(703) 369-4738

Author archives: Jessica Perdue

22
May
2019

Client awarded large Australian government contract

In a press release by the Australian Minister for Defence; issued March 06, 2019 it was announced that “the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will receive a new sovereign air transportable Submarine Rescue Service capability under a contract with Phoenix International (Australia).”

Attorney Christopher Collins speaks to the proposal efforts, the due diligence performed to vet subcontractors and the importance of solid teaming agreements.

15
May
2019

How to Protect Your Business When Ice Agents Want To Inspect Your I-9 Forms

ICE Agents have been active recently in the Prince William area and other parts of the VA/DC/MD metropolitan area, investigating businesses (especially small and medium companies) to determine compliance with properly completing and retaining I-9 forms.  Employers in industries involving construction, restaurants, landscaping, and janitorial/cleaning services are frequently (but by no means the only) targets of ICE investigations. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (an agency within the Department of Homeland Security) has significantly increased its efforts to reduce unlawful immigration employment practices under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Employers are legally required to verify the identity of the person they hire and to confirm that they are eligible to work in the United States.  The law further requires that employers document this process by completing a Form I-9 for each person they hire.

ICE has focused enforcement efforts on employers who hire an illegal workforce. They follow up on tips provided by the public and conduct random and unannounced audits of employer records to determine if the company has complied with its legal obligations.  They do not need probable cause to investigate your business nor do they need to have a tip.  

I-9 Forms and ICE’s Notice of Inspection

The mandatory I-9 forms must be completed every time you make a new hire.  The form must be retained for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later. If ICE has been given a tip or the business has been selected for an audit, ICE will present you with a Notice of Inspection.  

What to Expect from an ICE Inspection

The notice of inspection usually requests the following records from the company:

  • I-9 records
  • Payroll records
  • 1099s
  • No-match and mismatch letters

Upon notice, you have three business days to provide the investigating officers with the requested documents.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

Failure of employers to comply with IRCA can result in substantial civil fines and ultimately, possible criminal prosecution if you are found to have knowingly violated the law. 

What To Do If ICE Agents Present You With A Notice of Inspection Regarding Your I-9s

  • Do not provide records immediately or allow an immediate inspection of records as you have up to three days to respond.
  • Call your trusted employment lawyer in order to advise you on the best course of action and to timely respond with the proper documents presented in the best light possible.

Ensuring Compliance Before ICE Investigates

If you have not yet been the subject of an investigation, you can take steps to protect your business.  Employers should conduct confidential internal audits of your I-9 forms with the help of your employment lawyer.  This process can help you correct any potential problems before an inspection and avoid possible fines.  It is also beneficial to have knowledgeable employment counsel conduct periodic training of your personnel assigned to handle your I-9s.

Contact a Trusted Employment Law Attorney

Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq., with Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian is ready to help your business respond to an ICE inspection, provide a confidential internal Form I-9 audit, and/or help train your personnel to properly complete and retain I-9 forms.


Kristina Keech Spitler is a Shareholder and Head of the Employment Law Practice of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, PC.  With over thirty years of experience, Kris has been recognized as “Legal Elite” in Employment Law by Virginia Business Magazine, as well as a “Leader in the Law” and an “Influential Women of Law” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly.  You can reach Kris at (703)369-4738 or kspitler@vfnlaw.com.

** The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. 

14
May
2019

Book Smarts…VF&N attorney, textbook contributor

Pictured above: VF&N land use and zoning attorney, Karen Cohen, with legendary engineer, Sid Dewberry, PE, LS, Chairman Emeritus, Dewberry, Kat Grimsley, Director of the MS Real Estate Development program at George Mason University, and the team of book contributors, celebrating the publication of the third in a series of land development books by industry-leading design firm, Dewberry. 

Development of the Built Environment: From Site Acquisition to Project Completion is a textbook that explores the entire development process from an applied perspective to provide architects, civil engineers, and other team members with an understanding of the context in which real estate development occurs.  Karen, fellow alumnae of the Mason Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) program, and others, were contributors and advisors.

2
May
2019

Land use and zoning explained: Repurposing an established building through a special use permit

The commercial real estate and property sector in Northern Virginia and Prince William County has experienced fluctuations in recent years which resulted in vacant buildings. For the owners of these properties, they’re left with a tough decision – let the property stay vacant or repurpose the property.

Repurposing property is using a building differently than the original intent. As a property owner, you are looking for cost-effective ways to keep your investment profitable.  For example, If you turn an old factory into loft apartments, or a barn into an event center, the building sees new life, you continue to make money, and all without building on existing green space. But it isn’t always that easy to change land use of an existing property.

Land use considerations

Land use laws regulate how businesses can operate on certain lands. The most common form of land use regulation is zoning. Cities use this legal process all across the country to help regulate their local development. Zoning laws prevent you from coming home to your well-established housing neighborhood and finding a big box store has set up shop next door.

While it’s not likely for a big box store to pop up next to houses, it is possible as in our earlier example, for a factory to become loft apartments. The zoning for that land must change to account for residents living on the property instead of people coming to work. Without making this change, it puts both the business operator and you, the property owner, in legal peril. It’s up to you to make sure the city allows the land use modification.

Special use permit (SUP)

A special use permit allows a local government to take a look at one particular development and to impose conditions needed to mitigate any impacts on the community. It is available only if the zoning ordinance provides for it.

To obtain a special use permit, you must get approval from the governing body in your community. You need to file an application, submit the filing fee, provide documentation supporting your request, and submit to questioning at a public hearing.  See the steps outlined below:

The process to obtain a SUP

30
Apr
2019

Congratulations to Michael Vanderpool, recipient of the 2019 Leadership Prince William Vision Award

Michael Vanderpool, Esq., founder of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. (VF&N) and a highly regarded community leader, will receive the 2019 Leadership Prince William Vision Award. This award honors an individual in Prince William County whose innovative, strategic or bold leadership has had a positive and significant impact on the community. Past award recipients have included Virginia Senator Charles J. Colgan and Dr. Gary L. Jones, CEO of Youth for Tomorrow.

Mr. Vanderpool’s commitment to service and passion for developing future leaders is best showcased through his legacy at VF&N.  Founded on these very principles, Mr. Vanderpool encouraged a company culture rich in civic duty and leadership. The firm, located in Manassas and recently named one of Virginia’s largest law firms, has produced a highly active group of leaders that have, and will continue to make, significant contributions to their community.

VF&N boasts several industry and community leaders, including Kristina Spitler, Prince William County Bar Association’s President; Brett Callahan, President-Elect of the Center of the Arts of Greater Manassas; Karen Cohen, Chair, NAIOP Government Relations Prince William Subcommittee; three past chairmen of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce; and several graduates of the Leadership Prince William program.

Leading by example, Michael Vanderpool has been a community advocate since he moved to Manassas in 1975.  He has contributed to the community in several areas, including his work to initiate construction of the Route 234 Bypass and the Freedom Center.  He was the founding Chairman of the Manassas Education Foundation and the Hylton Performing Arts Center for several years and represented the local community while serving on the Board of the United Way of the National Capital Area. He served as a Trustee of the George Mason University Foundation and as Trustee and Vice-Chairman of the Prince William Health System. Most recently, he served as President of the Manassas Rotary Club and is the current President of the Manassas Rotary Foundation.

Mr. Michael Vanderpool is a leader in business, a leader in the community and a leader of people.

25
Apr
2019

Government Contracting Teaming Strategies Seminar

The government directs 23% of its procurement to small businesses from local, state & federal agencies, large primes and military installations. But some contracts are just too large for many to handle alone. When this is the case, small businesses can team up with one or more other businesses to collectively perform the contract. Learn from a panel of experts, to include VF&N attorney Kris Spitler and attorney Chris Collins, on how teaming is a great way for small businesses to build credibility and demonstrate proficiency to the government and other contractors.

Highlights will include how to raise the bar and maintain your business’ reputation; strategically vet external/internal partners before you win the contract; ask the pre-questions that matter to long-term collaborations; and address some of the common legal concerns regarding teaming.

Presented by the Government Contracting Council of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, May 2, 2019 from 8:00-10:00 a.m.

9720 Capital Ct., Ste. 203; Manassas VA 20110

$35/Non chamber members.
Register today: Click Here

Light breakfast provided.

23
Apr
2019

2019 Virginia Proffer Law Changes: Myths Unraveled

As attorneys and self-proclaimed Proffer Professors, we were concerned by what we were hearing from the industry on the recent proffer reform. Blanket statements like, “oh, it’s just a repeal of the 2016 law” or “proffer schedules are legal now”.  In this post, we clear the air of misconceptions.

Myth: The 2019 law repealed the 2016 law

Fact: To debunk the first myth, we’ll just note that the 2019 law leaves large parts of the 2016 law intact. For example, the law still forbids a local government from denying a rezoning application for residential development “where such denial is based in whole or in part on an applicant’s failure or refusal to submit an unreasonable proffer.” For another, the law still exempts qualified “small area comprehensive plans.” There are some significant changes, though, and we will comment on them in future blog posts.

Myth: Proffer schedules are now legally OK

Fact: As for the second myth, the 2019 law doesn’t clear the constitutional hurdle for proffer schedules. Under federal case law, a proffer first must be connected to the development impacts (that is, it has to have a “nexus”) and second, there must be “rough proportionality,” which refers to the degree of connection between the proffer and the development’s projected impact.

So, just how “rough” can the degree of connection be and still pass muster under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?  The U.S. Supreme Court (in a case called Dolan) answered that question this way:  “No precise mathematical calculation is required, but the [locality] must make some sort of individualized determination that the required dedication is related both in nature and extent to the proposed development.” 

A locality can still provide information about how much it costs to build a school, police station, or park, but because a “one size fits all” proffer schedule lacks the required individualized determination, it is subject to attack on constitutional grounds.

Stay tune for the next topic: So what did change?

By the Proffer Professors: Mike Vanderpool, Martin Crim, and Karen Cohen  

3
Apr
2019

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is pleased to announce the addition of Robert Zelnick, Esq. to the firm. Featured

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. (VF&N) welcomes Robert Zelnick, Esq. to the firm’s civil litigation practice group. Mr. Zelnick is a highly respected litigator with over 43 years of experience in Northern Virginia.

Robert (Zel) joins VF&N as Of Counsel departing his private practice, Zelnick & Associates, P.C. located in Lakeridge, VA.  He was the recipient of the Arthur W. Sinclair Professionalism award in 2017, is a former president of the Prince William County Bar Association and serves as a Commissioner in Chancery for the Prince William County Circuit Court.

Known for his integrity, quality of work, and community leadership, attorney Robert Zelnick is a notable addition to the Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. team.

About Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C.

Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is a law firm located in Manassas, VA. Established in 1986, we have served clients for over 30 years in business law, commercial real estate, litigation, lending, IP, employment law, land use and zoning, and municipal law.

To learn more about Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C., visit our about us page.