CHICAGO - The property tax legal arena suffered a tremendous loss recently after Martin S. Katz died following a year-long battle with cancer. He was 53 years old. Most of his colleagues knew him as the founder and former president of the American Property Tax Counsel (APTC), and most of his colleagues were fortunate enough to call him friend.
Since 1988, Mr. Katz served as managing partner of Fisk Kart and Katz Ltd., a law firm which, for 59 years, has concentrated its practice exclusively on property tax and assessment law. Prior to joining Fisk and Kart in 1979, Mr. Katz was an assistant state's attorney of Cook County, Ill., in the real estate tax trial division, and was past chairman of the Chicago Bar Association State and Municipal Taxation Committee.
The roster of organizations of which Mr. Katz was a member included the Real Estate Investment Association, the International Development Research Council, Attorneys and Executives in Corporate Real Estate, Institute of Property Taxation, and the Property Tax Reform Committee of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
"He was an incredible person," says John Garippa, president of the APTC, who also delivered Mr. Katz's eulogy at his funeral. "Marty's dream for this organization was incredible. His beloved nature and the force of his personality overcame what would typically be expected from a group of lawyers."
Katz's dream that evolved into the APTC began some seven years ago with the belief that lawyers with not only a local understanding of property tax but a national one as well would bring maximum benefits to taxpayers and clients. And he believed the way to do that was by bringing lawyers together under one organization - a tough task by anyone's standards.
As a result of Katz's tireless efforts, the APTC was formed, and seven years after its inception contains 30 law firms from around the country. The organization also holds a two-day annual seminar at which cutting-edge theories and problems are discussed. "It took someone with incredible vision and talent to be able to get those kinds of things to work together,"says Garippa. "That's what made Marty so unique."
Martin Katz is survived by his his wife, Noreen; a daughter, Jennifer; and a son, Jeffrey.
PALO ALTO, CALIF. - Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Brokerage Co. has promoted Harvey E. Green to president and CEO. Green, 52, previously executive vice president and chief operating officer of the company, replaces William Millichap, who becomes co-chairman of the firm with founder George M. Marcus.
Green says his broker background will shape his outlook as CEO. "First of all, I'm a broker," he says. "Second of all, I'm a CEO. In putting the signature on what I want to do as the president of the company, it is to ensure that all of our agents have a reason every day to come back to the company. What I am trying to do right now is to give our agents more time in front of their clients, which allows their clients to articulate and to transmit to the agents their desired business strategy."
Consequently, Marcus & Millichap is bolstering its professional support staff so that it can handle more administrative tasks and allow the agents more time with the clients, says Green.
Green also will maintain the company's emphasis on market research. He claims Marcus & Millichap differs from other brokerage firms that provide research services because it does not simply deluge a client with information, but deciphers and organizes data in a way that relates to a specific client's business strategy. "That difference is huge," he says.
A 31-year industry veteran who is a native of Southern California, Green joined Marcus & Millichap in 1981 as regional manager of the firm's Encino, Calif., office. He later headed the company's Southern California division and was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1996.
Since that time, the firm, which had a 1999 transaction volume of $5.2 billion, has expanded into 10 new markets. Green will continue to be based in Marcus & Millichap's Encino office.