Karl is a member of Taft’s Public Finance & Economic Development, Real Estate, Land Use, and Local Government groups. Karl focuses his practice on all aspects of obtaining the governmental financial assistance and approvals necessary for the development of real estate, infrastructure, and utilities. His practice includes the areas of municipal bonds and other securities, tax increment financing and other tax incentives, land use and zoning, and general state and local government representation. Drawing on years of experience as outside general counsel to units of local government and nine years of experience before law school working in local government, politics, and association management, Karl helps clients navigate complex legal, political, and bureaucratic processes to accomplish their finance and development goals.
Land Use and Zoning
Karl has drafted, applied, and interpreted land use and zoning regulations on behalf of various suburban municipalities located in Cook, Lake, and Kane Counties, in Illinois. He has also prepared land use ordinances documenting municipal land use and zoning approvals, including re-zonings, variations, special uses, and planned unit developments. Additionally, Karl has experience representing municipalities with respect to subdivision approvals and annexations.
When working with private clients, Karl’s municipal experience is a great asset in obtaining the land use and zoning approvals necessary for the development of real estate. Karl guides clients through complex political and bureaucratic processes to help obtain such approvals and accomplish clients’ goals.
Karl also has experience representing municipalities and developers in litigation involving land use, zoning, and other governmental approvals, including constitutional litigation involving alleged exactions, takings, and due process challenges.
Tax Increment Financing and Economic Development
Karl represents both developers and units of local government with respect to tax increment financing, tax credits and incentives, tax rebates and abatements, special service areas, and other economic development and financing tools and incentives.
Karl has advised multiple municipalities regarding the establishment of new tax increment financing districts and the substantial amendment of existing tax increment financing districts, including compliance with statutory procedures and preparation of all documents required by law. Karl also has experience assisting municipalities in restructuring distressed tax increment financing districts.
Karl draws on this municipal experience and his experience in local government and politics to assist developers and property owners in approaching units of local government regarding the establishment of tax increment financing districts and the acquisition of tax increment financing assistance. Karl has experience conceiving, negotiating, and documenting tax increment financing structures, including bonds and notes secured by tax increment revenue.
In addition to tax increment financing, Karl has assisted developers and property owners in obtaining tax abatements, tax rebates, tax credits, and other development assistance and incentives.
On behalf of municipalities and developers, Karl has negotiated and documented development agreements that include complex terms related to tax increment financing and other financing incentives and tools.
Karl represents issuers, underwriters, and purchasers of municipal securities, as well as developers who receive the proceeds of those securities, in transactions involving the issuance of general obligation bonds, various types of revenue bonds, tax increment financing bonds and notes, bond anticipation notes, tax anticipation notes, and other forms of municipal securities. Karl also has experience counseling issuers regarding post-issuance compliance with United States securities and tax laws, including the preparation of post-issuance compliance policies and trainings.
Before law school, Karl worked for nine years in local government and politics. As chief of staff for a New York City council member, Karl was responsible for the council member’s legislative, fiscal, intergovernmental, political, and constituent affairs. Karl also served as special assistant to the president of the American Bar Association.
Karl received his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Northwestern University. He earned his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law, where he also received Senior Research Honors.
Honoree, Ones to Watch, Best Lawyers in America, 2021
All Service Areas
- Northwestern University School of Law (2012)
magna cum laude
- Northwestern University (2000)
- State - Illinois
Land Use and Zoning Matters:
- Representation of developer in seeking planned unit development approval for 50-60 unit townhome development in municipality in DuPage County, Illinois.
- Representation of construction company in negotiations with municipality in Cook County, Illinois, regarding potential annexation of property and applicable land use and zoning regulations.
- Representation of developer in seeking planned unit development approval for mixed-use development consisting of 240-260 units of residential housing and ground-floor retail in municipality located in Cook and Lake Counties, Illinois.
- Representation of municipality in Kane County, Illinois, regarding land use and zoning approvals and development agreement with national big box retailer.
- Representation of various municipalities in Cook, Lake, and Kane Counties in Illinois regarding drafting, applying, and interpreting land use and zoning regulations, and documenting various land use and zoning approvals.
- Negotiation and preparation of development agreements documenting complex land use and zoning approvals and conditions on behalf of both municipalities and developers.
Tax Increment and Financing Matters:
- Representation of various suburban municipalities located in Cook, Lake, and Kane Counties in Illinois regarding the establishment of new and substantial amendment of existing tax increment financing districts in.
- Representation of multiple municipalities located in Cook County, Illinois, regarding restructuring distressed tax increment financing districts.
- Representation of national affordable housing developer in the establishment of tax increment financing districts in, and the acquisition of tax increment financing assistance from, municipality located in Rock Island County, Illinois.
- Representation of developer in seeking tax increment financing assistance from a suburban municipality located in Cook and Lake Counties, Illinois, for a new mixed-use development.
- Representation of biofuel energy company in seeking tax increment financing assistance and enterprise zone benefits from municipality located in Jasper County, Illinois.
Public Finance Matters:
- General obligation advance refunding bonds issued by suburban municipality in Kane County, Illinois (issuer’s counsel).
- General obligation refunding bonds and general obligation limited tax debt certificates issued by suburban municipality in Cook County, Illinois (disclosure counsel).
- General obligation bonds and taxable general obligation bonds (Alternative Revenue Source) issued by suburban municipality in Cook County, Illinois (underwriter’s counsel).
- Ad Valorem Property Tax First Mortgage Bonds and Financing Leases for various school building corporations and school corporations in Indiana (issuer’s counsel).
- Tax increment financing and economic development income tax revenue bonds issued by a municipality in Howard County, Indiana (issuer’s counsel).
- Interest rate conversion and exchange of environmental refunding revenue bonds and pollution control revenue refunding bonds issued by State of Indiana and Boone County, Kentucky (counsel for qualified entity receiving bond proceeds).
- Preparation of post-issuance compliance policies and training for issuers located in Illinois and Indiana.
Speeches and Publications
- Panelist, “A Walk Around the Block: Sourcing Solid Zones and Property,” Opportunity Zone Expo, Chicago, Illinois. August 12, 2019.
- Panelist, "Higher Education Panel," Bridge Group regional meeting, Houston, Texas. Presented regard public private partnerships for the design, financing, construction, and operation of student housing. May 3, 2019
- Panelist and speaker, Illinois Community College Chief Financial Officers conference, Starved Rock Conference Center, Starved Rock, IL. Presented regarding the potential for public-private partnerships to build college facilities as an alternative to traditional procurement and financing structures used by Illinois community colleges. Part of a panel about alternative project delivery methods. May 1, 2019
- Speaker, "Law of Real Estate: Tax Increment Financing," Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and Kellogg School of Management, Nov. 28, 2018
Effect of COVID-19 on Governmental Approvals Made at Public Meetings and Public Hearings in Illinois, March 20, 2020
- National Association of Bond Lawyers
- American Bar Association Standing Committee on Public Education