High School Drinking Problems – Avoiding Trouble and Issues

Most of us can remember how difficult and demanding high school was. In addition to the usual problems of trying to fit in, coping with schoolwork, sports pressures, homework and keeping up grades, many of today’s students also have the temptation of alcohol and its associated problems. This means either the effects of taking substances or trying to avoid peer pressure to drink.

Teen drinking statistics are startling – over seventy percent of high school students have drunk alcohol at some point; around 25 percent have even tried binge drinking, generally defined as five or more drinks. Perhaps even more frightening is that over twenty eight percent of high school students have been the passenger in a car driven by a drunk student driver.

Why do high school students drink? Many teenagers drink to fit in, to be seen as popular or cool. It is all too easy to submit to peer pressure when you are at school, whether it is drinking, smoking or getting in trouble. Alcohol is often widely available and taken for granted at many parties; along with nicotine, marijuana and various other drugs. Some students drink because one or both parents have a drinking problem and there are underlying family issues.

Unfortunately, the results of high school drinking can be devastating, sometimes fatal. Most teenagers simply cannot handle drinking alcohol and can quickly become aggressive,impulsive, moody or depressed. Most teens aren’t skillful or experienced drivers to begin with; alcohol can make their driving even worse and endanger both themselves and their passenger. One’s ability to judge perspective is impaired and mistakes can be made. The sooner a person starts to drink alcohol, the earlier they may develop liver trouble and other serious health problems.

Alcohol consumption can adversely affect a student’s course work and ultimately their end of year grades; even their ability to attend university. What isn’t as widely realized is that excessive or even occasional alcohol consumption can also affect a student’s athletic ability; in fact it is estimated that a single night of drinking can undo two weeks of training. This isn’t realized by a lot of kids and most feel invincible.

If you are a parent or teacher reading this, the best thing that you can do is to educate your student on the dangers of underage drinking. Of course, getting in trouble with the law is another area of concern that can result in probation or drug court. If you are a high school student reading this and thinking of drinking, don’t allow yourself to give in to peer pressure – it just isn’t worth it.

Posted in Law and Issues | Tagged | Comments Off

10 Things Every Buyer Needs – To Close A Commercial Real Estate Loan

For nearly 30 years, I have represented borrowers and lenders in commercial real estate transactions. During this time it has become apparent that many Buyers do not have a clear understanding of what is required to document a commercial real estate loan. Unless the basics are understood, the likelihood of success in closing a commercial real estate transaction is greatly reduced.Throughout the process of negotiating the sale contract, all parties must keep their eye on what the Buyer’s lender will reasonably require as a condition to financing the purchase. This may not be what the parties want to focus on, but if this aspect of the transaction is ignored, the deal may not close at all.Sellers and their agents often express the attitude that the Buyer’s financing is the Buyer’s problem, not theirs. Perhaps, but facilitating Buyer’s financing should certainly be of interest to Sellers. How many sale transactions will close if the Buyer cannot get financing?This is not to suggest that Sellers should intrude upon the relationship between the Buyer and its lender, or become actively involved in obtaining Buyer’s financing. It does mean, however, that the Seller should understand what information concerning the property the Buyer will need to produce to its lender to obtain financing, and that Seller should be prepared to fully cooperate with the Buyer in all reasonable respects to produce that information.Basic Lending CriteriaLenders actively involved in making loans secured by commercial real estate typically have the same or similar documentation requirements. Unless these requirements can be satisfied, the loan will not be funded. If the loan is not funded, the sale transaction will not likely close.For Lenders, the object, always, is to establish two basic lending criteria:1. The ability of the borrower to repay the loan; and2. The ability of the lender to recover the full amount of the loan, including outstanding principal, accrued and unpaid interest, and all reasonable costs of collection, in the event the borrower fails to repay the loan.In nearly every loan of every type, these two lending criteria form the basis of the lender’s willingness to make the loan. Virtually all documentation in the loan closing process points to satisfying these two criteria. There are other legal requirements and regulations requiring lender compliance, but these two basic lending criteria represent, for the lender, what the loan closing process seeks to establish. They are also a primary focus of bank regulators, such as the FDIC, in verifying that the lender is following safe and sound lending practices.Few lenders engaged in commercial real estate lending are interested in making loans without collateral sufficient to assure repayment of the entire loan, including outstanding principal, accrued and unpaid interest, and all reasonable costs of collection, even where the borrower’s independent ability to repay is substantial. As we have seen time and again, changes in economic conditions, whether occurring from ordinary economic cycles, changes in technology, natural disasters, divorce, death, and even terrorist attack or war, can change the “ability” of a borrower to pay. Prudent lending practices require adequate security for any loan of substance.Documenting The LoanThere is no magic to documenting a commercial real estate loan. There are issues to resolve and documents to draft, but all can be managed efficiently and effectively if all parties to the transaction recognize the legitimate needs of the lender and plan the transaction and the contract requirements with a view toward satisfying those needs within the framework of the sale transaction.While the credit decision to issue a loan commitment focuses primarily on the ability of the borrower to repay the loan; the loan closing process focuses primarily on verification and documentation of the second stated criteria: confirmation that the collateral is sufficient to assure repayment of the loan, including all principal, accrued and unpaid interest, late fees, attorneys fees and other costs of collection, in the event the borrower fails to voluntarily repay the loan.With this in mind, most commercial real estate lenders approach commercial real estate closings by viewing themselves as potential “back-up buyers”. They are always testing their collateral position against the possibility that the Buyer/Borrower will default, with the lender being forced to foreclose and become the owner of the property. Their documentation requirements are designed to place the lender, after foreclosure, in as good a position as they would require at closing if they were a sophisticated direct buyer of the property; with the expectation that the lender may need to sell the property to a future sophisticated buyer to recover repayment of their loan.Top 10 Lender DeliveriesIn documenting a commercial real estate loan, the parties must recognize that virtually all commercial real estate lenders will require, among other things, delivery of the following “property documents”:1. Operating Statements for the past 3 years reflecting income and expenses of operations, including cost and timing of scheduled capital improvements;2. Certified copies of all Leases;3. A Certified Rent Roll as of the date of the Purchase Contract, and again as of a date within 2 or 3 days prior to closing;4. Estoppel Certificates signed by each tenant (or, typically, tenants representing 90% of the leased GLA in the project) dated within 15 days prior to closing;5. Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment (“SNDA”) Agreements signed by each tenant;6. An ALTA lender’s title insurance policy with required endorsements, including, among others, an ALTA 3.1 Zoning Endorsement (modified to include parking), ALTA Endorsement No. 4 (Contiguity Endorsement insuring the mortgaged property constitutes a single parcel with no gaps or gores), and an Access Endorsement (insuring that the mortgaged property has access to public streets and ways for vehicular and pedestrian traffic);7. Copies of all documents of record which are to remain as encumbrances following closing, including all easements, restrictions, party wall agreements and other similar items;8. A current Plat of Survey prepared in accordance with 2011 Minimum Standard Detail for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys, certified to the lender, Buyer and the title insurer;9. A satisfactory Environmental Site Assessment Report (Phase I Audit) and, if appropriate under the circumstances, a Phase 2 Audit, to demonstrate the property is not burdened with any recognized environmental defect; and10. A Site Improvements Inspection Report to evaluate the structural integrity of improvements.To be sure, there will be other requirements and deliveries the Buyer will be expected to satisfy as a condition to obtaining funding of the purchase money loan, but the items listed above are virtually universal. If the parties do not draft the purchase contract to accommodate timely delivery of these items to lender, the chances of closing the transaction are greatly reduced.Planning for Closing CostsThe closing process for commercial real estate transactions can be expensive. In addition to drafting the Purchase Contract to accommodate the documentary requirements of the Buyer’s lender, the Buyer and his advisors need to consider and adequately plan for the high cost of bringing a commercial real estate transaction from contract to closing.If competent Buyer’s counsel and competent lender’s counsel work together, each understanding what is required to be done to get the transaction closed, the cost of closing can be kept to a minimum, though it will undoubtedly remain substantial. It is not unusual for closing costs for a commercial real estate transaction with even typical closing issues to run thousands of dollars. Buyers must understand this and be prepared to accept it as a cost of doing business.Sophisticated Buyers understand the costs involved in documenting and closing a commercial real estate transaction and factor them into the overall cost of the transaction, just as they do costs such as the agreed upon purchase price, real estate brokerage commissions, loan brokerage fees, loan commitment fees and the like.Closing costs can constitute significant transaction expenses and must be factored into the Buyer’s business decision-making process in determining whether to proceed with a commercial real estate transaction. They are inescapable expenditures that add to Buyer’s cost of acquiring commercial real estate. They must be taken into account to determine the “true purchase price” to be paid by the Buyer to acquire any given project and to accurately calculate the anticipated yield on investment.Some closing costs may be shifted to the Seller through custom or effective contract negotiation, but many will unavoidably fall on the Buyer. These can easily total tens of thousands of dollars in an even moderately sized commercial real estate transaction in the $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 price range.Costs often overlooked, but ever present, include title insurance with required lender endorsements, an ALTA Survey, environmental audit(s), a Site Improvements Inspection Report and, somewhat surprisingly, Buyers attorney’s fees.For reasons that escape me, inexperienced Buyers of commercial real estate, and even some experienced Buyers, nearly always underestimate attorneys fees required in any given transaction. This is not because they are unpredictable, since the combined fees a Buyer must pay to its own attorney and to the Lender’s attorney typically aggregate around 1% of the Purchase Price. Perhaps it stems from wishful thinking associated with the customarily low attorneys fees charged by attorneys handling residential real estate closings. In reality, the level of sophistication and the amount of specialized work required to fully investigate and document a transaction for a Buyer of commercial real estate makes comparisons with residential real estate transactions inappropriate. Sophisticated commercial real estate investors understand this. Less sophisticated commercial real estate buyers must learn how to properly budget this cost.ConclusionConcluding negotiations for the sale/purchase of a substantial commercial real estate project is a thrilling experience but, until the transaction closes, it is only ink on paper. To get to closing, the contract must anticipate the documentation the Buyer will be required to deliver to its lender to obtain purchase money financing. The Buyer must also be aware of the substantial costs to be incurred in preparing for closing so that Buyer may reasonably plan its cash requirements for closing. With a clear understanding of what is required, and advanced planning to satisfy those requirements, the likelihood of successfully closing will be greatly enhanced.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off

Abstract Art Is a Sensory Experience Which Reveals the Emotions Within the Artist

An Art Form Similar to PoetryAbstract expressionism art is often compared to poetry, because like a poem gives something of what the poet’s feelings are, this kind of art also reveals the feelings and attitudes of the artist. By experimenting with color and forms, the artist can reveal emotions and feelings that may not have been accurately depicted in a traditional painting.An Art Depicting Feelings about a Rapidly Changing WorldAbstract artists want to show their feelings in their art which is different from traditional styles of art which are more of a representational interpretation of a subject. An abstract artist will take an object and exaggerate it, making it look more simpler or more complicated than it actually is.This art style started in 1911 by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, born in 1866, and who painted the first pure abstract works. He claimed that ‘Abstract expressionism art places a new world, which on the surface has nothing to do with “reality,” next to the “real” world’.With the Great Depression of the 1930′s together with the Second World War, other artists also wanted a visual language that would reveal the horrors they saw in their rapidly changing world. The language of abstract art meant they could communicate thoughts and emotions; they wanted to find new ways to express their changing world which the 20th century brought along, and these new ideas were reflected in art.A Combination of Art which Offers Longevity and CreativityMatisse and Picasso had already begun to move away from traditional painting techniques and starting with abstraction in their work. Picasso has had a tremendous influence on the course of art, and when he first appeared on the Paris scene in 1900, artists were still following the principle that there should be some relationship between what they put on canvas and the object from which the painting was derived.Picasso though had begun with abstract art and was painting objects as interlocking geometrical forms of color and light. Soon everything he did involved a maze of forms and angles, often with no similarity to its visual reality.Picasso himself stated ‘we no longer wanted to fool the eye; we wanted to fool the mind’, and this step led to modern art as we know it today,. The change was among the most far reaching in painting since the Renaissance. Artists were no longer painting what they saw, but rather interpretations of what they were seeing.Art is a Universal LanguageArt is an expression of thoughts; a universal language which everyone can understand, and abstract expressionism art is just one example of an art form which comes from the creative mind of the artist. We all have various ways to express our thoughts, but art is one of the most creative and exquisite ways to do so.Today many people want to own a unique painting created by an established artist whose expressions are similar to theirs, and today abstract art is found in businesses and hospitality establishments around the world, quietly communicating thoughts to all who cast their eyes on them.

Posted in Arts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off