Overview

Scott Williams is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Jacksonville office. He concentrates his practice in the areas of public companies and securities, with a focus on transportation and real estate matters.

As the former senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of a publicly traded railroad holding company, RailAmerica, Inc., and the former general counsel of Florida East Coast Railway, L.L.C., Mr. Williams has an extensive understanding of the railroad industry and its accompanying business, regulatory and legal demands. Specifically, he is experienced in handling mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, financings and syndications, Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) matters, personal injury claims, labor and other commercial litigation. He advises clients on railroad industry contracting, Surface Transportation Board matters, Federal Railroad Administration matters, NYSE and SEC regulatory compliance, and employment and human resources matters.

In addition, Mr. Williams is experienced in implementing Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance initiatives in a NYSE public company setting. He also has considerable experience in a variety of business and real estate transactions, including commercial office, shopping center and industrial park development, land development, construction and permanent loan financing, mortgage foreclosures and work-outs, title examination and insurance, agricultural transactions, and railroad acquisitions and financings.

Experience

  • Represented several national and regional mortgage and asset-based lenders in commercial loan transactions exceeding $100 million annually
  • Represented major citrus and sugar growers in sales and purchases, refinancing, mergers and syndications, farm leases, cane grinding agreements, and drainage and water management agreements
  • Represented a citrus farming syndicate in land use and water permit approvals, and the development and prospective sale as an electrical peaking plant and a combined cycle power plant
  • Represented a prominent land developer in assembling and acquiring several hundreds of acres of agricultural and equestrian lands in Palm Beach County’s Agricultural Reserve, including land development and roadway extension approvals, transfer development rights, platting and planned unit development (PUD) approvals, financing, development, and resale of residential country club community properties, a thoroughbred training facility, and mixed-use improvements

  • Supervised portfolio litigation ranging from rail crossing accidents, personal injury and FELA claims to property damage, fire suppression, environmental contamination and commercial contract disputes

  • Negotiated the sale of RailAmerica, Inc., to equity funds managed by Fortress Investment Group at a price of $1.1 billion, as well as leading the proxy preparation and SEC filings, Surface Transportation Board (STB), Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and Investment Canada regulatory approval processes
  • At RailAmerica, Inc., implemented various public company compliance initiatives consistent with NYSE and SEC standards, including: code of business conduct and ethics for directors, officers and employees; code of ethics for principal executive officers and senior financial officers; corporate governance guidelines; insider trading restrictions and stock trading plans; audit, compensation, corporate governance and nominating executive and government affairs committee chairs; whistleblower policy; disclosure committee rules and procedures; and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act policy
  • Led RailAmerica Inc.'s negotiation efforts in a variety of multimillion-dollar acquisitions, including three affiliated southeastern Alabama railroads and four Alcoa-served railroads
  • Led RailAmerica, Inc.'s, negotiation and collateralization of a series of syndicated secured credit facilities and revolving credit acquisition facilities

Credentials

Education
  • Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D.
  • Yale University, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Florida
Memberships
  • American Association of Railroads (AAR), Chief Legal Officers Committee
  • American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), General Counsel Committee
  • Association of Transportation Law Professionals (ATLP)
  • Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), North Florida Chapter
  • Yale Club of Jacksonville
  • Yale Club of the Palm Beaches, Vice President and Chairman of the countywide Alumni School Committee, 1981-2008
  • Comprehensive Alcoholism Rehabilitation Program (CARP), Board of Directors, 1995-2002 and CARP, Vice President of the Board, 2001-2002
  • Code Enforcement Board, Village of North Palm Beach, Chairman, 1991-2000
  • State of Florida Commission on Ethics, Commission Member, 1987-1991
  • State of Florida Commission on Ethics, Chairman, 1990-1991
Honors & Awards
  • Top Lawyers in 2012, Jacksonville 904 Magazine 
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

Speaking Engagements

News