Jonathan Ballan, no stranger to public service, was appointed this week to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board.
“It’s a challenge that I look forward to,” Ballan told The Bond Buyer in a telephone interview Wednesday, one day after the state Senate approved him for a six-year term. Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Ballan, a Scarsdale resident, to the board of 16 voting members upon the recommendation of Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino.
“I believe I’m qualified to help out as a board member, based on my over 25 years experience in public finance and my previous service on significant governmental boards,” Ballan said. “I hope to delve into finance and other related issues as a board member. I have not yet been assigned any committees but I’m eager to work with the chairman [Jay Walder] on committee assignments.”
Ballan heads the New York public finance practice group at law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC. He served as special bond counsel to the New York Yankees in connection with the financing of the new Yankee Stadium by the New York City Industrial Development Agency.
In an undertaking that needed revisions to federal tax law, that transaction and two subsequent deals involved the issuance of more than $1.2 billion of tax-exempt PILOT — payments in lieu of taxes — revenue bonds and $125 million of federally taxable rental revenue bonds.
At Mintz Levin, Ballan also was special counsel to the Empire State Development Corp., leading a legal team that created the New York Liberty Development Corp. for the primary purpose of issuing Liberty bonds for commercial projects to assist New York City after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In addition, he led an ESDC team on the financing of the new Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, where the National Basketball Association’s New Jersey Nets are scheduled to play when it opens.
He also led a bond counsel team on the issuance by the NYLDC of nearly $2 million of revenue bonds to finance the construction of the new Goldman Sachs headquarters near Ground Zero.
Ballan, speaking on behalf of Mintz Levin, said he is “especially proud” of his work for the Yankees and with the ESDC in the arena and Liberty bond deals, and representation on behalf of hospitals, educational institutions, cities and counties.
“As a bond attorney, I’m especially proud of dealing creatively with difficult problems faced by my clients, and helping bring to fruition some innovative structures in complex public finance areas,” he said.
Ballan has served for many years in appointed governmental chairmanships, including the New York City Municipal Assistance Corp., the New York State Public Asset Fund, and the capital committee of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.
The MTA implements mass transportation policy for New York City and seven surrounding counties, including Westchester, Putnam, Nassau and Suffolk. Its operations include all New York City subway, bus and commuter railroads, nine intrastate bridges and tunnels in New York City, and transit expansion projects such as the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access projects.
Ballan earned his bachelor’s degree from Williams College and his law degree from George Washington University. He is married with four children and coaches youth soccer, basketball and baseball.