Winter 2019 Newsletter

A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Hello dear friends and supporters. I am excited to introduce you to the newest members of LevittQuinn’s Board of Directors and Leadership Council. They are an impressive group of professionals who have embraced our mission and joined our cause.

They got to work right way! Both bodies met in early February to set their 2019 goals for strengthening our organization and expanding our circle of friends and partners.

Their work is critical to keeping LevittQuinn a reliable, go-to nonprofit law firm for people in need, including for those with highly complex legal cases. We share with you the story of how adoption created a permanent, stable home for three young developmentally disabled siblings at the center of years-long acrimonious litigation. This critical and life-altering legal work is what our board and Leadership Council strives to support.

Working together, we can make a difference. Join us!

LEVITTQUINN BOARD WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS

LevittQuinn’s Board of Directors welcomed six new members and one returning past president. Each of these volunteers bring a unique set of skills, talents, and connections that will enhance the board and LevittQuinn’s outreach. We are so pleased they joined our cause.

IRA M. FRIEDMAN, CFLS

Ira M. Friedman – New LevittQuinn Board Member

Ira M. Friedman is a partner in the law firm of Friedman & Friedman. He has been a Certified Family Law Specialist since 1983. Ira is an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Fellow and serves on the board of directors of the Southern California Chapter. He is also an International Academy of Family Lawyers Fellow. Ira is a past chair of both the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Family Law Section. He is past president and CEO of Sinai Temple Los Angeles. Ira serves as a judge pro tem in Los Angeles Superior Court. He was the prevailing attorney in appellate cases of In re The Marriage of Gavron and In re The Marriage of Keech.

He has been married 50 years to his wife Abby, who was his law partner for 22 years, and has two sons, one of which, David, is his current law partner. Ira is a past LevittQuinn board president. He is a past chair of the Beverly Hills Parking & Traffic Commission and currently serves as a commissioner on the Beverly Hills Charitable Solicitations Committee.

SPENCER LUGASH

Spencer Lugash – New LevittQuinn Board Member

Spencer Lugash is a California real estate broker and attorney with over 20 years experience. He is the grandson of LevittQuinn co-founder, Ethel Levitt. A graduate of Pepperdine School of Law, Spencer maintains the Lugash Law Center that specializes in working with homeowners and real estate agents to help and advise them as to the legal and practical issues surrounding real estate loss mitigation.

In 2012, Spencer co-founded Big Block Realty, a flat-fee real estate brokerage headquartered in San Diego. Spencer served as COO, General Counsel and Broker of Record of Big Block Realty and was directly responsible for the daily oversight, training and supervision of over 850 real estate agents. Spencer successfully exited the company in 2018 and now continues to work at his law firm as well as serving on various boards of directors, including the San Diego Association of Realtors, Zoom Technologies, and LevittQuinn Family Law Center.

JAYE-JO PORTANOVA, M.D.

Jaye-Jo Portanova, M.D. – New LevittQuinn Board Member

Jaye-Jo Portanova, M.D. is an experienced adult and child psychiatrist specializing in mediation, co-parenting counseling, collaborative law, attorney/client consultation, and family therapy. She received her undergraduate and medical degrees at University of California, Los Angeles. She is board certified in both adult and child psychiatry.

Dr. Portanova was selected by Los Angeles Superior Court judges to serve on the downtown Los Angeles psychiatric custody evaluation panel, and has performed numerous child custody evaluations. She practices collaborative law as a divorce and child specialist coach with A Better Divorce. Also, she mediates custody cases privately and is a Parenting Plan Coordinator (PPC or Special Master) for high-conflict family law cases.

Dr. Portanova has been practicing in the Los Angeles area for over 30 years. Her extensive training and experience with parents and children provide her with unique skills to facilitate families through this difficult and stressful time.

LORNA A. MOUTON RIFF, CPA, CFF

Lorna Mouton Riff – New LevittQuinn Board Member

Lorna Mouton Riff has specialized in forensic accounting for family law matters since 1985. Since July 2016, she has been the director of forensic and financial services in the Los Angeles office of CBIZ | Mayer Hoffman McCann. For the twenty years prior, she was the uniquely situated in-house forensic accountant for the family law firm Jaffe and Clemens.

Lorna volunteers in the family law court’s Daily Settlement Officer program and is a presenter for Second Saturdays Divorce Workshop. As an active member of the CalCPA Forensic Services Section since 1996, she has served as the Family Law Section’s secretary from 2003 to 2016, treasurer from 2016 to 2018, and currently serves as the section’s co-chair.

Lorna spends her personal time tending her organic edible garden, researching and documenting her family’s ancestral history, and traveling.

ANDREA KUSHNER ROSS

Andrea Kushner Ross – New LevittQuinn Board Member

Andrea Kushner Ross is a Senior Vice President and Director of the Wealth Strategies Group of Bernstein. She works with Bernstein clients and their professional advisors to develop comprehensive wealth management and wealth transfer strategies. Before joining the firm in 2015, Andi was a shareholder at Weinstock Manion, ALC, and a partner at Karlin & Peebles LLP, advising high-net-worth clients on estate, tax and charitable planning. She is a member of the State Bar of California, by which she has been certified as a specialist in both taxation law and estate planning, trust and probate law. Andi was named a Southern California Rising Star and a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine. She currently serves on the executive committee (trusts and estates section) of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and is a member of both the taxation and trusts and estates sections of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She has also served on the executive committee (taxation section) of the State Bar of California and was a former chair of the taxation section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.

Andi holds a BA (cum laude) in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles; a JD from the University of Southern California at Los Angeles; and an LLM in taxation law from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles.

WARREN R. SACKS, CPA, CFF

Warren R. Sacks – New LevittQuinn Board Member

Warren R. Sacks is a Senior Partner with the accounting and litigation consulting firm of White, Zuckerman, Warsavsky, Luna & Hunt, LLP. Mr. Sacks is a Certified Public Accountant and has been practicing forensic accounting since 1985. He has experience in the preparation of business valuations, perquisite analyses, standard of living reports, community property balance sheets, reports on the gross cash flow available for support, tracing and reimbursements, and the analysis of financial statements and tax returns. Mr. Sacks has testified in the Superior Court of California as an expert witness in family law matters.

Prior to joining White, Zuckerman, Warsavsky, Luna & Hunt, LLP, Mr. Sacks was a staff accountant with the accounting and litigation firm of Stein & Cohen where he performed litigation consulting services primarily related to marital dissolution.

Mr. Sacks received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting Theory and Practice from California State University, Northridge. He is a member in good standing of the AICPA and holds the AICPA’s CFF designation (Certified Financial Forensic).

Mr. Sacks has passed all four exams in business valuation given by the American Society of Appraisers.

JOSEPH P. SPIRITO, JR.

Joseph P. Spirito – New LevittQuinn Board Member

Joe Spirito has been managing family law cases for over 36 years and is a founding partner of McGaughey & Spirito in Redondo Beach. He has continuously maintained an AV rating in Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, as well as the National Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals. Joe has also been selected by his peers in “The Best Lawyers in America” for the practice area of family law.

Joe has served as chair on the executive committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Family Law Section. Joe has chaired the South Bay Bar Association’s Family Law Section for several years, and is past president of the South Bay Bar Association. He is the past president of the L.A. Collaborative Family Law Association and a member of CP Cal & IACP. Joe received the 2014 Eureka Award for his excellence in Collaborative Practice.

LEVITTQUINN BOARD SETS 2019 GOALS

New and continuing board members met this past Sunday for their annual retreat and planning meeting at the offices of Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt & Klein, LLP.

LevittQuinn Winter Board Meeting
Marty Dutch

Marty Dutch, Vice President of Philanthropy Services at First Foundation, helped the board to identify their top strengths. She led these valuable volunteers in a discussion of how they can maximize their unique strengths to be at their best, in service to LevittQuinn, and having fun.

LevittQuinn Winter Board Meeting 2019

We are grateful to our friends at FMBK for making their space available to us. The surroundings contributed to the success of the day.

LEADERSHIP COUNCIL

Exciting change is happening in LevittQuinn’s Leadership Council, our revamped group of newer professionals who share LevittQuinn’s mission to protect children and stand with family members in crisis.

Amanda Fleming

Amanda Fleming serves as the 2019 LC chair, taking up the mantle from inaugural LC co-chairs Heather Serden and Ricky Rozen. Amanda began her relationship with LevittQuinn as a staff attorney in 2008. Although she left her staff role in 2015, she continued to support LQ’s clients as a volunteer attorney.

Leadership Council members serve as ambassadors of LevittQuinn who employ their skills, interests, and resources in assisting the board of directors to increase resources for LevittQuinn and to expand its base of support.

The newest members of the LC are all past volunteers who expressed a desire to grow their relationship with us as they develop their own leadership and networking skills. We welcome new members Michael Petty, Ashlee Hamilton, Jose Barajas, and Tess Wolff.

Michael Petty

Michael Petty

Ashlee Hamilton

Ashlee Hamilton

Jose Barajas

Jose Barajas

Tess Wolff

Tess Wolff

Earlier this month Amanda led the Leadership Council in a planning meeting to establish the Council’s goals for the coming year and beyond. Stay tuned for upcoming LC events and outreach efforts. If you are interested in learning more about the Leadership Council, please contact Anastasia Finney at afinney@levittquinn.org.

A PERMANENT HOME

Lucia Reyes family

It took four years of complex litigation, but Lucia Reyes finally got the court order she and our client had been waiting for. Lucia, LevittQuinn’s Director of Legal Services, is our adoptions expert. She got a hard-won court order finalizing the adoption of three special needs children by their paternal aunt. “Momtie,” as the children call her, found herself caring for them when their father went to prison in 2010. Their mother struggled with mental health issues and wasn’t able to care for the children herself. Our client had few resources of her own, but couldn’t bear to let the children end up in foster care.

Although a court granted Momtie legal guardianship of the children, father submitted multiple filings to terminate it upon his release from prison. After three years of this, Momtie filed in 2014 to adopt the children. The court appointed counsel for all the parties, but the matter escalated into high-conflict litigation that lasted for over two years. Although the parties reached an agreement to terminate mother’s parental rights in 2016, father wanted to keep fighting. After an eight day long-cause trial in 2017, Lucia succeeded in terminating father’s parental rights. Unfortunately, that did not end the struggle. Father then filed an appeal, which was ultimately dismissed in 2018. Lucia was able to finalize the adoption not long after.

The family was thrilled. The finalized adoption meant that these vulnerable children could finally enjoy the peace and stability of a permanent home.

I want to support LQ’s adoption work