trends and challenges

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 10 May 2017
For well over a decade, the members of the hotel industry’s preeminent think tank, “LIIC – The Lodging Industry Investment Council,” are annually surveyed to develop a list of the major hotel investment opportunities and challenges for the coming year. This exhaustive survey results in the LIIC Top Ten; a highly regarded profile of investment sentiment and attitudes for the lodging industry for the forthcoming 12 months. Altogether, the members of LIIC represent direct acquisition and disposition control of well over $40 billion of lodging real estate.
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EB-5 Financing Lawyer: JMBM has closed more than $1.5 billion of EB-5 financing

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 8 May 2017
EB-5 financing is an important and viable source of construction financing for hotels, hotel enhanced mixed-use, and other development projects. Eight years ago, when JMBM started helping hotel developers with EB-5 financing, many worried about whether this is a legitimate and reliable financing source.
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EB-5 Financing for Development - Update on EB-5 Extension

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 4 May 2017
We are getting a lot of calls from our developer clients and friends asking about the status of the EB-5 Regional Center authorization that was about to sunset on May 5, 2017, along with appropriations for the Federal Government.
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ADA Defense Lawyer: Judge dismisses ADA website lawsuit

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 1 April 2017
JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense team, led by my partner Marty Orlick, continues to help hotels and other businesses achieve compliance under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and is actively defending numerous ADA lawsuits brought against our clients. As we predicted, more and more of these lawsuits allege that a company’s website and reservation system is not accessible to visually impaired customers. In his article below, Marty Orlick reports why a recent U.S. District Court decision may affect the future of ADA website litigation, and urges hoteliers to ensure their websites are accessible.

Hotel Lawyer: The PROs and CONs of multi-branded hotels

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 7 November 2016
Hotels with more than one brand are increasingly common, but it wasn’t always so. Although some compelling advantages are driving this trend in many situations, developers and owners should weigh the advantages against other considerations. My partner Bob Braun is a senior member of our Global Hospitality Group® and has experience with many hundreds of hotel management and franchise agreements. Bob is also co-author of the Hotel Management Agreement & Franchise Agreement Handbook (3rd edition), and has first-hand experience with branding and management for every major traditional hotel brand, including a number of multi-branded properties. Today he explores the phenomenon in greater detail.

Hotel Capital Markets Update: David Loeb, RW Baird

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 20 October 2016
David Loeb, Senior Research Analyst at RW Baird, presented his research during the Meet the Money® 2017 planning meeting hosted recently during The Lodging Conference. His presentation covered factors currently impacting the hospitality industry, including the stock market, cap rate changes, hotel REITs, and new technologies.

Title Philadelphia Judge Tries to Curb Uber and Lyft for Allegedly Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act ADA Defense Lawyer: Federal Court hits Uber and Lyft for ADA Violations

Hotel Law Blog | By Jim Butler - 20 October 2016
Uber and Lyft are back in the headlines again, but not for the usual ride share issues. This time it is for alleged violations of the ADA. Here is what my partner Marty Orlick, Chair of our ADA Compliance & Defense Group, has to say on this development.

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