At Mestdagh, Wall & Hamilton we practice real estate and business law in a wide variety of venues across Florida, from the conference room for your real estate closing, to the courthouse in circuit and federal court. The firm helps clients understand the risks of property and business ownership, and helps avoid liability against both the government and private actors. Our focus on international law also allows us to serve the legal needs of our foreign and domestic clients, whether businesses or individuals.
The firm also serves litigation needs of its clients in the areas of real estate, business, and appellate law. This includes disputes involving timeshares, contracts, businesses, mortgages, shareholders, construction defects, and appeals in these and criminal matters. The firm is committed to using its knowledge of the law to best serve its clients.
Above all, we at Mestdagh, Wall & Hamilton believe in providing personal service, directly addressing each client’s needs and concerns, and achieving each client’s goals as competently, efficiently and effectively as possible.
ALEXANDRE M. MESTDAGH is the founding member of the law firm of Mestdagh, Wall & Hamilton, P.A. He has been practicing law in Central Florida for more than 10 years. With his practice focused in the area of transactional real estate, real estate finance, and business law, Alex represents international and Florida-based clients in connection with the acquisition, financing, development and disposition of real-property projects. Such projects include the sale and purchase of office buildings, shopping centers, vacant land, mixed-use projects, and development of planned communities. His experience extends to representing clients in due diligence and matters of title in connection with large-scale developments. With his background in real estate finance, Alex also counsels borrowers and lenders with acquisition loans and refinances. In addition, he represents both landlords and tenants on leases covering fast-casual restaurants, shopping centers, industrial space and office buildings. Born in Brussels, Belgium and fluent in French, Alex advises French-speaking clients in the acquisition and disposition of real estate and businesses.
- Represents developer in sale of 135 acres of raw land in Orange County to national home builder
- Represents developer in sale of hundreds of finished lots in Development of Regional Impact (DRI) in Polk County, Florida to various national and regional home builders
- Represents buyer in acquisition of portfolio of six (6) vacant lots in Winter Park, Florida
- Represents developer in renewing $20M loan secured by Phase II of DRI in Polk County, Florida
- Represents seller in sale of 38,000 SF office building in Maitland, Florida
- Represents buyer in purchase of $34M portfolio of properties constituting apartments, vacant land and retail in Winter Park, Florida
- Represents owner in renewing $3M loan secured by retail center in Orange County, Florida
- Represents seller in sale of $1.2M hotel and seller-financing in Osceola County, Florida
- Represents lender in renewing and closing $900,000 loan secured by office building in Orange County, Florida
- Represents tenant in connection with lease for corporate headquarter relocation to a Class A office building (35,000 SF / 20 year lease) in Orange County, Florida
- UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, Frederic G. Levin College of Law
Gainesville, FL – May 2004
- UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, Warrington College of Business
Master of Science in Business Administration – Real Estate
Gainesville, FL – May 2004
- GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, Elliott School of International Affairs
Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, Cum Laude
Washington, D.C. – May 1999
Court Admissions / Professional Memberships / Activities
Fluent in French • Member of the Florida and Washington, D.C. Bars • Member of Orange County Bar Association • Florida Circuit Court Certified Mediator • Licensed Title Insurance Agent • Appointed Closing Agent for First American Title Insurance Company, Old Republic/Attorneys’ Title Insurance Company, Westcor and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company • Completed 75% of Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation • Former Board Member of Hannibal Square Community Land Trust, Winter Park, Florida • Board Member of Central Florida Real Estate Attorney’s Council (CFREC) • Member of French American Business Council of Orlando (FABCO)
Steve Wall, is an experienced transactional and trial attorney dedicated to representing and advising clients in construction law, lien and mortgage foreclosure, contract negotiation, land development, landlord-tenant and timeshare disputes, and general litigation.
Mr. Wall graduated from The University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in English Literature, and obtained his law degree from the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Wall started his law career at an Orlando insurance defense firm. After the hurricanes of 2004, Mr. Wall and a partner started their own firm catering to the needs of construction industry clients. There, Mr. Wall’s practice included all aspects of construction law, construction defect litigation, lien foreclosure, contract negotiation, public sector contracting, insurance coverage analysis, homeowner and condominium claims, bankruptcy creditor protection, and debt collection. As part of his practice, Mr. Wall has utilized and mastered various technologies, including cutting-edge presentation software programs and paperless-office utilities, to better serve his clients.
- University of Minnesota Law School, Juris Doctorate (J.D.), 2000
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English, 1997
Court Memberships & Admissions
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
Professional Associations & Related Experience
- The Florida Bar Association, Trial Lawyers / Real Property Sections; Construction Law Committee
- State Bar of Wisconsin, Construction & Public Contract Law Section
- City of Maitland Code Enforcement Board Member, 2005-2006
Christopher M. Hamilton is a partner in the firm’s Winter Park office with over a decade of real estate and business law experience. Chris protects and advances the interest of his clients, who are primarily banks, investors, developers, family businesses, and land owners, in their business affairs. He is a seasoned real estate attorney, having served as closing agent and title agent for hundreds of purchase and sale transactions and loan transactions of all varieties and sizes. Other transactional practice areas include leasing, association governance and issues, and corporate transactions, governance and entity formations. Chris particularly enjoys challenging transactions, navigating any issues that arise through to a successful closing.
Additionally, Chris is an experienced and capable litigator. His litigation practice primarily consists of banking and lending litigation, representing lenders in commercial and residential foreclosures, deficiency judgments, collections, appeals, and creditor representation in bankruptcy. He has successfully handled hundreds of contested foreclosures and deficiency judgment cases on behalf of lenders—the vast majority of these cases are resolved on a summary judgment basis, but are occasionally resolved after evidentiary hearings. Additional litigation experience includes real estate title claims and quiet title actions, landlord-tenant issues and evictions, business partner separation cases (i.e., “business divorces”), and general business litigation.
In recent years, Chris’s practice has had an emphasis on real estate mortgage transactions for banking institutions, private investors and “hard money” lenders. Because of his experience on both the closing side and litigation side of mortgage transactions, Chris brings a unique “cradle to grave” perspective that adds value for his lending clients. He assists with loan evaluation, underwriting, and due diligence for transactions, resolves title issues, and handles the loan closing. If a loan does not perform, Chris spearheads any loss mitigation that the lender may desire (including workouts, modifications, forbearance agreements, and short sales). If loss mitigation is not feasible, Chris will be the lead counsel for the foreclosure lawsuit. If a foreclosure or short sale results in the lender taking title to the collateral, then when the lender desires to sell the property, Chris will handle that closing. Chris’s experience with all stages in the life of a loan allows him to avoid common traps and pitfalls and ensure that his clients achieve great results.
Outside of the office, Chris loves to spend time with his wife and young daughter. Chris is a lifelong fisherman and boater. He is passionate about fly fishing for tarpon and redfish.
- Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, FL
Juris Doctor, May 2005 – Magna Cum Laude; Law Review Executive Board Editor
- University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
B.S., Business Management, May 2002 – Summa Cum Laude
- Hollywood Collectibles Group, LLC v. Master Cutlery, Inc.,
Cases 2014 WL 2155214 (M.D. Fla. May 22, 2014)
- Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star 2013, 2014, 2015
- Florida Bar, 2005
United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2010
Helen Ford brings more than 25 years of experience to her diverse real estate practice, which includes acquisition, sales, development, leasing and financing of commercial, retail, hospitality, golf course, single family residential and multi-family residential properties. Helen has the unique distinction of having been a partner at two different Am Law 100 Firms as well as having served as in-house counsel at a major financial institution.
Helen’s attention to detail and ability to handle complex transactions, combined with her responsiveness and problem-solving skills, makes her an asset to her clients.
- Represented national apartment developer in all aspects of acquisition of raw land and development of upscale residential apartment communities with associated new entity formation, acquisition and development financing averaging $30 million per project, and ultimate closing on permanent financing following completion of construction.
- Represented various national homebuilders in all aspects of acquisition and development of raw land into single-family residential developments, including negotiating acquisition contracts, title and survey review, development financing, platting and drafting of covenants, conditions, easements and restrictions and HOA entity formation.
- Represented owner of 900+ acre DRI in the development and sale of property to third-party purchasers, including negotiating purchase and sale contracts, drafting Master Declaration, easements, assignment of trips and entitlement documents, platting, and handling the closings for the transactions.
- Negotiated hotel sale contracts and handled closings of disposition of various U.S. located hotels on behalf of national hotel operator in connection with sale/managed back disposition strategy.
- Negotiated ground leases, office leases and renewals for branch locations and ATM facilities for a financial institution, including leases for space in a 270,000 square foot office building.
- Implemented redevelopment of older bank branch sites resulting in demolition of old branch, construction of new branch and sale of excess land.
- Title Agent for various national title companies
- Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Juris Doctor, Paralegal Certification, Bachelor of Arts
- Florida Bar (1998)
- Pennsylvania Bar (inactive)
Professional Associations / Recognitions
- Best Lawyers in America, 2018 for Real Estate Law
- Conroy Club Homeowners Association, Inc., Board Member (2008-2013 and 2019-present)
- Commercial Real Estate Women – Orlando, Florida Chapter (CREW) Member (2014-2018 and 2020)
Hazel B. GUmera
Hazel B. Gumera is an experienced associate attorney, and practices law in the areas of transactional real estate law, business law, and eminent domain. She counsels buyers, sellers, and commercial lenders, as well as landlords and tenants of commercial leases in retail, office, and warehouse spaces. She also represents sellers in asset purchase agreements, and landowners and businesses in eminent domain matters.
Prior to joining the firm, Hazel worked as an associate attorney at a real estate firm in Orlando. Hazel spearheaded commercial lease reviews and led a presentation on commercial leases tailored to tenant franchisees at an annual franchisor conference. She has represented all parties involved in a real estate transaction. Hazel also served as Of Counsel at a leading Florida eminent domain firm, where she represented an interstate natural gas pipeline company in condemnation suits across northern and central Florida.
Hazel defended corporations in products liability cases as an attorney at an American multi-national corporate law firm. Hazel also worked as an attorney at a non-profit organization in New York City, where she represented clients in foreclosure litigation and counseled victims of Superstorm Sandy on federal and state disaster relief, insurance, building code violations, and contractor fraud. Prior to that, Hazel was a closing agent at a property management company, which managed over 22,000 multi-family units in the New York City area, and a law clerk at a boutique real estate firm, where she prepared purchase agreements and closing documents.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Hazel resides in the Dr. Phillips area. She enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, running, eating at new restaurants, and cheering on their favorite sports teams.
- New York Law School, J.D., 2012
- University of Virginia, B.A., 2006
- Florida Bar, 2016
- Georgia Bar, 2014
- New York Bar, 2013
Recognitions / Professional Memberships / Activites
- Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Emerging Leader Award, 2016 – 2017
- Georgia Bar Journal, Pro Bono All Star Award, 2014 – 2015
- Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Board of Director, 2016 – 2018
- Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association, Board of Director, 2017 – 2019, and Member
- Hidden Beach Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Board Member
- Orange County Bar Association, Member
- United Against Poverty Orlando, Volunteer
- Orange County Legal Aid Society, Attorney Volunteer, 2016 – 2018
- Central Florida Leadership Academy, Mentor, 2015 – 2016
- New York City Bar Association, Member, 2012 – 2013
- Asian American Bar Association of New York, Member, 2012 – 2013
Mark A. Grimes
Mark A. Grimes is an experienced real estate lawyer, admitted to the Florida Bar in 1974. Mark has represented a wide variety of clients through the years, from commercial and residential real estate builders and developers, to individual home purchasers and sellers. Mark also has a broad background in title insurance matters, having served as underwriting counsel to three major title insurance companies, and as a title insurance agent for six major Florida title insurance companies. He also has broad experience in representing title insurance companies in title insurance claims matters. Mr. Grimes was born and raised in Newport, Rhode Island, and is a graduate of Providence College (B.A. History, cum laude) and of Boston College School of Law. He currently resides in Deland, Florida.
David J. Kohs
David J. Kohs, of Mestdagh, Wall & Hamilton, PA., has almost three decades of experience in the areas of commercial and civil litigation and appeals. He has particular expertise in real property litigation, and has for almost two decades handled hundreds of title litigations at the request of numerous major title insurers. Mr. Kohs graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Florida College of Law. He is the first recipient of the W.D. Macdonald Prize, awarded annually to the highest finishing law student of two graduating classes. He was an invitee and board member of the University of Florida Law Review, and is admitted to the Order of the Coif. Upon graduating law school, Mr. Kohs was invited by the Florida Supreme Court to address Second District attorney bar admittees, in recognition of having achieved one of the top five scores on the State Bar Examination. Mr. Kohs had previously graduated Cum Laude from Michigan State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Mr. Kohs was admitted to the Florida Bar in October of 1987, and is additionally admitted to practice in the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Middle District of Florida. Mr. Kohs and his wife Margaret reside in Winter Park, and are members of Faith Baptist Church in Orlando. His interests include music, singing, guitar, movies, sports and bible study.
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