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January 21, 2009  

Two great conferences: Our friends at both Arent Fox and Reznick Group are holding tax planning seminars on the same morning of January 29—different events, different focuses, but both incredibly timely. At least one will strike your fancy. If both do, well, they're both in Bethesda, so maybe you can rent a moped. More in text below!


Yes, our headline plays off the TV show: Hollywood didn't just come to the Potomac this Inaugural weekend, but to our real estate scene.


We snapped this of superstar Mariah Carey around 1:00 AM this morning (yes, we mean Wed, Jan 21) at the Georgetown Club. What does it have to do with real estate? It was at a party hosted by once and future DC developer Don Peebles, so you see it's legit and we're not just trying to be a cheesy publication that uses any excuse to flaunt pictures of visiting Hollywood stars.

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Ah, what do you know, another excuse to show a visiting Hollywood star: DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and Vornado/Charles E. Smith chief Mitchell Schear with (as we Hollywood types say) multi-platinum recording artist Jay-Z (aka Beyonce's husband), who signed his star on the "Walk of Fame" outside Vornado's Warner Theatre and building Monday evening.


And which visiting Hollywood stars are these? Nah, just a picture we snapped yesterday afternoon of local lawyer and architect celebrities Jay Epstien (not misspelled) and Shalom Baranes decked out in jazzy thermal regalia to watch the Inaugural parade. Okay, no more Hollywood stuff; if you like this party coverage, we have a special publication devoted to same: check out Scene Bisnow.      


We snapped this at Reznick Group's Bethesda HQ of founder Dave Reznick with partner Craig Birmingham and business advisor at the firm Richard Greene. (As loyal readers know, they now have 1,500 employees and are by far the biggest locally-based accounting firm.) On Jan 29, Reznick hosts an overview of recent legislation and tax rule changes, what's expected in the Obama era, tips on how to finance your business during a credit crunch and reduce your expenses. They'll talk about tax and business planning, including on the income, gift, and estate tax fronts; tax issues related to debt restructuring and workouts; and myths about bank financing. The seminar is complimentary but you need to register: Stacey.Saunders@Reznickgroup.com or (301) 280-7974.


As you know, the vast investigative resources of Bisnow are always uncovering unbelievable news stories. So here's our question to you: What iconic 70's era song was Reznick's Richard Greene integrally involved with? (You'll find the name at the end of this paragraph.) It was a song that originated in DC, with the name based on a dish at Clyde's (though the song took it into another realm). Richard became the CPA for the famous Cellar Door club in G-Town and there met Bill and Taffy Danoff, who co-wrote Country Roads with John Denver and started up the Starland Vocal Band. Still keeping his day job as CPA/business advisor, he traveled with the group to many of its gigs around the country with performers like John Denver and Kenny Rogers, to the Grammy Awards, and into and out of recording studios rubbing elbows with the likes of Little Richard. So what was the song? Afternoon Delight!


Also on January 29, Arent Fox senior partner Earl Colson, whom we snapped in his Connecticut Avenue office, and colleague Joe Rieser join together with Paul Wilner and Jack Croarkin of Grossberg accountants to talk about three timely issues created by the down economy:  (1) debt restructuring in light of the loss of values, eg, renegotiating with lenders, or workouts with sellers, if a building didn't rent up and income becomes insufficient to service a mortgage; (2) taking advantage of low values for estate planning, eg, making transfers to the next generation of buildings or stock at this time to minimize gift and estate taxes; and (3) tax consequences if you were a victim of the Madoff scandal, eg, you have until April 15, 2009, to claim refunds of taxes paid on fictitious income, or to claim a theft loss and begin calculating operating loss carryforwards. At the Bethesda Hyatt and complimentary, but you must register: Kathy Steinko at 301-571-1900 x221 or www.arentfox.net/afgrossberg.


Brooklyn-born Earl came to Washington in 1961 by way of Harvard Law '57 and a stint at Wall Street firm Chadbourne Park. He was engaged to a woman named Helen, who had persuaded him to settle in her hometown of DC; amazingly, they're still married. Of course, that year another young President was being inaugurated, so perhaps it doesn't seem like much has changed. Arent Fox was then just 10 lawyers and specialized in tax. Earl adopted that speciality, which turned out to be of great use as AF's real estate practice grew dramatically over the years. Oh, and back then Helen was a journalist who wrote for a local Washington tabloid in a section called the "women's page." That seems like a long time ago, but it can't be, because Earl is still, as you can see, very young.

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