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Overview

GiGi’s representative experience encompasses virtually all types of public finance for municipalities, counties, the State of Ohio and related agencies, including airport, water and sewer system revenue bonds, single and multifamily housing, healthcare financing, long-term care financing, industrial revenue bond financing and tax increment financing.

She also led the firm’s engagement as counsel to the Ohio Department of Transportation in connection with the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway, the Department’s first design/build/finance/operate/maintain project.

GiGi began her tenure with Calfee in 1976, becoming a partner in 1983. She served on the firm’s executive committee from 2001-04 and 2009-2016.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Frederick O. Kiel Distinguished Service Award, National Association of Bond Lawyers, 2018
  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America, Public Finance Law, 2005 - present
  • “Lawyer of the Year” 2017 for Public Finance in Cleveland, Best Lawyers in America© 
  • Jurisprudence Award from ORT America-Northeast Ohio Region, 2014
  • “Woman of Achievement” by the YWCA Greater Cleveland, 2013
  • "Woman of Note” by Crain’s Cleveland Business, 2012
  • Athena Award Finalist presented by Inside Business, 2012
  • City Year Cleveland’s Community Champion Award, 2005
  • Named a “Rainmaker” by Northern Ohio Live magazine, 2005

Education

J.D., Boston University School of Law, cum laude, 1976

A.B., Smith College, 1973

Experience

Experience

  • Calfee served as bond counsel to the City of Cincinnati in connection with its $35,505,000 Unlimited Tax General Obligation Judgment Bonds, Series 2015D, which funded the settlement of the City's pension litigation.
  • Represented Hamilton County as bond counsel in connection with the County's $324,035,000 Sales Tax Refunding Bonds, Series 2016A.
  • Calfee represented the State of Ohio in connection with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s first design/build/finance/operate and maintain procurement for a 16-mile 4-lane highway in southeast Ohio. The engagement included preparation of the procurement documents, including Public Private Agreement.
  • Calfee served as counsel to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority (the “Port Authority”) in connection with the proposed acquisition of the City of Cincinnati’s parking system, including seven off-street parking facilities and the City’s on-street parking system. We negotiated a long-term lease with the City that was structured to be treated as a sale for federal income tax purposes, while providing both an up-front purchase price and ongoing cash flow to the City. Calfee lawyers negotiated management contracts with Xerox State and Local Government Solutions and Denison Parking that provided a fair rate of return to the managers while maintaining affordable parking for the residents and businesses located in the City. Although the transaction ultimately did not proceed due to a change in City administration, the firm’s role in structuring and negotiating the acquisition were a model of public private partnership in the State of Ohio.
  • Represented a suburban Cuyahoga County community providing infrastructure financing for a Fortune 500 company headquarters and adjacent retail development. The debt will be payable from tax increment financing and will finance, inter alia, public parking facilities. Issues include allocation of private use of the parking facilities to maintain tax-exempt status of bonds.
  • Represented an urban inner ring suburb in connection with the redevelopment of a retail center, including bond financing, and preparation and negotiation of purchase and sale agreements and development agreement.
  • Acted as bond counsel to the State of Ohio in connection with financing for public infrastructure improvements related to the Flats East Bank project, a $272 million project with more than 30 sources of financing. Also served as underwriter’s counsel in connection with the financing of Phase II of the Flats East Bank project.
  • Served as counsel to energy company which obtained financing through a major Ohio municipality for improvements to the utility owned by the municipality and operated by the energy company.
  • Served as underwriter’s counsel in connection with several series of Airport Revenue Bonds for the City of Cleveland in 2008 and 2009 and with respect to the City’s Water System Revenue Bonds, Series 2012 and Series 2015, and the City's Water Pollution Control Revenue Bonds, Series 2016.
  • Represented the City of Cleveland as bond counsel for $54,800,000 Various Purpose General Obligation Bonds, Series 2009.
  • Represented a real estate developer in connection with the acquisition and remediation of center city industrial park using New Markets Tax Credits.
  • Represented the developer in connection with the redevelopment of a downtown Cleveland hotel financed with EB-5 assistance, an energy loan from the State of Ohio secured by special assessments imposed by an advanced energy improvement district, bonds issued by Cuyahoga County and payable from service payments in lieu of taxes received by the City of Cleveland and private conventional financing. 
  • Served as counsel to a state community college with respect to borrowing proceeds of qualified energy conservation bonds issued by an agency and instrumentality of the State of Ohio. 
  • Represented a large urban county as bond counsel in connection with the county's issuance of Build America Bonds. 
  • Served as counsel to local and national banks in connection with their purchase of, or the provision of credit enhancement for, bonds issued for the benefit of municipalities and nonprofit organizations, including economic development programs, art museum expansion and new facilities for world-renown healthcare organization. 
  • Acted as bond counsel to a western suburb in financing a minor league baseball stadium and a recreational facility, including both governmental and 501(c)(3) bonds. 

Professional & Community

Professional & Community

American College of Bond Counsel (ACBC), Immediate Past President, 2016-2018; elected Regular Member, 2007

National Association of Bond Lawyers, Board of Trustees, former member

Bond Attorneys Workshop and Fundamentals of Municipal Bonds seminar, Chair

Ohio Development Financing Roundtable’s Advisory Committee

American Bar Association

Leadership Cleveland, Class of 2007

Cleveland Zoological Society, President of the Board of Trustees, 2011-2014

Ohio City Incorporated, Director

News & Events

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Industries/Sectors

Licensed In

  • Ohio

The Frederick O. Kiel Distinguished Service Award recognizes extraordinary service to the National Association of Bond Lawyers over an extended period of time. The 2018 Kiel Award was presented to Virginia (GiGi) Benjamin in September 2018.

“GiGi Benjamin has made countless contributions to NABL during her career. She has served on the NABL Board of Directors, chaired the Bond Attorneys’ Workshop and the Fundamentals Seminar. She continues to volunteer on NABL committees and projects. NABL is a better organization thanks to GiGi.”

NABL President-Elect and Awards Committee Chair Dee Wisor.

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