Your Firm For Assessment, Investigation And Resolution
At Benink & Slavens, LLP, firm partners Eric J. Benink and Vincent Slavens are passionate about integrity. This means we pursue our clients’ interests to ensure that justice is brought to bear on each case that we take. While we frequently represent taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ interests against local governments, we also help defrauded investors as well as business owners when they need cost-effective dissolution or dispute resolution.
Taxpayer And Ratepayer Representation
Since 2006, we have represented the interests and rights of taxpayers throughout California. We hold cities, towns and special districts accountable by compelling their compliance with Propositions 218 and 26. We have earned a stellar reputation and a long history of successful prosecution and wins. We have extensive experience with issues such as:
Utility fees: Water, sewer, storm drain, electricity and trash service fees that are imposed by the government, rather than by an investor-owned utility, are heavily restricted by Proposition 218. We challenge fees when they are inequitable, meaning one class of ratepayer is charged more than its fair share, or when the fees embed hidden surcharges designed to fund nonutility services.
Illegal taxes: All taxes in California must be approved by voters. State and local governments have attempted to evade this requirement by characterizing taxes as “fees” or “assessments.” Whether a government exaction is a tax is sometimes a difficult question. We have examined and successfully litigated this issue on numerous occasions.
Assessments: California statutes allow local governments and special districts to impose assessments on your property to fund projects that will allegedly benefit your property. Proposition 218 requires the government to carefully examine whether the project especially benefits property owners above and beyond benefits bestowed on the public at large. Property owners can only be assessed for special benefits.
Business Litigation, FINRA Arbitration And Securities Fraud
We represent business owners in litigation, including in contentious partnership disputes and business separations. We seek creative solutions to minimize disruption to your business while you fight for your rights. Protect the time and money you have invested in building your business by retaining attorneys who will take the time to understand your business.
We began our careers in the investment world as a stockbroker and a securities enforcement attorney for the state of California. We primarily represent defrauded investors in cases against stock promoters, issuers and professionals. We also bring Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrations for clients whose financial professionals have failed to handle their investments properly.