Wilton "Jerry" Johnson is a shareholder in Baker Donelson's Jackson office, heads the Firm's State Public Policy Practice Group and is a member of the Firm's Board of Directors. He concentrates his practice in public and private financing of complex real estate transactions, many of which are tax-advantaged. He represents commercial lenders, industrial concerns, investment bankers, public and private developers and equity investors in development and project financings. Mr. Johnson has extensive experience working on economic development and Gulf Coast recovery matters, where he has served as lead counsel on and helped structure numerous major condominium developments, greenfield industrial facilities, post-Katrina mixed use projects, as well as hundreds of units of both affordable and market rate housing.
Mr. Johnson has a particular focus on the development and financing of multifamily and single family housing. While serving as outside general counsel to the Mississippi Home Corporation (the state's housing finance agency), he was the primary author of Mississippi's first affordable housing tax credit allocation plan. He has counseled participants in a large percentage of the tax credit transactions successfully closed in the state. Mr. Johnson serves as bond counsel on tax-exempt housing financings throughout the southern United States, and has significant experience in tax incentive financing for development infrastructure. In addition, he has regularly represented public and private participants in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOPE VI Program.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Johnson served as an instructor of legal writing and spent eight years in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of Special Counsel, U.S. Department of Energy.
Mr. Johnson is a regular speaker to legal and trade groups on topics related to real estate finance, including national panels focusing on economic development and redevelopment. He served as legal counsel to the Housing Committee created by the Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal, and has significant experience in commercial transactions and health care finance.