¿Ha planeado así Usted su Retiro?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
¿Ha planeado así Usted su Retiro? Con un Plan de retiro puede lograrlo! Información sin compromiso, contáctenos

Ya contrató su Seguro de Salud - H.C.M.?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Asegure su Futuro y de su Familia en Dólares!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Asegure su Salud en Dólares!

Comience a planificar hoy su Futuro Financiero!

A Spoonful of Sugar, The One Hundredth Post of Health Insurance Issues With Dave

Monday, September 10, 2012
Before we get started, this is the one hundredth post of this blog. It started in February 2009 as one of my leadership tasks as president of the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce. I have had tremendous assistance along the way from David Toth and Brad Kleinman, who got me started, and my faithful team of proofreaders and kibitzers: Sally Mandel, Jennifer Kuznicki, Jeff Bogart, Felicia Martinez, Susie Sharp, and my blogging buddies at the Lake Erie Moose Society. This blog now appears in three formats and has readers across the country.

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Governor and GOP candidate, has decided to re-embrace his Romneycare. On yesterday’s Meet The Press, Mr. Romney again told us that he would repeal Obamacare on his first day in office. That’s not new. David Gregory then asked him about the people who have benefited from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) such as adult children in their 20’s and people with preexisting conditions.

I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like.

We haven’t learned a thing. The first edition of this blog discussed the difficulty of making tough, adult decisions. It has been three years, countless pages of legislation, rules and regulations, and a couple of election campaigns and we haven’t begun to move forward. It is one thing to use a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. It is quite another to skip the medicine and eat all of the sugar.

Before Mr. Romney’s surrogates have a chance to take to the airwaves to tell us that he isn’t backsliding and that their candidate really, really hates Obamacare, all of it, let’s go over a few of the basics:

• We can ask questions and underwrite with the option of pricing based on the risk or we can insure everyone and come up with an average price.

• Healthier and younger people will pay more under an average price system.

• Many of the healthiest and youngest would pass on coverage until they needed it, if given the chance.

• The current healthcare legislation and debate has almost nothing to do with healthcare. We are simply discussing how we pay providers.

• Inaction is a whole lot easier than action. Specifics are down right dangerous.

Elected Republicans have little interest in repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, not because they like it or agree with it, but because the alternative is worse. The alternative would be the responsibility to create a better program! The PPACA created a bridge plan that insures the previously long-term uninsured. It was (is) a costly program that is helping individuals with expensive, life-threatening preexisting conditions. Repeal the law first and then create the alternative? What happens to those people? If the law is repealed, or if the House Republicans simply carried out their threat to defund the PPACA, these people are no longer insured.

Less dramatic, the number of uninsured twenty-somethings has also declined in the last year. The PPACA is the only reasonable explanation. Dump the law and there is no guarantee that the insurers won’t dump the 25 year old still clinging to mom and dad’s policy.

If the Republicans had ever been serious about changing and improving the Democrat’s legislation, there would have been an honest effort to amend it. Instead the second bill to be pushed through by the House Republicans was H.B.2 Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. So nothing got done. But doing nothing was the goal. It is far easier to campaign and raise funds in opposition to legislation than to create and defend your own solutions. If Mr. Romney wins the White House and the Republicans won the House and Senate, the most popular guy in Washington would be the Democrat responsible for the filibuster in the Senate that would save the Republicans from themselves.

So where are we? We still have a system that is based on demand, not care, and certainly not about outcomes. Our hospital buildings multiply like rabbits. Television and radio feature an almost endless barrage of ads for medications and treatments, many with the promise of little to no charge for the insured or aged. And we have become addicted to free stuff, whether it free exams, free pills, or free scooters for those who are no longer mobile. We want to tax others and limit access to care as long as we get to choose how and how long we live.

Where else but in the United States would you have attorneys advertise how to shift your assets to your children so that the government (Medicaid) will pay for your nursing home expenses?

So it may be time to bring healthcare into the healthcare debate. What care are WE willing to fund? What care are we willing to forego? Will the rich be able to get better care than everyone else? Of course. We don’t pay for cosmetic surgery now. In the future we might not pay for heart transplants for 70+ year olds. Or maybe we will have a national discussion and make that choice.

I just hope that we’re doing better before the 200th edition of this blog.



New York Federal Court Raises Questions in US v. Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton

Sunday, September 9, 2012
The federal district court, southern district of New York, has raised doubts about the facts asserted in the case of United States v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton.  Claims made by Eric Prokopi's lawyers prompted the questions.

Prokopi seeks the return of the Tyrannosaur skeleton, which he assembled and consigned for sale at Heritage Auctions in New York.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized the skeleton in June, and the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan filed a court action to forfeit the bones and repatriate them to Mongolia.

On September 7, 2012 Judge P. Kevin Castel issued an order concluding that "the proceedings held on September 5, 2012 call into question some of the assumptions in the government's Verified Complaint."

Judge Kastel observes:

"The representations made on the record on September 5 by claimant's counsel call into question whether the Defendant Property [the dinosaur bones] was ever valued on a customs declaration as $15,000 . . . . The $15,000 figure (or $19,000 as stated by claimant's counsel) appears to have been the valuation for one of four shipments into the United States of dinosaur bones some of which were encased in non-organic material and required extensive and difficult cleaning. According to claimant's counsel, approximately 50% of the organic material comprising the Defendant Property had been previously acquired by the claimant in the United States. The nearly complete skeleton (80% of the head and 75% of the body) depicted in the government's evidence and sold at auction does not, according to claimant's counsel, come from a single Bataar. Claimant's counsel asserts that the four shipments together with the 50% material acquired in the United States were assembled by the claimant, Eric Prokopi, using his time, experience and talent, which greatly enhanced the value of the individual shipments."

The court also asks whether the dinosaur skeleton actually originated from Mongolia, as the government alleges in its initial complaint.  Judge Kastel writes:

"There is also a serious question of whether the government has alleged sufficiently detailed facts supporting a reasonable belief that the Defendant Property originated in the nation of Mongolia and was removed in violation of Mongolian law. The Bataar is said to be native to Nemegt Basin in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. The Nemegt Basin is in the Ömnögovi province of Mongolia which borders with China. There is nothing before this Court which speaks to whether 70 million years ago it would have been implausible for the Bataar to have roamed the bordering territory, including present-day China, or whether geological formations in China (or other nearby nations) would have been conducive to preservation of such skeletons. The government represented that, thus far, substantially complete skeletons of Bataars have not been found outside of Mongolia but did not dispute claimant's counsel's representation that bones of Bataars—less than a full skeleton-- have been found elsewhere."

The court, moreover, wonders whether criminal laws were actually violated when importing the dinosaur bones. The order states:

"Finally, certain of the statutes on which the government premises forfeiture have specific mens rea  [i.e. criminal knowledge] requirements. For example, the anti-smuggling provision requires the person who fraudulently or knowingly imports or brings the property into the United States—or receives it, must “know[] the same to have been imported or brought into the United States contrary to law. . . .” The prohibitions on transportation or receipt of stolen goods require the person to “know[] the same to have been stolen. . . .” 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 & 2315 [of the National Stolen Property Act]. The Verified Complaint must set forth a basis for believing that some person who engaged in the prohibited conducted—not necessarily the claimant — had the requisite knowledge."

Given the above, the court is permitting government lawyers to file an amended complaint by September 21 if they wish.

It is helpful to note that Heritage Auctions advertised the sale of the dinosaur skeleton, in part, in the following manner:

"This is an incredible, complete skeleton, painstakingly excavated and prepared, and mounted in a dramatic, forward-leaning running pose. The quality of preservation is superb, with wonderful bone texture and delightfully mottled grayish bone color. In striking contrast are those deadly teeth, long and frightfully robust, in a warm woody brown color, the fearsome, bristling mouth and monstrous jaws leaving one in no doubt as to how the creature came to rule its food chain. Equally deadly and impressive are the large curving claws, with pronounced blood grooves. The body is 75% complete and the skull 80%, and it is mounted on a discreet gray-painted armature. Measuring 24 feet in length and standing 8 feet high, it is a stupendous, museum-quality specimen of one of the most emblematic dinosaurs ever to have stalked this Earth. Bone map and restoration details available upon request."

[Sidebar: A federal forfeiture action applying federal law does not involve questions of whether New York State consumer protection laws or state criminal statutes were or were not followed.]

This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2012 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com

The Return of Cultural Objects: A Symposium

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DePaul's Center for Art, Museum, & Cultural Heritage Law will present
a symposium that addresses the legal, ethical, and moral issues
surrounding the repatriation and restitution of cultural objects.

The keynote address will be given by Lynn Nicholas,
author of The Rape of Europa.

The program will take place

October 29, 2012

DePaul University College of Law
DePaul Center
1 East Jackson Boulevard
Room 8005
Chicago, IL

Lawyers attending may receive six CLE credits.

Online registration is available here.
Questions about the conference may be directed here.

This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2012 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com

Rigorous Due Diligence: Tax and Appraisal Forms May Supply Important Information to Museums Regarding Antiquities

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Object donated to the Walters Art Museum.
Source: AAMD Object Directory

Donated cultural artifacts listed in the annual reports of museums or on the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) Object Registry do not always report the same information that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demands when a donor files for the tax deduction offered.  Sometimes the gift of a cultural object is made by a donor to his or her nonprofit foundation first and then to a qualified nonprofit museum, and sometimes the gift is made by the donor directly to the museum.  In either situation, there should be appraisal and tax records available upon request to a museum, which can examine these sources of information when conducting a rigorous due diligence collecting history investigation to determine whether to accession the cultural artifact.

IRS Publication 526 discusses charitable contributions in general and explains how donating property such as art and antiquities to a qualified organization can provide an income tax deduction to the donor.  A donor may also steer clear of capital gains taxes on appreciated assets by donating antiquities.

IRS Publication 561 discusses paintings, antiques, and other art objects.  Any antiquities that are worth $5001 or more "should be supported by a written appraisal from a qualified and reputable source." An appraisal is mandatory for any cultural object valued at $20,000 or more. The IRS writes, "If you claim a deduction of $20,000 or more for donations of art, you must attach a complete copy of the signed appraisal to your return. For individual objects valued at $20,000 or more, a photograph of a size and quality fully showing the object, preferably an 8 x 10 inch color photograph or a color transparency no smaller than 4 x 5 inches, must be provided upon request." The determination of authenticity for tax purposes is made by a qualified appraiser.

The IRS gives examples of what information should be included in a description of donated property, including:
  • the name of the artist or culture,
  • the approximate date of creation,
  • the cost of acquisition,
  • the date of acquisition,
  • the manner of acquisition,
  • a history of the item,
  • proof of authenticity, and
  • the facts on which the appraisal was based.
The donation information is placed by the donor on IRS Form 8283, submitted with the donor's regular income tax form.

These appraisal and tax forms may supply important authenticity and collecting history information to a museum's provenance curator or other official as a museum determines whether to accept the gift of an antiquity from a donor.

This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2012 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com