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Charles A. Ognibene

885 Third Avenue
Sixteenth Floor
New York, New York 10022
Phone:  212.430.8029
Fax:  212.634.5085
60 State Street
Twenty-Third Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02109
Phone:  617.502.8247
Fax:  617.502.5744

Biography

Mr. Ognibene provides his clients the benefit of his broad commercial background. He closes deals on time and on budget. His breadth of experience includes capital markets transactions, and loan origination and workout. Charlie assists banks and others in product development and portfolio level projects. His wide range of commercial experience provides added value when defending or prosecuting litigation.

Mr. Ognibene has deep experience in the auto finance industry, where he has provided energetic and innovative counsel to banks, finance companies and captives for many years. His industry knowledge has been engaged by several lenders to facilitate loan origination and dealer loan workouts. He has advised on commercial and consumer pool sales and syndications. His knowledge of the retail auto finance process leads to efficient and effective resolution of class action and other litigation.

Mr. Ognibene is the Business Law Department Leader at LeClairRyan, overseeing the practices of all transactional lawyers in the firm. In this role, he works with the Corporate Services, Finance, Real Estate, Taxation and Utilities Practice Area Teams.

Representative Experience

Mr. Ognibene has led, managed or directly handled a variety of commercial matters including the following: 

Capital Markets and Inter-Bank Matters

  • Advised bank on structure for auto lease purchase and syndication program.
  • Represented buyer of pool of floorplan and mortgage loans, with tie back performance arrangements and shared servicing.
  • Advised seller of royalty payment receivables in cross-border true sale transaction with secured representations.

Loan Originations

  • Represented agent bank in $300MM+ multi-facility credit arrangement created from bilateral structure. Advised and opined on true sale character.
  • Represented captive finance company in its role as lead lender to mega-dealer with other finance providers.
  • Closed scores of auto dealership mortgage loans throughout the United States.
  • Represented bond purchaser and lender in connection with non-profit financings.

Workouts

  • Represented lenders in countless auto dealer bankruptcies and workouts throughout the United States, and in particular, the Northeast, New York/New Jersey, the mid-Atlantic, and Florida.
  • Served as regional workout counsel for Chrysler Financial during the 2008 – 2009 financial crisis; counseled banks and finance companies on the dynamics and implications of the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcies.
  • Represented a captive finance company in a dealer trouble workout in Massachusetts believed to be one of the largest in the industry. Successfully liquidated multiple locations and collected floor plan loans. Encountered and overcame myriad claims, defenses, objections, and problems by dealer and by others. For example, defeated bank account attachments, insurance company demands, sales tax claims, check endorsement fraud, and credit card merchant bank redirection.

Litigation

  • Advised sub-prime auto finance company responding to Civil Investigative Demand issued by Massachusetts Attorney General.
  • Won on Motion to Dismiss, Class Action case that was based on theory that Finance Company’s purchase of retail installment contracts was effectively equivalent to a direct loan, and thus subject to loan usury rules. Garcia (USDC-SDNY 2016). 
  • Led team defending auto finance company in series of class action cases in Maryland.
  • Represented auto finance company defending class actions based on on-line payment system (Massachusetts and Alabama).
  • Managed multi-state team defending auto finance company in numerous actions alleging various violations of repossessions laws, equal credit, fair credit reporting, and other consumer finance laws.

Speaking Engagements

  • Co-Lending and Participation Arrangements in Dealer Finance
  • A Spotter's Guide to Dealer Trouble
  • Split Floorplans and Other Auto Lending Intercreditor Arrangements
  • When Things Go Wrong (don't walk away) - Managing Floorplan SOT's
  • Use of Delaware Statutory Trusts in Auto Finance
  • Old Article 9, New Article 9, and the Auto Finance Business

Published Works

  • Author, "A Spotter's Guide to Dealer Trouble,” Edwards Wildman Bulletin, 2008
  • Author, "The Sky is Falling; the (Blue) Sky is Falling,” Edwards Wildman Bulletin, 2001
  • Quoted, “Dealer Mortgage Woes,” Automotive News, March 15, 2010
  • Quoted, “Trend in Loan Markups is 2.5%,” Automotive News, August 8, 2005
  • Quoted, “What Industry Leaders are Saying,” Automotive Digest Weekly, July 18, 2005
  • Quoted, “Court: Dealer Must Disclose Negative Equity,” Automotive News, July 11, 2005
  • Quoted, “Trouble Persists with Lease Liability,” Automotive News, July 12, 2004
  • Quoted, "Lessors in New York State Struggle with Liability," Automotive News, March 29, 2004
  • Quoted, "GMAC Settles Suit, but Opponents will Push for Flat-Fee Loan Markups," Automotive News, February 16, 2004
  • Quoted, "Rhode Island Limits Auto Lessors' Liability," Automotive News, July 14, 2003

Legal Experience

  • LeClairRyan, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Edwards Wildman (formerly Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge; now Locke Lord), Boston, Massachusetts

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Boston Bar Association – Former Chair, Commercial Lending Committee

Distinctions

  • “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed among The Best Lawyers in America® in Banking and Finance Law, 2016 - 2019
  • Madison Who’s Who
  • Chambers Leading Lawyers
  • Empire Who’s Who
  • Montclair Who’s Who
  • Continental Who’s Who

Related Industries

Education

  • J.D., cum laude, Boston College Law School, Editor of the International Law Review
  • B.A., Economics, summa cum laude, University of Massachusetts, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut