The Emet team possesses an exceptional combination of unique and complementary skills in Emet’s strategy. The team averages more than 15 years of experience and has successfully executed this investment strategy since 2012.
Paul Siegel is Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Emet. He has spent his entire career in municipal finance, having acquired, issued, underwritten, and sold municipal securities secured by real estate assets. Mr. Siegel has more than 20 years of relevant experience in the municipal, special situations, and distressed asset investment arena.
Before co-founding Emet, Mr. Siegel was a Senior Vice President at Fundamental Advisors LP from 2007 – 2011, a distressed and special situation municipal debt investment management firm. Mr. Siegel was responsible for sourcing, executing, and managing fund investments. As a senior investment team member, he led investments of over $330 million.
Prior to joining Fundamental, Mr. Siegel was a Housing Officer at the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority from 2005 – 2007, structuring and issuing debt and equity financings for affordable multifamily housing projects. Preceding the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Mr. Siegel was a Senior Investment Analyst at Madison Capital Management from 2004 – 2005, where he and the co-founder of Fundamental comprised the core team responsible for the distressed municipal bond investment platform. Mr. Siegel began his career as an investment banker at George K. Baum & Company from 2000 – 2004, where he structured and underwrote debt financings for non-profit institutions, with a focus on privatized student housing transactions at colleges and universities.
Mr. Siegel received his B.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000, and previously held a Series 7 license. Mr. Siegel is a member of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts and the Municipal Analysts Group of New York. Mr. Siegel is actively engaged in philanthropic pursuits and is an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage Program. Mr. Siegel is a former member of the Board of Directors of the UJA-Federation of New York, where he has also served on multiple leadership committees and grant-making task forces for more than 10 years. Mr. Siegel is the Treasurer of and on the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Free Loan Society, an organization that provides more than $20 million annually of interest-free loans to low-income and marginalized individuals. Mr. Siegel is also on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Communal Fund, a donor-advised fund encompassing more than $2 billion of assets under management. Together with the Emet team, Mr. Siegel is the driving force behind the firm’s Impact Initiative, a philanthropic effort aimed at aiding low-income and marginalized students through a scholarship program that is further leveraged by partnerships with universities, food service providers, and other community stakeholders.
Stefan Baugh is Co-Founder, Principal, and Chief Compliance Officer of Emet. Mr. Baugh has more than 20 years of experience as a real estate and finance lawyer. Mr. Baugh has extensive experience in the acquisition, disposition, and financing of real estate projects with an emphasis on workouts and restructurings of distressed real estate assets, joint venture transactions, development and construction matters, structured real estate financings, commercial loan originations, asset servicing matters and loan syndications and participations. Prior to co-founding Emet, Mr. Baugh was a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP from 2006 – January 2012, where he represented private equity firms, developers, investment banks, commercial banks, and specialty finance/investment companies in real estate transactions. His clients included Fundamental, where he worked closely with Mr. Siegel.
Prior to joining Katten, Mr. Baugh was in-house counsel at CapitalSource Inc. from 2004 – 2006, a publicly traded commercial finance company specializing in affordable housing and senior housing. At CapitalSource, Mr. Baugh was a member of the portfolio management group and was responsible for structuring all legal aspects of commercial estate transactions from term sheet to payoff. Preceding CapitalSource, Mr. Baugh was an associate at Troutman Sanders LLP from 2001 – 2004, where he represented both lenders and borrowers in real estate and asset-based financing transactions including development loans, construction financings, term and revolving credit facilities, working capital lines of credit, asset-based facilities, loans with equity co-investments, bridge loans and subordinated debt financing. Mr. Baugh began his career in 2000 at DLA Piper in the Corporate Department where he worked on venture capital finance transactions and mergers and acquisitions.
Mr. Baugh earned a B.S. from Towson University in 1996 and a J.D. from William and Mary School of Law in 2000. He is admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia. In 2010, Mr. Baugh was a recipient of The Network Journal’s 40 Under-Forty Black Achievement Awards. The award recognizes men and women under 40 years of age who have achieved significant professional success and have also made important contributions to their community. In addition, Mr. Baugh serves on the board of directors of Jamaica’s Promise, a non-profit providing resources and support to improve the education of youth from disadvantaged circumstances in Jamaica.
Adam Towne is the Chief Financial Officer of Emet. Mr. Towne joined Emet in May 2017 and brings more than 15 years of accounting, audit, and tax experience to the firm. His responsibilities at Emet include valuation, financial reporting, audit and tax support, internal control management, regulatory compliance support, investor relations, and the oversight of the firm’s accounting policies and procedures, as well as assistance with asset management. Adam serves as the primary liaison with the Fund’s administrators, auditors, and tax preparers.
Prior to joining Emet, Mr. Towne was an Associate Director with the CFO, Tax & Accounting team at Constellation Advisers, LLC, a financial services consulting firm in New York. During his time at Constellation, Mr. Towne worked with Emet and multiple other private equity investment firms, hedge funds and operating companies, where he was responsible for operating as Outsourced CFO. His primary focus was tax advisory services related to the organization, structuring, and long-term planning, and he provided guidance on federal, state, and local taxation, as well as international tax implications of cross-border dealings, including, but not limited to, transactions with foreign trusts and offshore vehicles. Other responsibilities included the preparation and review of financial statements in accordance with GAAP and investment company guidance (ASC 946). Preceding his tenure at Constellation, Adam was a Tax Supervisor at Spicer Jeffries and served on the Tax Staff at Elliott Davis Decosimo.
Mr. Towne graduated from Mercer University with a B.A. in management consulting in May 2004. Mr. Towne is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and is a member of both the Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants (COCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In addition, Mr. Towne has volunteered for Achilles International, an organization dedicated to enabling people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events.
Ron Zuvich is a Director at Emet. Mr. Zuvich joined Emet in October 2015 and brings more than 15 years of capital markets, restructuring and municipal bond financing experience to the firm. His responsibilities at Emet include transaction sourcing and underwriting, valuation, development of exit strategies, and assistance with asset management.
Prior to joining Emet, Mr. Zuvich was a Vice President in the Restructuring group at MBIA, a municipal bond insurer. During his tenure at MBIA, Mr. Zuvich was responsible for disposing of and restructuring many of MBIA’s defaulted municipal bond transactions, including over a dozen transactions in the multifamily affordable housing and student housing space totaling nearly $1 billion in par exposure. Mr. Zuvich also worked on several high-profile Chapter 9 bankruptcy cases and infrastructure project financings. Preceding MBIA, Mr. Zuvich was an Assistant Vice President in the Investment Analytics & Consulting Group at JP Morgan Chase, primarily advising public and private pension plans in the areas of fixed income portfolio risk, returns attribution and liability-driven investing. Mr. Zuvich began his career as a Capital Markets Analyst at Citigroup in the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) Trading & Securitization group, where he worked on structuring subprime mortgage securitizations, assisting in evaluating, pricing and trading pools of whole loans and managing warehouse lending lines with mortgage-backed collateral.
Mr. Zuvich graduated summa cum laude in May 2007 from the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in accounting and economics. Mr. Zuvich was also elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society prior to his graduation from College of the Holy Cross. Mr. Zuvich is a CFA® charterholder, has passed all three levels of the Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor (CIRA) exam and is a member of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts (NFMA). In addition, Mr. Zuvich serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of the Children NY, an organization dedicated to long-term mentoring (K-12) and service to at-risk youth in Harlem and the South Bronx.
Melissa Bernard is a Director at Emet. Mrs. Bernard joined Emet in November 2018 and brings over 13 years of experience in multifamily real estate asset management and property operations, with a specialization in student housing. Her primary responsibilities at Emet include selecting and overseeing property management companies, evaluating underwriting assumptions, crafting, and executing asset repositioning plans, and optimizing property operations.
Prior to joining Emet, Mrs. Bernard served as the Director of Operations for Aspen Heights Partners where she was responsible for the management, staffing, and financial performance of 34 student housing properties containing over 20,000 beds. While at Aspen Heights, Mrs. Bernard played a pivotal role in the firm’s first acquisition with an institutional partner, which led to a large value-add portfolio. In addition, she was directly responsible for the acquisition of a large portfolio encompassing 13 assets and over 3,000 beds. She also assisted with the sourcing, due diligence, acquisition and exit strategy for over 12 transactions.
Before joining Aspen Heights, Mrs. Bernard was a Regional Manager for Greystar Real Estate Partners where she was responsible for a portfolio of approximately 2,000 units owned by institutional clients and regional investment groups. At Greystar, Mrs. Bernard specialized in multifamily high-rise lease-ups which included retail and other mixed-use components. Mrs. Bernard graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in Finance.
Ira Haynie is a Senior Vice President at Emet. Mr. Haynie joined Emet in September 2018 and brings over 20 years of experience in all areas of real estate asset management and debt financing, with an emphasis on distressed and special situation assets. His primary responsibilities at Emet include developing and executing turnaround strategies, asset analysis and reporting, optimizing property operations and capital improvement programs, liaising with portfolio lenders, and assisting with the underwriting of transactions.
Prior to joining Emet, Mr. Haynie served as a Sr. Associate/Asset Manager for CWCapital Asset Management, LLC. His core responsibilities at CWCapital included developing and implementing workout strategies for the specially serviced real estate portfolio, restructuring of defaulted loans, leading the foreclosure process, crafting, and executing business plans for REO assets, and detailed quantitative/valuation portfolio analysis. Mr. Haynie was responsible for directing and/or negotiating with borrowers, servicer contacts, distressed note purchases, banking institutions, attorneys, property managers, and receivers. During his tenure at CWCapital, Mr. Haynie was responsible for the workout and disposition of over $1.5 billion of defaulted/distressed commercial loans, including the disposition of a $267 million loan portfolio consisting of 97 multifamily properties.
Prior to joining CWCapital, Mr. Haynie was an Asset Manager and Underwriter for several CMBS and GSE (FNMA/Freddie Mac/FHA) lenders. He completed the comprehensive underwriting analysis to secure over $1 billion in mortgage financing for multifamily properties across the country.
Mr. Haynie received a B.A. in Business Finance from Morehouse College in 1997. Mr. Haynie is affiliated with the Mortgage Bankers Association and is a certified Fraud Examiner. In addition, Mr. Haynie serves on the Board of Directors of Beats not Bullets, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing an introduction to music engineering and songwriting techniques to at-risk youth in Baltimore, MD.
Keith Kozak is the Director of Portfolio Operations at Emet. Mr. Kozak joined Emet in February 2016 and is responsible for managing all of Emet’s capital improvement initiatives, lease-up/rehabilitation operations, asset optimization plans, and ongoing property operations.
Mr. Kozak brings more than 30 years of asset and property operations expertise to the firm. Mr. Kozak has experience working directly with contractors, subcontractors, and property vendors, and his experience is in the areas of construction management, property turnarounds, capital needs assessments, preventive maintenance, property expense optimization, and ground-up development.
Prior to joining Emet, Mr. Kozak was the owner and president of Controllable Expenses, Inc., a consulting firm that provided services including construction/renovation management, capital needs assessments, vendor service agreement negotiations, construction inspections, and compliance training to the investment, lending, property management, and multifamily real estate industry. While at Controllable Expenses, Inc., Mr. Kozak worked with Emet and multiple other private equity investment firms, institutional real estate owners, lenders, higher education institutions, non-profit borrowers, and property managers. Among numerous other consulting engagements, Mr. Kozak served as the Associate Director of Operations for Trammell Crow Higher Education Services at the University of Pennsylvania, where he managed the redevelopment of the University’s off-campus student housing project facilities.
Before forming Controllable Expenses, Inc., Mr. Kozak spent approximately 10 years with Riverstone Residential (formerly Trammell Crow Residential Services), where he was the regional maintenance director and the director of operations in the northeast. He was responsible for the development, staffing, planning and execution of major capital projects for both commercial and residential real estate assets. While at Riverstone Residential, Mr. Kozak supported 15,000 units of multifamily housing assets and managed 32 capital improvement campaigns. Prior to joining Trammell Crow, Mr. Kozak held positions as Director of Technical Services for AIMCO, Director of Regional Engineering and Technical Services for National Housing Properties (NHP), and Regional Engineering and Technical Services Coordinator for Oxford Development and Management Companies.
Mark Grimm is a Vice President at Emet. Mr. Grimm joined Emet full-time in September 2018 after providing third-party construction accounting and analytical support to Emet’s asset management team since 2017. Mr. Grimm has extensive experience as an accountant and financial analyst in several industries, including the acquisition, construction and/or rehabilitation of multifamily real estate, and Federal, state, and local government contracting. Mr. Grimm’s primary responsibilities at Emet include capital expenditure forecasting, tracking, and budgeting, construction accounting, construction draw review and processing, property financial statement review and analysis, asset management reporting, and assisting with the development and implementation of capital improvement plans. In addition, Mr. Grimm provides accounting and analytical support to Emet’s Chief Financial Officer.
Prior to joining Emet, Mr. Grimm was the owner and principal of Coda Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm that provided analytical and administrative support primarily to construction and remodeling businesses. While at Coda Consulting, Mr. Grimm worked extensively with the Emet team, particularly Keith Kozak, on capital expenditure tracking, forecasting, and reporting. Prior to Coda Consulting, Mr. Grimm was a Project Control Analyst at Technology Service Corporation, where he managed the financial analysis and reporting with respect to $150 million in annual revenues and was responsible for procuring and administering company contracts. Mr. Grimm was also a Project Control Professional with Computer Sciences Corporation, where he was responsible for budgeting, forecasting, EAC/ETC and variance analysis reporting for approximately $8 million in Federal and state government contracts annually.
Abraham Nissim is a Vice President at Emet. Mr. Nissim joined Emet in February 2012 as an analyst, and has worked directly with the firm principals on all aspects of Emet’s business. Mr. Nissim’s primary responsibilities include participating in the sourcing and underwriting of transactions, assisting with the firm’s asset management functions, investor reporting, and market research.
Mr. Nissim has experience in the real estate, investment research, distressed asset, and accounting industries. Mr. Nissim completed a real estate internship at JSRE Realty, LLC where he assisted in analyzing properties for new investment opportunities and in the management of existing portfolio assets. While at JSRE Realty, Mr. Nissim held a New York real estate salesperson agent license. Mr. Nissim also completed an internship at Value Line, an investment research and publishing firm, where he assisted with the research process and pitched new products and opportunities to current and perspective clients. At Value Line, Mr. Nissim conducted research on over 100 companies and in over 10 different industries. Mr. Nissim’s responsibilities at Value Line included managing approximately 250 customer accounts by interacting with the customer’s designated contact person and providing materials as appropriate. In addition, Mr. Nissim completed an internship as an analyst at Hilco Streambank LLC where he analyzed and valued portfolios of intellectual property (patents and trademarks) of distressed companies and created marketing documents for available portfolios of intellectual property. Mr. Nissim also worked as an accounting intern at J.H. Cohn, LLC where he assisted with the preparation and completion of audited reports for small businesses.
Mr. Nissim graduated in January 2013 cum laude from the NYU Stern School of Business with a B.S. in finance and economics. He was an active member of the NYU Stern Real Estate Group and the NYU Quantitative Finance Society, and completed an award-winning presentation on international business strategies while at NYU.
Jonathan Sessa is a Vice President at Emet. Mr. Sessa joined Emet in May 2019. His primary responsibilities include participating in transaction sourcing and underwriting, development of exit strategies, market research, and assisting with the firm’s asset management and reporting functions.
Prior to joining Emet, Mr. Sessa was an associate at Weaver Street Partners, a New York-based private equity real estate fund dedicated to multifamily housing investments. During his tenure at Weaver Street, Mr. Sessa focused on all aspects of acquisitions, including deal sourcing, underwriting, and capital raising. Before joining Weaver Street, Mr. Sessa was a senior associate in the Financial Markets – Real Estate group at PwC, where he led asset-level due diligence efforts and contributed to the issuance of more than $10 billion in CMBS transactions.
Mr. Sessa graduated magna cum laude in May 2012 from Boston College with a B.S. in accounting and received his M.S. in accounting from Boston College in May 2013. Mr. Sessa is a CFA® charterholder and also a licensed CPA in the state of New York.
Bonnie Halbfinger is an Administrative Associate at Emet. Ms. Halbfinger joined Emet in September 2020. Prior to joining Emet, she worked in the Missions department at UJA-Federation of New York, and previously worked at Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse and Hirschtritt LLP. Ms. Halbfinger brings 9 years of administrative experience to her role at Emet, where she oversees daily operations as well as assists with the firm’s various philanthropic initiatives. Ms. Halbfinger graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Human Rights and is on the Legacy Council at the New-York Historical Society.