An attorney of broad business experience, Michael Bobelian brings knowledge of financing, restructuring, acquisitions, mediation and litigation to CCA. In his work at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, one of the largest law firms on Wall Street, he represented clients in all these various commercial settings. He is an expert on resolving disputes with regulators and in dealing with compliance requirements. Additionally, Michael advises on litigation matters and is experienced in appearing before state and federal courts and arbitral bodies.
Michael is adept in examining complicated, overlapping state and municipal tax systems and in convincingly communicating with government officials.
- Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. Experience included regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, debtor-in-possession financing, securities law, accounting liability, joint ventures, and commercial litigation and arbitration. Clients included Viacom, Merck, Continental Airlines, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Christie’s, Daewoo and Honeywell.
- United States Department of Labor. Assisted in investigations of fraudulent ERISA plans.
- United States Department of Commerce. Helped American businesses find markets overseas, advised businesses on import and export laws.
- Juris Doctor (JD), University of Michigan Law School
- Associate and Contributing Editor, Michigan Journal of Law Reform
- Bachelor of Business Administration (high distinction, class honors all semesters), University of Michigan Business School
Vergie Booty joined CCA with more than 28 years’ experience in the property tax arena. She worked for the Louisiana Tax Commission (LTC) as a utility appraiser and utility division director, and retired as the Administrator of the LTC. LTC has oversight authority over the 70 local parish assessors, and as administrator Vergie worked on the rules and regulations that are adopted annually by the Commission for use by the local assessors in their appraisals and assessments. As the Public Utility Director, she was responsible for the appraisal and assessment of over 650 electric, gas, water, pipeline, telephone, railroad, private car line and barge companies annually. She has been certified as an expert witness in the field of utility appraisals and has testified on numerous occasions.
Vergie has been involved with the Wichita State University conference “Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation of Communications, Energy and Transportation Properties” for many years, and has presented at this conference. In addition, she has been a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) for many years; she has served on the utility section committee and as its chair.
Vergie’s strongest attributes are her abilities to negotiate and settle disputes. During her time as Public Utility Director and LTC Administrator, she gained experience in successfully dealing with thousands of valuation issues.
- Public Utility Appraiser, Louisiana Tax Commission
- Public Utility Director, Louisiana Tax Commission
- Administrator, Louisiana Tax Commission
- Professional Designation: Louisiana Assessors Association – CLAA
- Over 400 hours’ Continuing Education Property Appraisal Credits, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Syndi Gates joins CCA with over 15 years of experience in all aspects of personal property in Oregon. Syndi worked for Oregon Department of Revenue as Property Program Analyst and Property Appraiser of the Personal Property Tax program overseeing the counties’ administration of the Personal Property Tax program. She developed the Personal Property Valuation Guidelines & Depreciation Schedules used by the department and counties in Oregon to assist in developing values.
In addition to her extensive background in tax compliance, Syndi was also the Training Development Specialist for the Department. She worked to establish a new way of administering the training program. Syndi developed Personal Property courses and presented them to department and county assessors and appraisers, as well as Taxpayer Seminars for multiple taxpayer and accounting groups and Department & County Disclosure Training. She also developed and implemented one-on-one training with the individual counties’ staff, instructing them in completing full site visits and developing values to place on the tax assessment rolls.
Syndi is proficient in the property tax and disclosure laws in Oregon, which enables her to understand the program. She was an integral part of numerous system-related implementations and upgrades. Syndi offers a keen sense of analyzing needs and processes and is able to translate this knowledge into action steps that increase efficiencies and cost savings.
- Oregon Department of Revenue (37 years)
- Registered Oregon Appraiser
- Chemeketa Courses
Courses Developed and Taught
- Developer and Instructor, Beginning Personal Property
- Developer and Instructor, Personal Property II (How to Conduct a Physical Audit)
- Developer and Instructor, Personal Property III (How to Conduct a Book Audit)
- Developer and Instructor, Taxpayer Information Seminars
- Developer and Instructor, Department and County Disclosure Training
Kitty I. Guinsler
Applying her managerial abilities and extensive background in tax compliance, Kitty Guinsler will manage your property tax savings initiatives with the assistance of the CCA team. Kitty is proficient in accounting and systems, which enables her to understand the environment in which clients operate and to navigate demanding compliance responsibilities. Kitty offers a keen ability to analyze needs and processes and is able to translate such analyses into action steps to increase efficiencies and cost savings. She goes beyond the initial task of identifying cost savings to correct the root cause of the inefficiencies.
Kitty’s skill and experience quickly earn the trust and confidence of our clients. She has garnered tax reductions via compliance, audits, inventories, appraisals, protests, and appeals—as she calls it, “finding money.” Clients often consider her to be a part of their team.
Kitty joined CCA with more than 20 years’ experience in all aspects of personal property and sales/use tax across the United States. Previously, Kitty worked for JPMorgan Chase (formerly Banc One) as Manager of Personal Property Tax Compliance, Chase Equipment Leasing and Chase Auto Finance. In her last role, she saved Chase over $11 million in personal property taxes over a two-year period. Kitty also led the Chase personal property tax compliance group through multiple mergers and acquisitions. She was an integral part of numerous system-related implementations and upgrades. She also is familiar with offshoring and outsourcing efforts.
- JPMorgan Chase & Company
- Lane Bryant
- Cardinal Industries, Inc.
- Harper Industries, Inc.
- Master of Business Administration, Franklin University
- Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance and Business Management, Franklin University
- Associate of Applied Science, Business Management, Columbus State Community College
- CMI: Institute for Professionals in Taxation
- Texas Licensed Senior Property Tax Consultant
Paul Hardy has more than 10 years of property tax experience in the energy industry and 20 years of financial reporting and accounting analysis experience. He has negotiated capitalization rates and unit valuations for centrally assessed interstate pipelines, as well as negotiated personal oil and gas property values, in the Midwest and Texas. As a result of his negotiation skills, heads-up approach to valuation, knowledge of financial markets and pursuit of environmental exemptions where available, Paul has delivered lower taxable values that have resulted in millions of dollars of annual tax savings.
During his property tax years, Paul served on several committees at the state level. In Colorado, he was a member of Colorado Assessors’ Association, providing input for consideration regarding revision of their BEL system and other matters of importance to property taxation in the state. He was also a member of the Colorado Petroleum Association and Texas Oil and Gas Association, and is a current member of Oklahoma Association of Tax Representatives.
Paul is an avid community volunteer, working with Tulsa Area United Way as a co-chair of a community investment panel. He supported Tulsa County’s Community Action Project for 11 years by providing pro bono income tax preparation services for low-income families. He is a current volunteer with Junior Achievement of Oklahoma, where he has taught dozens of elementary school classes in financial literacy over 32 years. Paul was recognized as statewide 2011 Volunteer of the Year by that organization. He now owns and operates Woodland Tax Service in Tulsa, which offers income and property tax services as well as bookkeeping and financial planning for individuals and small businesses.
- Certified Public Accountant – Oklahoma
- Chartered Global Management Accountant – AICPA
- Associate Member, Institute of Professionals in Taxation
- Oklahoma Association of Tax Representatives
- Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium
- Master of Business Administration (high honors), Oklahoma Wesleyan University
- Bachelor of Science – Business Administration, University of Tulsa
- Real and Personal Property Taxation Courses, Institute of Professionals in Taxation
- Tegarden Public Utility Basic Appraisal Course, Wichita State University
- Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation, Wichita State University
Mark M. Newdick
Mark Newdick has extensive experience in designing, maintaining and implementing accounting and business systems, and providing the necessary leadership in both established and start-up companies in large national and international enterprises. His advice and experience have provided thought leadership to CCA with projects dealing with large fixed asset databases that inform property tax compliance processes.
Mark was CFO for Krauter & Company LLC, a New York–based business insurance brokerage, from its inception in 2004, working with the founder and owner to establish accounting systems and controls with customized software tailored to the industry and the company’s policies and procedures. The company grew rapidly to become a significant player in the insurance brokerage industry.
Prior to this, Mark worked at United Rentals where he was pivotal in the development, design and implementation of the Asset Roll Forward Reconciliation System, ensuring full control of the company’s $5 billion rental equipment assets in their 600 distribution outlets. Mark also developed and implemented new systems and procedures for the company’s risk management department, recoupment of fuel tax and compliance to the Davis-Bacon Act (payroll).
More recently, Mark was instrumental in helping to establish Palladin LLC, a Sign-A-Rama franchise, in Stamford, Connecticut, and remains a significant investor and advisor to this start-up operation.
- Chief Financial Officer, Krauter & Company, LLC
- Senior Business Analyst (Special Projects), United Rentals, Inc.
- Chief Financial Officer, Mergers and Acquisitions Group, Aon Risk Management, Inc.
- Regional Controller, Sudan and Somalia, Geosource, Inc. (oil exploration)
- DCAA Auditor, Saudi Arabia, Morrison-Knudsen (civil engineering)
- Board Member, Krauter & Company, LLC
- Board Member, Palladin, LLC
- Treasurer and Board Member, Allied Forces Foundation, LLC (charity)
- Member: Squadron A, Gold’s Dragoons and the St. George’s Society (philanthropic, volunteer and social organizations in New York and Connecticut)
Scott Nickel has extensive corporate experience in property taxes that impact the manufacturing and retail sectors. As a former employee of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Scott managed, for over 20 years, Goodyear’s entire US property tax portfolio.
Scott negotiated tax incentives, attended tax hearings, settled audits with little or no increased assessments and managed the filing of personal property tax returns ensuring that Goodyear accessed all savings venues that resulted in millions of reduced tax expenditures.
Scott has nationwide experience with extensive property tax assessment knowledge in Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma.
- Property Tax Manager, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
- Property Tax Analyst, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
- Accountant, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
- Bachelor of Science – Accounting (magna cum laude), University of Akron
John P. Nola
John Nola is a seasoned property tax professional with over 20 years’ experience with IBM, where he has managed personal property tax compliance and related valuation issues.
John is an expert in establishing and negotiating the fair market value of information technology assets for purposes of personal property tax compliance and assessments. He has been recognized nationwide for his successes in reaching settlements with taxing jurisdictions on various tax issues including assessments, audit findings and valuations.
John is also responsible for having initiated a dialogue with several significant jurisdictions for the adoption of market-derived IT depreciation schedules.
- Advisory Tax Analyst, IBM Corporation, Southbury, Connecticut
- Personal Property Tax Program Administrator, IBM Corporation, Southbury, Connecticut
- IBM Credit Personal Property Tax Compliance Manager, IBM Corporation, Southbury, Connecticut
- IBM Financial Systems Development Project Leader, IBM Corporation, Danbury, Connecticut
- Various Management Positions, IBM Corporation, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Tri-State Area
- Associate Member, Institute for Professional in Taxation (IPT)
- Former Member, International Association of Assessing Officials (IAAO)
- Bachelor of Science – Business Administration (cum laude and department honors), Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, New York
John Ragan has more than 20 years’ experience in the assessment field. Most recently, he was Assessor for the City and County of Denver, managing a staff of 85 with responsibility for assessing 120,000 real property and 30,000 personal property accounts with a total assessed value of $9 billion.
John began his career with the City and County of Denver as Manager of Personal Property Assessments and remained directly involved with personal property assessment procedures and practices during his entire tenure with Denver. During this time, he developed innovative methods for personal property filings and appeals.
John was a registered appraiser in Colorado until recently. He has been invited to speak at various professional conferences on tax policy, assessments and government procedures. In addition, John has authored several published articles on property tax, including an article entitled “Tax Increment Financing, and Tax Limitations.” In 2006 John was a finalist for IAAO’s Donehoo Essay Award.
- Deputy Assessor and Assessor, City and County of Denver, Colorado
- Assistant Manager, Federal Reserve Bank, Denver, Colorado
- Assistant Dean of Admissions, University of Denver
- Graduate work in history (present), University of Denver
- Master of Science, Southern Illinois University
- Bachelor of Science (cum laude), State University of New York at Brockport
George Schneider has more than 35 years’ experience in property tax and 30 years’ experience in managing all aspects of sales and use tax activity at the corporate level. He holds CMI certifications in both property tax and sales and use tax from the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT). Further, George has successfully managed appeal, valuation, incentive, planning, audit, and compliance activity for large and complex properties.
As manager of property taxes for National Gypsum Company, George managed all the property tax functions for operations in 44 states, encompassing approximately 100 different taxing jurisdictions. He then moved to General Motors Corporation where he worked for 20 years as a regional tax manager, managing all aspects of real and personal property tax and incentives pursuit for a territory that included approximately 100 million square feet of industrial, commercial, research, and development property at sites in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Since retiring from GM in 2009, George has worked as a tax consultant.
- General Motors Corporation
- National Gypsum Company
- Compton and Associates
Education and Licenses
- Bachelor of Arts – Economics, State University of New York
- CMI Designation (Certified Member of the Institute), Property Tax and Sales and Use Tax, Institute for Professionals in Taxation
Louis Spisak is a tax professional with more than 30 years of administrative, managerial and technical experience in Ohio taxation. Louis retired from the Ohio Department of Taxation in December 2002. He was responsible for the annual valuation and assessment of personal property of public utilities and interexchange telecommunications companies, as well as the administration of a gross receipts tax on utilities. He testified before the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals on numerous occasions.
In addition to being a member of the CCA team, Louis also is the president of Louis J. Spisak & Associates, Inc., a firm that specializes in Ohio public utility personal property tax. Louis’s clients include Ohio public utilities, interexchange telecommunications companies, school districts, county auditors and attorneys who specialize in utility taxation. Over the last six years, Louis has been directly responsible for tax savings in excess of $10 million.
- Cost Containment Advisors
- President, Louis J. Spisak & Associates, Inc.
- Assistant Administrator Public Utility Tax Division, State of Ohio
- Assistant Administrator Personal Property Tax Division, State of Ohio
- Assistant Administrator Public Utility Tax Division, State of Ohio
- Audit Supervisor Public Utility Tax Division, State of Ohio
- Tax Agent – Highway Use Tax and Public Utility Tax, State of Ohio
- Bachelor of Science – Business Administration with minor in Accounting, Franklin University
- Appraisal Courses and Property Workshops, International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO)
- Member, Planning Committee, Wichita State University Utility Appraisal Workshop, 2000–2002
Paul Simon, MAI
Paul comes to CCA with over 39 years of experience in the area of property valuation throughout the United States. Prior to joining CCA, he oversaw all of the valuation aspects of property tax for a Fortune 500 utility holding company with business operations in 11 states. In that capacity, he prepared and reviewed cost of capital studies and annual filings for property taxation. Other activities included review of state and county valuations of real and personal property and forecasting of potential property tax. In addition, Paul led property tax appeal presentations for the company in several state jurisdictions.
In the area of public utility property taxation, Paul is recognized as an expert witness and subject matter expert. Specifically, this expertise lies in cost of capital studies, appraisal, appraisal review, and protest negotiation for public utility property including renewable energy facilities.
Throughout his utility property tax career, Paul’s testimony has covered all of the valuation components in unit appraisal and the value apportionment of utility property. He has testified in rate regulation cases before utility commissions as an expert witness in property tax processes from initial filing to settlement. At the annual cost of capital meeting in Colorado and the Fall and Spring Forums at the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Paul has given presentations regarding current economic conditions and the impacts on utility industries.
Paul has been a speaker and moderator at the annual Wichita Workshop on Appraisal for Ad Valorem Taxation of Communications, Energy and Transportation Properties. He remains a member of the planning committee. He was past president of the Western States Association of Tax Representatives and past president of the National Association of Property Tax Representatives – Transportation, Energy, and Communications.
- MAI Member of the Appraisal Institute
- Board Member, Western States Association of Tax Representatives (WSATR)
- Board Member, National Association of Property Tax Representatives – Transportation, Energy and Communications (NAPTR-TEC)
- AQB Certified USPAP Instructor – Appraisal Foundation
- Xcel Energy
- Colorado Division of Property Taxation
Education and Licenses
- Bachelor of Arts, Washington & Jefferson College
- The Appraisal Institute
Matthew J. Stellato
Matthew Stellato provides detailed research and analysis pertaining to personal property taxes for current and potential CCA clients. His analyses offer a concise overview of a company’s existing tax practices and identify areas of savings that can be garnered efficiently. In addition, Matthew provides creative insight regarding official CCA documentation and publications.
- Personal Property Tax Research Analyst and Official Layout Design and Publications, Cost Containment Advisors
- Website Designer and Developer, Rugged Peak, LLC
- Front-end Developer / UI Designer, Deep Focus
- Interactive Developer / Designer, Media Logic
- Bachelor of Science – New Media Publishing, Rochester Institute of Technology
R. Gregg West, CMI
Gregg comes to CCA with nineteen years of corporate tax experience and the expertise to identify process inefficiencies. His work has included managing compliance, audit and appeals, litigation, incentives, mergers and acquisitions, tax technology, and overall tax strategy. Gregg is a leader of corporate tax teams capable of minimizing corporate tax liability.
Since starting his tax career in 1999, he has held corporate tax management positions at several companies, including DCP Midstream, where among other successes he initiated a program that generated tax savings of more than $35M.
Gregg’s experience covers multiple states and industries, with an emphasis on midstream oil and gas industry property tax issues.
- Manager, Indirect Tax, Vulcan Materials Company
- Independent Contractor, Paradigm Tax Group
- Director, Property Tax, DCP Midstream, LLC
- Founder and President, AMCAR Property Tax Management, Inc.
- Account Executive, National Property Tax Management
- Regional Compliance Manager, Burr Wolff LP
- Senior Business Analyst and Senior Property Tax Representative, Mitchell/Devon Energy Corporation
- Institute for Professionals in Taxation
- Birmingham Venture Club
- Alabama Economics Club
- Local Advisory Board Member, Mission Increase
- CMI – Property tax designation from the Institute of Professionals in Taxation
- Master of Business Administration, Marketing, Louisiana Tech University
- Bachelor of Arts, General Studies, Louisiana Tech University
State and Local Experts
The laws and regulations of the multitude of jurisdictions that levy property taxes are complex and in constant flux. CCA has established relationships with preeminent local experts in virtually all significant tax districts, and accesses these resources rigorously.
Analytical and Market Data Resources
CCA conducts extensive market data mining to discern the accurate value of clients’ assessed property. To analyze such market data, we access extensive high-level analytical resources that undertake wide-ranging iterations in order to support valuations.