J. Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey provides counsel to clients on environmental and real estate law. His practice includes representation of clients in transactions, in regulatory compliance matters and in dispute resolution and litigation.

What do you focus on?

Environmental Law

I work with clients on a full range of environmental issues they face. I’m often involved with issues that overlap real estate and environmental areas, such as brownfields cleanup and redevelopment. I provide counsel on regulatory compliance for industrial operations, enforcement and defense of governmental and private party claims under federal and state environmental laws, participation in state voluntary cleanup programs, asbestos and lead-based paint abatement, PCB cleanup and negotiation and enforcement of environmental insurance policies. I also represent clients in environmental permitting matters and in the environmental aspects of real estate and corporate transactions as well as negotiation of environmental risk allocations. I have acted as principal environmental counsel for several U.S. Department of Defense facilities that were closed and transferred to private ownership under the federal Base Realignment and Closure Act.

Real Estate Law

My real estate practice includes development, construction, financing, leasing, management and debt and equity transactions involving all types of business entities and all real estate classes. I’ve worked on a large number of affordable housing developments involving federal and state subsidies, including preservation of low-income housing under HUD’s Mark-to-Market program. I represent owners and developers of commercial and industrial properties on site development and leasing issues and have substantial experience in management of condominium properties. I advise on distressed real estate issues such as mechanics’ liens, loan workouts and restructurings and foreclosures and deeds in lieu of foreclosure.

What do you see on the horizon?

I am fascinated by the constantly increasing scientific understanding of the environmental aspects of the modern world and the resulting policy and regulatory challenges posed for businesses involved in essential economic activity. This tension plays out on the ground in the real estate and environmental aspects of facility ownership, operation and compliance, particularly in real estate development, demolition or conversion of obsolete industrial or energy-related facilities, operation of industrial and commercial facilities in compliance with ever-increasing environmental regulation and effective response to the growing challenges of climate change.

Representative Experience

Significant Real Estate Engagements

  • Representation of developers, owners and lenders in scores of affordable housing developments throughout the United States including affordable housing assisted under Section 8, HUD mortgage insurance programs, tax-exempt industrial revenue bond financings, state housing agency financings, tax shelter syndications, Mark-to-Market restructurings under the Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act of 1997, transactions involving the low-income housing tax credit under Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code, and representation of owners of thousands of Section 8-subsidized rental units on all matters relating to management and ownership of such units including Fair Housing Act issues, property physical condition matters and contractual issues with HUD and state agencies.
  • Representation of owners of a prominent market rate multifamily housing development in Chicago, including authorship of covenants, conditions and restrictions and representation in multiple financing transactions including lender participation transactions and securitized loan transactions.
  • Representation of a large insurance company in joint venture negotiations with national real estate development companies for development of market rate housing.
  • Representation of owners in numerous construction projects including negotiation of construction contracts, enforcement of owners’ rights in disputes with contractors and subcontractors and defense and resolution of mechanics’ liens.
  • Representation of multifamily housing owner in a tenant-based class action lawsuit for enforcement of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance.

Significant Environmental Engagements 

  • Representation of owners of real estate on which manufactured gas plants were formerly located, including participation in state voluntary cleanup programs and enforcement of claims against responsible parties.
  • Representation of developers of several military bases undergoing closure and redevelopment, including Fort Sheridan, Lake County, Illinois, Orlando Naval Training Center, Orlando, Florida, and David Taylor Research Center, Annapolis, Maryland.
  • Representation of a public pension fund in the cleanup, under federal agency order, of a site in the Streeterville area of Chicago contaminated with radioactive materials and pesticides residual from former industrial operations in the area, and enforcement and collection of claims against the responsible parties.
  • Representation of automobile dealerships on environmental compliance obligations and site decommissioning resulting from restructuring of the automobile industry.
  • Representation of a national food company in division of an electrical cogeneration facility from the food manufacturing plant including renegotiation and reissuance of all environmental permits for the facility.
  • Representation of a publicly traded REIT in the acquisition and development of a 600 acre airport parcel for redevelopment as a technology center.
  • Representation of the purchaser from a Fortune 500 company of an abandoned printing facility in upstate New York.
  • Collection of a multimillion dollar claim from the issuer of a “cost cap” environmental insurance policy issued for the excavation and cleanup of a U.S. Army landfill.
  • Representation of the developer of a “peaker” power plant in downstate Illinois in obtaining permits required from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for water withdrawal rights and consultation with the U.S. Department of the Interior on endangered species issues.
  • Representation of a manufacturing company to obtain all environmental permits for facilities operated for decades in multiple states without any permits, including exercise of rights under regulatory self-disclosure policies to avoid or minimize penalties.
  • Representation of scores of companies on environmental due diligence and negotiation of environmental risk allocations in corporate merger and acquisition transactions.
  • Representation of scores of insureds under environmental insurance policies, including negotiation of policy terms and enforcement of policy terms.
  • Representation of many property owners involved in asbestos abatement projects including development and implementation of operations and maintenance plans and negotiation of contracts for removal or other abatement of asbestos.


  • Moderator, “Regulation and Liabilities Arising from Lead-based Paint and Mold,” ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, May 2004
  • Panelist, “The Identification and Management of Environmental Risk in the Acquisition and Redevelopment of Urban and Industrial Real Estate,” ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Redevelopment, May 2003


J. Timothy Ramsey



Phone: 312-977-4428

Fax: 844-562-8029

Washington University School of Law, J.D., Member, Washington University Law Quarterly

Princeton University, A.B., magna cum laude


U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

  • A/V Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Member, Leading Lawyers Network, Environmental Law and Real Estate Law 
  • Chicago Bar Association, Environmental Law Committee
  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
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