About Jim Butler


Featured Articles

Featured Articles

Hotel Lawyers -- featured subjects and articles
Meet the Money® 2014

ADA defense and compliance

EB-5 financing

Workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships

Hotel Management Agreements

Hotel Franchise & License Agreements

Hotel industry trends

This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer. Please contact me at Jim Butler at jbutler@jmbm.com or 310.201.3526.

Published on:

21 March 2023

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on Data Technology, Privacy & Security.

Data privacy and security continue to be significant issues for hotel owners, operators, brands, and managers, representing the potential for both financial and reputational impacts. One important piece of the puzzle is which of the many entities involved in a hotel property is responsible for collecting, sharing, using and storing the personal data of guests and employees.  Bob Braun, senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Group, gives an overview of current considerations.



Data Security and Privacy in Hospitality – Who’s Paying the Bill?
by Robert Braun, Co-Chair, JMBM Cybersecurity and Privacy Group;
Senior Member, JMBM Global Hospitality Group


One of the most valuable assets of a hotel brand is information – detailed personal information about guests at their hotels, participants in their loyalty programs, and visitors to their websites. This information allows hotel brands to focus on creating guest loyalty, acquiring potential guests, engaging in effective marketing, expanding market share, and creating properties and services that entice and satisfy hotel guests. Because of this, hotel brands have long contended that they “own” hotel guest data and have unencumbered rights to use it, without respect to the interests of hotel owners and even the guests themselves.

While this attitude may have been correct in the past, the world is changing. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Protection Act, the California Privacy Rights Act, and similar laws throughout the United States and the world have turned this idea on its head. Anyone who collects personal data can do so only with the permission of the individual consumer; brands don’t own the personal information of guests, the guests do, and they are the ones who give the operator, brand or owner the right to collect and use it – and they can limit or revoke that right. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

14 March 2023

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on C-PACE Financing.

The Global Hospitality Group of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce the completion of $172 million in C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing transactions for the year 2022. This total includes over $97 million in hotels and condos, more than $58 million in multifamily, and $16 million in senior living facilities.

C-PACE is a low-cost, nonrecourse financing that creates a lien on the real property and is repaid through property taxes. It first emerged as a technique for funding energy-efficiency improvements and has developed into a widely-accepted and practical solution to financing new construction and improvements across all real estate classes.

C-PACE has remained an available and attractive option for financing new construction projects as more traditional financing has been negatively impacted by rising interest rates and the current economic environment. Led by Partner David A. Sudeck, the Group counsels lenders in these transactions and represents some of the leading names in PACE financing. Since 2020, David and his team have been involved in over $400 million in C-PACE loans. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

22 February 2023

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest on labor and employment guidance.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held on February 15, 2023, that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a California law designed to prevent employers from requiring workers to sign mandatory arbitration agreements. This decision is consistent with a long line of State and Federal cases, and is expected to have a significant impact on employment practices in the state, including hotels and everyone in the hospitality industry.

Appeals court blocks California bar
on mandatory arbitration for workers

by JMBM’s Labor & Employment Group

On February 15, 2023, a federal appeals court blocked a California law that prohibited employers from requiring their workers to resolve legal disputes in private arbitration.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in a 2-1 decision held that the law cannot be enforced because it conflicts with federal arbitration law. This ruling hands an important victory to business groups and employers across the state. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

16 February 2023

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

We’re excited to announce that Meet the Money®, the national hotel finance and investment conference, is back on May 1-3, 2023, for its 30th year! Join us for three days of deal-making, networking, and high-level presentations at the Hyatt Regency LAX in Los Angeles, California.

Meet the Money is the Goldilocks of hospitality industry conferences – big enough to attract the executives and leaders you want to meet with, and small enough to create a friendly and approachable environment for one-on-one networking between speakers, sponsors and attendees.

Our goal at Meet the Money is to connect you with the people you want to do business with, whether you’re a hotel owner, developer, investor, advisor, brand, lender, or other capital source. We gather hotel industry thought-leaders to provide you with the insights, analysis, and forecasts that will help you plan for success. Our sponsors, speakers and attendees are some of the best-known names in the industry; will you seize the opportunity to see where these connections can take you?


Registration is now open! You can snag your spot at Meet the Money here.

You can also join our mailing list to get updates on our program, speakers, and accomodations.

Conference FAQs

Is Meet the Money for you? We think it is! Here’s some useful information help you decide.

Who attends Meet the Money?
Our attendees are hotel owners, developers, investors, lenders, operators, advisors, consultants, brands, lenders and other capital providers.

What makes our conference different?
Meet the Money is a hospitality industry conference focused on bringing industry leaders together to make deals and connections. It’s a productive, exciting environment for one-on-one networking between speakers, sponsors and attendees.

How much is registration?
Registration for Meet the Money 2023 is $1,150 per attendee.

What does registration include?
Registration includes:

    • All general sessions, special presentations and networking events during the three-day conference, including our Monday afternoon Investment Boot Camp
    • All conference materials, with attendee list provided on-site
    • Tuesday night’s Grand Welcome Reception
    • Meals during the program on Tuesday and Wednesday

What’s on this year’s program?
A full agenda of general session panels and special presentations will be available on MeetTheMoney.com soon; right now, you can take a look at our overview to get a sense of each day’s schedule. Stay tuned for updates on speakers and panel topics!

Who do I contact if I have questions, or if I’m interested in speaking or sponsoring?
Please reach out to Doreen Filice Gabel, DFilice@jmbm.com.

About Meet the Money®

For 30 years, Meet the Money® has created an energetic environment to forge relationships, negotiate deals, and gain an in-depth understanding of hotel investment and finance. Our national hotel conference attracts heavy hitters and offers an opportunity for productive, one-on-one networking with them. For updates and more information, visit www.MeetTheMoney.com.

Picture of Jim ButlerThis is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and founding partner of JMBM and JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. We provide business and legal advice to hotel owners, developers, independent operators and investors. This advice covers critical hotel issues such as hotel purchase, sale, development, financing, franchise, management, ADA, and IP matters. We also have compelling experience in hotel litigation, union avoidance and union negotiations, and cybersecurity & data privacy.

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® has been involved in more than $123 billion of hotel transactions and more than 4,600 hotel properties located around the globe. Contact me at +1-310-201-3526 or jbutler@jmbm.com to discuss how we can help.

How can we help? Brochure Credentials Photo Gallery

Published on:

23 January 2023

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

The Global Hospitality Group® of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce publication of the 5th edition of The HMA & Franchise Agreement Handbook, a guide for hotel owners, developers, investors and operators considering a hotel management agreement (HMA) or franchise agreement, or dealing with the challenges of termination of one.

Co-authored by JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® Chairman, Jim Butler, senior Group member Robert E. Braun and Mark S. Adams, the 5th edition of The Handbook includes an updated section on why long-term management and franchise agreements may now be terminable, with all-new material exploring historic changes to Maryland law that may affect these contracts on hotels across the country.

The new edition features commentary from two faculty members at Cornell University’s Nolan School of Hotel Administration; an overview by Chekitan S. Dev, the Singapore Tourism Distinguished Professor, and a Foreword by Jan A. deRoos, HVS Professor of Hotel Finance and Real Estate Emeritus. “The authors’ objective of providing the keys for ‘breaking the code’ to HMAs and franchise agreements is fully realized,” writes deRoos. “The work is revised and updated with an understanding that the great questions never change, but the answers do.” CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

09 December 2022

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on Outlook and Trends.

Last month Los Angeles voters approved Measure ULA, imposing a new tax on all real property sales or transfers over $5 million. This will affect all parties involved in a real property transaction, and it is important to understand the implications of the measure before negotiating on a new project. My colleague David Tabibian, partner in JMBM’s Real Estate Department and Global Hospitality Group®, explains the initiative and its potential impact below.

Measure ULA Approved: New Transfer Tax on All Real Property Sales Over $5 Million in the City of Los Angeles

David Tabibian

In an effort to combat the homelessness crisis, Measure ULA (aka the “Homelessness and Housing Solutions Tax”) was recently approved by voters in the City of Los Angeles on November 8, 2022. The measure imposes a very significant increase in transfer taxes on certain real property sales within the City of Los Angeles, which will have far-reaching impacts throughout the real estate market. It is anticipated that the new tax will generate approximately $600 million to $1.1 billion annually in order to fund affordable housing and tenant assistance programs administered by the Los Angeles Housing Department. Given the high cost of this new tax, it is important that buyers, sellers and developers fully understand its implications.

What Does Measure ULA Do?

Although commonly referred to as the “mansion tax,” it is actually much broader in scope since it applies to all real property asset classes, including residential and commercial properties as well as vacant land. In fact, many industry experts anticipate much of the revenue generated from Measure ULA will instead come from sales of apartment buildings and commercial properties as opposed to sales of mansions.

Currently, unless a specific tax exemption applies, all transfers of real property, regardless of value, are subject to a documentary transfer tax from both the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles at a combined rate of $5.60 per $1,000 of consideration. Simply put, it is a 0.56% tax on the consideration received and is collected at the time of closing.

Under the new measure, however, sales of residential and commercial real property valued at over $5 million but less than $10 million would be subject to an additional transfer tax at the rate of 4%, and sales of real property valued at $10 million or more would instead be subject to an additional tax at the rate of 5.5%. In contrast to the existing documentary transfer tax, the value of the property for purposes of the measure will include the value of any lien or encumbrance remaining on the property when it is sold so that the tax is on the gross value, not just the consideration received. Moreover, the tax would be due regardless of whether it is being sold at a gain or a loss. The thresholds under the measure will be adjusted each year for inflation. Although Measure ULA will become law on January 1, 2023, it applies to property sales occurring on or after April 1, 2023. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

23 November 2022

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on Outlook and Trends.

Effective January 1, 2024, companies will have to report their beneficial owners to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as part of the updated Corporate Transparency Act of 2021 (CTA) rules. Unless they are exempt under the CTA, businesses that fail to submit this information may be faced with steep civil or criminal penalties. Vince Farhat and Alan Azar of JMBM’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Group have written an article explaining CTA’s new reporting requirements and how to comply with them below.

FinCEN Issues Final Rule for CTA’s Beneficial Owners Reporting Requirements

Vince Farhat and Alan Azar
JMBM’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Group

Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act of 2021 (CTA) as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA) included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The CTA created a beneficial ownership registry within the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). On September 29, 2022, FinCEN issued a final rule implementing the beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting requirement of the CTA, which will go into effect on January 1, 2024. Reporting companies created or registered before January 1, 2024 will have one year to file their initial reports, whereas reporting companies created or registered on or after January 1, 2024, will have 30 days after receiving notice of their creation or registration to file their initial reports.

Unless they are exempt under the CTA, companies will be required to submit information to FinCEN on their beneficial owners or face the prospect of civil and criminal penalties if they fail to comply. FinCEN estimates that most of the 32 million companies anticipated to be subject to the Final Rule will be small businesses, single-owner LLCs, or other types of business entities with four or fewer beneficial owners. The overall compliance costs could reach $22.8 billion for the first year and $5.65 billion annually after that.[1]

AMLA Background

The NDAA took center-stage when former President Trump vetoed the bill in 2021, taking issue with the bill’s failure to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Following a veto override, however, the NDAA became law, marking the 59th consecutive year in which some form of the NDAA has been passed. This Section 230 scuffle diverted attention away from the AMLA, a separately named Act within the NDAA. The AMLA represented the most significant reform to anti-money laundering laws in two decades, since the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

25 October 2022

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on Data Technology, Privacy & Security.

In addition to protecting the personal information of guests in compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and California’s Consumer Privacy Act, hotel operators and owners need to extend the same protections and rights to their employees and the information collected from them. Bob Braun, a senior member of the Global Hospitality Group and Co-Chair of JMBM’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Group outlines hotel employer obligations in the article below, along with suggested next steps.


Hotels, Hotel Owners and Employee Personal Information
by Bob Braun, Hotel Lawyer


Hotel operators and owners have long been focused on the privacy of the personal information they collect from guests – because of the global nature of the hospitality business, hotel brands have focused on complying with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and beginning in 2018, the Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the first comprehensive law designed to protect the privacy of consumers’ personal information. Businesses that are subject to the GDPR and the CCPA are required, among other things, to respond to consumers who wish to view the personal information collected by the business, delete personal information, and opt-out of the sale of personal information; these obligations expanded in 2020 when California voters approved the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA).

Employee and Business Personal Information

While the CCPA is aimed at protecting consumers’ personal information, the terms of the law extend to the personal information of employees and business contacts. While the California legislature initially exempted employment information and “business to business” (B2B) personal information from many of the provisions of the CCPA until January 1, 2021, which was extended in the CPRA to January 1, 2023.

The Exemption and its Demise

While most observers believed that the California legislature would extend the exemptions of employee and B2B personal information, when the California Legislature adjourned on August 31, 2022, it did so without adopting an extension. As a result, it is a certainty that full consumer rights will apply to personal information obtained from employees or because of a B2B relationship.

Because hotel owners and operators are familiar with the requirements of the CCPA and the GDPR, the expiration of the exemption will be challenging. Owners and operators will need to adapt their policies to employee and B2B personal information. However, there are many hotel owners that have little or no contact with guests and have left compliance to hotel operators. These firms will be particularly impacted by the significant disclosure, policy and procedure issues that need to be addressed by the end of 2022.

This is especially the case for hotel owners that act as the employer of hotel personnel, but will extend to all hotel owners with employees, whether engaged at a hotel or not, since employers are obligated to collect vast amounts of personal information, including sensitive personal details (such as financial, health and intimate personal characteristics) to conduct businesses. These owners will need to address the information they collect, where it is held, who has access to it and how it is used. Moreover, hotel owners and operators will need to determine how consumer rights apply to employee and B2B personal information, and prepare to provide employees and B2B contacts with CCPA rights, including the right to know what personal information is collected, the right to delete personal information, the right to opt out of the sale or sharing of personal information, the right to limit use and disclosure of sensitive personal information, and the protection against retaliation following the exercise of opt-out or other rights. CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

09 September 2022

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

GHG Partner David Sudeck Recognized as a Real Estate/Construction Law Trailblazer

Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce that Real Estate Partner David Sudeck has been recognized in the National Law Journal’s 2022 list of Real Estate/Construction Law Trailblazers.

This list honors legal professionals who have made significant marks on the practice, policy and technological advancements in their sector.

“David’s legal expertise and excellent client service have been essential to the success of the Global Hospitality Group and to the Firm as a whole,” said Jim Butler. “We are pleased that he has received this recognition as a Trailblazer.”

Sudeck is a seasoned dealmaker with an international reputation as an expert in hospitality projects. He provides critical business and legal advice to owners and lenders in the purchase, sale, development, construction, financing, leasing, and sale-leaseback of hotel, resort and mixed-use properties, including structuring complex hotel management and branding agreements.

In 2021, David and his team at JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® closed more than $210 million in Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) loans and in 2022 assisted in structuring the largest ever C-PACE transaction in the United States. His trailblazing work in this area has led to him representing the top lenders in the space. As David told the National Law Journal, “[C-PACE financing] has been a critical part of the capital stack…Borrowers have embraced the fact that it is non-recourse financing at a low cost.”

To read David’s profile, click here.


Published on:

10 June 2022

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

Deadline nears. More than 56,000 business and 1 million servers are affected. Of the million servers, only 33,000 are certified now.

Is your California alcoholic beverage outlet ready for
new August 1, 2022 ABC certification
of all alcoholic beverage servers and managers?

Jim Butler, Chairman of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®


Responsible Beverage Service Training Act of 2017 (the “RBSTA”)

A new law that many of the affected people have never heard about becomes effective July 1, 2022. It all involves liquor licenses from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) and persons employed by such licensees to serve alcohol to patrons.

The new law is known as the “Responsible Beverage Service Training Act of 2017” or “RBSTA.” Many are now using the acronym of “RBS” to refer to matters involving the RBSTA such as certification, training and related matters. It is embodied in the California Business & Professions Code (Div. 9, Ch. 16, Art. 4, Section 25680 et seq.).

Who is affected? How many are affected? How many comply today?

The ABC estimates that the law affects 56,000 businesses that hold on premise liquor licenses from the ABC and approximately 1 million servers of alcohol and their managers at such locations. Of the million servers and managers, only 33,000 have been certified to date!

Such licensees include all California restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs, wineries, breweries, stadiums, event centers and virtually any other outlet that sells alcoholic beverages and permits customers to drink on site. CONTINUE READING →

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