- Member Spotlight
David Y. Bannard, Kaplan Kirsh & Rockwell LLP, Boston, MA
Tax decisions made in issuing airport bonds can have a significant impact on the latitude for airports to negotiate certain kinds of agreements, especially with their airline tenants. We have put together a series of hypotheticals based loosely on actual issues I have encountered over the years.
Tell us something about yourself…
I am a partner with Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP. I have been practicing for over 30 years, and for much of that time public finance has been a significant part of my practice. Before practicing law, I practiced the trumpet and freelanced as a classical musician for about 10 years, playing in New England, Chicago, and Quito, Ecuador. My practice currently focuses on airports, including serving as bond counsel, disclosure counsel and underwriter’s counsel for airport financings, as well as negotiating use and lease agreements between airports and airlines, agreements with concessionaires, providing regulatory advice and defending airports in administrative proceedings before the FAA. I have been married to a former French horn player for nearly 40 years, and we have two sons, one who is working as a financial consultant to airports and the other who is in his last semester of college. I am fortunate to live on Cape Cod, near the tip of the Cape, in Truro.
How did you first get involved in NABL?
My first job out of law school was with Palmer & Dodge. I was in another department when the Managing Partner, Jim Perkins, came into my office and said, “We see a great future for you in public finance.” As many old timers know, P&D had a premier public finance practice and Jim was one of the founders of NABL. I took him at his word and I have never regretted that decision. I joined NABL as soon as I began the practice, in 1990, and attended the Fundamentals course in New Orleans. (I still have the book!) Some years later, I joined the Massachusetts Port Authority as their in-house finance counsel, and I got involved in an early NABL project on electronic disclosure. Honestly, I don’t know how much I added, but I learned a huge amount from my colleagues on the project, and I have since participated in several more such projects, including the article on electronic disclosure that was led by Stacy Crawshaw-Lewis. To me, the willingness of experienced bond lawyers to share their knowledge is what makes NABL such a wonderful organization.
What motivated you to volunteer as a panelist for this year’s Institute?
I have served on the panel on airport and port financings at the annual conference for many years. When Michela Daliana asked if I would join her on a panel for the Institute focusing on tax aspects of airport and port financings, I jumped at the opportunity. In my niche of negotiating the agreements between airports and airlines, I find that often neither the bond lawyer nor the airport lawyer fully grasp the consequences of certain decisions made in the context of a financing, such as sharing parking revenue with airlines, which can lead to adverse tax consequences if not structured appropriately.
As a panelist for the Small Session Discussion 2: Structuring of Financings for Airports, Docks and Wharves and other Exempt Facilities, what do you hope attendees will gain from the session?
As I noted above, the tax decisions made in issuing airport bonds can have a significant impact on the latitude for airports to negotiate certain kinds of agreements, especially with their airline tenants. We have put together a series of hypotheticals based loosely on actual issues I have encountered over the years. It should be fun to get everyone’s take on them. Sensitizing our tax practitioner colleagues should help them and their airport clients to make informed decisions when choosing tax status, and considering other aspects of a financing.
What other sessions are you looking forward to attending this year at The Institute: Virtual 2021?
I am not a tax lawyer, as my clients (and colleagues) well know. I find the securities track at The Institute to be really helpful, but I often attend tax panels as well to help me spot issues in projects I am working on. This year, I am especially looking forward to the sessions on Wednesday on disclosure undertakings and practical due diligence, and on Thursday, the investor considerations and disclosure trends and the closed session on VCAP and audits. These all affect my practice and getting tips from others is always helpful – I always walk.