Joe Forte is a partner in Kelley Drye's New York office. He has experience in commercial real estate finance and capital markets with a particular emphasis on the structuring, origination, administration, workout and enforcement of commercial mortgage loans for portfolio, syndications and securitization lenders including permanent, bridge and construction mortgage lending; mezzanine finance; pari-passu and subordinate debt; co-lending, participation and intercreditor arrangements; loan sales and purchases; loan workouts, foreclosures and restructurings; and environmental risk management. He regularly advises lenders and investors on mortgage banking, doing business, licensing, usury, federal preemption and investment authority as well as secondary mortgage and capital markets issues.
Mr Forte has been at the forefront of major innovations in real estate finance for over 40 years. He was involved in the development of the secondary and securitization markets for residential, multifamily and commercial mortgages and, in 1988, he developed the program and loan documents for the first commercial mortgage conduit and other early standardized conduit programs. He has advised the GSEs on a variety of issues. He has also represented the nation's real estate finance industry in the development of the ASTM's original environmental risk assessment standards; in the adoption of the 1994 Bankruptcy Code amendments; as principal draftsman of the Capital Consortium's Capital Markets Ratable Mortgage form; in defeating the American Land Title Association's original Creditors' Rights Exclusion to its policies; in obtaining the New York state tax authorities' acceptance of CMBS defeasance and use of consolidated mortgage notes in New York; in the drafting of a standard co-lending agreement for the Mortgage Bankers Association's Life Insurance Company Task Force; as amicus curia in the GGP and ESH bankruptcies; as a draftsman in the CMBS industry effort to establish standard mandatory non-binding mediation procedures governing representation and warranty breach putbacks; and in the withdrawal of the IRS Chief Counsel's controversial position on the treatment of real estate investors under "Bad Boy" Guarantees in Non-Recourse Financings.
Mr Forte has been recognized as a leading real estate finance practitioner in national and international surveys. Since 2003, he has regularly been highlighted by Chambers USA for his real estate practice and has been hailed as "a legend" and "a highly experienced and respected real estate finance specialist." He has been recognized annually by The International Who's Who Legal as one of the top 10 most highly regarded real estate lawyers and from 2010 to 2013 as "Global Real Estate Lawyer of the Year." In 2013, he was one of only two attorneys recognized among 30 executives in Commercial Property Executives' "Most Influential People in Real Estate" feature, celebrating those central to driving growth and innovation in the commercial real estate recovery. Mr Forte is regularly chosen as a Super Lawyer in New York and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America©. The Legal 500 United States has also recommended Mr Forte for his real estate practice.