• Texas Lawyer Names HSSK a Texas’ Best Firm

    HSSK is pleased to announce we have been named a Texas Lawyer Texas’ Best firm for the seventh year! Such recognition would never have been possible without the hard work and dedication put forth by our committed professionals. On average, our team members boast 20-plus years of business experience, and over half have an average of 36 years. We appreciate all those who took time to vote and show their support for our firm. We look forward to continuing to serve our clients — and their clients — with the same skill, dedication and responsiveness as we always have. Voted Texas’ Best in the… Read More
  • Inverse Condemnation and How It Impacts Property Values

    PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF COSTAR AND USED WITH PERMISSION Inverse condemnation. Police power. Eminent domain. These terms can be confusing or, quite possibly, you are not familiar with them at all. So, let’s define them, and then I’ll attempt to explain why you should be aware of their impact on property values. Inverse condemnation – A cause of action against a government agency to recover the value of property taken by the agency, though no formal exercise of the power of eminent domain has been completed. (Black’s Law Dictionary, p. 740, fifth edition, 1979). Police power – The right of… Read More
  • Did You Know? Harris County Flood Control District and Development Regulation

    After a devastating flood in 1935, the Texas State Legislature created the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) to accomplish the following mission: provide flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. HCFCD complete this mission by: devising the flood damage reduction plan, implementing the plan, and maintaining infrastructure. Contrary to public belief, the HCFCD is not tasked with regulating any sort of development in floodplains or any other areas of Harris County. The county engineer, however, does have some authority to… Read More
  • Harvey Flooding and Its Impact on Housing Prices in Southwest Houston

    Many areas of Houston were impacted by the recent flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey and the release of water from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. In an attempt to estimate the impact on housing prices, HSSK researched the listing prices of houses proximate to Brays Bayou in Southwest Houston. We concentrated on houses listed in the area generally bound by Loop 610 to the east, Braeswood Boulevard to the south and Bissonnet to the west and north. Within this area are many developments, including Maplewood, Maplewood North, Maplewood South, Maplewood West and Meyerland. What we found… Read More
  • The Floodplain Conundrum: Development of Detention Ponds and Flood Storage

    Much has been made of floodplain development in Harris County. This topic is even more germane with the devastation of Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast. Many have criticized the region’s insistence on developing “anywhere and everywhere.” Though, the arguments on that side seem cogent – the homes are built where the water flows – they are lacking some geological, ecological, and hydrological background. Since its founding in 1836, Houston has always been a city without boundaries. Built on real estate, the city has worked hard to stifle restriction to growth. Because of this work, Houston… Read More
  • HSSK Welcomes Cindy Carradine to the Firm’s Dallas Office

    HSSK is pleased to announce Cindy Carradine has returned to the firm’s Dallas office as a managing director in the Dispute Advisory and Forensics practice. In her role, she provides expert witness testimony and expert reports regarding economic damage calculations, and leads forensic accounting investigations involving financial concerns or suspected fraud. Carradine is a certified public accountant who brings more than 30 years of diverse experience to HSSK. She is certified in financial forensics by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and is a chartered global… Read More
  • HSSK to Sponsor Texas Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting

    HSSK is a proud sponsor of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel’s 2017 Annual Meeting! Join us in Seattle, September 20-24. On tap for this annual event: Interesting topics and legal updates, a luncheon with a judicial panel, great networking and 9.5 CLE-approved hours, including 1.75 ethics hours! See you there! .page-header h1 { display:none; } .page-header h2 { margin-bottom:20px; } #main-content { min-height:600px; } Read More
  • 100 year floodplain

    100-Year Floodplain Not a Good Indicator of Flood Damage

    The 100-year floodplain is the most utilized indicator of risk for flood in the United States. It is the demarcated basis for local flood policy, as well as for the federal flood insurance program. FEMA uses 100-year floodplain risk maps as its standard for floodplain management, and a minimum requirement for participation of local governments in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Though it is historically the gold standard for flood inundation prediction, data increasingly shows that the 100-year floodplain standard may not be as golden as once thought. The delineation is a… Read More
  • Next Steps Following Hurricane Harvey Property Damage

    Hurricane Harvey’s devastating effects have shifted into focus following the storm’s exit from the Texas Gulf Coast. Thousands of businesses experienced heavy to total catastrophic loss, and for the lending industry, this presents a challenge. Loans secured by collateral now face increased loan-to-value (LTV) ratios as a result of decreased collateral values. This creates uncertainty in many such loans, which poses additional risk to the lender. For many businesses that are underinsured, there will be little to no chance that the value of the collateralized property can ever return to its… Read More
  • Business Interruption Following Hurricane Harvey — Useful Tips

     As businesses in the Gulf Coast region begin to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, business interruption or lost profits insurance becomes a hot topic. With decades of experience proving and defending lost profits and business interruption damages, HSSK’s experts are here to help. Here are some steps you can take to preserve your or your client’s information to support business interruption claims. Do not throw away any documentation, including computer hard drives. Even in the event that your business was damaged by water, hard drives and other business records may still be… Read More
  • Eric Schwartz

    HSSK Managing Director to Serve as Panelist at Chicago Appraisal Symposium

    Eric Schwartz, HSSK's Managing Director of Real Estate Services, is participating in a panel at the Appraisal Institute’s Property Rights Symposium in Chicago on September 6 and 7. The purpose of the symposium is to assist real estate appraisal professionals to resolve issues which impact their appraisals related to condemnation, tax-appeals, dark-store theory, banking and external relations and entities. Eric, in part because of his extensive experience in banking, will serve on the banking panel.#main-content{min-height:440px; display:inline-block;} .page-header h1 {display:none;}… Read More
  • Ray Sheeler

    HSSK Remembers Former Managing Director Ray Sheeler

    HSSK is saddened to announce the passing of Ray Sheeler, who served as a managing director with our firm from Nov. 11, 2004, until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2012. Ray was a hardworking businessman, a friend to the Dallas area and a trusted partner for both HSSK and the clients with whom he worked. His work continued long after retirement, through his service as both an independent consultant and a community volunteer. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to Ray’s family, friends and to all whose lives he touched. He will be deeply missed. Further information regarding services and… Read More
  • HSSK Presentation Covers Discount Best Practices, Benefits of Working with an Appraiser

    Determining Discounts for Lack of Control (DLOCs) and Lack of Marketability (DLOMs) is far from a simplistic process. While all parties might wish analyses centered on mere number crunching, actual proceedings require a careful examination of facts and circumstances — and a significant amount of judgment. HSSK’s David Butler and Sonia Desai recently discussed best practices and the important role appraisers play during a presentation to the Austin Bar Association Trust & Estate Section. For more information, or to request a copy of the full presentation, please email This email address is… Read More
  • Vernon T. Jones Jr.

    HSSK Welcomes Vernon T. Jones Jr. to the Firm’s Houston Office

    HSSK is pleased to announce Vernon T. Jones Jr. has joined the professional services firm as a managing director, Energy, in the firm’s Dispute Advisory & Forensics practice. In his new role, he will work with clients in the energy realm involved with transactions, restructurings and resolution of disputes. Jones brings nearly four decades of firsthand knowledge to his position with HSSK, including 15 years of direct energy industry work. His diverse career includes extensive experience in in bankruptcy, reorganization proceedings and financial forensics. Throughout his time in management… Read More
  • Eric Schwartz

    Eric Schwartz Joins HSSK as a Managing Director, Real Estate

    HSSK is proud to welcome Eric Schwartz to the firm’s Houston office as a managing director, Real Estate. In his new role, Schwartz’s primary duty involves overseeing real property valuation for the firm’s Real Estate practice and serving as an expert witness. Schwartz is an appraiser who brings nearly 40 years of experience to his position. His past work includes chief appraiser roles with financial institutions such as Amegy Bank and CapitalSource Bank, as well as engagements related to diversified real property valuation and regulatory compliance. Schwartz obtained his bachelor’s degree in… Read More
  • HSSK Welcomes Karl Weisheit to the Firm’s Dallas Office

    HSSK is proud to welcome Karl Weisheit as a director in the professional services firm’s Dallas office. Weisheit is a certified public accountant and valuation analyst who also maintains a certification in financial forensics. In his role with HSSK, he performs economic damage calculations and oversees litigation and business consulting practices. Throughout his career, Weisheit has concentrated his work in forensic accounting, economic damages, litigation services and business valuation. He has provided testimony as a forensic accounting expert witness on more than 60 occasions in federal… Read More
  • Thi Tra

    Thi Tra Rejoins HSSK as a Manager in the Firm’s Houston Office

    HSSK is pleased to announce Thi Tra has returned to the professional services firm as a manager in the company’s Houston Dispute Advisory and Forensics practice. In her new role, Tra carries out complex analyses and prepares comprehensive presentations relating to various client engagements. A certified public accountant and fraud examiner who also maintains certification in financial forensics, Tra brings valued experience to her position. Past work includes time as an audit associate for Ernst & Young Vietnam, and a prior senior associate position with HSSK. Most recently, Tra served as… Read More
  • Equitable Distribution in Divorce: What is 50% of Your Business Interest Worth?

    During the divorce process, marital assets and liabilities must be divided between the parties through a process called equitable distribution. The values used for the marital assets and liabilities will be the fair market value as of the date of separation. The value of certain assets will be relatively easy to determine, such as a bank account or the marital residence. On the other hand, placing a value on a business interest is usually more difficult. Community vs. Separate PropertyIn community property states such as Texas, a business formed during the marriage with joint funds is… Read More
  • Business Interruption Losses — More than Just Math

    Preparing Your Company for Unexpected Halts The primary purpose of business interruption insurance is to protect an insured entity’s profits resulting from an insured event. To recover those lost profits, most claims utilize a damage model that documents the loss by first determining lost revenue, and then offsetting that amount with the associated save expenses or avoided cost. Although mathematically the model might appear straightforward and uncomplicated, in practice it requires more than crunching numbers. Businesses are becoming more complex, and that makes the need for effective… Read More
  • HSSK Launches Section 2704 Information Site

    When regulatory change has the potential to deal a financial blow to certain individuals — as is the case with proposed changes to Section 2704 of the IRS Code — those individuals want the facts. And at HSSK, we take pride in serving as an expert source for the information people need to prepare for the road ahead. Our team has developed a new webpage aimed at answering the important questions surrounding Section 2704. From a basic review of what that change could mean to individuals’ bank accounts, to where things stand in the process and even potential methods of protecting assets moving… Read More
  • Viewpoint: Proposed IRS rules threaten Austin businesses

    It’s never good economics to tamper with basic principles of valuation, family relationships and business planning. Not that that’s stopped the IRS in the past, but now the tax agency is trying to go so far over the line that they’re threatening one of the pillars of American society and commerce — the family business. View the full article at the Austin Business Journal Or, View the PDF .item-page .page-header h1 {display:none;} By Sonia Desai and Jared Jordan Read More
  • HSSK Welcomes Charles Dixon to the Firm’s Houston Office

    HSSK is pleased to announce Charles Dixon as a new member of the company’s Houston office. In his role as manager, Dixon aids members of HSSK’s Litigation Consulting department by preparing complex analysis prior to testimony or deposition. A certified fraud examiner and internal auditor, Dixon’s career includes more than two decades of accounting and auditing experience. Past work includes providing public accounting, operational and internal auditing services for a wide range of companies in the energy, manufacturing, construction and both the upstream and downstream oil industries. He has… Read More
  • HSSK to Sponsor Austin Young Lawyers Association Judicial Reception

    HSSK is a proud sponsor of the Austin Young Lawyers Association’s 18th Annual Evening with the Judiciary. This September 15 event presents young legal professionals a unique opportunity to come together in a relaxed social setting with federal, state and local judges — judges they will likely work with throughout their careers. HSSK applauds the fine work these up-and-coming individuals put forth each day, and looks forward to the many benefits they will bring to the legal community..item-page .page-header h1 {display:none;} Read More
  • Travis J. Casner, CFE

    Travis Casner Named a Manager in HSSK's Austin Office

    HSSK is proud to name Travis Casner a manager in the firm’s Austin office. In his new role, Casner will continue to focus on dispute advisory and financial forensic services on various client engagements. A certified fraud examiner with more than six years in the industry, Casner brings a wealth of knowledge to HSSK. His past experience includes work as a managing consultant with Navigant Consulting, Inc., guiding clients through the financial and accounting aspects of the litigation and investigative processes, including quantifying damages. He brings a diverse skill set, having regularly… Read More
  • Marc Schwartz

    Marc Schwartz Elected to National Exchange Club Foundation Board

    HSSK President Marc Schwartz was elected to the National Exchange Club Foundation’s board of trustees during the organization’s national convention, which spanned July 14-16 in Houston, Texas. Schwartz, who has volunteered with The National Exchange Club for 16 years, said it was the group’s dedication to work at the community level — and its National Project, the prevention of child abuse — that led him to pursue a leadership position. “There are groups that talk about making a difference, and there are groups that actually take the necessary steps to make it happen,” he said. “I’m proud to… Read More