Exclusive Equestrian Club Home Features Expanded Living Space, Many Upgrades

Exclusive Equestrian Club Home Features Expanded Living Space, Many Upgrades

This home in Wellington’s exclusive Equestrian Club community has a lake view, a three-car garage and a gorgeous lap pool and spa. Built as one of the neighborhood’s sought-after Stockton styles, it has a unique upgrade that expands the living space. One of its five bedrooms has been opened up to become an integral part of the main living area. A game room/bar now joins the living room, kitchen and dining area to make entertaining just that much better. The home features four-and-a-half baths and a luxurious master suite boasting high ceilings, crowning molding, electric curtains, custom closet organizers and an amazing master bath.

Living Room: A decorative inset feature tops cathedral ceilings, while arched windows and an arched statement wall make the formal living room anything but boring. Light floods the room, shining off the ceramic tile, which runs throughout the common spaces.

Family Room: A breakfast nook, kitchen bar and family room all coexist just off the kitchen. But don’t linger long — the backyard beckons through plentiful windows. This room has a view of the pool and spa, but there is also 75 feet of lakefront with a view all its own.

Kitchen: With its hardwood cabinets, granite countertops and backsplash, convenient island, handy pantry and plenty of workspace, this kitchen is every chef’s dream. The stainless-steel refrigerator, wall oven, gas range, microwave and double sink tie everything together with a distinctly contemporary vibe.

Dining Room: This pleasant formal dining room serves as a convenient gathering space with a bright, airy feel. An arched inset wall provides space to proudly display collectibles, while the stately hall leads to the guest bedrooms and baths.

Game Room/Bar: This re-imagined bedroom off the main living space now features a bar and built-in shelving for collectibles. Adding to the home’s living area, it is the perfect retreat, while also serving as a convenient additional entertaining area.

Master Bath: The master bath features an elevated tub, dual sinks, walk-in shower, recessed lighting and glass block tile throughout. A short hallway leads to the walk-in closet.

Patio: Pendant fans and a nearby half bath make this patio an extended living space. Rain or shine, it’s a great place to gather.

Pool Deck: This 15-foot-by-30-foot lap pool includes a separate spa area. The pool deck also features amazing views of the 75-foot lakefront.

Entry Fountain: The leaping horses of the entryway’s multi-tiered fountain is a daily reminder of Equestrian Club living.

Front Elevation: The Spanish tile roof, tall portico and porthole windows have everything looking shipshape at this private Equestrian Club retreat.

 

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Meat Over Matter The Beauty And The Beeeef Opens at Wellington Green

Meat Over Matter The Beauty And The Beeeef Opens at Wellington Green

After much anticipation, The Beauty and The Beeeef finally opened at the Mall at Wellington Green last month. On May 10, the innovative burger joint opened its doors to “burger savages” of all ages, bringing a variety of burgers, poutines, eclectic mason jar cocktails and more to hungry folks in Wellington.

The restaurant, which prides itself on “making people feel better, one burger at a time,” is located on the upper level of the mall between Paragon Theatres and Macy’s.

“We’re just three guys from Montreal who are sick of the cold,” owner and restaurateur Sam Salah said. “We’re ready to enjoy South Florida and share our passion for comfort food, cocktails and culture. Palm Beach County has terrific energy, and we know The Beauty and The Beeeef will be a nice complement to an already awesome area.”

Since childhood, Salah and business partner Mario Habre grew up ensconced in their family’s restaurants. Today, the two friends are each second-generation restaurateurs who credit their culinary philosophy to their fathers.

“Our fathers were chefs and co-owned restaurants together,” Salah recalled. “We would debate whose dad was the better cook!”

Recently, the two men were introduced to Mark Miessels. “We knew it was a business trio made in heaven,” Salah laughed.

Open daily for lunch and dinner, The Beauty and The Beeeef has a guest capacity of 300, including al fresco dining. The spacious floor plan has an industrial vibe with a mix of warm fabrics coupled with funky street art murals with a rock ’n’ roll flavor. A curated collection of novelties picked from the Hillsboro Antique Mall adds a splash of whimsical charm. Even the restrooms are aesthetic works of art.

The restaurant features an oversized, wall-mounted Scrabble board where guests can have fun playing with the magnetic letters, as well as vintage board games and a massive “wall of books” rivaling the local library.

In addition, a number of television screens strategically situated throughout the restaurant will ensure that guests can easily enjoy everything from live sporting events to classic films.

“Everything we do for our guests is over the top, from reinventing classic cheeseburgers and crafting cool cocktails, to spelling ‘beef’ with four vowels,” Salah said. “We’re pretty unconventional, and we like it that way. We’re not like any other burger place you’ve been to before.”

In addition to more than 20 types of burgers — including one called “nuclear,” which is presented by the server wearing a gas mask and requires the signing of waiver — The Beauty and The Beeeef’s menu includes a wide selection of globally inspired flavors, including salads, poke bowls, grilled cheeses, a dozen varieties of poutine and several “non-beeeef” items, like the Woodstock Veggie Burger. Desserts include everything from the Fat ’n’ Furious chocolate chip cookie to boozy milkshakes.

Adult beverage offerings are anchored by the restaurant’s staple mason jar cocktails, which come in “Smallz” and “Biggie” sizes. Traditional cocktails, along with unique tiki cocktails, sangria and punch are also offered. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and features beer, sangria and select cocktail specials.

Restaurant hours are Sunday through Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Bar hours are Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to close.

The Beauty and The Beeeef is located at 10300 W. Forest Hill Boulevard, Suite 239, in Wellington. For more information, visit www.thebeautyandthebeeeef.com or call (561) 612-4511. Follow the restaurant on Instagram @beautyandbeeeefwpb and Facebook @beautyandbeeeefwellingtongreen.  

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Regis Wenham Loves Life In Her Adopted Hometown Of Wellington

Regis Wenham Loves Life In Her Adopted Hometown Of Wellington

As half of one of Wellington’s most well-known couples, Regis Wenham is no shrinking violet. When she is not supporting her husband, former Wellington Mayor Tom Wenham, in his endeavors, she has spent many years enjoying her own close social circle in the community.

Wenham met her future husband more than six decades ago. Raised in Needham, Mass., she was 15 years old when she met the 19-year-old at a Fourth of July picnic. Their first meeting was a surprise to both of them when the young woman mistook the handsome airman for his brother.

Naturally, since the party took place at a nearby lake, she snuck up behind someone she thought was her friend. She playfully, but mistakenly, shoved Tom Wenham and could only look on embarrassingly as this stranger tumbled into the water. The story plays like a black-and-white movie.

One night in 1952, Wenham told her mother that she was going out to visit a girlfriend, but in actuality, she and Tom were going out on their first date to an amusement park. “He was what we call a hunk,” Wenham recalled. “Still, to this day, he calls me his sweetheart.”

Tom returned to his U.S. Air Force base soon after their first date, and the couple began a long-distance relationship, writing to one another daily. “My mother knew that he was writing to me, because he used to send them to the house. I’m not sure if she ever opened any,” Wenham said.

On some level, Wenham believed that her mother knew that she and Tom were involved, but her mother also figured that her teenage daughter was safe in her attraction, since her military suitor remained far away.

If her mother had opened those letters, she would have learned a huge secret. The couple planned to sneak away to New Hampshire, where a 15-year-old could marry without permission from her parents. In January 1953, the night before Tom was deployed to Korea, Regis became Mrs. Tom Wenham and no one was the wiser. The couple successfully kept their secret until his return a year later.

Wenham admits to tough times as a child, but she doesn’t reflect on those difficult days. However, she is convinced that her early challenges contributed to a level of maturity, which in turn allowed her mother and grandmother to be more accepting of her young marriage. “I was never a young person. You know how there are some kids who are old and some never grow up? I was never a kid. You grow up fast,” Wenham said.

When her husband returned from overseas, the couple moved away to begin their new life together in Nevada, where Tom was stationed. Regis busied herself with finishing high school. Surprisingly, she wasn’t the only married student to graduate from Las Vegas High School. Unlike Massachusetts, it wasn’t illegal to attend high school as a married student.

“What helped Tom and I was when he came back, we left for Las Vegas with everything we owned,” Wenham recalled. “We didn’t know a soul. You either got along or you didn’t get along. There was no one to run home to. So, you learned to work it out.”

Two years into their marriage, they had a son. They decided to move back east following Tom’s discharge. He attended Northeastern University, and his wife worked from home making draperies and slipcovers. Soon Wenham was working for several decorators but grew tired of the work.

She then began working as a temp, which she loved. The variety of jobs she encountered provided just the type of challenge she needed. “I had a ball, and I learned more stuff. They were very happy to teach you,” Wenham recalled.

She had multiple job experiences, working in the reception area of various agencies, also as a switchboard operator and finally with computers. Wenham had a front-row seat at the emergence of the computer industry. There is a slight regret in her voice, as she explained that she didn’t stick with it.

It then came time to move again. Her husband had a friend who continued to entice him to work in Florida, especially when the weather was cold up north. But it wasn’t until Regis’ mother suddenly passed away that the couple decided to take him up on the job offer, and they moved to Wellington.

Once in Florida, she began working for a temp agency called “Atta Girl.” The name was later changed to “Personnel One,” and Wenham supposes it was because the name was deemed offensive. “I suppose it was sexist, now that I think of it,” she said with a chuckle.

Temp work provided Wenham the type of flexibility she needed to explore a new interest. She became interested in golf, started playing the sport and began volunteering with the Chrysler Team Championship Tournament.

Still new to Florida, golf opened a way for Wenham to meet a lot of people. The Chrysler Team Championship Tournament took place each November. The same people who played back then at Palm Beach Polo, Greenview Cove and the old Wellington Club, now play on the senior tour. Wenham volunteered for the tournament, but after a while, the owners hired her to work in the office. She advanced in the field and became the president of the Greenview Cove Golf Association, playing on the Traveling Women’s Interclub Golf team.

“In the summer, when everything was quiet here, you could play the clubs that we couldn’t normally play in the winter, the private ones,” she said. “I wasn’t a good golfer; I just liked golf. You can like golf and not be good at it.”

Golf continued to be a driving force for Wenham, who started working as a volunteer for the Florida State Golf Association, first for the women’s tournaments, and then for 20 years with the men’s events.

Her husband also shared Wenham’s love of the sport, and the two won several husband-and-wife tournaments. Wenham attributes their victories to a pact the couple made. “We made an agreement — don’t tell me what to do on the golf course,” she said. “You can’t believe how some of the husbands and wives would argue.”

Now 81 years old, it was just last year that Wenham stopped volunteering with the Florida State Golf Association.

Aside from golf, literacy is also important to her. Wenham has spent nearly 20 years as a member of the Palm Beach County Library Advisory Board. “Since 1999, we have met once a month, and I haven’t missed a meeting,” she said.

Wenham’s love for learning and experiencing new things has been a driving force for most of her life. However, there was one new experience that she didn’t relish jumping into. She admits that the first time her husband ran for office, back before Wellington was even incorporated, she didn’t vote for him.

“I didn’t want him to run, and he knows this. I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t vote for the other guy either. I just didn’t vote,” Wenham said.

However, Tom Wenham went on to serve on the Acme Improvement District Board of Supervisors and was later elected to the inaugural Wellington Village Council. He went on to serve eight years as mayor of Wellington.

Wenham made her peace with her husband’s political career, and they’ve continued to enjoy a good life in Wellington.

“When we moved here and looked out the back door, there were birds and trees. It’s just nice. When we bought our house, it became our retirement home, our vacation home and our resort,” she said. “I’ve gone to all kinds of places, so there’s really no place that I really want to say, ‘Gee, I am sorry I never got there.’”

In the same way that she embraced Wellington, Wenham has also embraced her age, viewing her 81 years as a blessing. As she said, “It’s better than the alternative.”

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Jill Merrell Of Illustrated Properties Returns To Her Real Estate Roots

Jill Merrell Of Illustrated Properties Returns
To Her Real Estate Roots

Merrell came to Wellington in 1979, among the first wave of community pioneers.

“My husband and I moved to the Wellington area from Fort Lauderdale in search of more space,” she recalled. “We sought out Wellington because of the available land and were surprised to learn how diverse it was. We felt it would be an incredible community to raise a family.”

Merrell has held an active real estate license since the early 1980s and worked in local real estate up until the birth of her second child.

“At that point, I left the office to work together with my husband building and selling spec homes,” she said. “We purchased Ultima Fitness and have successfully run that for more than 28 years with the support of a loyal and incredible community. Throughout my time in Wellington, I have always been involved in the community through many philanthropic and community-building endeavors.”

After the death of her husband in 2012, Merrell relocated to downtown West Palm Beach. Her ties to Wellington, however, remain strong, thanks to Ultima Fitness and her position at Illustrated Properties.

“I chose this company for many reasons,” Merrell said. “I have always prided myself on giving customers the best level of service that they deserve, so it was imperative for me to find a company that I can work with in assisting my clients to achieve their goals. Illustrated is a full-service company, allowing me to offer clients service from contract to close with our multitude of services. They are part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a global network of more than 500 premier real estate firms.”

This allows Merrell to assist customers on any transactions they need anywhere in the world.

“In addition, they offer tremendous continuing education for associates, so we are always up-to-date on better ways to serve the customer,” she said. “With the Illustrated Properties Family of Services, I have the ability to assist you on every aspect of the deal, so you can have more control and a better experience.”

When working in the Wellington area, Merrell doesn’t have to do all the selling. The community speaks for itself.

“There are few, if any, locations where you can get a top-shelf combination of destination, weather, diversity, property values, lifestyle, the equestrian community and events, expansive cultural centers, close proximity to airports and world-class dining options,” she said.

As far as the future of real estate, Merrell gives the local market a big thumbs-up.

“Home prices have appreciated, the job sector looks strong and housing remains relatively affordable as compared with the northeast and other feeder markets,” she said. “Palm Beach County, especially downtown West Palm Beach and Wellington, has one more positive attribute: international interest. From the incredible influx of visitors for the international world-class horse shows to the trend of the financial market sector staff and executives relocating to the area, the real estate market is in a great position to expand its overseas trade activity. Add to this the recent frigid winter in most of the country, and it is clear to see why more people than ever before are looking to relocate to beautiful Palm Beach County.”

Jill Merrell is based out of the Illustrated Properties office at 1810 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 346-5529 or visit www.jillmerrell.ipre.com

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Digital Designer Ryan Mishkin Enjoys The Creative and Analytical Sides of His Work

Digital Designer Ryan Mishkin Enjoys The Creative and Analytical Sides of His Work

Creative digital designer Ryan Mishkin has been crafting all-inclusive branding and marketing products for businesses throughout South Florida for more than 10 years.

Raised in northern Virginia, Mishkin relocated to Florida to attend the University of Florida. He moved to Wellington 10 years ago, where he is currently raising his family and running his successful graphic design business.

Mishkin first found his passion in marketing and design while working for a record company in Fort Lauderdale.

“I started with the record company around 2004, I [originally] didn’t want to do marketing or designing; I wanted to make records,” he recalled. “But I had a design background from college and high school, and the need for design work came up quick. So, that evolved into creating visual representation, artwork and labels, which then turned into my job in marketing.”

Though Mishkin always envisioned a career in the music industry for himself, he transitioned into the freelance creative designer he is today in 2012. Mishkin began by designing the public faces of the startup businesses his college friends were launching. Eventually, he formed his own creative design company, rm5 Design.

“I had, at the time, enough skills under my belt to take things out on my own,” Mishkin said. “I was excited to make my own clients and do something different. I had a lot of friends from Gainesville down here who were ready to start their own businesses, so through them, I was able to get work early on, doing the branding for those businesses.”

For the last six years, Mishkin has built a referral-based clientele that has allowed him to work closely with established and startup companies in Wellington and across South Florida.

“I like to say, ‘I don’t work for anybody, I work for everybody.’ And, I would say that I am probably 90 percent referrals,” he said.

As Mishkin’s marketing skills developed, his professional abilities opened up opportunities through which he has been able to utilize both his creative and analytical skills.

“I need and like the balance. I think my brain needs the coding and analytical side of it all, [along with] the creative component that goes into, for example, building a web site,” he explained. “It keeps me able to do what I want to do.”

Mishkin diligently works to help companies with web site coding and designing, advertisement layouts and overall branding of his clients’ companies. As a creative digital designer, he also builds business logos, profiles and all stationery supplies, such as letterheads and business cards, for his clients.

His work, though, ranges from the complexities of building unique and informative business web sites to running social media accounts. “I’m happy to do whatever a client wants and needs,” Mishkin said.

In any of his jobs, Mishkin’s goals are to listen to the needs of his clients in order to help them get their businesses up and running by supplying them with necessary branding resources.

“Ultimately, I want to make my clients happy. It’s their business, so whether I like a design or not doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m going to give clients what they want for their business because, really, that’s what it’s all about.”

In Wellington, Mishkin has offered his creative services to several businesses such, as Cholo Soy, Animo and Ultima Fitness.

Mishkin also does all brand designing for and is part owner of the company producing Florida Kush, which is a blue agave spirit, distilled out of Fort Lauderdale. It is currently sold in most Total Wine stores and distributed at numerous bars across Florida and Michigan.

“Florida Kush is a lot like tequila, but locally made in Fort Lauderdale,” he explained. “Through it, we’ve been able to be part of many local events, like restaurant openings and vendor events. I’ve also been able to learn a lot about doing marketing for that side of the business, since the alcohol business is really interesting.”

Since his professional fulfillment has been ultimately rooted in helping people meet their business goals, it is fitting for Mishkin to be thoroughly involved in the Young Professionals of Wellington organization. “I’ve been involved with them for four years now,” he said. “We’re really about community involvement and doing what we think would benefit Wellington in the future. Ten years from now, we want to see our efforts have a positive impact.”

For more info., contact Mishkin at ryan@rm5design.com or visit www.rm5design.com.

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Law & Justice Attorney Marcelo Montesinos, The Law Office Of Marcelo Montesinos

Law & Justice Attorney Marcelo Montesinos, The Law Office Of Marcelo Montesinos

Attorney Marcelo Montesinos was raised in Wellington and currently lives in the community. He is a graduate of the Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey. Montesinos always loved South Florida and moved back after earning his degree to be near family and friends.

Building a life here, Montesinos is raising his family and growing his legal practice in the community. He said that success is measured in many ways, but nothing is greater than giving back to your community. To that end, he supports the community in various ways, including donating school supplies and backpacks to students each school year.

Transitioning from criminal defense to personal injury cases 17 years ago, Montesinos feels he is still “standing up for the little guy.” As a defense attorney, he was fighting for the rights of his clients, and now he battles large insurance companies that do not want to give an injured individual a fair settlement.

His firm provides individual representation to people who need help, seeking for them the best possible compensation for their injuries. His office handles many areas of personal injury law, but trucking and automobile accidents always stay at the forefront of his focus.

Wellington The Magazine interviewed Montesinos regarding his background, law firm and legal practice.

 

How long has your firm been doing business in Palm Beach County?

In 1997, I became an attorney and worked for the Public Defender’s Office in Palm Beach County. I was fortunate to open the doors to my private practice in 2001. For the past 17 years, I have been fighting for the rights of victims.

 

Why did you choose Palm Beach County to establish your practice?

Palm Beach County has always been my home. I moved here when I was less than one year old, so I think of myself as a Wellington native. My parents and my sister are here, my kids and my family. I went to law school in New Jersey and was blessed enough to find a job here after graduating.

 

What type of cases do you generally handle? What percentage of your practice is devoted to this type of law?

My firm handles 100 percent plaintiff’s personal injury cases. I only represent victims who have suffered damages and injuries caused by another person’s negligence.

 

How many cases has your firm represented in this field of law?

Over the past 17 years, I have successfully represented thousands of victims injured by the negligence of others.

What sets your firm apart from other law firms in the area?

My office staff and I strive to provide continuous individualized attention to my clients. When I represent you, you become family and not just a number in my system. I work as an advocate for my clients and have compassion for each person throughout the entire claims procedure.

I know every person wants to be treated as the most important case, so that’s how I treat them. They want to talk, to connect with the attorney, not a legal assistant, anytime that they have a question. I make sure I clear up any questions, so my clients always feel they remain connected to their attorney.

I provide individualized service for each client. I act as an advocate for them. I don’t take every case that comes along. I don’t want to give them a false illusion that they are going to prevail. Sometimes it is not practical to expect a case will be successful.

 

What are some of the things to consider when hiring an attorney?

Before hiring an attorney, make sure to meet with that attorney in person. Pay attention to the small details. For example: Can you speak with the attorney directly? Did you have to leave a voicemail and wait for a call back in order to obtain your initial consultation? Was the office staff helpful?

Beyond these questions and considerations, ask the attorney if they are prepared to go to trial or are they prepared to settle the case? Does the attorney have a background of trials under his or her belt?

 

Is there a fee if there is no recovery?

My office never charges a fee if there is not a settlement. If there is no insurance coverage to compensate you for your damages, my office will assist with resolving property damage claims as well as resolving your medical bills for free.

 

How has your firm given back to the community?

Each year I host a back-to-school event at my office where I donate at least 1,000 backpacks and school supplies to local school-aged children. I personally hand out each backpack and meet every family that attends. Additionally, I sponsor several youth sports teams.

To contact the Law Office of Marcelo Montesinos, call (561) 721-1600 or visit www.montesinoslaw.com.

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Attorney Alec Domb, The Law Offices Of Alexander L. Domb

Attorney Alec Domb,
The Law Offices Of Alexander L. Domb

Wellington attorney Alec Domb of the Law Offices of Alexander L. Domb P.A. was born and raised in New York. He attended the University of Miami and earned his law degree from the Nova Southeastern Law Center. Domb later chose Wellington for his business, his home and his arena for community participation. A practicing attorney since 1986, his primary focus is on commercial litigation and contested matters, real estate transactions, estate planning and guardianship, and the disputes that arise from these areas.

Managing guardianship proceedings means protecting people’s liberties, especially in adult situations, when such cases involve verification that the person petitioning to be a guardian is qualified and that it would be in the best interests of the person for the petitioner to actually be the guardian.

With a background as a legal practitioner and through his title company, Domb has been involved in the real estate business for more than three decades. When it comes to real estate transactions, there is not a title problem that he hasn’t seen, worked through and fixed during his tenure.

Domb offers this advice to residents, reminding them of the importance of having these four completed documents that every adult in Florida should have: a will, a living will, a durable power of attorney, and a healthcare surrogate designation that covers HIPAA concerns. These documents are especially important as people get older.

Wellington The Magazine interviewed Domb regarding his legal background and practice.

 

How long has your firm been doing business in Palm Beach County?

I relocated from Broward County in 2005. However, my firm was the HUD closing agent for Palm Beach over 25 years ago. I have been practicing law for more than 32 years.

 

Why did you choose Palm Beach County to establish your practice?

I chose to live in Wellington around 2003, and eventually transferred my business here 13 years ago. I love Wellington, and moving here is the best move my wife, Melody, who is a nurse, and I ever made. The village has so much to offer socially. I enjoy the Wellington community, the horse shows and polo. The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the dressage arena make Wellington a unique place among communities. It is not your average South Florida bedroom community.

 

What type of cases do you generally handle? What percentage of your practice is devoted to this type of law?

I deal primarily in the area of real estate, including related litigation, title insurance and title disputes, as well as zoning and code enforcement matters. I handle foreclosure cases for the lender. I am presently prosecuting a $36 million foreclosure matter regarding a property in the Town of Palm Beach.

I handle commercial litigation, contested matters, real estate transactions and estate planning; all litigation fights and the disputes that arise from that. I also participate in court-appointed guardianship matters as attorney for alleged incapacitated persons. My job is to make certain [the petitioner] is qualified [and the guardianship is] in the best interest of the allegedly incapacitated person.

 

How many cases has your firm represented in this field of the law?

There are too many cases to count over the course of 32 years.

 

What special training or knowledge do you have that sets your firm apart from other law firms?

I owned a real estate and mortgage company, as well as the title company, prior to the great real estate recession. There is nothing related to real property purchases, sales or closings that I have not litigated and/or negotiated to a resolution in the past 32 years, including disputed estate and probate issues.

 

What are some of the things to consider when hiring an attorney?

I would suggest people make sure that the attorney has experience with contested hearings and trial experience, including jury trials. I would also make sure they have experience with mediation and arbitration and the alternate dispute resolution process.

 

Does your firm do any pro-bono work in Palm Beach County? If so, what type of pro-bono work?

Yes, but not with any particular agency. I pick and choose who I help and when. It has to be someone really in need and without the means to protect themselves. I am engaged in the community and involved in local politics. I am a member of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the South County Bar Association. I was president of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and on the board for five years, and on the Palm Beach Consumer Affairs Board for four years.

I am also a member of Wellington Cares, a charity aimed at keeping seniors in their homes, allowing them to age in place with shopping and other services. I drafted the documents and qualified them as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with tax-exempt status. I did that pro bono.

The Law Offices of Alexander L. Domb P.A. are located at 11199 Polo Club Road, Suite 1, in Wellington. For more information, call (561) 578-8900.

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Law & Justice Attorney Les Shields, Morris & Shields, Attorneys At Law

Law & Justice
Attorney Les Shields, Morris & Shields, Attorneys At Law

Attorney Les Shields of the firm of Morris & Shields handles mostly civil matters in the western communities, primarily Royal Palm Beach and Wellington.

Shields has been in practice for 23 years. Admitted to the Florida Bar in 1993, he has a vast amount of experience representing both lenders and homeowners in mortgage foreclosure actions, as well as a wide array of civil litigation cases.

Wellington The Magazine interviewed Shields about his legal background and his law firm.

 

How long has your firm been doing business in Palm Beach County?

I’ve been doing business in Palm Beach County for about 25 years. This firm has been here for 25 years; it was owned by my father-in-law, Bob Morris. About five years ago, he retired. I purchased the firm from him. My wife is my paralegal, my assistant, my office manager and my right-hand woman. She has been here for the full 25 years, working first for her father, so she has experience since day one. It works out great, because not only is she experienced, she knows the clients.

 

Why did you choose Palm Beach County to establish your practice?

I actually came down here to go to law school. I worked for the Hertz Corporation in Nashville, and I moved down here to go to Nova Southeastern Law School. The area has grown a lot in the time we’ve been here, that’s for sure. During my three years of law school, we fell in love with Wellington, as well as the climate and the equestrian community.

 

What type of cases do you generally handle? What percentage of your practice is devoted to this type of law?

The big three [that we handle] are estate planning, wills and trusts, and probate. We do a lot of business law, and we handle a lot of litigation, where one business is suing another business.

I represent several electrical suppliers that supply materials to builders. Sometimes builders will take the supplies and use them, and then not pay for them. We work to get the money or the supplies back.

My first jobs after law school were all representing major banks and insurance companies, so I know a lot about that. The firm that I left to come to this firm was a general practice.

 

How many cases has your firm represented in this field of the law?

There are too many to count. It would be hard to count how many are going right now.

 

What other special training or knowledge do you have on your team that sets your firm apart from other law firms?

Working in the corporate atmosphere with the insurance companies and the banks, I have a lot of hands-on experience doing litigation. I was in court literally every day. In the morning, I was in court, and then taking a couple of depositions in the afternoon, then a mediation before quitting time. It was extremely busy, jam-packed with experience. I was exposed to things that I wouldn’t normally experience representing a large company.

 

What are some of the things to consider when hiring an attorney?

The type of experience is important, especially trial experience. People ask me, “Can I do this probate myself?” I tell them, “Yes, you can, technically, but there’s no way you should.” Attorneys have been doing this for a long time, and they still make mistakes, so the chances of you actually doing it right by yourself are very slim.

You need to hire someone with experience in the areas you are dealing with. Someone who is not afraid to go to court. I know attorneys who just despise going to court, having to put on a tie. I wear a suit and tie and go to court every day.

Another thing that is important is that the firm not take on too much work. They need to be comfortably busy. See if it is going in a forward manner, not at a crawl, at a convenient, plausible speed.

Find an attorney you can trust. I’ve known less than a dozen attorneys in the past 25 years that I trust enough to refer to someone. It’s very important to talk to the attorney and find out how they charge; how much the service is going to cost.

 

What kind of community support does your firm participate in?

We handle a lot of mortgage foreclosure cases. I handled bank foreclosures for years, and now I’m on the other side handling individuals. It’s very rarely a positive situation for the people being foreclosed upon. They don’t have the money, obviously, or they would have been paying their mortgage. Often, they don’t even have the money to pay an attorney [the full amount]. If they seem sincere, and they’re trying to make the payments, then we have no problem taking on the case.

 

Morris & Shields is located at 685 Royal Palm Beach Blvd., Suite 205, in Royal Palm Beach. For more info., call (561) 793-1200 or visit www.fllawman.com.

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From Music To Fighting The Opioid Scourge: The Many Facets Of Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson

From Music To Fighting The Opioid Scourge: The Many Facets Of Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson

When he is playing in the band Americana Jones, Wellington resident Alan Johnson dons a hat and boots. Most days, though, he wears a suit to the office, where he is the Chief Assistant State Attorney of Palm Beach County.

One of three chief assistants to State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Johnson manages what would be the largest law firm in the county. When he is playing in the band Americana Jones, Wellington resident Alan Johnson dons a hat and boots. Most days, though, he wears a suit to the office, where he is the Chief Assistant State Attorney of Palm Beach County.

One of three chief assistants to State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Johnson manages what would be the largest law firm in the county. He first joined the State Attorney’s Office in 1993 when he worked under former State Attorney Barry Krischer. He left after almost 17 years when Krischer retired. Johnson spent the next several years as executive director of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics. He returned to the State Attorney’s Office in 2013 when Aronberg took over as the county’s top prosecutor.

Johnson’s resume is impressive, including serving as a member and then chairman of the Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee; and at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association in areas including prosecutors, evidence, homicide prosecution, jury selection and victim rights. For more than 20 years, he has also regularly served as a volunteer judge for youth court. Other community service runs the gamut from legal organizations to little league coach.

When not working or pursuing his musical hobby, Johnson enjoys swimming and riding his bike through his long-since-adopted hometown. In fact, the community pool is one of the things he likes best about Wellington.

“It is a lovely community, and it has a great swimming pool that needs to be open on Sunday,” he said. “I swim there all the time. I’m friendly with all the guards. They have a great crew out there and a great facility, as I say, it just needs to be open on Sunday.”

When Johnson moved to South Florida, he checked out Wellington at the suggestion of a law school friend, Judge Peter Evans. “One of my best friends suggested Wellington,” he said. “It was, and is, a great family community. I raised two children in the village.”

While his children are now grown and have moved away, Johnson stays active in the community.

“While I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve, I am on the board of directors at Temple B’nai Jacob in Wellington,” Johnson said. “I am a gabbai, which is kind of like an alderman or deacon. We help with the officiating of the service.”

In Wellington, Johnson served as a member of the village’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board from 2000 to 2010, during some of the village’s boom years. “I’ve seen a lot of growth. We were annexing parcels of land along State Road 7,” he recalled, remarking that there have many improvements over the years. “The roads don’t flood quite as often.”

There have also been challenges with that growth. “I’ve seen the neighbor versus neighbor issues develop, the equestrian versus residential, and then the equestrian versus equestrian,” he recalled. “I live in the area of South Shore, so I’m right near the equestrian preserve.”

Now at the pinnacle of his profession, the law was not really his first career choice, although he made excellent preparations for it.

A graduate from Columbia University in 1973 and the Georgetown University Law Center in 1976, Johnson is also reported to have spent 16 years on the road in the 1970s and 1980s with the North Star Band and the Pheromones, releasing eight albums, before he devoted his primary energies to his daytime gig as a lawyer.

“I could have been a contender,” said Johnson with a laugh. “I don’t know how big a part of my life music has been; our band performs an average of about three or four times a month around South Florida.”

Palm Beach County is much better off that Johnson’s primary career ended up being in the law, not music.

Today, he supervises the departments of training, ethics, legal affairs, juvenile and investigation units; a support staff of 220 for the 120 attorneys in the office. He also presents training seminar courses on the ethics of discovery.

It has been mandated that every attorney take training on discovery or exculpatory evidence, also called Brady evidence, before they practice in circuit court. “I was tapped to give the presentations,” said Johnson, who added that a recording of the two-hour course is on the Florida Bar web site. “So, I took some teasing from peers about that.”

Johnson also chairs the Sober Homes Task Force, which includes the Criminal Law Enforcement Task Force and the Civilian Task Force. This effort is charged with combating the opioid crisis and abuses at uncertified recovery residences and drug treatment centers. Both task forces meet once a month to develop recommendations on how to fix this community scourge.

The serious side of Johnson’s personality comes out when he discusses the opioid epidemic. “I give community talks for the office to different groups about this problem and what people in the community can do,” he said. “Opioid addiction is the health crisis of our time.”

Two years ago, the department received some funding for this issue and Aronberg asked Johnson to handle the Sober Homes Task Force. However, that was just the start

“We were responsible for the legislation that passed last spring,” Johnson said. “I think it has made us one of the most innovative and forward-thinking states in the United States.”

As a matter of fact, other states, such as Texas and California, have begun to emulate Florida’s program. “Folks from Orange County, Calif., will be observing our next monthly task force meeting to see how we do things,” Johnson said.

South Florida is the location of many vibrant communities, destination cities with amenities and a tradition of tourism. Such places have a long history in the addiction treatment industry. This, combined with the misuse of well-intentioned laws such as the Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, created a perfect storm for the opioid crisis.

“Opioid addiction is a disease, substance abuse disorder, and is a fact of life. The demographic most affected is young people, still on their parent’s insurance, who have come to our state for substance abuse treatment,” Johnson explained.

Here they exhaust their benefits and sometimes become the victims of unscrupulous bad actors who promote them into a cycle of relapse, with sometimes bogus treatment in rogue sober houses, instead of a cycle of recovery in facilities certified to national standards.

Johnson is quick to differentiate between the legitimate part of the industry and those rogue elements.

“There are good providers in the industry, and they are getting killed by all the bad actors causing all the bad press,” he said. “The good ones, most of the time you don’t even know they are there. They have good neighbor policies. The physical appearance of the house is usually better than most of the homeowners on the block.”

The bad ones, however, are more flop houses and not really sober houses.

“Those are the ones that drive neighborhoods crazy,” Johnson said. “There is drug use, no one overseeing the house, criminal activity. Residents can report such a house to our office or the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. They have a very professional and knowledgeable crew that is trained to deal with it safely.”

The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office has worked to get laws on the books that prohibit kickbacks for referrals to treatment facilities. “We are turning on the lights, and the bad actors are scurrying to other jurisdictions,” Johnson said. “We are working to reward outcomes instead of just paying a fee for services.”

Johnson is very proud of the office’s work fighting this scourge.

“It is such a thorny issue that has touched almost every home,” Johnson said. “It is a true everyman epidemic. I give kudos to Dave Aronberg for the program he has set up. It is the only one of its kind in the country.”

Johnson said that the office’s work on opioids is a huge team effort that takes a tremendous amount of work, “It takes up a lot of time. I can’t swim as much as I used to,” he remarked, although he does have some time on Sundays.He first joined the State Attorney’s Office in 1993 when he worked under former State Attorney Barry Krischer. He left after almost 17 years when Krischer retired. Johnson spent the next several years as executive director of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics. He returned to the State Attorney’s Office in 2013 when Aronberg took over as the county’s top prosecutor.

Johnson’s resume is impressive, including serving as a member and then chairman of the Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee; and at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association in areas including prosecutors, evidence, homicide prosecution, jury selection and victim rights. For more than 20 years, he has also regularly served as a volunteer judge for youth court. Other community service runs the gamut from legal organizations to little league coach.

When not working or pursuing his musical hobby, Johnson enjoys swimming and riding his bike through his long-since-adopted hometown. In fact, the community pool is one of the things he likes best about Wellington.

“It is a lovely community, and it has a great swimming pool that needs to be open on Sunday,” he said. “I swim there all the time. I’m friendly with all the guards. They have a great crew out there and a great facility, as I say, it just needs to be open on Sunday.”

When Johnson moved to South Florida, he checked out Wellington at the suggestion of a law school friend, Judge Peter Evans. “One of my best friends suggested Wellington,” he said. “It was, and is, a great family community. I raised two children in the village.”

While his children are now grown and have moved away, Johnson stays active in the community.

“While I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve, I am on the board of directors at Temple B’nai Jacob in Wellington,” Johnson said. “I am a gabbai, which is kind of like an alderman or deacon. We help with the officiating of the service.”

In Wellington, Johnson served as a member of the village’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board from 2000 to 2010, during some of the village’s boom years. “I’ve seen a lot of growth. We were annexing parcels of land along State Road 7,” he recalled, remarking that there have many improvements over the years. “The roads don’t flood quite as often.”

There have also been challenges with that growth. “I’ve seen the neighbor versus neighbor issues develop, the equestrian versus residential, and then the equestrian versus equestrian,” he recalled. “I live in the area of South Shore, so I’m right near the equestrian preserve.”

Now at the pinnacle of his profession, the law was not really his first career choice, although he made excellent preparations for it.

A graduate from Columbia University in 1973 and the Georgetown University Law Center in 1976, Johnson is also reported to have spent 16 years on the road in the 1970s and 1980s with the North Star Band and the Pheromones, releasing eight albums, before he devoted his primary energies to his daytime gig as a lawyer.

“I could have been a contender,” said Johnson with a laugh. “I don’t know how big a part of my life music has been; our band performs an average of about three or four times a month around South Florida.”

Palm Beach County is much better off that Johnson’s primary career ended up being in the law, not music.

Today, he supervises the departments of training, ethics, legal affairs, juvenile and investigation units; a support staff of 220 for the 120 attorneys in the office. He also presents training seminar courses on the ethics of discovery.

It has been mandated that every attorney take training on discovery or exculpatory evidence, also called Brady evidence, before they practice in circuit court. “I was tapped to give the presentations,” said Johnson, who added that a recording of the two-hour course is on the Florida Bar web site. “So, I took some teasing from peers about that.”

Johnson also chairs the Sober Homes Task Force, which includes the Criminal Law Enforcement Task Force and the Civilian Task Force. This effort is charged with combating the opioid crisis and abuses at uncertified recovery residences and drug treatment centers. Both task forces meet once a month to develop recommendations on how to fix this community scourge.

The serious side of Johnson’s personality comes out when he discusses the opioid epidemic. “I give community talks for the office to different groups about this problem and what people in the community can do,” he said. “Opioid addiction is the health crisis of our time.”

Two years ago, the department received some funding for this issue and Aronberg asked Johnson to handle the Sober Homes Task Force. However, that was just the start

“We were responsible for the legislation that passed last spring,” Johnson said. “I think it has made us one of the most innovative and forward-thinking states in the United States.”

As a matter of fact, other states, such as Texas and California, have begun to emulate Florida’s program. “Folks from Orange County, Calif., will be observing our next monthly task force meeting to see how we do things,” Johnson said.

South Florida is the location of many vibrant communities, destination cities with amenities and a tradition of tourism. Such places have a long history in the addiction treatment industry. This, combined with the misuse of well-intentioned laws such as the Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, created a perfect storm for the opioid crisis.

“Opioid addiction is a disease, substance abuse disorder, and is a fact of life. The demographic most affected is young people, still on their parent’s insurance, who have come to our state for substance abuse treatment,” Johnson explained.

Here they exhaust their benefits and sometimes become the victims of unscrupulous bad actors who promote them into a cycle of relapse, with sometimes bogus treatment in rogue sober houses, instead of a cycle of recovery in facilities certified to national standards.

Johnson is quick to differentiate between the legitimate part of the industry and those rogue elements.

“There are good providers in the industry, and they are getting killed by all the bad actors causing all the bad press,” he said. “The good ones, most of the time you don’t even know they are there. They have good neighbor policies. The physical appearance of the house is usually better than most of the homeowners on the block.”

The bad ones, however, are more flop houses and not really sober houses.

“Those are the ones that drive neighborhoods crazy,” Johnson said. “There is drug use, no one overseeing the house, criminal activity. Residents can report such a house to our office or the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. They have a very professional and knowledgeable crew that is trained to deal with it safely.”

The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office has worked to get laws on the books that prohibit kickbacks for referrals to treatment facilities. “We are turning on the lights, and the bad actors are scurrying to other jurisdictions,” Johnson said. “We are working to reward outcomes instead of just paying a fee for services.”

Johnson is very proud of the office’s work fighting this scourge.

“It is such a thorny issue that has touched almost every home,” Johnson said. “It is a true everyman epidemic. I give kudos to Dave Aronberg for the program he has set up. It is the only one of its kind in the country.”

Johnson said that the office’s work on opioids is a huge team effort that takes a tremendous amount of work, “It takes up a lot of time. I can’t swim as much as I used to,” he remarked, although he does have some time on Sundays.

One of three chief assistants to State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Johnson manages what would be the largest law firm in the county. He first joined the State Attorney’s Office in 1993 when he worked under former State Attorney Barry Krischer. He left after almost 17 years when Krischer retired. Johnson spent the next several years as executive director of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics. He returned to the State Attorney’s Office in 2013 when Aronberg took over as the county’s top prosecutor.

Johnson’s resume is impressive, including serving as a member and then chairman of the Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee; and at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association in areas including prosecutors, evidence, homicide prosecution, jury selection and victim rights. For more than 20 years, he has also regularly served as a volunteer judge for youth court. Other community service runs the gamut from legal organizations to little league coach.

When not working or pursuing his musical hobby, Johnson enjoys swimming and riding his bike through his long-since-adopted hometown. In fact, the community pool is one of the things he likes best about Wellington.

“It is a lovely community, and it has a great swimming pool that needs to be open on Sunday,” he said. “I swim there all the time. I’m friendly with all the guards. They have a great crew out there and a great facility, as I say, it just needs to be open on Sunday.”

When Johnson moved to South Florida, he checked out Wellington at the suggestion of a law school friend, Judge Peter Evans. “One of my best friends suggested Wellington,” he said. “It was, and is, a great family community. I raised two children in the village.”

While his children are now grown and have moved away, Johnson stays active in the community.

“While I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve, I am on the board of directors at Temple B’nai Jacob in Wellington,” Johnson said. “I am a gabbai, which is kind of like an alderman or deacon. We help with the officiating of the service.”

In Wellington, Johnson served as a member of the village’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board from 2000 to 2010, during some of the village’s boom years. “I’ve seen a lot of growth. We were annexing parcels of land along State Road 7,” he recalled, remarking that there have many improvements over the years. “The roads don’t flood quite as often.”

There have also been challenges with that growth. “I’ve seen the neighbor versus neighbor issues develop, the equestrian versus residential, and then the equestrian versus equestrian,” he recalled. “I live in the area of South Shore, so I’m right near the equestrian preserve.”

Now at the pinnacle of his profession, the law was not really his first career choice, although he made excellent preparations for it.

A graduate from Columbia University in 1973 and the Georgetown University Law Center in 1976, Johnson is also reported to have spent 16 years on the road in the 1970s and 1980s with the North Star Band and the Pheromones, releasing eight albums, before he devoted his primary energies to his daytime gig as a lawyer.

“I could have been a contender,” said Johnson with a laugh. “I don’t know how big a part of my life music has been; our band performs an average of about three or four times a month around South Florida.”

Palm Beach County is much better off that Johnson’s primary career ended up being in the law, not music.

Today, he supervises the departments of training, ethics, legal affairs, juvenile and investigation units; a support staff of 220 for the 120 attorneys in the office. He also presents training seminar courses on the ethics of discovery.

It has been mandated that every attorney take training on discovery or exculpatory evidence, also called Brady evidence, before they practice in circuit court. “I was tapped to give the presentations,” said Johnson, who added that a recording of the two-hour course is on the Florida Bar web site. “So, I took some teasing from peers about that.”

Johnson also chairs the Sober Homes Task Force, which includes the Criminal Law Enforcement Task Force and the Civilian Task Force. This effort is charged with combating the opioid crisis and abuses at uncertified recovery residences and drug treatment centers. Both task forces meet once a month to develop recommendations on how to fix this community scourge.

The serious side of Johnson’s personality comes out when he discusses the opioid epidemic. “I give community talks for the office to different groups about this problem and what people in the community can do,” he said. “Opioid addiction is the health crisis of our time.”

Two years ago, the department received some funding for this issue and Aronberg asked Johnson to handle the Sober Homes Task Force. However, that was just the start

“We were responsible for the legislation that passed last spring,” Johnson said. “I think it has made us one of the most innovative and forward-thinking states in the United States.”

As a matter of fact, other states, such as Texas and California, have begun to emulate Florida’s program. “Folks from Orange County, Calif., will be observing our next monthly task force meeting to see how we do things,” Johnson said.

South Florida is the location of many vibrant communities, destination cities with amenities and a tradition of tourism. Such places have a long history in the addiction treatment industry. This, combined with the misuse of well-intentioned laws such as the Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, created a perfect storm for the opioid crisis.

“Opioid addiction is a disease, substance abuse disorder, and is a fact of life. The demographic most affected is young people, still on their parent’s insurance, who have come to our state for substance abuse treatment,” Johnson explained.

Here they exhaust their benefits and sometimes become the victims of unscrupulous bad actors who promote them into a cycle of relapse, with sometimes bogus treatment in rogue sober houses, instead of a cycle of recovery in facilities certified to national standards.

Johnson is quick to differentiate between the legitimate part of the industry and those rogue elements.

“There are good providers in the industry, and they are getting killed by all the bad actors causing all the bad press,” he said. “The good ones, most of the time you don’t even know they are there. They have good neighbor policies. The physical appearance of the house is usually better than most of the homeowners on the block.”

The bad ones, however, are more flop houses and not really sober houses.

“Those are the ones that drive neighborhoods crazy,” Johnson said. “There is drug use, no one overseeing the house, criminal activity. Residents can report such a house to our office or the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. They have a very professional and knowledgeable crew that is trained to deal with it safely.”

The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office has worked to get laws on the books that prohibit kickbacks for referrals to treatment facilities. “We are turning on the lights, and the bad actors are scurrying to other jurisdictions,” Johnson said. “We are working to reward outcomes instead of just paying a fee for services.”

Johnson is very proud of the office’s work fighting this scourge.

“It is such a thorny issue that has touched almost every home,” Johnson said. “It is a true everyman epidemic. I give kudos to Dave Aronberg for the program he has set up. It is the only one of its kind in the country.”

Johnson said that the office’s work on opioids is a huge team effort that takes a tremendous amount of work, “It takes up a lot of time. I can’t swim as much as I used to,” he remarked, although he does have some time on Sundays.

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First Florida Development Brings Palm Beach Island Luxury To Wellington

First Florida Development Brings Palm Beach Island Luxury To Wellington

In Wellington, many neighborhoods, particularly equestrian neighborhoods, are experiencing a surge in building and development. From 50th Street and South Shore Blvd., to Palm Beach Polo and beyond, there is a new home or farm popping up, each seemingly more opulent than the last.

First Florida Development and Construction, led by president and owner Paul Kleinfeld, is one of the professional contracting companies responsible for the beautiful homes that are adding to Wellington’s aura. The company boasts an unmatched reputation for building some of the most spectacular homes in Palm Beach County and is looking forward to many more projects as part of this Wellington development surge.

First Florida was already a distinguished leader in South Florida luxury development and construction when it landed its first contract in Wellington in 2016. The company, which has a footprint that spans from Palm Beach to Martin County, has created a signature style for luxury homes, and is widely respected for its impeccable standards on building material quality, project management, and the ability to exceed client expectations and schedules.

“I have worked with First Florida over an 18-year period, and it is a truly exceptional company in terms of the product it produces,” said famed landscape architect Howard Ostrout, who frequently works with the firm. “The staff and management’s attention to detail is unmatched, and the company has really good team members, from managers to superintendents.”

Much of the driving force behind First Florida’s success is Kleinfeld, a visionary dedicated to leading the overall strategic planning and direction of the company.

A Florida native, Kleinfeld attended the University of South Florida and graduated with a degree in zoology, followed by graduate studies in marine biology. After a personal realization that he was passionate about building and the satisfaction that comes with completing a project, he founded First Florida in 1975 and has curated a team of professionals with more than 200 years of combined building experience.

“I always believed that if I strived to meet my client’s expectations and do the right thing, that success would follow, and that has been the case with First Florida,” Kleinfeld said. “Ever since I was a young man, I really valued hard work, diligence and respect for people and the environment, and I built my business largely on those principles. I continue to base our company on them to this day. It is a very simple strategy that works wonders.”

Having worked with First Florida and Kleinfeld for a number of years, Ostrout has a similar philosophy.

“In my experience, success starts at the top, and Paul Kleinfeld is such an honest person that he immediately relates well to equestrian clients,” Ostrout said. “Property owners have to feel comfortable when making a decision to place trust in a general contractor, and whether it is a $5 million or $40 million project, Paul is always going to make sure it gets done properly.”

The home that First Florida was contracted to build in Equestrian Estates was designed by the award-winning architectural firm Smith and Moore Architects of Palm Beach. The home, which is part of a larger equestrian property, was a traditional 9,000-square-foot, West Indies-styled home.

“The owners selected First Florida during the design process because they really responded to what they saw in the portfolio and their references,” said Johnathan Moore of Smith and Moore Architects. “First Florida has worked on very high-end projects, and that really fit what we were doing in Wellington. It was immediately apparent that they were very conscious about the work that they were doing, not to mention that the lines of communication were always flowing easily, which was crucial on a project that had such a tight deadline.”

Similar to most construction projects, the general contractor is the driving force on completing construction, which has a trickle-down effect to the rest of team hired to complete the home, such as architects and interior designers.

Constant and complete communication is key to making each project successful, especially when owners may be located anywhere in the world.

“If there is an issue or change of plans, we get calls right away from the First Florida project superintendent, asking how we would like to resolve the issues,” Moore said. “The meetings they facilitate between all of the relevant parties are really helpful in making sure that their jobs move forward on time, concisely and that the client is satisfied — which is, obviously, the most important detail of all.”

With summer quickly approaching, First Florida Development is looking forward to working on a handful of equestrian properties in the Wellington area, as well as acquiring new projects and making clients’ dreams a reality.

“I am really excited about making our mark in Wellington,” Kleinfeld said. “This community is incredibly vibrant and ever-changing, which gives us the opportunity to bring the building expertise that we have honed on coastal-constructed homes to the equestrian space and help to blend the best that Palm Beach County has to offer.”

To learn more about what First Florida Development and Construction can do to help bring your building dreams to life, visit www.firstfloridainc.com.

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