Firm that would buy Nassau's debt is little known

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano (March 19, 2012)

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano (March 19, 2012) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

The company at the center of a proposed deal to sell off $20 million in Nassau County tax refund debt would be run by a seasoned mortgage investment manager and a recent business school graduate.

Last week, Nassau announced plans for a private investor, RPTF Llc of Uniondale, to pay 18,000 homeowners who have been waiting a year for tax refunds. Nassau would pay the company back over seven years at 5.95 percent interest.

Little is known about RPTF, which has not been incorporated and does not have a website or phone number listed in public records.

But, company officials confirm the business would be managed by Steven Katz, chief investment officer of Arbor Residential Mortgage Llc in Manhattan, a firm formed in 2008 to acquire low-cost distressed residential loans and mortgage-backed securities; and Maurice Kaufman, a 24-year-old, 2012 graduate of the Wharton School of Business.

In an interview, Katz said he brings 20-plus years of experience in asset and mortgage-based investments while Kaufman has a "relationship" with Nassau and area tax refund attorneys. He declined to elaborate on that relationship.

"This is a good plan for the homeowner and a creative solution for the county," Katz said.

Kaufman's father, Ivan, is a powerful financial services executive who heads Arbor Residential Mortgage, and its related companies, Arbor Commercial Mortgage and Arbor Realty Trust in Uniondale.

RPTF shares an address with Arbor Realty Trust, but company officials said the new entity will not be run by Ivan Kaufman or his companies.

Ivan Kaufman founded North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and is chair of the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the 10th Judicial District, where he screens candidates seeking elective judicial office.

With Laura Figueroa

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