Category Archives: Lawyers

Todd Levine – Commercial Real Estate Litigator

US News and World Report named Todd Levine, a founding member at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L. the 2018 Best Lawyer for Real Estate Litigation.

In addition to this honor, Todd Levine has been mentioned in Super Lawyers Business Edition here, Florida Trend Magazine and South Florida Business Journal. He was also recognized by Martindale Hubbell Legal Leaders as one of South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers for Commercial Litigation in 2012.

Todd Levine earned his Bachelor’s in Finance from the University of Florida and he later went on to earn his law degree from the University of Florida, where he graduated with honors.

Todd Levine found his talent for litigating early in his career. He recognized his talents in being able to simplify the intricate which allowed him to find success in complex commercial litigation.

For Todd Levine, productivity is key. He tries to utilize all of his available time and makes sure to prioritize his schedule so that he is able to ensure that his clients receive the service they deserve and expect. He credits his preparation as one of the keys to his success.

Todd Levine has built his practice by doing the best job possible for his clients and through his success in the courtroom. He has cultivated his firm by maintaining a client-first mentality, not only because his clients are the lifeblood of his business, but also because he truly cares about his clients and their cases. In this manner he has been able to build his practice mainly through client referrals. In fact, he recommends finding a specialty and developing that because the more quickly one can become the subject matter expert, the more likely that clients will seek them out instead of the other way around.

Apart from his legal practice, Todd is an avid musician and an artist. He enjoys playing the guitar and keyboard and he also credits his love of the arts for having helped him in the courtroom and in mediation.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Recycling Task Force and Rick Cofer

Austin’s Parks and Recreation Recycling Task Force has recommended a number of ways Austin citizens can most efficiently recycle. The Austin instituted RRTF to the end of implementing ways to help reduce waste in the city by 90 percent by 2040. This was seen as an important initiative after the council found that recycling was one of the lowest areas of efficiency in the city. The task force has presented two plans: A one year plan that would cost the city $1.3 million or a two-year plan that would cost it $802,500.


Both plans involve the purchase and installation of 800 receptacles and 900 signs; the hiring of a recycling program coordinator, parks ground specialist, and temporary employees; public education; and ongoing collection and hauling services. In October 2016, it tentatively started working on the preparations for this plan. It currently oversees 20,000 acres of land, 51 aquatic facilities, 26 recreation, and senior centers, and 700 employees. The plan will be started in earnest after the city has approved the plan. The task force is chaired by Rick Cofer.


For a decade prior to taking up this role, Cofer has led the Law Office of Rick Cofer since 2008. During that time he has handled thousands of felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile court cases. He has also had a vast amount of experience handling DWI, assault, family violence, drug possession, theft, and juvenile charges. He is active with much of Austin’s work. Besides its Parka and Recreation Task Force, Cofer helps lead the Kind Clinic, Pease Park Conservancy, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition. He has also been active in service of the Democratic Party on local, state and national levels for more than ten years.


When he is not busy in his professional or civil work, Cofer enjoys spending time in the great outdoors with his dog, Lady Bird. He plans to soon adopt a second dog which he will name Truman.


Getting to know Michael Hagele

Michael Hagele is an attorney and entrepreneur with a desire to always put the care of the customer first. His day is intensely dedicated to finding what will help his clients best. To do this he manages his time by splitting work up with a creative and relaxing break in the middle of the day where he often finds himself to be most creative.
As he gives counsel to his customers he also keeps a passion for the outdoors and physical activities.

Hagele is an avid mountain biker who’s favorite app is Strava; an app that tracks you and other users while you bike or run a trail. He uses physical activity as a rock to his schedule where time is of big importance to him. He claims the best $100 he spent was on TSA PreCheck because of the time it saves in the airport.

Not only is Hagele dedicated to his customers he is also dedicated to the future of technology. He frequently invests in start-up tech companies where his favorite technological development is artificial intelligence. Hagele is keeping up with the times by understanding that social media is important in the future of the business world.

Michael Hagele is also cognizant of his past. When explaining the biggest mistakes he made as an entrepreneur he made note of those mistakes and has avoided making them again. He says the worst job he ever had was working as a car washer in the winter of Chicago, claiming that he knew from that point on he wanted to take control of his education and career.

Overall, Michael Hagele is a very focused business leader. Where no one comes before the customer and where hard work and tenacity are met equally with physical activity and play time. Learn more about Michael Hagele by following him on LinkedIn.

The Success of Sujit Choudhry

Comparative law has been growing in popularity over the years due to not only the ability to interact with more individuals all over the world, but also due to the fact that transportation and the cost to travel has become more accessible and lowered over the years as technological advancement has been made. Comparative law is specifically the study of the different legal systems all over the world and the study of how these different legal systems compare and contrast to each other. The study of comparative law is not only comparing present day legal systems, but is also the study of past laws that have been implemented by monarchies, dictatorships, as well as by communist regimes and even by democratic societies. The goal of this study is to examine what has worked in the past and what currently works in present day for the purpose of developing a new legal system for the future.

The study of comparative law does not only consist of laws in the past as well as the present that have been created by governments. This form of study also includes laws that have been set into place by cultural values and by cultural norms. The field of comparative law even studies the laws that have been put into place that are based upon religious values. This study has grown to especially focus on ancient civilizations such as Greece as well as Rome. Within the study of comparative law, one individual in particular stands out as an expert within this field of study as well as an innovative individual when it comes to the study of law.

This individual is Sujit Choudhry, a professor who possesses not only degrees in law, but degrees in other fields of study that have interested him. Mr. Choudhry is truly an individual who continues to do what he loves and has the overall goal to inspire those that he teaches. As a professor, Mr. Choudhry also conducts research and continues to study the different legal systems around the world in hopes to create a new legal system for the future that will support globalization.

Learn more about Sujit’s accomplishments here:

New Zealand Foreign Trusts: A Safe Horbor, Not a Tax Haven

Some individuals and businesses seek to avoid taxes by moving funds to tax havens. A tax haven is a country with laws that allow foreign-originated funds to go unreported. In a recent article published on, Geoffrey Cone writes that New Zealand is not one of these tax havens and is not likely to change. In fact, Cone says the country is considered a model of tax transparency when it comes to foreign trusts and other arrangements. New Zealand complies with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 2002 Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters. New Zealand is on the OECD white list of nations practicing tax transparency.

A Safe Haven for Investors

Investments by foreign individuals in New Zealand trusts is growing. The reason is that the clear and consistent regulatory environment makes it ideal for those who are concerned with issues like protecting their money and insuring proper succession. New Zealand has built a global reputation for tax transparency that attracts these types of foreign trust investments. For example, there are double taxation agreements with 35 nations that protect investors. There are another 20 tax information exchange agreements designed to prevent tax evaders from hiding money in New Zealand.

Regulatory Requirements

In 2005 New Zealand adopted updated requirements for trustees for foreign trusts. Trustees must file disclosure forms for settlements and when distributions are made. The required information includes a listing of the trust’s assets and liabilities. Trustees must also furnish the name and addresses of all recipients of foreign trust funds and the particulars of distributions and settlements. As the agreements mentioned above imply, this information is shared with the investors’ home countries tax agencies and other regulatory bodies. When a foreign trust includes a business, the trustee must furnish information about the method of accounting.

Not surprisingly, New Zealand has strict enforcement policies, including severe penalties for noncompliance with the regulations governing foreign trusts. These policies have enabled the country to develop strong relationships with nations like the United States and Great Britain that also follow OECD guidelines.

Geoffrey Cone is an attorney based in Auckland, New Zealand. He specializes in international trust and tax law. He works mainly with clients from Spain and Latin America, assisting them with wealth planning. He is a partner in the law firm of Cone Marshall Ltd. Geoffrey Cone began practicing tax and trust law in 1980 following his graduation from the University of Otago.

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Lawyer for Mayor de Blasio Criticizes Board of Elections

According to article in the Wall Street Journal, Laurence D. Laufer criticized the New York State Board of Elections for not only referring a case against the mayor for investigation into possible criminal proceedings, but also for leaking the information to the news media. Laufer is the attorney for de Blasio’s campaign.

The board has accused de Blasio of breaking the rules that limit how much can be donated to political candidates. According to Laufer, the board misinterpreted the law. He accused the board of being highly prejudicial and political by leaking the letter referring de Blasio for criminal investigation.

Laufer and the state board were referring to Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York and donors to it. Allegedly the mayor’s administration lifted a restriction on a deed owned by one donor, allegedly allowing the donor to make a profit of $72 million. The board questioned the relationship between two donors and the New York City Police Department. De Blasio and his administration raised funds in 2014 for Democratic candidates for state senate.

De Blasio’s administration had admitted to error regarding the property deal, but says it did nothing improper in regard to the other allegations. It is cooperating fully.

In 2014 de Blasio raised funds for the state senate candidates, then sent the money to county committees, which then passed the money on to those candidates. According to Risa Sugarman, lawyer for the Board of Elections, the transfers were done in such a way as to suggest they were trying to evade the law.

Ross Martin Abelow is an attorney located in New York City, and is registered to practice law in the state of New York.

Abelow works in various aspects of private law practice, including family and matrimonial law. He works with contract law for entertainers and athletes. People in those industries must be especially careful about their contracts. That’s true because producers in the industry tend to grab all the rights they can, and also because their careers are vulnerable to things beyond their control, such as how well they go over with audiences.

Follow Ross on Twitter