Summary

Kostas is co-chair of the firm's Public Finance and Economic Development practice. He focuses his practice on project finance, public-private partnerships and economic development, providing strategic advice to real estate development firms, private equity funds, government entities, commercial banks, manufacturers and companies.

Kostas has served as bond counsel, bank counsel, developer’s counsel and/or underwriter's counsel in a variety of bond and project financings, including general obligation bonds, economic development revenue bonds, tax increment revenue bonds, and building corporation lease rental bonds. Kostas also negotiates and provides strategic advice on using federal, state and local incentives as part of project financing structures.

In addition, he provides advice on matters related to strategies for combining economic development incentives and private equity, project financing credit enhancement structures, tax increment financing (TIF), private-public partnerships (P3s), tax benefits related to Qualified Opportunity Zones, forming Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds for private equity investment, EB5 financing and project financing. Kostas was named Top 25 Most Influential Opportunity Zone Attorney by Opportunity Zone Magazine and is a graduate of the Venture Capital Institute.

Prior to joining Taft, Kostas was a member of his previous firm’s Executive Committee and chair of the firm’s Public Finance, Municipal and Economic Development Practice Group.  Before private practice, Kostas served as Special Assistant to Governor Evan Bayh (IN-D) implementing government efficiency programs across multiple state agencies and thereafter was appointed by Governor Bayh as Executive Director of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the state agency responsible for implementing the Telecommunications act of 1996.  Kostas was later appointed by Governor Frank O’Bannon (IN-D) and reappointed by Governor Joe Kernan (IN-D) as Deputy Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance during Indiana’s statewide transition to a market-value in use property tax system. Both Governor Bayh and Governor Kernan each awarded him a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana's highest civilian honor.  He also served as a member and Parliamentarian of the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee. Kostas also served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Indiana and as a federal law clerk to the Honorable Lawrence S. Margolis on the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.

Awards

  • A Top 25 Most Influential Opportunity Zone Attorney by Opportunity Zone Magazine

All Service Areas

Education

  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education (Private Equity & Venture Capital Program)
  • The American University School of International Service, Washington, D.C. (M.A.)
  • Ball State University (B.S.)

Admissions

  • Federal - U.S. Supreme Court
  • Federal - U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • Federal - U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Federal - U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • Federal - U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • Federal - U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • State - Indiana
  • State - Illinois

Notable Matters

Public-Private Partnerships

  • Negotiated and structured $62 million in economic development tax and financing for $240 million biodiesel facility.
  • Counsel to municipality in connection with $834 million in economic development incentives to a major U.S. automotive manufacturer.
  • Developed strategy and negotiated $57.5 million for a $490 million alternative energy facility.
  • Advised multinational civil and defense aerospace manufacturer in negotiating $23 million in economic development incentives.
  • Advised municipality on strategy for attracting manufacturing company to relocate headquarters using various economic development and project financing options.
  • Advised manufacturer in negotiating economic development incentive package, including personal property abatement, $1.5 million in economic development tax increment bonds and $13 million of tax-exempt bonds.  
  • Represented pharmaceutical manufacturer in negotiating $1.2 million in local and state economic development incentives, $8 million in tax increment financing support and $45 million in tax-exempt project financing.
  • Represented manufacturing company in negotiating brownfield redevelopment and property acquisition using tax increment financing and economic development incentives.   

Project Finance

  • Project finance counsel for hotel and convention center public-private partnership.
  • Represented real estate private equity funds in retail, commercial and hotel acquisition and financing.
  • Structured 100% financing as bank counsel for $30 million hotel project.
  • Advised investment fund and real estate developers structure Qualified Opportunity Zone projects for hotel acquisition and construction financing.
  • Counsel to EB5 Regional Center for various real estate projects; advised on EB5 compliance and capital stack formation strategy.

Public Finance

  • Bond counsel for $67 million state finance authority environmental refunding bonds.
  • Bond counsel for tax increment financing of hotel and multifamily projects.
  • Served as bond counsel on taxable and tax-exempt bond structure for retail and multifamily projects.
  • Underwriter’s counsel for $85 million capital facilities lease appropriation bonds.
  • Underwriter's counsel for $95 million school building corporation refunding bonds.
  • Bond counsel on numerous municipal general obligation, revenue, public improvement, infrastructure, utility, storm water and refunding bonds.

Speeches and Publications

  • Publication, "Opportunity Zones: What Investors Need to Know," Crain's Chicago Business, Sept. 30, 2019.
  • Panel moderator, "Investment Primer for Family Offices," Opportunity Zones Forum (Midwest), Chicago, Sept. 19, 2019.
  • Speaker, "Opportunity Zones," Municipal Finance Officers Association 2019 Meeting #2, July 16, 2019.
  • Panel moderator, "Investments that Matter: How Impactful Development Can Incorporate CRA, Workforce, Affordable Housing with Opportunity Zones and Other Private-Public Partnerships (P3s)," 2019 Opportunity Zone Expo Las Vegas, May 9-10, 2019.
  • Panelist, "Spotlight on Commercial and Industrial Redevelopment," Regional Economic Diversification Summit, sponsored by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) on May 1, 2019.
  • Inside Indiana Business article “Indiana Continues to Push Opportunity Zones," March 14, 2019.
  • Panelist, “Jumpstarting Communities with Investment – A Detailed Discussion about Opportunity Zones,” Indiana Construction Roundtable, March 14, 2019.
  • Panelist, "Investment Panel 4 - When to Head Out: Understanding your Fund(s) and Exit Strategies," Opportunity Zone Expo, Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 25, 2019.
  • Moderator, "Making the Most of EB-5 in Ohio," CDFA Ohio Conference, Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 7, 2017.
  • Speaker, "Structuring the Deal," Chicago Urban League and Angel Resource Institute’s (ARI) Angel Investor Overview, Chicago, Ill., May 25, 2016.

Professional Affiliations

  • National Association of Bond Lawyers

    Member

  • International Council of Shopping Centers

    Member

  • Illinois Tax Increment Association

    Member

  • Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois

    Member

  • Awarded Sagamore of the Wabash (Indiana Governor Bayh and Governor Kernan)
  • Chicago Council on Global Affairs

    Member

  • Top 25 Most Influential Opportunity Zone Attorney by Opportunity Zone Magazine, 2019