Episode 299: 01-15-15
REO Real Estate: Where Is It?
Our REO guest is sponsored by IMN. He is Joseph C. Erwin – Regions Bank Senior Vice President/Team Leader for the South Florida Commercial Special Assets Department.
Erwin has been with Regions Bank since 2003. having also worked in the bank’s Commercial Real Estate Department. Prior to joining Regions Bank, he worked for SunTrust Bank in West Palm Beach for 10 years as a commercial real estate lender.
Erwin started his career with Southeast Bank in Miami where he completed the bank’s commercial lending training program, and eventually moved to Jacksonville and Pensacola where he worked as a commercial loan officer.
Erwin has a total of 25 years of banking experience. He is a graduate of Florida State University where he received his B.S. in finance. Erwin is originally from Pensacola and has lived in West Palm Beach since 1992.
We discuss where to find the REO real estate today and tomorrow.
Philanthropic Celebrities and Smart Money
Morton’s innovative practice operates at the intersection of celebrity and philanthropy, comprising all aspects of high-profile nonprofit engagement – from the initial formation of a tax-exempt organization, to the ongoing oversight, compliance, governance and reporting consistent with legal requirements and best practices.
We discuss some of the inventive ways his clients are philanthropic and how you can donate to their causes.
Dolphins Cycling Challenge V
Berkowitz founded the firm 35 years ago. One of the largest independent accounting firms in Florida, Berkowitz Pollack Brant has been recognized 16 times by Inside Public Accounting as a Best of the Best firm, one of the highest honors in the profession. In addition to his role as CEO, Berkowitz focuses his practice on strategic planning, succession consulting and mergers and acquisitions.
Although he is a highly regarded accountant and advisor, that’s not why he is with us today. Berkowitz is serving as chairman of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge V – 100% of funds raised by walkers, runners and riders go to cancer research at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
We discuss why you should ride and donate to cure cancer.
Episode 299: 01-15-15 (To download, right-click and select “Save Link As”.)
Jim Fried: All right, 6 o’clock listeners. This is Jim Fried. Welcome to Fried on Business. We’re moving to 6 to 7, from 5 to 6. If you’re in traffic, calm down, the guy in front of you is not worth the aggravation. Today, the Dow Jones dropped and it did that because oil dropped. In fact, oil was up and then ended up being down. We’ve got a super show today. We’re going to talk about philanthropy. We’re going to talk about where is the REO real estate that the banks own, that give you the opportunities. We’ll have Richard Berkowitz talking about the Dolphins Cycling Challenge. It is philanthropy. It is real estate. It is the Jim Fried show. Dee, take it away.
All right, Dee. Dee is just getting started. He’s new to the show but he is not new to radio. Are we almost ready guys? We don’t know what to do. Okay, great. Well, why won’t we do this? Why don’t we then start with our — you got it? Okay. I got the thumbs up. Larry had to come in to help.
Jim Fried: All right everybody. Lots of good stuff to talk too. And you know, as we get older, we’re all at the risk of developing cataracts with a new laser cataract procedure co-developed at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the new high definition lenses they have. You can be seeing near, far and everywhere in between in no time. This is my best part of this commercial. Call 305-243-here comes at your 2020 to schedule a consultation.
Jim Fried: Trust your eyes to the best. Bascom Palmer’s been ranked number one eye hospital in the country 11 years in a row by U.S. News and World Report. Visit bascompalmer.org. Here’s it comes again or call 305-243-2020 to schedule your consultation today.[Commercial Break]
Jim Fried: Hey everybody, you’re looking to buy a car. Well, go to Warren Henry. Warren Henry is where you can get the Warren Henry Advantage. You get absolutely free key replacement and you get console years that you can call for anything, any time for four years always the best price, always the best car, always Warren Henry.[Commercial Break]
Jim Fried: All right, we are back. We are on with more Fried on Business. This is just getting a field of the show. Larry just let them do that, help them to do that. So what we’re going to do now is we’re going to right into it with our first segment. We’ve got Richard Berkowitz in the house. Richard is Chief Executive Officer of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants and Chairman of Provenance Wealth Advisors. We founded the firm 35 years ago which one of the largest independent accounting firms in Florida. Berkowitz Pollack Brant has been recognized 16 times by inside. Public accounting is a best of the best firm, one of the highest honors in the profession. I can tell you all the guys there were sharp. I know and I do business with them.
In addition in his role as CEO, Richard focuses his practice on strategic planning, succession consulting and mergers and acquisitions. Although, he’s highly regarded for accounting and it’s advising, that’s why he’s on our show today. He’s serving his chairman of the Dolphins Cycling Challenge V. And 100% of the funds raised by walkers, runners and writers, goes to Cancer Research and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Richard, welcome to the show.
Richard Berkowitz: It’s great to be here Jim.
Jim Fried: Hey now. What made you want to get involve with the DCC ride?
Richard Berkowitz: I’ve been doing this for a long time. I started raising money in cycling events 25 years ago up in Massachusetts.
Jim Fried: Whoa.
Richard Berkowitz: There’s an event up there called the Pan-Mass Challenge and it benefits the Dana Farber in Boston and it’s in its 36-year. And its goal this year is to raise $45 million in a two-day event and we’ll bring them to $500 million over 36 years.
Jim Fried: Well, we are on the way to that in South Florida. We’ve been around for 40 years. I’d like to find out what they did in their 50-year, like we’re going to do.
Richard Berkowitz: You know interestingly enough, this year, if we hit our goal, we will do what they did in their 18th year in five years.
Jim Fried: Well, high five to us. What’s our goal in how we’re going to get there?
Richard Berkowitz: Our goal is cutting a $6 million check to Sylvester, 100% of research, 100% for local research and our community by highly qualified scientists, doctors, great people who are working every single day to try to find cures for cancers and even more important better therapies to make people live longer.
Jim Fried: You know we’ve had a lot of the UHealth doctors and the Sylvester doctors on here talking about breast cancer, all the other cancers, getting better off if you have your cancer operation. I was at Sylvester yesterday for personal reason and I can only tell you that the facilities have grown and changed since I was there in the last. It’s a wonderful place. Everybody is terrific. They’re happy. They’re engaging even the valleys are wonderful. But don’t we have a goal for Sylvester that we’re heading towards? Aren’t we trying to make them like one of like 50 cancer institutions or something?
Richard Berkowitz: You know what it’s more important thing we’re working towards. There are, in the United States, 41 national cancer institute designated comprehensive cancers centers, only 41 in the country.
Jim Fried: Wow.
Richard Berkowitz: And in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, all of those states have more than five.
Jim Fried: We’re the third largest state in the union. How come we only have one? This is not fair.
Richard Berkowitz: We have one and it’s not in South Florida.
Jim Fried: What? Well, where is it? Why not?
Richard Berkowitz: So Moffitt which is a great cancer center where in Tampa. It’s great hospital but it’s not helping the folks here in South Florida. And what we need to do is raise the bar on cancer research. In our community, raise the bar on cancer care in our community. And we want to attract better scientist. We want to attract better docs. We want to attract all of the grants that come with the National Cancer Institute accreditation. And when we get that, that’s what happened.
So the Sylvester folks were working real hard of doing it but one of the elements of that is the community has to be engaged with the institution and has to be helping the institution. So we’re part of that effort. Every dollar of the money that we raise will go to cancer research.
Jim Fried: Well, I got to tell you that it’s important to me. I know we’re donating. I’ve got four, five, six doctors plus you that I’m going to be donating too. So I’m very excited about participating. Now, there are some people. They can’t make it out to volunteer. There are some people that can’t ride. They just need to go to the website and get more information to donate. Where can people get more information Richard?
Richard Berkowitz: Ridedcc.com.
Jim Fried: Well, that’s easy enough even for a jets fan. I’ll even repeat it for them. Ridedcc.com, you go there. You follow the links. You get involve in our community and you give a donation that’s going to go directly 100% to cancer research.
Richard Berkowitz: There you go. So, we’re going to have, it’s going to be an incredible weekend, February 7 and 8. Out of the stadium, we have six rides. We have a 5K walk. We have a wonderful volunteers but more importantly, almost 3,000 people out all over three counties. All of them out raising money and making the effort here to give that money to cancer research in our community.
Jim Fried: You know it sounds really terrific and I know that there are lots and lots of people, hundreds, thousands obviously that people that want to get involve. Do they have to do the whole ride or they’re just segments that they can go on?
Richard Berkowitz: Well, there’s a really cool ride. There are actually six rides. The longest is the 170 miles.
Jim Fried: Whoa, talking but you better have a good bicycle seat for that one.
Richard Berkowitz: And a little motor too. The shortest is 13 miles on Sunday from the Dolphin Training Facility. And when you go there, you can take a peek inside which is an unbelievable sight to see.
Jim Fried: Very cool, very cool.
Richard Berkowitz: And there’s a ride straight south, right to the stadium, 13 miles long.
Jim Fried: So that’s fun for the family. It sounds like that’s a family focus.
Richard Berkowitz: It’s a great event and we’ve got police all over who are escorting riders. The entire route from the Dolphin Training Facility down to the stadium is coned off.
Jim Fried: Oh man.
Richard Berkowitz: So you’re not fighting with cars. The intersections are manned by police. When you ride up to the intersection, they stop all the cars. And now, we’re going to make a few people unhappy because it’s going to some cars backed up but the riders are going to be in great shape. The 5K is the same thing that’s really safe course and people will love being on it. Dolphin players are going to be there. We move the date permanently this year to the weekend after the Super Bowl, so the players, the coaches, the whole softball size of the organization are going to be involved this time.
Dan Marino is going to be there on Friday night at the opening event at the stadium.
Jim Fried: Oh, cool.
Richard Berkowitz: Channel 4 is going to do a live show on 7:30 on Friday night…
Jim Fried: Cool.
Richard Berkowitz: … which is going to be a terrific show about the ride and about the event and about cancer and you can be live and it’s going to be a lot of fun. So that’s the kickoff even on Friday night. Saturday is three rides and Sunday is another three rides plus the walk and then the closing event at the stadium. So it’s a really exciting fun weekend.
Jim Fried: Yeah, we can’t do this whole interview without at least paying homage to Michael Mandich. Michael Mandich, the original number one dolphin for the Dolphin Ride to cure cancer now. Richard, we’ve only got a couple of more minutes left, so why don’t we make sure we hit all our important points.
Richard Berkowitz: Okay. The date is February 7 and 8 at the stadium and February 6, Friday night opening event is open to everybody. You can come on down and enjoy the atmosphere. You mentioned Michael Mandich.
Jim Fried: Yeah, Michael Mandich right.
Richard Berkowitz: Michael is CEO of the event.
Jim Fried: Awesome.
Richard Berkowitz: And he did a great job running the event. He’s a wonderful guy and he’s a rider, and he’s been a five-year rider.
Jim Fried: Well, high five to him. High five to him.
Richard Berkowitz: High five to Michael.
Jim Fried: What other good, quick points can we get in before we’ve got to go?
Richard Berkowitz: You have to register before January 25th. January 25th is important date. So if you’re thinking about doing it, go to the website, sign up now. And if you can’t ride, sign up to be a volunteer because it’s a great event of help people in. And if you can’t volunteer, then donate. It’s real easy to donate. You can donate to a team. You can donate to a rider. You can look them right up on the website.
Jim Fried: Now, you know we’ve got a couple minutes left. So what prompted you and I guess Berkowitz Pollack Brant is a big sponsor too? What comes along with being a sponsor to this event?
Richard Berkowitz: You know it’s important to give back to the community. I have family that’s had cancer, my parents. I’ve been fighting back for years and years and years. We’re going to win the battle against cancer.
Jim Fried: Together.
Richard Berkowitz: You may not be our generation but you know, cancer is a plague of our generation.
Jim Fried: Listen, I remember when I was a young kid and they said multiple sclerosis for instance wouldn’t cure. And today, people are living longer, healthier lives. With that, I think that we can do that. We’ve had doctors on the show that talk about the progress they’re making and identifying the genes for cancer and doing gene therapy for cancer. There are so many breakthroughs that are on the horizon and it’s our job as members of the community to pay forward and help them do that.
Richard Berkowitz: You know what? It’s 25 years I’ve been doing this and it’s used to be death sentence. It’s not. Most of the cancers you can survive and survive for a long life and the people with Sylvester doing an amazing job helping out that effort in our community. And by the way, I left out one thing. You can be a virtual rider.
Jim Fried: There you go.
Richard Berkowitz: You can be a virtual rider and just raise money if you want too. So you can sign and find that up on the website and may help that.
Jim Fried: I’m going to have to get my wife involved in doing that. She could do that for the two of us. Big Dee, how much more time do I have? Okay. Well, I want to thank Richard Berkowitz CEO Berkowitz Pollack Brant for coming in. I’ll hope you’ll come some other time. Hey, how about after the rides? You give us a re-price and tell us how we did. Can I have you back?
Richard Berkowitz: Well, I have to do that.
Jim Fried: All right. Well, I want to thank you so much for coming and being in our philanthropy show today. We’ll be right back after this. Big Dee, we’re ready this time? We are ready to rock and we’re going to do it right now out of here, back after this.[Commercial Break]
Jim Fried: All right. We are seamless this time. Big Dee, high five to you. All right, I want to again welcome. Kind Snacks is our new sponsor on the show. We’re going to do a lot of philanthropy today. I want to thank Kind Snacks for helping us do our philanthropy shows and be in our latest sponsor. I want to welcome now Joseph C. Erwin, the Regions Bank Senior Vice President and team leader for South Florida Commercial Special Assets Department of Regions Bank. He’s brought to us today by IMN.
IMN is having their Bank & Financial Institutions Special Assets and Executive conference on Workouts. It’s going to be February 11 and 12. Go to their website. Use the discount quote, JF20 for 20%. All right, let’s talk to Joe. Joe, are you out there?
Joseph C. Erwin: I’m here Jim. Thanks for having me on.
Jim Fried: Oh it’s my pleasure. Now, Joe, tell me exactly. You run the South Florida Commercial Special Assets Department for Regions Bank, long title. What do you really do?
Joseph C. Erwin: Well, what we do Jim is we handle borrowers who maybe have in difficulties with their business, which for various reasons may have an impact on their ability to perform under the terms of their loan. We try to work with these borrowers through whatever difficulties they may be having now while at the same time, making sure that the bank is protected. Sometimes borrower was just need a little bit of help. Our department is here to help these borrowers and hopefully work through whatever difficulties they may be going through.
We always say that our best customers are existing customer. If we can find a way to work together, then it’s certainly win-win for everyone.
Jim Fried: I have to believe it. We all know how much it cost to get every new customer in through the door and bank them. But I’ll tell you, as a taxpayer, you’re my favorite guy, making sure that we get repaid back as much as we can.
Now, with the economy getting better in terms of real GDP, job growth, increase in consumer spending and improvements in the real estate market, and I’ll throw in with the historically low interest rates the Fed is engineered to save our, you know what’s. What are you seeing in today’s market from some of the companies that you bank?
Joseph C. Erwin: Well, it’s a good question. We’re seeing a lot of positive improvements which is certainly help by improvement economy. Top link revenues are growing. Companies are maintaining their expense discipline, cash flow and profitabilities improving and companies are spending money on capital items, such as equipment, technology. And you know what? They’re also investing in their employees, all avoid to certainly a positive sign.
Jim Fried: Now, look Joe. A lot of the companies didn’t survive the last recession for a variety of reasons. Based on your experience in commercial real estate and then commercial loan workouts, can you touch on some of the common practices or teams that you can experience with those companies so people don’t make the same mistake?
Joseph C. Erwin: Yeah, you know two things really jump out on me on that question. First of all, a lot of companies got away from their core business and they invested another ventures or businesses that they really didn’t have the expertise in. We saw it happened with companies buying real estate. Everybody thought they just couldn’t go wrong buying a piece of real estate. They make a ton of money. So they really got away from there because they’re core business.
The second thing is they didn’t say for a rainy day and that sounds simply. But a lot of companies, they pulled money out of their business for other things instead of reducing their debt or building up liquidity. Those companies that reduced their debt or save liquidity were certainly in a much better position during the last recession, and those that learned their lessons will be in a much better position when the next one hits.
Jim Fried: You know, we’re in real estate. We invest in real estate and we have money there. It’s called equities are our best friend and leverage is or at least high leverage. We always want to make sure we’ve got a real fat coverage even in the worst of times in our, we’ll call it worst case scenario because our number one thing is our reputation and our ability to go back to the lender. The lenders are best friend.
Now, if one of your borrowers was having trouble today for whatever reason, what would you recommend that they do?
Joseph C. Erwin: Well, it sounds simple just communicate. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and say, “Hey, I need some help.” Bankers don’t like surprises and we will rather have frequent communication, the no communication at all. And don’t be afraid to share news. The other thing that comes to your lender with the strategy or plan or fix or whatever problem or issue there is, no one knows their business better than you do.
Jim Fried: You know the main thing is I always tell to everybody that they go, what do you do for living? Are you real estate broker? Are you real estate investor? And I say that I’m real estate business person and I used the term business person because we’ve got to use a little common sense now and then. And every single time, something is going to on. You’ve got to talk to your partners.
You could couple of different sets of partners on every deal. You have your equity investor and you have your lender. And if you’re not treating your lender, like he’s your partner, then you’re in for a big problem. That’s way we think. What do you think about that Joe?
Joseph C. Erwin: I couldn’t agree more Jim. I mean the lenders provide a benefit there and they’re to provide bulk of a debt. But we also want to get our return. When loans go bad or there are problems, we have reserved capital and set aside and loans get downgraded and we have the regulatory pressures that go along with that. So I couldn’t agree more.
I would just reiterate what I said a few minutes ago, just communicate what your lender, be forthright, provide information but also come with a plan and say, “Here’s what happened but here’s how I’m going to fix it.”
Jim Fried: You know I talked to a friend of mine who’s in special assets that’s up in Atlanta, he works for the one big super originals who won’t address right here on the show. And he tells me that they still have some ROIs, some real estate that they own but most of it’s in the million dollar and below that all the really big deals got snapped up or marketed or people came looking for them. With the increasing interest rates that they were able to make deals work sometimes with the borrowers.
Now, they say to me that there is no ROI and tomorrow at 11 o’clock, I’m having a conference call on an amazing piece of real estate that’s owned by a bank. So there’s still some ROI out there. What are you guys seeing at Regions Joe?
Joseph C. Erwin: Well, there’s REO out there but we’ve been forcing it. We saw this come early where we saw it approaching in 2007, 2008, and we really got out ahead of it. So we doubt with a lot of our toxic assets early. We sold some stuff. We sold some notes. You know lucky for us, we certainly bitten down our REO portfolio. And I’m really happy to say we don’t have nearly as much as we did several years ago. And the stuff that we do have is really smaller stuff and some more specialized properties. That’s a little bit on that in what we have left.
Jim Fried: Okay. We’re going to be seeing you at the annual IMN Bank of Financial Institutions Workout. It’s up in February at Ritz Carlton, February 11 and 12. If you’re listening you can go to the IMN website. Use the code JF20. You’ll get a 20%.
Now, can you tell me a little bit about your experiences at the conferences, because I’ve always found it. It’s a great place to meet people in network. I’ve always picked up a couple of deals at these shows.
Joseph C. Erwin: Well, sure. I have been involved with this conference for three years now with the speaker or a panelist covering array of topics from how to deal with your bank to disposition of toxic assets, to various legal matters. I found the conference to be very comprehensive, relevant to today’s market conditions, informative. They do an excellent job bringing in key speakers.
From a banker’s perspective, we get some good insight on the dos and don’ts applicable to applying for a new loan or dealing with an existing loan. I found the conference to be very worthwhile and I certainly will highly recommend it to your listening audience.
Jim Fried: Well thanks Joe. I do too. I think it’s a great conference. IMN puts on great conferences throughout the United States, and when they come to South Florida it usually sells out and people pay a pretty penny to go. Again, if somebody wants to go to the show, they can go to the IMN website and they can — I believe it’s IMN.org or you can Google it, you will find it right away. I always do it by Googling. And use the code JF20, when they ask you for a code, you get a 20% discount.
Now, we’re just getting ready to wrap up. We’ve got a couple of minutes left. Big Dee has given me a couple of minutes sign. So Joe, what’s going on at Regions today? What type of real estate are you looking for? What kind of borrower are you guys looking at bank, either real estate or C&I, either one?
Joseph C. Erwin: Well, we’ve got a lot of positive things going on here at our company, through our South Florida, President Steve Nivet. We’ve had great leadership. We’re looking for just good solid loans with established borrowers who have been in the market awhile, companies that are not over-levered, have good liquidity, have an experience and a track record in the product that they’re developing, we are doing some condominium financing, we’re doing some multifamily and we’re just also banking good middle market, smaller companies and as well as some of the large publicly traded company. So we’re a full service bank. Our bank has made tremendous progress since the height of the recession, and I’m proud to be a 12-year employee of the company.
Jim Fried: I’ve had nothing but positive experiences whenever I have dealt with Regions. I know that Regions is always on our list when we’re looking to place a loan. I know that you guys had your issues early, like everybody did, but I also know that you address them early, so you’re able to be out of the box back in business faster than most, and I would recommend Regions as a bank to anybody, either on a consumer level, a business level or on a commercial real estate level. As I have said, we’ve had great success.
Hey, Joe, we only got a couple of seconds left, so I want to thank you for being on the show. You were sponsored by IMNs Annual Bank & Financial Institutions Special Asset & Workout Conference. They’ve got to find a way to shorten that title a little bit. But I will see you on February 11th and 12th. Everybody, one last time, if you want to see Joe and I and learn the REO game, go to IMN’s website, use the code JF20, you will get a 20% discount.
Joe, I want to thank you for being on the show today.
Joseph C. Erwin: Thank you, Jim. I look forward to seeing you here in a couple of weeks.
Jim Fried: Can’t wait. Joe, Joe Erwin, he is the head of Special Assets here for Regions Bank and we will see him at the IMN Conference in a couple days.
Dee, it’s all yours. We’ll be right back with Andrew Morton. He is the philanthropy attorney to the stars. You’re not going to want to miss this. Back after this.[Commercial Break]
Jim Fried: All right. We played ‘We Can Work It Out’ for our banker who does the bank work. When you’re looking to buy or lease a car, you want to get every advantage that you can. That’s why you have to check out our friends and your friends, with Warren Henry, Land Rover, Range Rover, Infiniti and Jaguar, they’re all exceptional cars, they all come with the Warren Henry Advantage. That means complementary dent repair, key replacement for service and a personal assistant that you can call for anything, anytime for four years, always the best, price, always the best service, always Warren Henry.[Commercial Break]
Jim Fried: Hey, everybody. You don’t have to be a world class athlete to be treated like one. I know I don’t. I go to Dr. Kaplan, and you can too. Renowned orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lee Kaplan and his team at UHealth Sports Medicine are the official medical providers of the Miami Hurricanes and the Miami Marlins, and they could be your care team, too, combining unsurpassed expertise with care that puts you first. UHealth Sports Medicine is the regions only university-based sports medicine provider. That means you have access to the very latest treatments often before they’re available anywhere else in South Florida. It’s all geared towards getting you back in the game quickly and safely. To schedule your appointment, visit uhealthsportsmedicine.com today.[Commercial Break]
Joseph C. Erwin: All right. You heard Frank Rodriguez talk about the CCIM. I want you to join me, Wednesday, January 21st when CCIM has its Annual Commercial Real Estate Conference. It’s at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 North Greenway Drive. Go to ccimmiamioutlookconference.com for more information and be there. We will be broadcasting live on a remote. It will be our 300th show. We will celebrate show 300 with the CCIM’s this coming Wednesday, January 21st. And UHealth, that’s the University of Miami Health System that brings you the brightest minds and best care right here in South Florida. UHealth is big. It includes more than 300 specialty doctors, dozens of locations from Miami to Palm Beach Gardens and now UHealth is in plantation.
What sets UHealth apart is the comprehensive approach they bring to health care. You might have several doctors for a couple of different health issues, but do they ever talk to each other or ever cross-reference your symptoms and medications to make sure your care is second to none? At UHealth, they do more than collaborative care, UHealth is sponsored by the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine where research and clinical trials brings state of the art treatment to our community.
These are some of the best rated hospitals in the country. UHealth includes the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute ranked number one by U.S. News & World Report for 11 and I’m sure 12 years soon in a row; and it also includes the world renowned Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Make sure you go to RideDCC and get involved with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Dolphins as they continue to work together to raise money to cure cancer. You can learn more about UHealth through the UHealth Discovery Series now online at uhealthdiscovery.com. It focuses on different departments and doctors and patients that make UHealth great and the breakthrough discoveries that are changing healthcare for the better. Discover how breakthrough medicine from UHealth can work for you. Call 305-243-4000 or visit uhealthdiscovery.com to learn more today.[Commercial Break]
All right. We are back and we are back with a guy that I have been waiting to talk to on the show for a while. He’s Andrew Morton M.P.P., J.D. My God, what a bunch of initials there. Andrew is a Partner at Handler Thayer LLP and Chair of the firm’s Sports & Entertainment Law Group. His innovative practice operates at the intersection of celebrity and philanthropy, comprising all aspects of high-profile non-profit engagement from the initial formation of the tax-exempt 501(c)(3) to the ongoing oversight, compliance, governance and reporting consistent with legal requirements and best practices.
Andrew, welcome to the show.
Andrew Morton: I appreciate the introduction. I couldn’t do it better myself.
Jim Fried: Yeah, I know. Hey, by the way, I appreciate the great introduction you wrote for yourself.
Andrew Morton: Yeah.
Jim Fried: Now, listen, man. Tell me a little bit about celebrity and philanthropy. We all see these highflying movie stars and sports people and don’t they just do this to look good?
Andrew Morton: They may, but they’re doing it. I guess, from my perspective, celebrity philanthropy is really — it’s about philanthropy and it’s not my job to know what’s between their years. I don’t really care what the motivations are in some respects. I care that they’re doing it and I’m lucky enough to work with just amazing folks who are doing their best as I cliché and say leverage celebrity into philanthropy. It uses that profile and take advantage of the fact that we live in a world where the general public seems to care what celebrities are eating and what they’re wearing and who they’re marrying and who they’re divorcing and who they’re cheating on and maybe they care about what causes they’re giving to give to, and if we can use that profile to help encourage folks to get involve in our profit sector, I’m all for it.
Jim Fried: Well, now there’s a profile of the people that give, there’s a profile of people that don’t. Tell me, who’s the person that’s most likely to give? What type of person do you work with?
Andrew Morton: Well, it’s a great question. I mean, there’s a perception out there, I think, that the only way to do celebrity philanthropy is to be the Tiger Woods, to be the Peyton Manning, to be the super A lister and I’ve made it my mission to send a message that that is fundamentally not true. In a very ironic way, it’s easier to have impact with $50,000 than with $50 million.
Jim Fried: Wait a minute, wait a minute, that doesn’t —
Andrew Morton: A bit non-statement though. I’ll explain it. That is when an organization or an individual goes out and just raises millions and millions of dollars for the non-profit sector, it’s fantastic and of course, I’m all for it. We’re all in favor of that. It’s just very difficult to sort of touch the impacts that you made, and I believe very strongly that the future of philanthropy is to connect people and connect their contributions with the impact they’re making. So, you may have a very high profile event like a Stand Up To Cancer that raised tens of millions of dollars, and like I said, that’s fantastic, but I don’t want it to be the expense at the back of left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals who can’t raise $10 million, but he may be able to raise $10,000 or $20,000 and provide sports equipment for the high school system where he went to school. He may be able to fund a soup kitchen in the city where he plays professional football. That is just as important and it’s sort of one of the thrills in my career that I get to sit in my car and have a 300-pound guy in the passenger seat and pull up to a parking lot and say, “See those kids out there with the shiny new helmets? See the swagger they got now? That’s because you bought them.” And I get to see 300-pound line and crying in my passenger seat and it’s just a fantastic experience.
Jim Fried: Well, you’ve got a 205-pound real estate executive doing the same thing while you’re talking to him on the radio.
Andrew Morton: You look much better on the radio.
Jim Fried: Yeah, I know I do. Keep on coming, Andrew. You’re not coming on or actually I can’t wait to have you on again. We talk before and I can’t wait to get to some of the good stories. In fact, tell me a couple of the good stories that we were talking about. Let’s start out with one that was about a celebrity that mismanaged their foundation and then let’s start with one then let’s tell another one about how the celebrity or football player or whatever athlete really made a big impact. I know you’ve got a couple of real good stories. Let’s hear a couple.
Andrew Morton: Well, unfortunately, there are those who get into philanthropy because that’s what the other guys in the locker room are doing or that’s what the other folks on the movie set are doing. I’m not going to suggest that everybody here does it for the right reasons and does it correctly just the same way that the general public tends to follow what the next person is doing, so are these people. But one of the things I always communicate to my clients or to the folks that may be clients is it may be a non-profit, it may be philanthropy, but it’s a business and it needs to be run by a business. It is not just sort of, “Kumbaya, peace and love, I’m doing a non-profit, therefore I’m doing good.” There are plenty of examples where non-profits are doing absolutely nothing and there are examples candidly where they’re making things worst. It is not the case that just because you’re in a non-profit sector, you’re being effective and you’re doing a good thing. So it’s important to communicate that before you get involved in this endeavor, you have to know what you’re getting into and what you’re getting into is starting a business. A non-profit is a corporation. They have a whole lot in common with Microsoft and Mobil and you have to file in your reports, you have to have compliance policies, you have to have board meetings. It’s not just a pet project that you have on the side.
Jim Fried: Yeah, I know.
Andrew Morton: And unfortunately sometimes, I will get the folks who learned that the hard way and more often than not. That I have the opportunity, to meet with folks who haven’t got there yet and we can talk about exactly what it’s involved and how that’s going to fold.
Jim Fried: You were telling me a great story that ties into the Miami Dolphins and the Sylvester Cancer Center and to ridedcc, everybody go to ridedcc.com and sign-up to contribute. Tell me your story about the Dolphins and cancer. Because, this is the one that you’re going to do it again, you make a 205-pound real estate executive cry go for it buddy, I already got the tissues.
Andrew Morton: Well, yeah absolutely. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Executives with the Miami Dolphins who put me in-touch with someone who your listeners may remember. He’s a police officer named Andrew Brooks. His son Dylan about two years ago at eight-years-old was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer and battle for it for about a year and passed away about a year ago. In memory of Dylan the police enabled an association and took contributions. And I’ve worked with Andrew to start a 501(c)(3) that is going to provide care and outreach and support services for the families of those whose children are suffering wherever forms of cancer and other terms that they use. And he’s an amazing guy, I’m hoping that he has a chance to call in some points in and this is just a great example of how with the Miami Dolphin support. With the Miami Dolphin’s sort of making people aware of Dylan’s story, they were able to generate a significant charitable contributions that we now and turn right around and giving back to the community and to those who need it, by supporting their families.
Jim Fried: Andrew, first of all I want to say, “God bless you”. Second of all I want to ask you a favor, can you stick in through the break with us because we’re going to have a break right now. But then we’re going to come back. I’ve got a couple of more questions, I want to ask. Especially about this things you’re going to so with UN starting next year. Big Dee, let’s go out and then we’re going to come back. Can you stick with us for another segment Andrew?
Andrew Morton: Never ask. Yeah, I’ve got us twice, ready to keep talking.
Jim Fried: Yeah, that I could tell already. All right, we’ll be back with Andrew talking celebrities and philanthropy. Dee, take us out and then bring us back.[Commercial Break]
Jim Fried: All right, we are on with Andrew Morton, Andrew to make it short. He is the attorney for the celebrities and sport stars that want to do philanthropy. He’s the celebrity philanthropy attorney. Andrew, you’re still there?
Andrew Morton: I’m still here.
Jim Fried: I didn’t read your intro that time. Sorry, I hope I did you all right.
Andrew Morton: I like that one better.
Jim Fried: All right, cool. We’ve got Drew Brooks holding. Do you think you want to talk to the guy?
Andrew Morton: I would love to call to the officer.
Jim Fried: Big Dee, Mr. Brooks, Officer Brooks, are you there?
Drew Brooks: I’m here. How are you?
Jim Fried: All right. Well, we got you on with Andrew. I think he’s got a couple of things you want to tell them. Go right ahead.
Drew Brooks: Hi Andrew, how are you doing?
Andrew Morton: Hi Joe. I’m doing great. I’m glad you’re at chess going.
Drew Brooks: I just wanted to call in and let them know the fine work that you’re doing, you know. Unfortunately, my son had passed away from brain cancer and I wanted to give back. I kind of loss and not knowing what I do and I got hold off Mr. Morgan and got Team Dillon off the ground. We’re still on the process of the 501(c)(3) status but if, it wasn’t for Andrew, I probably where somewhere. I’m trying to figure out how to do it.
Jim Fried: Well, God bless you Officer Brooks. Is there a website where people can do to take a look at that?
Drew Brooks: Right now, we can go on Facebook. Just type in Team Dillon and there are lots of pictures and just ran 5K. I ran in honoring. At Camp Youth Summer, they’re having a fundraise so I’ve got out there with my life and couple friends and we ran the 5K and honor him. We’ve got and did pictures on there. We’ll be updating it as we go along and soon, we’re going to launch a separate website. It’s still getting it together. I want to appreciate Mr. Morton’s guidance and all of this best.
Jim Fried: Well, Officer Brooks, I can only tell you, I want to thank you for calling in today. I want to bless you and I want to thank you for allowing us to honor you and your son on our show today.
Drew Brooks: We appreciate it. When you do things like this, it’s not only the monetary but to be there for other people and I honor my son that way too by helping others who run unfortunate situation.
Jim Fried: But we honor you, we honor your son. You’re going to be at the Ride DCC event?
Drew Brooks: Yeah, I’ll be volunteering my time to help out in different ways and again, that was started the great Jim Manico. I had the opportunity to meet before he passed away. He’s really a great man and I’ve always happy to volunteer time to help out causes like that, even before, it supported my family.
Jim Fried: God bless you officer. We really do appreciate you’re calling in and letting us know how we can get involve as you honored your son.
Drew Brooks: I appreciate it. I appreciate the time. Thanks Andrew again.
Andrew Morton: Okay, Drew.
Drew Brooks: All right, bye.
Jim Fried: All right, that was Drew Brooks, one of Andrews I’ll just say people he helps change the world every day. Hey, there are kids at UM that you’re going to help them change the world too. Tell me a little bit about that Andrew.
Andrew Morton: Yes. It’s an interesting program that was launched the few years ago, that’s an executive MBA program specifically design for artists and athletes, for those who have a public profile. The idea is that this is a especially design business degree to help educate them on how to take their sort of public awareness, their public status and leverage into business opportunities. What we’ve done is also build out plant to side. So again, it’s all about leveraging celebrity into philanthropy. So as part of this program, which is going to be starting in the next month or so at the University of Miami, the business school, it will help these folks not only learn how to apply their celebrity toward these business opportunities but also go into the nonprofit space and find out what their passion is, what is it that drives them from selling traffic stand point and what’s the best way for them to help move that mission forward as well.
Jim Fried: Well, I can only seamlessly say right now and say we’d love to get some of your clients together with Lawrence’s kids to help protects some of the young kids that get abuse. So we’ll take off the air about that, but I love to talk to you about that. Now, we’ve got a new sponsor on the show. Kind Snacks, if you’ve ever heard a Kind Snack, they support people doing kind stuff.
Andrew Morton: I support Kind quite a bit. In fact, I’m sitting on my car right now and looking at my globe boxes probably about dozen and a half of them.
Jim Fried: Now, what’s your favorite flavor because I want to make sure we get a box to those?
Andrew Morton: I’m salted caramel chocolate guy.
Jim Fried: Oh, I love those too.
Andrew Morton: It’s a good stuff.
Jim Fried: Oh, they are good stuff. Now, let’s get back on this. Now, we represent athletes. You represent celebrities. Dee, how much time do we have left? That’s it in the whole show? Okay, we’ve got two minutes together and then I’m going to have two minutes for my wrap. Okay, we’re getting a hand signals. Can you read between the lines? I know you can.
All right, we’ve got two minutes left with you Andrew. So what’s the difference between a celebrity and an athlete?
Andrew Morton: I think athlete is subset. I think celebrity generally to me. After singer shows, teams, leagues, anybody or anything that I has the availability to move public opinion.
Jim Fried: Okay, so it’s the same thing than the athletes and the celebrities are kind of the same and you said that the athletes are subset. Can you tell us another cool story? You’ve got about a minute left.
Andrew Morton: That other one. That other one which says, that narrows it down about 300. Yeah, here’s what I’ll say is sort of winding down. I’ll ask myself a question and then answer is it. I’m often ask, when you it comes to celebrity as plan to be, are these guys just doing for the tax break or are they doing it to make themselves look good? And the sure answer is absolutely not. Really speaking, there is no tax break to a celebrity who takes the fairly spectacular staff of starting 501(c)(3). There’s no tax break any different than you or I who write a check out of our check book, so the United Way or the Boys and Girls Clubs.
You get a deduction on your taxes, that’s it. There’s no extra deduction for doing itself and creating your own organization but there is a tremendous, tremendous that required. So when I hear people say that they think that it’s a self interested kind of thing and they’re just doing it because they’re rich and we’re going to hide money, that is not only legally and factually wrong but it’s just sort of philosophically missing the point. I mean these are people who, in most cases, grew up, being athlete out of especially from under privilege environments and made their way to success and this is their way to get back.
Jim Fried: Andrew, I got to go. I got to go. Can you come back and tell me more good stories?
Andrew Morton: I would love to come back and say more stories and I’ll talk faster.
Jim Fried: All right, all right. You’ll talk faster next time. I want to thank you Andrew Morton from Handler Thayer. I want to thank our new sponsor Kind Snacks. Andrew likes Kind snacks, Berkowitz Pollack Brant. Make sure you go to Ride DCC and sponsor the NFL alumni and Miami Marlins and Social Media 305, South Florida Business and Wealth Magazine, the CCIM. My God, it takes me forever to read these sponsors. As to group, Social Media 305, the Miami Marlins, Lauren’s Kids, Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, UHealth but especially our listeners. If you missed the show, it will be on the website.
We’ll be on next week broadcasting Live Show 300 from the CCIM Annual Event. This is not a rehearsal. This is your life. The first to what you do something, finds the way the other, finds the excuse. Now, go out there and make it happened Dee. It’s all yours.