The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York got a new executive director yesterday with the appointment by the board of Paul T. Williams Jr., a senior counsel at Nixon Peabody LLP.

The appointment, made at the recommendation of New York Gov. David Paterson, was announced at DASNY's monthly board meeting at which $1.45 billion of restructurings of variable-rate tax-exempt debt and new-money tax-exempt financings were approved.

"The Dormitory Authority will benefit from the strong leadership and vision that Paul Williams will bring," Paterson said in a press release. "With [his] experience and dedication, the authority will continue as a leader providing capital, construction, and other professional services to important public and private institutions across New York State."

Senate approval was not required for Williams' appointment. He replaces David Brown 4th, who resigned in April.

Although Williams was at Nixon Peabody for only a short time - he joined in March - he made a strong impression on Richard F. Langan Jr., the firm's chief executive officer and managing partner, who said that he would be missed.

"He's the right kind of guy to be leading an important agency like the Dormitory Authority," Langan said. "His background is right up the alley for the Dormitory Authority because he's got a strong legal background as well as finance."

Williams practiced corporate law at Nixon Peabody and has a background in finance, commercial transactions, and litigation.

Previously, Williams worked at Toussaint Capital Partners LLC, a boutique investment banking firm from 2004 to 2007 and served as its president from 2006 to 2007. He practiced commercial litigation as a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP from 1998 to 2004. He co-founded a law firm,Williams & HarrisLLP, in 1984.

Williams earned his bachelors degree from Yale University in 1974 and went on to Columbia University School of Law where he graduated in 1977.

Also yesterday, the board approved $1.35 billion of restructurings and two new-money transactions totaling $95 million. Some of the restructurings had been approved in March but came before the board again for modifications, primarily to provide the option of terminating bond insurance policies if the bonds are converted to another mode.

The largest restructuring approved was a revised plan to convert and-or refund $880 million of auction-rate securities sold for the City University of New York in 2003. The ARS were issued in various series with insurance from Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., Ambac Assurance Corp., CIFG AssuranceNA and Financial Security Assurance, Inc.

The board approved changes to the bond documents that give it the option of converting the ARS to variable- rate demand bonds and terminating bond insurance. Another CUNY restructuring got the green light yesterday with the refunding of up to $215 million of fixed-rate bonds sold in 1997 and 1998.

Citi will lead manage the refunding of the fixed-rate bonds and of any refundings of CUNY's ARS . Nixon Peabody is bond counsel.

The board also approved the refunding or conversion of $125 million of state personal income tax variable-rate demand bonds sold in 2005 with Ambac and MBIA Insurance Corp. insurance. Long Island University got the go ahead to convert or refund up to $72.6 million of variable-rate demand bonds issued in 2006 with CIFG insurance. Piper Jaffray & Co. will lead manage the refunding.

Final approvals for new-money financings included $43 million of bonds to be issued on behalf of the College of New Rochelle to refinance a construction loan, refund New York City Industrial Development Agency bonds, and for various capital improvements. St. Lawrence University plans to use the proceeds of $52 million of bonds to refinance outstanding St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency bonds and for new capital projects.

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