The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 95
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 95

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 7, 1997
Page 95
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The Palm Beach Post DECEMBER 7. 1997 SECTION F Vv , . 9 U IX U A Y A If II M. A m. m Cjf la VI "t&j Im0 LIU Li High on lawyers5 holiday wish list: a check those with large bills have such power over their attorneys. www inum ii f H i 1 By Alexandra Clough Palm Beach Post Staff Writer It's the end of the year, and companies all over the country are getting into the holiday spirit. Workers are starting to wind down, maybe even slack off. But there is one person who remains tied to his phone, sweatily making phone calls. It's your lawyer, and he wants you to pay his bill now. Please. OK. Pretty please. Begging clients to pay by year-end "is a stupid thing, and all the law firms do it," said Marvin Rosen, a West Palm Beach lawyer. "But this is a cash business, and lawyers are paid, in part, on how much cash comes in the door with their name on it." Perhaps at no other time do clients especially Angell in Palm Beach. Still, starting around October, there's tremendous pressure on lawyers to collect unpaid bills, Cole said. "This time of year, clients get all these calls from their lawyers asking how the weather is, how their kids are, and at the end of the conversation, it's 'Hey, can you pay my bill?' " said John Tooth-man, president of Devil's Advocate, an Alexandria, Va., company that audits legal bills. Why haven't lawyers pushed for payment all year? Some lawyers think pestering clients for money is "undignified, hucksterish," said Rosen of Ruden, McClosky, Smith, Schuster & Russell in West Palm Beach. Please see C0LLECT2F Here s why: At many large firms, partners are paid only a portion of their salaries during the year. They receive the rest as a lump-sum bonus or deferred compensation that can amount to 10 percent or more of a lawyer's annual salary. That bonus is based, in part, on how much the lawyer collects by year-end. Lawyers say clients are better this year than in previous years about paying up. "Everyone seems to be doing pretty well," said Jonathan Cole of Edwards & To encourage clients to pay, West Palm lawyer David Mcln-tosh sends monthly bills. 4 t -v 1 1, SHERMAN ZENTStaff Photographer This coquina stone home at 920 S. Ocean Blvd. in Palm Beach, dubbed the ham-and-cheese house, is for sale. Ham-and-cheese home on market for $7.9 million Every once in awhile a street grabs my attention. This time it's Via Bellaria, six blocks north of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach's estate section. House after house is beautiful and interesting. On the northwest corner of Via Bellaria and South Ocean Boulevard, the distinctive coquina and brick house (dubbed the "ham-and-cheese" house) is on the market for $7.9 million through Lawrence A. Moens Associates. It was THE POWER TO SELL Some of the merchant power plants that are either under construction or in operation. Listing shows plant name, location, size, type of fuel and owner. 1. Indeck Pepperell Power Facility, - 7. Sweeny Cogeneratlon Facility, Sweeny, t , Pepperell, Mass.: 38 megawatts, natural gas, Texas: 330 megawatts, residue gas and i Indeck Pepperell Power Associates natural gas, CSW Energy and Sweeny Energy II 2. Indeck-West Enfield Energy Center, West . Newgulf, Boling, Texas: 78 megawatts, Enfield, Maine: 25 megawatts, wood, natural gas, CSW Energy i I i i k Indeck Maine Energy and Indeck Operations 9. Pasadena Power Plant, Pasadena, Texas: I I: 3. Indeck-Jonesboro Energy Center, 240 megawatts, natural gas, Calpine t jfL n i KM Jonesboro, Maine: 25 megawatts, wood, fVI k 'J inaecK Maine tnergyana inaecK uperazions xv. uigmon rower riant, uigniun, ividbs.; ; i r - '!"'"' '.'( 1 RQ mciffciii'atcf natural rfae Palnino onW ? I- ? m designed by architect Maurice Fatio, who also designed the house on the south corner. The house has been renovated since its days as the home of James Sullivan the man accused (and acquitted) of hiring a hitman to kill his estranged wife in Atlanta and who later made Energy Management Inc. i ? I 4- E.J. Stoneman Plant, Cassville, Wise: 53 megawatts, coal, Mid-America Power S. Fort Martin Power Plant (Unit One), Fort Martin, W. Va.: 550 megawatts, coal, AYP Energy Q. Milagro Cogeneratlon Plant, '11. Bridgeport Energy Project, Bridgeport, Conn.: 520 megawatts, natural gas, Duke Energy Power Services and United 1 Illuminating Co. Ava Van de Water jjj - 12. Berkshire Power Project, Agawam, Bloomfield, N.M.: 62 megawatts, natural gas, Mass.: 272 megawatts, natural gas, El Paso . The Williams Cos. Energy Corp. and Power Development Corp. r4 I - 4 .. V W tut f , i ft SEAN TEVISStaff Artist Merchant plants aim to cut costs, turn a profit headlines during his divorce from Suki Sullivan. At the Intracoastal end of the street, a 1937 house designed by architect John Volk recently was listed for $3.5 million through John Ryan at Earl Hollis Inc. Ryan says this is the first time the three-bedroom, three-bath house (not counting staff quarters) has come on the market. In between, Robert Fessler is near-ing the end of renovations to his house at 151 Via Bellaria. Built in the '20s, the house originally was an Italian-style villa, but was transformed in the '70s by Volk into a modern villa. Fessler (with the help of Smith and Moore Architects and Chris Lapinski of Fair Dinkum Construction Co.) is converting it to the Mediterranean style. (Fair Dinkum, for those of you who asked, is Aussie slang for genuine and honest.) Fessler also owns the lot to the west, where he may or may not build a Mediterranean-style house that Smith and Moore designed for him. Apparently there are folks interested in buying Fessler's house and lot, and he's trying to decide what to do. The lot, by the way, could become a garden for a future buyer. That's what happened at 255 Via Bellaria. Planned for a spec house, it was sold to Larry La-Dove, who created a beautiful garden for his home next door. And across from Fessler's house, Sidney Kimmel (chairman of Jones Apparel Group) just sold his interest in 200 Via Bellaria to Rena Rowan for $1.4 million. B What does it take to own a home on 2.25 oceanfront acres in Palm Beach? Try $13 million. That's the asking price for a house at 50 Blossom Way land that was once part of the historic Bingham-Blossom estate. Think the price is far-fetched? A house a few doors north is on the market for $18.5 million, and the 3.7-acre lot next door sold earlier this year for $13.1 million. In fact, we hear the latter is one of the reasons the owners are selling. They reportedly don't want to put up with the noise and dust of construction next door. So just what does a $13 million house have that yours doesn't? How about 11,122 square feet of living space, five bedrooms and six baths, separate guest Please see H0MES2F WW II F 1 r .It I r Q 'TzrtomJk , 4t 3 Jy"1 '.. vp.J ,r--J .... , -l ja, r The gas-fired Pasadena Power Plant in Pasadena, Texas, is one of a large group of power plants being built around the country to sell electricity to other utilities. By John Murawski Palm Beach Post Staff Writer A new breed of power plant is trying to break into the Sunshine State. Dubbed merchant plants, the newcomers sell their power to any utility in need, flying in the face of conventional practice. Power plants in Florida typically serve the same customers for decades. 1 The merchant plants say they save customers big money. But the old-line utilities FPL and TECO Energy, among them are crying foul and asking the Public Service Commission to step in. Set up as business ventures with no guaranteed clients, the survival of merchant plants depends on their ability to undersell competitors. They sell to any utility willing to buy, and out-of-state utilities are fair game. "That's going to be the principal way that electricity will be bought and sold in the future," said Jack Hawks, vice president of government relations at U.S. Generating Co., a Bethesda, Md., company that has eight merchant-plant projects across the country. "Once deregulation occurs everywhere in the country, these plants will be built on a market basis, and they will have to cover their investments from the market price of electricity." The pros and cons of competitive power plants are getting a full airing in Florida in the wake of a declaration two months ago by Duke Energy subsidiaries, of Charlotte, N.C., to build the first two merchant plants in the state. The controversy stirred by Duke can be traced to an ad in The Wall Street Journal last year. The ad was placed by a Central Florida mining company seeking help in bringing down its soaring energy costs. Duke's solution: Let's build a merchant plant together. Some predict that merchant plants will generate electricity 25 to 50 percent more cheaply, and the savings could be passed on to consumers. "This can only help drive down electricity costs," said Scheffel Wright, an energy lawyer who represents Duke Energy. "It will either bring down rates, or we won't sell any energy. We can only sell it if we can displace power that the retail utility would otherwise manufacture or purchase elsewhere." But utilities are mounting opposition to merchant plants in a paper war that has generated no less than 47 documents at the Public Service Commission in Tallahassee. Power companies say they'll lose millions of dollars if merchant plants are built here. Those losses, they warn, will be passed on to customers in the form of higher prices. Merchant plants "would profoundly affect the structure of the electrical industry in Florida," Florida Power Corp. of St. Petersburg wrote in a brief to the PSC. "Merchant plant developers would be free to abandon projects ... or to sell power either outside the area where a pressing need exists, or outside the state altogether." The merchant-plant concept got its start in 1992 when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opened up the wholesale energy market to competition. Please see P0WER2F 'This can only help drive down electricity costs. It will either bring down rates or we won 't sell any energy. ' SCHEFFEL WRIGHT Lawyer INSIDE: YOU Florida seeks a trade-off in international tariff wars lien it comes to they will not survive to enjoy them, there is an ambivalence that could give Clinton a second chance, so long as he can address complaints arising from the North American Free Trade Agreement. To get more votes from a state such as Florida, there would have to be stronger enforcement of fair-trade rules, more vigorous retaliation when the rules are violated and probably continued tariffs for citrus, according to some key players. "We know free trade is good," said Martha Roe Burke, a Winter Haven citrus grower and member of the Florida Citrus Commission. and most of Florida's House members opposing it. The result is a case study of the conflicting pressures that Congress faced when it sidetracked President Clinton's request to renew expanded trade negotiating authority and will face again if Clinton, as he has suggested, makes the request again. It also points up the key role that agriculture in a marriage of convenience with labor unions, environmentalists and other unfamiliar allies plays in the nation's trade politics. But even among Florida's fast-track foes, who see long-term gains from expanded trade while fearing By HELEN DEWAR The Washington Post LAKELAND From its abandoned tomato fields and worried citrus growers to Miami's curious alliance with Chile in the hemispheric salmon wars, Florida helps explain why the "fast track" trade bill died in Congress this year and why it could spring back to life next year. With its diverse economy and kaleidoscopic politics, Florida is pulled in one direction by its bountiful but fragile agriculture while its thriving trade pushes it the other way. Its congressional delegation is similarly torn, with senators favoring the bill "What we're trying to do is navigate across and stay intact in the process." Her point was underscored recently when U.S. Agriculture Department officials proudly noted during a citrus commission meeting here that Florida farm exports reached $1.2 billion last year, a 20 percent increase in two years. But export gains barely cover losses from increased imports, complained citrus grower James T. Griffiths. "With NAFTA there was supposed to be an opening to Mexico, but all it did was open Florida to Mexico," he said after the meeting. Please see TRADE5F 'i t consulting, contacts mean contracts. PAGE 3F JOB CLASSIFIEDS, 5F

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