John is the Managing Member of the West Palm Beach, Florida office, a member of the firm's Executive Committee, and a member of the firm's national real estate practice. John has extensive experience assisting clients in complex real estate transactions and business litigation matters, including secured lending, distressed real estate, title claims, land development, land use and zoning, land subdivision and platting, agricultural loans and tax exemptions, sales, property owner's associations, construction contracts and liens, acquisitions, and leasing. His clients include developers, lenders, contractors, title insurance companies, real estate professionals, landlords and purchasers, both institutional and entrepreneurial. His projects include residential, retail, office and industrial properties. John has represented local and national lenders in all aspects of complex mortgage financing, including construction lending, permanent lending, loan restructuring, forebearance arrangements, loan workouts, foreclosures, and receiverships. John is Board Certified as a specialist in Real Estate Law by the Florida Bar and has been practicing real estate law since 1985. Throughout his career, John has also acted as an agent for several national title insurance companies.
John earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. He received a B.A., summa cum laude, with honors in English Writing; Phi Beta Kappa; National Merit Scholar in 1982.
Representative Cases/MattersJohn's institutional lending experience includes:
- Real Estate secured mortgage financing, including land loans, development loans, construction lending, FHLMC multi-family loans, mezzanine financing, and permanent financing
- Loan workouts, forbearance arrangements, mortgage foreclosures, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure arrangements, and receiverships
- Lender liability claims.
- Non-recourse financing, including raw land and mobile home projects
- Loans to Non-Profit borrowers
- Community Redevelopment Loans
- Asset Based Loans
Recent real estate development projects include:
- Valiente Polo Farm (equestrian polo facility), Wellington, FL
- Zacara Farm (equestrian polo facility), Wellington, FL
- Tonkawa Farm (equestrian polo facility), Wellington, FL
- TM Window & Door Factory (industrial manufacturing building), Pompano Beach, FL
- Magnolia Court (urban renewal townhome project), West Palm Beach, FL
- The Equestrian Club (residential and equestrian project), Wellington, FL
- Pineapple Ridge (office and apartment project), Melbourne, FL
- Royal Palm Business Center (industrial warehouse project), Pompano Beach, FL
- Lake Point Ranches (residential and equestrian project), Martin County, FL
- Michael's Creek (residential waterfront project), Vero Beach, FL
- Jan Pamela Farms (equestrian polo facility), Wellington, FL
- Everglades Polo (equestrian polo facility), Wellington, FL
- Outback Polo (residential and equestrian polo projects), Wellington, FL
- Cannery Row (townhome project), Delray Beach, FL
- In 2004, John pioneered the first sale of Transferable Development Rights under the City of West Palm Beach’s Historic Preservation Program on behalf of the Diocese of Palm Beach. It resulted in the transfer of over 200,000 square feet of “Air Rights” to Kolter Properties for the construction of a 20-story residential condominium in downtown West Palm Beach.
- In 2008, John represented a national lender in the foreclosure and ultimate bankruptcy sale of a failed waterfront condominium project.
- In 2009, John represented a national lender in the foreclosure and/or workout of over $100 million in failed residential development mortgage loans.
- In 2009, John negotiated a Public/Private agreement with the South Florida Water Management District and Martin County, Florida for the creation of a public stormwater management facility and recreation area on 2,200 acres, reserving 20 year mining rights for his client during the excavation of the facility.
- In 2010, John negotiated over $50 million in new market tax credit mortgage financing for an aggregate rock mining project.
John also has substantial experience in the aircraft industry, including:
- Aircraft leasing and finance
- Purchase and sale of aircraft, including IRS Section 1031 Exchanges
- Aircraft Management Agreements
- From 2002 to 2008, John managed a complex mass tort litigation against the government of Libya on behalf of the owner of a DC-10 aircraft which was destroyed, and the families of the seven (7) American passengers who were killed, when a suitcase bomb planted by Libyan agents exploded over the Niger desert in North Africa in 1989 (UTA Flight 772). In 2008, the U.S. District Court, District of Columbia entered a $1.7 Billion judgment against the government of Libya, ultimately resulting in Congress's passage of the Libyan Claims Resolution Act (LCRA) to settle all claims of American nationals (including the Pan Am Lockerbie and LaBelle Disco bombings) and to normalize commercial and diplomatic relations between the United States and the government of Libya. Since the passage of the LCRA, John has assisted with the filing and successful prosecution of approximately $100 million of claims with the U.S. Department of State and the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission on behalf of the aircraft owner and the families of the American passengers.
Admissions - State
- University of Pennsylvania
- Florida State University
Honors and Awards
- "AV” Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Designated "Lawyer of the Year" in West Palm Beach for Real Estate Litigation by Best Lawyers in America (2013, 2014 and 2017)
- Named one of the Best Lawyers in America (2005-2017)
- Selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2015)
- Florida Trend, “Florida Legal Elite”
- South Florida’s Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers”
- Daily Business Review, “Best of The Bar”
- Achievement Award (Pro Bono) – St. Ann’s School (2004)
- Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award - Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County (2007)
- The Florida Bar
- Board Certified as a specialist in Real Estate Law since 2000
- Judicial Nominating Commission, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida, Appointee of Governor Jeb Bush (2003 to 2008); Vice Chairman (2005 to 2006); Chairman (2006 to 2007)
- Formerly an Adjunct Professor of Advanced Business Law at the Rinker School of Business, Palm Beach Atlantic College
Public Service and Volunteerism
- Pine-Jog Environmental Education Center (Business Advisory Board)
- St. Ann's Church (Finance Committee)
- Rosarian Academy (Sports Committee)
"McDonald Hopkins Team Engineers $27 Million Polo Sale"
39 attorneys at McDonald Hopkins selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers 2017
Gulfstream Polo Club sells 100 acres to Pulte Homes
41 attorneys at McDonald Hopkins selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers® 2016
Five McDonald Hopkins attorneys honored as top attorneys in Florida