Toeing the Line: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s Possible Conflicts of Interest as Federal Employees

By Elizabeth Rice

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Federal employees are required to adhere to ethical standards of conduct, including eliminating conflicts of interest that may arise from their business and financial assets.  In their roles as federal employees, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner continue to hold business and financial assets that may result in conflicts of interest in the course of their duties.  This note provides a general background about federal conflicts of interest, including the process of divestiture federal employees must follow.  It then examines more closely the problematic assets of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and the ways in which they may manage these assets so as to avoid conflicts of interest.… Read the rest

Staying the Night: Integrating Home-Sharing Platforms into the Hospitality Industry

By Bryan Boccelli

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Home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb have taken the hospitality industry by storm over the last decade, and show no signs of slowing down in terms of use and popularity. This note argues for a better integration of the home-sharing economy into the hospitality industry. An integration such as the one proposed would streamline regulations and taxes applied to short-term living situations such as those applied to the hotel industry. Conversely, there are some aspects of home-sharing that would be beneficial if applied to the hotel industry that would be mutually beneficial. By working to better integrate these two portions of the hospitality industry, the result could be a great benefit to not only the consumer, but to hotel owners, home-sharing patrons, and state economies.… Read the rest

The Sharing Economy: Airbnb’s Discrimination Problem

By Jason Shultz

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Racial discrimination is a systemic issue deeply rooted in American society. One company within the sharing economy cannot possibly change the behavior of the individual hosts that are essentially landlords. This Note examines how Airbnb hopes to achieve an inclusive community for its users, how the new policies will affect hosts and guests, as well as Airbnb as a corporation, and how the traditional Fair Housing Act applies to Airbnb’s hosts. Finally, this analysis will illustrate how Airbnb’s new focus on inclusion will impact the sharing economy as a whole. Airbnb needs to work with the government to change the current exceptions that allow certain landlords to discriminate against classes of people. These changes include both eliminating the exceptions and reclassifying how landlords are treated under government regulations. By working with lawmakers and other sharing economy companies, Airbnb can make a large impact … Read the rest

Hotel Conglomerates and AirBnB: The Tale of lobbyists thwarting a cheap stay in the Big Apple.

Some people refer to it as the City of Dreams. The Big Apple. The Melting Pot. The Capital of the World. Or the City that Never Sleeps. Regardless of the chosen alias or nickname, there is one universal truth about New York, New York.  That is—that it sure isn’t cheap! In fact, some would say that it’s outrageously expensive! So for all the accolades and attractions that have rightfully earned the city its share of global admirers, there exists a rather large barricade for those wishing to experience the city. A former candidate for mayor in New York City ran under the appropriately coined political party known as—“The rent is TOO damn high.”[i]  The average rent for an apartment in NYC? $3,017 a month.[ii] The average cost of purchasing a Manhattan apartment? $1.425 million.[iii] The average cost of a hotel stay in the city? A hair under Read the rest

What’s Mine is Yours: Takings After Kelo

“The sacred rights of property are to be guarded at every point. I call them sacred, because, if they are unprotected, all other rights become worthless or visionary.” Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1852.

Security in ones’ property has been a fundamental tenant of our society since its inception.  The Fifth Amendment enumerates this vital right and has served as a refuge against the government unjustly interfering with individual property rights for centuries. But, as judicial interpretation develops over time, a startling trend has emerged that could profoundly shape the future of the taking of private lands by the government. The landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London marked a radical shift in what could be construed as a legitimate taking based on a state’s police power. (1) This ruling has resulted in many states drafting new legislation in an attempt to temper the controversial ruling. (2) Read the rest

Regulatory Takings in Real Property: Fact or Fiction?

We are constantly changing the fundamental character of property ownership in this country.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the real property arena. As the past few years have shown us, real estate has morphed from a long-term, stable investment to become a hugely derivative enterprise, which has diversified and become interconnected with other sectors of the economy as never before.  The argument has been made that real estate has lost its original character and that it has become commoditizedRegardless of one’s position on this question it is clear that because of this continual transformation, takings law is constantly pressured to look at situations where the new concept of economic devaluation of property must be reconciled with the traditional notion of the bundle of sticks, and the state’s inability to render that bundle obsolete by legislative action, without compensation. Herein lies the basic regulatory takings Read the rest

Transfer Fee Covenants and Homeowner’s Associations



In August 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed “Guidance on Private Transfer Fee Covenants” (No. 2010-N-11) that would prohibit Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks from purchasing mortgages with private transfer fee covenants.  A private transfer fee is charged each time a property subject to such a covenant is sold.  The fee is typically calculated as a percentage of the property’s sales price.  These covenants are commonly used by homeowner associations.

FHFA’s stated reason for this decision was that these covenants “appear adverse to liquidity, affordability and stability in the housing finance market and to financially safe and sound investments.”  FHFA was further concerned with the private income streams created by these covenants and whether all of the money collected was used for the stated purpose of the fees.  Another concern was with disclosure of the fees since they can be hidden

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Possible Change on the Horizon for Foreclosure Law


The current financial crisis ushered in by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market has shaken the foundations of our financial markets, exposed numerous Ponzi schemes, most infamously that of Bernard Madoff, and resulted in a tremendous increase in home foreclosures and bankruptcies.  In many of the current bankruptcy cases the line between a fraudulent conveyance and a legitimate transfer can make a difference of millions of dollars for the legitimate creditors.   In the realm of real estate, this situation has placed on the courts the burden of deciding which is more important: fair and equitable distribution of assets among creditors, or the historical distinctions between fraudulent conveyance law and foreclosure law.  

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s a trend emerged whereby Bankruptcy courts began to allow homeowners who had become insolvent to avoid sales of foreclosed properties that occurred as early as 1 year before Read the rest

Reading between the law: A case study of the Home Repair and Remodeling Act of Illinois

I.          Introduction

            When thinking about judicial activism, the first thing that comes to mind often is the Supreme Court of the United States making decisions regarding civil rights. However, judges expand the law and create exceptions thereto in many fields and at many levels. The purpose of this article is not to question whether judicial activism exists, or even whether or not it is proper to practice it. Instead, this article considers one instance of activism in an everyday legal situation and then analyzes a series of judicial approaches and considers the ramifications of each.

A trial judge in Illinois once ordered an unnecessary evidentiary hearing, noting that he would “err on the side of caution… and allow [the case] to go forward” hoping that “some day, [he would] be enlightened by the Appellate Court… [as to] whether there can ever be an exception to the application of … Read the rest

Deficient in Deficiencies: The Potential Effects of the Refusal to Uphold Full-Recourse, Residential Real Estate Loans

I. Introduction

Foreclosures have taken on a new significance in the last few years as a result of the financial crisis. This has the led the finer points of the foreclosure proceedings to become extremely important for many lenders, and for many borrowers in default. One potentially important practice is the oft-rumored, but rarely documented routine of certain judges to simply refuse to grant any deficiency judgments in personal foreclosures. Cases have been brought before higher courts across the country, leading to judges being rebuked for ill-advised activism in refusing to properly entertain requests for deficiency judgments. [1] In light of the record number of foreclosures taking place in the last two years [2], a lack of deficiency judgments may prove to have a significant effect on banks and may lead to a change in the practices of many banks. The purpose of this article is to question what effects Read the rest