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Tag Archives: Ben Williams

BEN WILLIAMS: The one U.S. Supreme Court opinion to read in 2016

Illustration by Ford Williams

The U.S. Supreme Court’s regular term ended June 27, and the eight remaining life-time Article III Justices released their final opinions.    A 5-4 decision, or more recently 5-3 due to the passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, is cause célèbre.  Those rulings receive sports-like coverage, complete with scores, action shots and quotes from the victorious fans. You’ll hear much ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701: Payment and performance bonds in construction projects


Construction lenders on large commercial construction loans customarily require payment and performance bonds.  At the loan commitment letter stage, this condition rarely concerns a borrower.  Later, however, when the requirement materializes into a line item in the contractor’s budget, the borrower might have second thoughts.  We attempt to define and appraise the payment and performance bond (P&P Bond). Let’s assume ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701: Practical issues with multi-tiered entity structures

commercial finance

It is quite common – even vogue nowadays – for the ownership structure of a commercial project to include a chain of entities.  Even in a relatively straightforward commercial project, the resulting organizational chart can be convoluted.   (See Chart 1). The older ones among us grew up with corporations as the standard fare, which invariably included shareholders, a board ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701: The UCC, secured transactions & personal property liens

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The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) has swayed many a law student to question a future career in business law.  A semester of UCC law, using a small font, 3-inch thick textbook chock-full of tedious definitions and mind-numbing concepts, bores even an otherwise indefatigable accounting grad.  Our topic is limited to secured transactions. BACKGROUND.  A smidgen of background information on the ...

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BEN WILLIAMS — Justice Scalia’s last stop in Mississippi

Justice Scalia

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia, a sedulous conservative jurist, passed away on February 13, 2016.  As a recipient of appointments from Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, he served as a federal employee for 40 years, the last 10,732 days on the nation’s top court. While Scalia’s easily cartoon-caricatured physique bolstered his notoriety, it was the life-tenured Article ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701 — CRE loans, credit underwriting & the Feds in 2016


US banks didn’t have to wait long to learn the Feds’ thoughts on commercial real estate (CRE) loans in 2016.  On December 18, 2015, the trio of federal bank regulators – the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, and the Comptroller of the Currency – issued a dismal harbinger entitled “Statement on Prudent Risk Management for Commercial Real Estate Lending.” The four-page ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701 — Real property taxes – ad valorem and more


An observant, pragmatic and penny-pinching Benjamin Franklin once mused, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The quip distills the issue to its core, but taxes in today’s world are much more complex than Franklin’s succinct quote would suggest. This article is about ad valorem taxes on real property in Mississippi. Ad Valorem ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701 — Syndications: a super-sized credit facility with multiple lenders


To fulfill whopping credit needs, a corporate borrower may need to avail itself of a syndicated loan.  This article attempts to define, distill and distinguish this divergent financing vehicle. What is a Syndicated Loan or Loan Syndication? As too common in business jargon, “syndicated loan” and “loan syndication” are not precisely defined or uniformly employed terms.  To get us started, ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701 — Doing business with the Government

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  The Founding Fathers would be dumbfounded if they could see our gigantesque government structure. This behemoth annually spends in excess of $6 trillion protecting, regulating, arbitrating, purchasing, managing, lending, insuring, competing, and, more recently, joining public–private partnerships. One of every six full-time U.S. workers is a local, state or federal governmental employee.  Inevitably, doing business will involve contact with ...

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COMMERCIAL FINANCE 701 — Construction contracts and risk mitigation

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  A commercial construction project is a multifaceted venture.  The numerous parties, erratic pricing of materials, potential for defects, unpredictable local governments, tight profit margins, and vital financing all contribute to a challenging project.  The parties need a well-drafted construction contract. THE PROCESS Reaching the point of actually needing a construction contract can be exhausting.  Necessary steps include site selection, ...

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