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Akerman Continues National Expansion of Alcohol Beverage Industry Group with Three Regulatory Veterans

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SOURCE Akerman LLP

MIAMI, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Akerman LLP, a top 100 U.S. law firm serving clients across the Americas, today announced the continued expansion of its Alcohol Beverage Industry Group with the addition of three former alcohol beverage industry regulators, Thomas "Tom" Busey in Washington, D.C., Loy "Tony" Haynes in Miami, and Debi Pender in Tallahassee. They join Akerman as regulatory consultants, each bringing more than three decades of state and federal regulatory service and experience in laws governing all three tiers of the alcohol industry, as well as other regulated products.

"With the addition of these significant players in the alcohol beverage industry, we further enhance our ability to serve clients across state and international lines," Robert Lewis, chair of Akerman's Alcohol Beverage Industry Group. "Their combined background in compliance and transactional matters coupled with their deep ties with governing bodies will help us navigate our clients through the strict regulatory framework of what is known as a trending and modernizing industry."

Busey spent 34 years with the former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), now called the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). He was chief of the International Trade branch during its initial formation in 1984 where he worked extensively with the US Trade Representative, European Countries, South American and Latin American countries in the Pacific Basin to ease alcohol beverage trade barriers. Busey also served as chief of the Labeling and Formulation and chief of Market Compliance where he dealt extensively with the FTC and FDA regarding alcohol issues. At TTB, Busey was regarded for his depth of knowledge in product formulation and labeling, as well as importation and exportation requirements and documentation rules, including regulatory history and institutional knowledge regarding agency enforcement policies.

Haynes previously served as chief of the National Revenue Center under the ATF and also was chief of the National Licensing Center, overseeing the licensing and taxation of the firearms and explosives industries for the nation. Since leaving the public sector, Haynes has represented all tiers of the regulated industries and has participated in international trade matters and negotiations with Mexico, Canada, Brazil and various Caribbean countries. He brings experience in the qualification and maintenance requirements for federal permits and license issues, compliance matters, and the resolution of cases resulting from federal investigations of the liquor and firearms industries, including cases in the trade practice and excise tax areas. He also maintains a close relationship with many state and federal regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the alcohol beverage industry.

Pender has 35 years of experience working with various aspects of alcohol and tobacco policy having previously served as both the Interim Division Director and the Assistant Director of the Bureaus of Licensing, Auditing, and Law Enforcement within the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (AB&T).

The new regulatory consultants represent the firm's second team of alcohol beverage industry veterans to join Akerman in recent months. Prior additions included partners Robert Lewis and Marbet Lewis and other industry professionals who joined the firm's Miami office.

Akerman's Alcohol Beverage Industry Group is fully-integrated across a national platform, working seamlessly with the firm's lawyers and government affairs professionals to serve clients. The team offers multi-jurisdictional experience, advising alcohol suppliers, importers, wholesalers, real estate developers, alcohol retailers, and other key stakeholders in matters involving real estate and land use, M&A, administrative litigation, regulation, intellectual property, and tax.

About Akerman LLP
Akerman LLP is a leading transactions and trial law firm known for its core strengths in middle market M&A, within the financial services and real estate industries, and for a diverse Latin America practice. With more than 600 lawyers and government affairs professionals and a network of 20 offices, it is ranked among the top 100 law firms in the United States by The National Law Journal NLJ 350 (2013). Akerman also is ranked among the top 50 law firms for diversity in The American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard (2013). More information can be found at akerman.com or twitter.com/akerman_law.

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