A Quick Primer on Patents for Inventors

Viewers of ABC’s Shark Tank will often hear the Sharks ask an entrepreneur if his or her product is patented. What the program does not usually go into is that the important issue for a product is not if there is a patent, but, rather, as to the quality of the patent. Behind the scenes, however, the Shark’s attorneys very likely do a review of the product by not only getting a copy of the patent, but by analyzing and evaluating how easily the patent can be challenged or worked-around. Every Shark’s investment is subject to a Shark’s satisfaction with the quality of the patent following such review.

Just because the USPTO issues a utility patent, it does not mean that another party can not challenge it- and win. A patent gives protection for exclusive manufacturing and sale of a product- but it is not indisputable protection. Moreover, a company can find another way, another process, to create a product for the same use as yours. Another party can also prove that one or more elements of your patent infringes on a patent that they already have.

As for design patents (vs. utility patents), they can often easily be worked-around so that a similar, yet “different-enough” design can be used. Further, a user of a product design can claim that they were already using that design in commerce, thus, providing them with prior rights.

The moral of the story is that getting a patent on a product is not enough. It has to be a “good” patent, obtained by a skilled attorney, if you want to have the best chance to protect your exclusivity to your invention.

 

-Neil S. Siskind, Esq., President
The Siskind Law Firm

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
Neil-Siskind-Picture

The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.

Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day” – March 29th

Neil-Siskind-pics
To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports and promotes: www.neilsiskindsupports.com

Caring is Free™

You can read what clients and associates say about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.

Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Volunteer

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal

– Make-A Wish Foundation- Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true by creating your own fundraiser: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm

– DonorsChoose.org- Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving

– Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-champion-children/


Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono
Work:

– Saving Senior Citizens- Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com

– Senior FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– Veteran FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– In development: The Neil S. Siskind School of Hope: A free school to teach inner-city youths the skills of entrepreneurship and importance of economic self-sufficiency.

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:

– Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
– Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
– Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:

Financed & operated a legal clinic providing low-cost legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, organize finances, and launch new businesses.

Neil Siskind’s Professional Curriculum Vitae: http://neilsiskind.com/

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Expert Property Management, New York

Investment Property Management
Barony Real Estate Management

Over the past few years, many of my clients who share my passion for real estate have bought investment properties in and outside of the City, including office and apartment buildings, retail strip centers, apartments, and houses. In many cases, our real estate investment management division manages these investments for TheSiskind Law Firm’s investor-clients by keeping them rented, working with tenants, buildings, and contractors, and collecting and disbursing rents. The management services have been a great compliment to the real estate law practice and to the management of our own local investment properties. We can do all of this for non-law firm clients as well.

If you need management for your real estate investments, call today to learn about management services. We are special because we can do it all in-house, including handling: lease negotiations and preparations; leasing agent services; investment partnership agreements; property repair coordination; rent collections and disbursements; monthly expense control and payments; budgeting; and corporate filings and corporate oversight.*

Call 646.530.0006 to discuss your needs; or email neilesquire17@gmail.com. We look forward to handling all of your real estate investment and management needs.

We have experience with all property types, from nightly apartment rentals to office buildings, and with all related property and corporate issues.

Management Portfolio
-20 Unit Office Building
-Recreational Land
-5 Condominium Apartments
-4 Single Family Houses

Services for these properties include: Property showings; lease negotiations; rent billings and collections; monthly expense payments; landscape and maintenance coordination; bookkeeping and budgeting; trespass prevention, repair coordination; working with building managements and local regulatory agencies.

About Barony’s Property Management Services

Property Management for:

-Investors with long term apartment, house and office space tenants
-Owners who have moved but have kept their original homes to rent for income
-Investors who bought homes for short term rentals through Air BNB and other short term rental programs
-Homeowners who are away for extended periods due to travel plans or extended summer or winter vacations

Property types:

-Apartments
-Houses
-Apartments for short term rentals
-Houses for weekly or monthly rentals
-Office buildings
-Apartment buildings

Experience:

We have 15 years of residential and commercial real estate ownership and management experience. We have acquired, managed, improved and/or sold houses, apartments, and small office and apartment buildings.  As licensed attorneys, investors, and real estate brokers with experience working with landlords, co-op and condo boards, banks, tenants, contractors, repairmen, and negotiating leases and partnership agreements, we can handle every aspect of your real estate management needs, including: showing property; lease negotiations; tenant issues; retaining contractors for repair and maintenance problems; regular property condition monitoring; working with building managements and local regulatory agencies; rent collections; partnership and corporation issues; and property sales.*

Whether you own real estate for investment, or if it’s your own home that needs to be checked and monitored, our real estate investment management services handle every aspect of property management for you.

Locations: Manhattan, Queens County, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County

Call 646.530.0006 to discuss your needs; or email neilesquire17@gmail.com. We look forward to handling all of your real estate investment and management needs.

Available Services:

Online Marketing of Your “Property or Space for Rent”*

Showing Property to Perspective Tenants*

Negotiating Lease Terms

Working with Condo or Co-op Boards Where Needed

Partnership Issues & Communications

Maintenance of Corporate Records and City and State Filings

Rent Collections and Disbursements

Payment of Monthly and Annual Expenses

Property Preservation and Coordinating Repairs

Budgeting

Negotiation of Construction Contracts

Negotiation of  Vendor Contracts

Oversight of Contractors for Improvements

Monitoring of Tenant Treatment of Property

Brokering Property Sales*

 Management Fees & Terms

-Management services are on a flat monthly fee with 4 month contract periods.
-*Legal services, including issues related to partnerships and corporations, are at additional agreed rates
-*Real estate sales brokerage services and commercial leasing services are at agreed commission rates. Rental brokerage services for residential properties are included in property management fees, except as specifically agreed.
-In addition to agreed property management fees, property owners are responsible for the costs of all outside services agreed upon, such as contractors, websites or brochures to market properties for rent, and tenant screening services.

Call 646.530.0006 to discuss your needs; or email neilesquire17@gmail.com. We look forward to handling all of your real estate investment and management needs.
http://siskindlawfirm.com/investment-property-management/

Please Help Me With These Important Causes:

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: Comfort for Kids

DonorsChoose.org- Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: NeilSiskindGiving

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
Neil-Siskind-Picture

The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.

 http://siskindlawfirm.com/investment-property-management/

 

NEIL SISKIND- PROVERB

The trouble with being a giving person is that it seems to always attract a taking person.
-Neil Siskind

 

-Neil S. Siskind, Esq., President
The Siskind Law Firm

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
Neil-Siskind-Picture

The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.

Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day” – March 29th

Neil-Siskind-pics
To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports and promotes: www.neilsiskindsupports.com

Caring is Free™

You can read what clients and associates say about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.

Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Volunteer

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal

– Make-A Wish Foundation- Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true by creating your own fundraiser: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm

– DonorsChoose.org- Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving

– Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-champion-children/


Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono
Work:

– Saving Senior Citizens- Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com

– Senior FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– Veteran FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– In development: The Neil S. Siskind School of Hope: A free school to teach inner-city youths the skills of entrepreneurship and importance of economic self-sufficiency.

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:

– Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
– Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
– Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:

Financed & operated a legal clinic providing low-cost legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, organize finances, and launch new businesses.

Neil Siskind’s Professional Curriculum Vitae: http://neilsiskind.com/

The Siskind Law Firm: An Apartment Bust is Coming

When I mention Long Island City, most Manhattan residents know of it…but not much about it. Yet, the building boom there is unbelievable. By driving through, I’d guess 15 large apartment buildings are under construction- with as many, or more, recently completed. The prices for apartments there are high. Yet, Long Island City is off many people’s radars altogether. I’d comfortably guess that a lot of foreign money is in those buildings. I know for sure that a lot of cheap money is also in those building.

Because money has been so cheap for so long, developers needed a place to put it to make a return. Retail, due to e-commerce and large chains’ low prices, is no longer a good investment. Witness the empty stores in your own neighborhoods across America. Office buildings also have their own inherent challenges in the modern economy. Outside of prime space, people, due to technology, can work from anywhere and can seek-out the lowest-cost space by simple Internet searches. Thus, many developers have been putting the money into apartment buildings (a/k/a/ condominiums and co-ops). There are simply way too many now- and interest rates are on the rise.

This trend is in New York (the City and its suburbs) and across the country.

Developments in progress are going to get into trouble.

Rents in Manhattan are down and it is a renter’s market. Investors from around the world are offering their condo apartments for rent, creating a lot of competition for rental building landlords, who are now offering incentives.

This trend will be good for tenants and will get worse for landlords.

For developers, a big apartment bust is coming nationwide. For buyers, apartment prices will become affordable. Houses may not be affected. But prices for houses will stabilize and appreciation will be slow, if at all. Income for apartment rental buildings will be hurt by higher interest rates combined with lower rents- a double whammy on that front, making these investments less attractive and causing a demand for lower building sale prices in order for buyers to get higher cap rates.

In the early 2000’s, cheap money and endless optimism lead to a huge Internet stock crash, causing a lot of people a lot of money. The money moved to real estate. Again, cheap money plus endless optimism lead to a painful result. For the past 8 years, money has been ridiculously cheap, fueling both asset classes (stocks and real estate) at the same time- for the same reason….cheap money. This can not end well.

The Siskind Law Firm: The Sharks Are Really “Distribution” Sharks

The Shark Tank Sharks often invest in businesses that I deem silly, or too small of markets or too small in ingenuity to ever make any real money. It’s about opportunity costs; can a Shark invest the money in better things instead?

I think that the Sharks get caught up in what is in front of them without weighing the opportunity cost- and without considering whether they would really ever invest in such a business if they were not in The Tank, a captive situation. They, like anyone else, get caught up in the moment (of course, they also need to make the program entertaining).

But it really doesn’t matter- and here’s why:

The Sharks have the one and the only important thing- “distribution”. When you have distribution, real distribution that you know how to handle, risk is very low- and upside can be high. The Sharks are “distribution” Sharks. Most of them have a built-in system of distribution into which they can implement almost any product in which they invest.

Lori has QVC; Mark has an enormous in-house e-commerce infrastructure; Daymond has manufacturing and wholesale facilities; Kevin has internal B2B sales (his businesses promote and sell each other’s products). When Barbara was in real estate, she, or her agents, would take a real estate listing, and then have the Corcoran sales force and the Corcoran computers market it to each agent’s potential buyers. All of the Sharks, have friends in high-place at major retail chains.

As I’ve written before and say all the time, “Distribution is King”. When you have your own source of distribution, or close relationships with distribution channels, you have the most important aspect of business….even more important than a good product or service.

-Neil S. Siskind, Esq., President
The Siskind Law Firm

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Neil-Siskind-photo
Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
Neil-Siskind-Picture

The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.

Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day” – March 29th

Neil-Siskind-pics
To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports and promotes: www.neilsiskindsupports.com

Caring is Free™

You can read what clients and associates say about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.

Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Volunteer

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal

– Make-A Wish Foundation- Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true by creating your own fundraiser: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm

– DonorsChoose.org- Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving

– Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-champion-children/


Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono
Work:

– Saving Senior Citizens- Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com

– Senior FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– Veteran FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– In development: The Neil S. Siskind School of Hope: A free school to teach inner-city youths the skills of entrepreneurship and importance of economic self-sufficiency.

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:

– Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
– Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
– Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:

Financed & operated a legal clinic providing low-cost legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, organize finances, and launch new businesses.

Neil Siskind’s Professional Curriculum Vitae: http://neilsiskind.com/

THE SISKIND LAW FIRM – PUBLIC ADVOCATE FOR ABUSED CHILDREN

Children’s Services Watchdog™ – The Siskind Law Firm
The Public’s Child Abuse Database™

Children’s Services departments and agencies all over the country are failing our children. Enough is enough.

All across the nation, children in the custody of their parents and of foster parents are being emotionally abused, physically abused, sexually abused, beaten, and killed.

Reports of abuse can no longer be left to the domain and oversight, if any, of city and local governments. The Siskind Law Firm has launched The Children’s Services Watchdog™. We are now the public’s record of reports of child abuse across America.

Upon suspecting or witnessing abuse of a child, call the police and your city agency that handles these matters…AND THEN EMAIL US!

Email Neil Siskind, Esq. at nsiskind@siskindlawfirm.com. Please be sure to have a report number and name of the person(s) with whom you spoke at the responsible agency in your city, town or county.

Read More: http://siskindlawfirm.com/childrens-services-watchdog/

The Siskind Law Firm Launches Child Abuse Prevention Database

Children’s Services Watchdog™ – The Siskind Law Firm
The Public’s Child Abuse Database™

“It’s time for the public to take control of the safety of our children. Government is failing our kids.”
-Neil S. Siskind, Esq.

 

Children’s Services departments and agencies all over the country are failing our children.

All across the nation, children in the custody of their parents and of foster parents are being emotionally abused, physically abused, sexually abused, beaten, and killed.

Reports of abuse can no longer be left to the domain and oversight, if any, of city and local governments. The Siskind Law Firm has launched The Children’s Services Watchdog™. We are now the public’s record of reports of child abuse across America.

Upon suspecting or witnessing abuse of a child, call the police and your city agency that handles these matters…AND THEN EMAIL US!

Email Neil Siskind, Esq. at nsiskind@siskindlawfirm.com. Please be sure to have a report number and name of the person(s) with whom you spoke at the responsible agency in your city, town or county.

We make a record of the report for the public and on behalf of the public. We keep track of reports of abuse made to local agencies so that we, the public, have our own record of these reports and of any and all actions taken- or not taken.

This can no longer be left to government. This is the job of all of us. This is a public obligation and responsibility. This is a partnership between and among the general public, the report provider, and The Siskind Law Firm.

These reports can no longer be internal and exclusive to government only. Too many kids are being harmed and killed.

Your complaint to us can be anonymous. No names are published or publicly shared. We will keep an internal file for the public. We follow up with the responsible agency to ensure that action has been taken….and that further actions….and necessary actions…. are taken. The Siskind Law Firm stays on top of the case until a child is considered safe and the issues of concern have been adequately addressed. We will make sure that the investigation is taking place and lives are being saved.

No more excuses by agencies that emails were not seen, or denials of calls received, or that there was confusion as to who in their office was supposed to handle something, or that children’s files fell through the cracks. No more excuses.

It is time for us- the public- to monitor the safety of our kids. The government is failing us and our children.

If you have called a public agency, please get a file number and the person or people to whom you have discussed any harm to a child. From now on…The Siskind Law Firm will be watching government agencies and checking for a safe and complete resolution of cases of abuse or alleged abuse.

We will need your help. We will need you to keep us updated on any continued abuse following your filings and any government agency work that you witness following your reports, such as site visits and interviews of neighbors, teachers, friends and family. The public and The Siskind Law Firm must work together to save lives.

Email us with any and all filed complaints you have made anywhere in the nation. Emails to government agencies are not enough. Follow-up and monitoring of these agencies and their employees are necessary. Government agencies need to know that the public is aware of and watching every step of every case. It is not just a matter of proving that you reported abuse- it is about saving lives. It is about ensuring that action is taken before a child is harmed again- or killed. The public needs to step up and step in where government is failing our children and our communities repeatedly. Email The Siskind Law Firm with your report information and we will work with you, and with law enforcement, and with the applicable government agency to save lives.

Email Neil Siskind, Esq. at nsiskind@siskindlawfirm.com. Please be sure to have a report number and name of the person(s) with whom you spoke at the responsible agency in your city, town or county.

How it Works:

-We assign a Public’s Child Abuse Database™ internal report #.
-We add a summary of the report to The Public’s Child Abuse Database™ (no names or addresses).
-We contact the responsible agency to alert it that we are overseeing their activities related to this report for report-back to the public
-We contact the responsible agency to alert it that we are overseeing their activities related to this report for report-back to the public.
-We ask the report provider to follow up with the responsible government agency w/in 2 weeks of the initial report and to alert us of the agency response.
-We enter the agency response into The Public’s Child Abuse Database™.
-If the agency fails to respond, we note that in The Public’s Child Abuse Database™.
-If there is no response, we send a request for response from this office.
-We record the response in The Public’s Child Abuse Database™.
-If there is no response, we follow up with another request for response within 2 weeks.
-We continue this process every 2 weeks until a response is received.
-Following a detailed response of what is happening, we send a request for disposition within 3 weeks. A disposition can include a decision that no issue exists, an arrest was made, a monitoring process is in place, or a child has been removed from a home. We enter the disposition into The Public’s Child Abuse Database™
-If a monitoring plan has been put in place by the agency, we send a request for update every 3 weeks and enter any updates into The Public’s Child Abuse Database™.  We ask you, the initial abuse report provider, to keep us alerted of any further events that you witness including any contact you receive from the responsible government agency.

We expect that certain agencies will refuse to share information with us, in which case we will submit a final report to the database that the agency is failing to respond or has refused to provide data on the particular case. In other cases, we will make FOIL (freedom of information laws) requests to get final disposition data. We will look at the totality of each report to make final determinations on a case by case basis, including consideration of the level of cooperation and feedback by a respective agency and the initial report provider.

Even if you did not previously register your report with us, but you feel that your concerns have not been addressed by a government agency after making a report to it at any time, contact us for help. We will try to help get answers using our process.

Email Neil Siskind, Esq. at nsiskind@siskindlawfirm.com. Please be sure to have a report number and name of the person(s) with whom you spoke at the responsible agency in your city, town or county.

http://siskindlawfirm.com/childrens-services-watchdog/

Better Business Bureau: Sadly Less Relevant- The Siskind Law Firm

The Better Business Bureau was created, in part, to investigate claims of companies not delivering on promises to customers. Complaints lead to opening of files and investigations which include evaluations of objective evidence and explanations by the business and the customer, as part of the overall review. Objectively, it is a fair, and, well, American process of sorting out the facts with a value for the truth. Today…forget it. Customer complaints, including storytelling, lies and vindictive insults are posted up on the Internet, often with no real name, and/or by people with no knowledge about how a business is run, how difficult one is to run, and often have no real money of their own to make them worth suing. There is no process by any professional intermediary to discern truth from fantasy, or fact from feelings.

The professional world cares about justice….educated people, intelligent people, respectful people, thoughtful people, successful people….but the Internet is more like a third world country where evil, deceit, rage, frustration and vengeance from people who are devoid of class, money or power are more visible in communities than the wheels of justice. And those communities… and, thus, our world community….is being destroyed by them.

Media Mischaracterization of The Donald J. Trump Foundation

Mainstream (and not so mainstream) media outlets continue to mischaracterize certain aspects of The Donald J. Trump Foundation (and, by implication, all private foundations) by implicitly and expressly characterizing Trump’s use of donations to The Foundation for charitable purposes, instead of Trump using his own money-exclusively– as improper. This article is solely limited to this topic and the author is in no way intending to discuss, defend or explain any other actions by The Donald J. Trump Foundation or by Donald Trump related to The Donald J. Trump Foundation.

 

Donations made by The Donald J. Trump Foundation in the name of The Donald J. Trump Foundation, using funds donated to The Donald J. Trump Foundation by people other than Donald Trump, are not, per se, improper for the sole reason that funds of such other people besides Trump himself were used for such Donald J. Trump Foundation donations. There is no legal or generally accepted practice requiring Trump to name and credit others whose funds may have been incorporated into any specific grant or donation by his foundation.

While, often, foundations may be funded entirely by a benefactor and his or her family (and by subsequent capital earned on the initial funds granted to create a respective foundation) – it is not always the case. A private foundation is a charity, just like any other charity. While there are differences in some of the rules for private foundations vs. public charities, there is no special requirement that all funds for grants and donations from a private foundation come from only a single source.

If you go to The Clinton Foundation website, the landing page asks for donations. Are we to think that with each grant made by The Clinton Foundation, each of us who donated $25.00 will be named and credited in such grant? It is common knowledge that The Clinton Foundation has donors from all over the word. Are such donors all personally named in each grant made by the foundation? Certainly not.

Likewise, Warren Buffet has pledged enormous amounts of money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Is Warren Buffet to be specifically credited on each grant by the Gates Foundation where such Buffet donated funds are used in whole or in part? To my knowledge, the answer is “no”.

Many professional athletes and musicians from Jon Bon Jovi to Boomer Esiason to Derek Jeter….and on and on…. have foundations (many of which are named after them) that accept donations. Certainly, they don’t name and give credit to each and every donor when fundraiser grants are made using donor funds. The grants are made in the name of their respective foundations….and the creators of the foundations get the credit, and, as with The Donald J. Trump Foundation, there is nothing legally improper about that. Even if these nonprofits are filed as public charities, and not as private foundations, the net effect is the same…monies are disbursed by the organization (which is named after the organization’s founder), providing such founder with lots of public recognition and esteem, and the organization never mentions all of the sources of the underlying funds. This is, simply, the nature of charities which are founded by, and named after, known personalities. Celebrities form nonprofits named after themselves in order to maximize exposure and fundraising, the public donates in order to be a part of it, the money goes to good things, and the celebrity gets the praise. It’s not a “Trump-specific” structure of things- at all.

Did you know that most 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations don’t want to be treated as private foundations because of the extra burdens and rules? They have to meet requirements under the Internal Revenue Code so that they do not have to pay taxes or be regulated like private foundations because private foundations are subject to greater regulations and excise taxes. In other words, Trump would benefit if he could meet the Code’s requirements to be a public charity that can raise and use funds of others- as opposed to being a private foundation where he can’t do that to the same degree. He would have less regulations and less tax liabilities with which to deal. Moreover, the public charity model, a business model used by many philanthropists, nonprofit operators, and celebrities, can use other people’s money to a far greater degree than can a private foundation. Trump could have elected to be a public charity instead of a private foundation- he elected to not.

The differing treatment of private foundations compared to public charities is as follows:

(a) a foundation must pay out 5% of its assets each year, while a public charity does not;
(b) donors to a public charity receive greater tax benefits than donors to a foundation;
(c) a public charity must collect at least 10% of its annual expenses from the public in order to remain tax-exempt while a foundation does not- meaning that a foundation expects to pay all of its own expenses.

Further, in exchange for exemption from paying most taxes and for limited tax benefits being offered to donors, a private foundation must (a) not own or operate significant for-profit businesses; (b) file detailed public annual reports and conduct annual audits in the same manner as a for-profit corporation; (c) meet a suite of additional accounting requirements unique to nonprofits.

Moreover, a private foundation has to pay a two (2%) percent tax on income earned by the private foundation – – – this is called an excise tax.
When a 501(c)(3) filing is made, a filing corporation is automatically considered to be a private foundation which has to elect to be considered a public charity, instead of a private foundation, in order to avoid excise taxes on their net investment income. So, when Trump, or any other foundation owner, fails to elect to be a public charity, it is actually accepting a tax liability to which others are not subject.

By raising funds (when properly registered to do so), a foundation is not acting improperly; it simply may be acting a bit more as a public charity, rather than a private foundation. In other words, raising outside funds is not a bad thing. It’s just another method of operating a nonprofit.

The main points to understand are:

  1. Trump could have filed to be a public charity and accept many public donations and government funds, but chose not to; and
  2. By using the monies of others for charitable causes, a private foundation is not acting improperly, so much as it is acting more like a public charity than an actual private foundation and should be regulated and taxed as such (it would mean less regulations and less taxes).

While Trump may have acted improperly in some foundation activities [1], the act of putting donated funds to use, in and of itself, is not one of them. Yet, the media regularly implies and states that Trump’s foundation “improperly” makes grants and donations in its own name using the funds of other donors. But, this practice is both common and legal, as well as a more conservative approach to collecting the money of others than the approach allowed for by public charities- an approach used by many celebrities.

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Footnote:
1. The Donald J. Trump Foundation has been accused of improper activities related to fundraising and political contributions, among other things.

Endnote:

My aim in this article is not to defend Donald Trump. My aim is to clarify persistent incorrect legal analyses by the media with regard to the use by a foundation of raised funds, and to point out the media’s attempt to pass off “dicta” as fact, and to mislead a misinformed public through the use of artful suggestion to taint legitimate activity.

 

-Neil S. Siskind, Esq., President
The Siskind Law Firm

Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
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Learn more at:  http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/

Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
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The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.

Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day” – March 29th

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To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.

Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports and promotes: www.neilsiskindsupports.com

Caring is Free™

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Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Volunteer

– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal

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– Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-champion-children/


Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono
Work:

– Saving Senior Citizens- Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com

– Senior FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– Veteran FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/

– In development: The Neil S. Siskind School of Hope: A free school to teach inner-city youths the skills of entrepreneurship and importance of economic self-sufficiency.

Neil Siskind’s Government Work:

– Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
– Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
– Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern

Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:

Financed & operated a legal clinic providing low-cost legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, organize finances, and launch new businesses.

Neil Siskind’s Professional Curriculum Vitae: http://neilsiskind.com/