- International Practice
- Securities Regulation
- Climate Change
- Financial Institutions
- Labor and Employment
- Strategic Communications
- Corporate and Securities
- Financial Restructuring
- Educational Institutions
- Private Funds
- Intellectual Property
- Public Finance
- White Collar Defense
- Environmental Strategies
- Internal Investigations
- Real Estate and Projects
Jonathan K. Frels
Reneé Y. Weist+1.713.221.3364
Jonathan focuses his practice on public finance, public law and state legislative matters. He serves as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel and disclosure counsel in public finance transactions for state agencies, cities, counties, school districts, navigation districts, port authorities, economic development corporations, water districts and water authorities. He also represents political subdivisions as general counsel with respect to public law issues. Further, Jonathan assists governmental bodies, nonprofit corporations and other entities with respect to Public Information Act issues and advises entities contracting with governmental bodies.
In addition to his experience in private practice, Jonathan served as Deputy Attorney General for Legal Counsel at the Texas Office of the Attorney General, 2008–2010. In this role, he acted as counsel to the Attorney General and supervised the Office of the Attorney General’s non-litigation civil legal divisions, including the agency’s Public Finance Division, Opinion Committee, General Counsel Division, and Open Records Division. While with the Office of the Attorney General, Jonathan frequently testified before and served as a resource to members and committees of the Texas Legislature on a variety of subjects, including public finance and open government matters.
He also served as Chief of the Office of the Attorney General’s Public Finance Division, where he oversaw the division’s review and approval of all bonds and similar financial obligations issued by state agencies, political subdivisions and institutions of higher education, as well as certain nonprofit corporations created to act on behalf of political subdivisions.
Represented municipalities as bond counsel in connection with the issuance of general obligation bonds, general obligation refunding bonds, certificates of obligation, tax and revenue anticipation notes, and water and sewer system revenue bonds.
Represented a municipality as bond counsel in connection with the issuance of pension obligation bonds and notes.
Represented multiple municipalities in connection with the issues of certificates of obligation supported, in part, by contracts with economic development corporations.
Represented independent school districts as bond counsel in connection with the issuance of unlimited tax bonds, unlimited tax refunding bonds, variable rate bonds, and maintenance tax notes.
Junior Colleges and Community Colleges
Represented junior college districts in the issuance of limited tax bonds and revenue bonds.
Represented economic development corporations as bond counsel in the issuance of sales tax revenue bonds.
Represented water authorities as bond counsel in connection with the issuance of contract revenue bonds and contract revenue refunding bonds.
Navigation Districts and Port Authorities
Represented Port Freeport in the establishment of a revenue financing system and the issuance of multiple series of obligations under such system.
Represented port authorities in the development of a revenue financing system and syndicated direct purchase note program.
Represented the El Paso County 911 District in the issuance of revenue bonds
Texas Water Development Board Loan Programs
Represented issuers in connection with receiving loans and grants under several Texas Water Development Board financial assistance programs
Represented cities, school districts, junior college districts and water districts in calling and conducting bond elections.
Represented underwriters in connection with the issuance by independent school districts of build America bonds, unlimited tax bonds, limited tax bonds, variable rate bonds, and unlimited tax refunding bonds.
Represented underwriters in connection with the issuance of refunding bonds by an institution of higher education.
Represented underwriters in connection with the issuance by municipalities of general obligation bonds, general obligation refunding bonds, and revenue bonds.
Represented underwriters in connection with the issuance by Counties of combination ad valorem tax and hotel occupancy tax bonds and limited tax bonds.
Navigation Districts and Port Authorities
Represented an underwriter in connection with the issuer of port authority revenue bonds.
Represented underwriters in connection with the issuance by special districts of contract revenue bonds, unlimited tax bonds, and unlimited tax refunding bonds.
Represented an underwriter in connection with the issuance by a state agency of bonds and notes to provide funding for the state’s windstorm insurance association in the event of a catastrophic event.
Represented municipalities as disclosure counsel in connection with the issuance of general obligation bonds, general obligation refunding bonds, and certificates of obligation.
Represented special districts as disclosure counsel in connection with the issuance of unlimited tax bonds.
Represented water authorities, municipal utility districts and other political subdivisions as general counsel.
Represented a navigation district on public law matters.
Represented political subdivisions and non-profit corporations in connection with requests for information under the Public Information Act.
Publications and Speeches
"Municipal Market Legal and Regulatory Update," presented to Government Finance Officers Association of Texas, February 25, 2016, in Beaumont, Texas
"Municipal Market and Regulatory Update: Understanding Section 2252.908, Texas Government Code," presented to Gulf Coast Government Finance Officers Association, January 21, 2016
“Disclosure Updates,” presented at 2015 Government Treasurers’ Organization of Texas Winter Seminar, December 6-9, 2015
“Bond Elections 101,” presented at 2015 Annual School Law Section Retreat, July 25, 2015
“SEC Enforcement and Continuing Disclosure,” presented at Texas School District Accounting and Auditing Conference, June 2, 2015
“A Practical Guide to Successful Tax and Disclosure Post-Issuance Compliance,” presented at Gulf Coast Government Finance Officers Association Training Session, October 30, 2014
“MCDC SEC Enforcement Offer, What It Means for You,” presented at Texas Association of School Business Officials 2014 Business Managers Academy, October 28, 2014
"MCDC SEC Enforcement Offer -- What it Means for You," Texas Association of School Business Officials, Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative Webinar , September 10, 2014
Spotlight on Public Finance: SEC Disclosure Initiatives & Issuer Best Practices, Spotlight on Public Finance, Bracewell, April 30, 2014
"How the SEC Came to Treat a Small Local School District the Same as a Corporate Fraudster – and How to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You," Texas Association of School Business Officials, Bonds, Buildings and Beyond Information, February 26, 2014 and March 27 2014
"Tax-Exempt Bonds: Federal Securities Law Enforcement and Tax Law Update," Government Treasurers' Organization of Texas Winter Seminar, December 10, 2013
"Access to Non-Profit Corporate Records: Current Development in Public Disclosure," State Bar of Texas, 11th Annual Governance of Non-Profit Organizations Seminar, Chapter 10, August 23, 2013
"Public Use Requirements and Private Activity Tests," Spotlight on Public Finance, Bracewell, October 3, 2012
"Issuing School District Debt - Opportunities for Collaboration Between Bond Counsel and School District General Counsel," presented at the Texas Council of School Attorneys Education Law Conference, September 30, 2012
"Conducting Due Diligence in Public Finance Transactions," Bracewell: Due Diligence Round Table, July 17, 2012
"If the IRS Knocks, Will your House Be in Order?," Texas School District Accounting and Auditing Conference, June 12, 2012
"If the IRS Knocks, Will your House Be in Order?," presentation to the Texas Bond Review Board and Comptroller of Public Accounts, March 1, 2012
"Practical Tips on Public Information Act Issues," State Bar Litigation Section Report, The Advocate: Litigating with the Government, Vol. 47, Summer 2009
J.D., with honors, Order of the Coif, The University of Texas School of Law, 2001
B.A., magna cum laude, Trinity University, 1998
Director, Chair of Projects Committee, CHRISTUS Foundation for Healthcare, 2012-2014
Graduate, Business/Civic Leadership Forum, Center for Houston's Future, Spring 2011
Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation, 2010-2014
Public Affairs Committee, Texas Exes, 2010-2014
Director, Trinity University Alumni Association – Houston Chapter, 2007 and 2008
Director, Lamar High School Alumni Association, 2007 and 2008
Steering Committee Member, Bayou Buddies, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, 2008
National Association of Bond Lawyers
State Bar of Texas
Houston Bar Association
Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation
Thomson Reuters, Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2005-2009, 2014-2015
Woodward/White, Inc., Best Lawyers, Public Finance Law, 2013-2017
The Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas, 2007