Year in Review 2015


A year of increased refunding and new money projects, despite interest hike concerns

Thomas A. Wilson | Columbus, OH

2015 saw interest rates continue to stay low, which allowed many borrowers to refund outstanding bond issues to realize debt service savings. With many predicting interest rates to rise in 2016, future refunding opportunities may be limited. The year also saw an increase in “new money” projects, particularly in the healthcare area. Banks continued to have a strong appetite for purchasing tax-exempt debt for their investment portfolios in 2015.

Perhaps the most unique and significant development in the municipal market was the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative (MCDC Initiative). This program gave both underwriters and obligated persons (governmental issuers and borrowers) the opportunity to obtain favorable settlement terms if they self-reported to the SEC possible violations involving materially inaccurate statements relating to prior compliance with the continuing disclosure obligations specified in Rule 15c2-12 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. With the SEC announcing the first penalties for underwriters under the MCDC initiative, focus continued to be on accurate disclosure and continuing disclosure compliance. Additional sanctions for underwriters are expected, and the market is waiting for the SEC to announce penalties for non-compliant issuers and borrowers in 2016.

While 2014 saw the conclusion of the Detroit bankruptcy case, the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy to date, other cities, including Hillview, Kentucky, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015. The year also saw the financial problems in Puerto Rico and pension shortfalls in Illinois and elsewhere make headlines. Such conditions continue to concern the market and increase focus on an issuer’s fiscal health and financial practices.

Whether you’re looking at financing projects or need other legal advice, we have the experience to assist you with all types of transactions, big or small, to take advantage of the benefits of tax-exempt financing. With the firm’s expansion into Michigan and California, we’re looking to expand our practice to assist our national banking and underwriting clients and issuers in those states in 2016.



The Public Finance Group experienced another productive year in 2015. Included in this year’s significant transactions were the following deals on which we served as bond counsel: a revitalization project for the Kentucky Turnpike Authority, qualified energy conservation bonds and water revenue bonds for the City of Cincinnati, highway construction bonds for the State of Ohio, a bond issue for the benefit of Mercy Health System, and senior living facility expansion bonds issued by the Colorado Health Facilities Authority for improvements to a facility in Colorado Springs. We also served as issuer’s counsel to the State of Ohio on transportation and state buildings projects and as underwriter’s counsel for bonds issued by the California Municipal Finance Authority to finance a new college sports arena, a bond issue to finance a major expansion of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and hospital improvement bonds in Michigan.

These transactions alone total over $3 billion.


Marty Dunn Named to Savoy Magazine’s 2015 Most Influential Black Lawyers List

Martiné "Marty" R. Dunn (Cincinnati, OH) has been named to Savoy Magazine’s 2015 Most Influential Black Lawyers featured list.

Savoy’s 2015 listing represents the “best of the best” of Black lawyers who are partners within leading national law firms and also corporate counsel from Fortune 1000 corporations. As diversity and inclusion for legal professionals continues to grow, Savoy’s listing of “top lawyers” emerges with an influential cross section of legal professionals representing a diverse range of expertise with national and global responsibilities.

Dunn is one of 100 attorneys representing law firms on the 2015 Most Influential Black Lawyers list.

John Merchant Elected to American Law Institute

John C. Merchant (Cincinnati, OH) has been elected a member of the American Law Institute (ALI). The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law. ALI drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, Model Codes, and Principles of Law that are influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. By joining ALI, Merchant will have the opportunity to influence the development of the law in both existing and emerging areas and to work with other eminent lawyers, judges, and academics.


Ryan P. Aiello | Columbus, OH

Before signing the dotted line, Ryan Aiello answers questions on the best way to protect yourself against liens when buying a new home.

Question: What are liens and encumbrances? Are they different?
Answer: An encumbrance is a claim, liability, or other right that is attached to real property and may lessen its value. A lien is simply a type of encumbrance that can be satisfied with the payment of money.

A good example of a lien is a mortgage lien. As long as you have a mortgage, the mortgage lender has a lien against your property. If you don’t pay your mortgage on time, the lender can foreclose on your property. However, once you pay your lender all the money you owe under the mortgage, the mortgage is satisfied and no longer affects title to your real property. Another type of lien that may affect your property is a mechanic’s lien. If, for example, you own a home and hired a contractor to do work, but failed to pay for it, the contractor may put a mechanic’s lien on your property which, for practical purposes, will force you to pay for the work before you can sell or refinance your home.

There are other types of encumbrances that are not liens because they cannot be satisfied by paying money and generally stick with the property for a number of years, or even perpetually. The most common example of such an encumbrance is an easement. Utility companies generally will have perpetual easements along the front, side, or rear of your real property so they can install and maintain various utilities to service the neighborhood. Also, if you have leased your property, the lease constitutes an encumbrance that will last for the number of years stated in the lease.

Read more


With one of the most respected finance practices in America, Dinsmore continues to add knowledgeable and talented attorneys who are committed to bringing value to every transaction.

Cincinnati, OH
Alexandra C. Rock (Associate)

Benton M. Schallip (Associate)

Covington, KY
Wil R. Schroder, II (Of Counsel)

Pittsburgh, PA
Clifford A. Pastel (Of Counsel)