Johnson & Bell, Ltd. is ALFA International’s member firm in Chicago, Illinois and Crown Point, Indiana. Building on a track record of success handling major catastrophic personal injury cases, Johnson & Bell continues to represent numerous clients across a broad array of business concerns. Its lawyers represent clients in a wide range of commercial transactions and commercial litigation in both State and Federal court, locally and throughout the country.
Types of corporate transactions in which our firm has particular expertise
Johnson & Bell’s Commercial Transactions group works with clients across the full spectrum of corporate and commercial transactions. These include public and private company mergers and acquisitions, corporate debt financing and restructuring, corporate financial services, private equity and venture capital transactions, securities regulatory and compliance advice, high net worth family matters and charitable foundations, real estate acquisition and development, corporate governance and general corporate transactions.
The size of our firm’s corporate transactions team
Johnson & Bell’s Commercial Transactions group numbers 12 attorneys, including five shareholders.
Examples of transactions our firm has undertaken
- Recently closed an acquisition for Veristar LLC, a data management and document review company serving corporate legal departments and private law firms. We handled the acquisition of certain assets from Franklin Data Ventures Inc. With the acquisition, Veristar LLC is now a national provider of expert forensic data collection, electronic discovery and comprehensive document and managed review services.
- Recently closed a $5,750,000 credit facility for our client, a business executive air transportation company. The highly complex financing transaction involved numerous state and federal regulatory bodies, including a local Chicago airport. The collateral is two leasehold mortgages on subleases of ground leases of two airport hangers. Our team also introduced into the deal the entity that was the ultimate financing source for this transaction.
- Successfully resolved a corporate ownership dispute involving a commercial recycling plant, saving our clients nearly $2 million in the process. In this ownership dispute, we represented two of the four shareholders, each of whom held a 25 percent stake in the company. Following the death of one of the two rival shareholders who were not our clients, the business relationship among the remaining owners began to deteriorate over several years. One of the rival shareholders was the spouse of the decedent shareholder, who assumed his 25 percent share following his death. Disputes arose between the four owners about the valuation of their respective 25 percent stakes, back-owed distributions, back-rent owed and operating issues. Moreover, the two owners not represented by Johnson & Bell, sold the building where the company operated without telling our clients. At this point, we were retained to resolve the dispute.
- Recently concluded a complex real estate transaction that resolved litigation between warring stakeholders that highly benefited Johnson & Bell’s client. The dispute between partners of a senior manufactured housing development wound its way from trial court, to arbitration, and then on to a forced sale by a trial court judge, to the appellate court, and finally, again, to another protracted arbitration hearing. The final transaction exceeded $60 million, almost three-times the initial valuation at the inception of the litigation. In this transaction, all but one partner wanted to sell their portion of the property. Johnson & Bell represented the party that sought to retain its one-third stake. The partners initially received a valuation for the property of $20-30 million and were in litigation over the property’s final price. Subsequently, an investor indicated it was willing to buy the property for more than $60 million, but would allow Johnson & Bell’s client to retain a one-third ownership stake. As a result, the investor and Johnson & Bell’s client became Tenant in Common (TIC) partners. We represented the client throughout its litigation related to the initial forced sale, appeal and arbitration of the property. We also directed the real estate transaction, including the identification of the final partner and the sophisticated financial structuring that was required to get the transaction to the finish line.
- Resolved a sales tax audit of our client, a vending machine company, saving the client over $100,000. The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDR) said that its audit disclosed that our client owed $220,000 in unpaid state sales tax over an 18-month period. After a full day negotiating with the IDR and working with the IDR’s facilitator, our client agreed to pay $110,000 to resolve the sales tax dispute which included having over $13,000 in late charges abated by half.
- Resolved two fraud cases filed against a local marketing firm. In these cases, we were able to prove that the marketing firm never fulfilled the contract with our clients, which included business development and consultation, graphic design, and the development of a sales presentation. The marketing firm failed to deliver any product to the clients and was fired after less than a year of working together. Over the course of these two cases, our attorneys discovered that the marketing firm had a long history of overcharging and underserving its clients, not paying contractors, and making outright false representations on its capabilities and experience.
- Represented a family against Fox Broadcasting Co. arising out of the reality television show “Renovate My Family.” The case made international headlines and was amicably resolved during litigation.
- Presented oral argument before the U.S. Appellate Court for the Second Circuit located in New York for a trademark and copyright dispute case, Ivy Silberstein v. Twentieth Century Fox, et al., which related to claims against the producers of the motion picture, “Ice Age.”
- Represented an independent film producer in a breach of contract lawsuit against famed film director Martin Scorsese, which was amicably resolved during the litigation.
- Negotiated numerous contracts for entertainment facilities and entertainers as well as for sports venues and athletes, including players in the NBA, NHL and NFL.