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THOMAS A. CUNNINGHAM

Founding Shareholder | tom@municipalfirm.com

Practice Areas

Municipal Law
Land Use & Zoning
Urban Development
Municipal Finance

R

Bar Admissions

Missouri

Illinois

Education

J.D., Boston University, 1989

M.C.R.P., Rutgers University, 1976

B.F.A., Syracuse University. 1971

Thomas A. Cunningham is a founding shareholder of Cunningham, Vogel & Rost, P.C. and practices in the areas of public finance, development/redevelopment, and local governmental law.  Mr. Cunningham has extensive experience in the use of economic incentives for development projects and capital financings for and "on behalf of" local governments and public agencies utilizing general obligation bonds, special obligation bonds, alternative revenue bonds, certificates of participation, leasehold revenue bonds, industrial revenue bonds, TIF Bonds, NID Bonds, Chapter 100 Bonds, 501(c)(3) Bonds and tax anticipation notes.  He has acted as bond counsel, issuer's counsel, and borrower's counsel in numerous municipal “new money” issues and refundings and has participated in local government financings totaling nearly three quarters of a billion dollars. He has been listed as "Sole Bond Counsel" in The Bond Buyers Municipal Marketplace (the Red Book) since 2002. 

Mr. Cunningham has served as City Attorney for the cities of New Florence, Ste. Genevieve, Olivette, and St. Ann, and as Special Public Finance/Redevelopment Counsel to over 50 cities and special taxing districts in Missouri and Illinois.  He is a frequent lecturer statewide on the use of public incentives and redevelopment tools in Missouri and Illinois, including NIDs, CIDs, SSAs, TIF, and TDDs; sales tax rebates, Chapter 100 bonds, revenue and general obligation bonds; “double-barreled” bonds and real property tax abatement techniques. 

 

In addition to his legal credentials, Mr. Cunningham has over 18 years of planning experience as a consultant to local, state, and federal governments and is a charter member of The American Institute of Certified Planners. He has drafted statewide model building and development codes and has assisted numerous municipalities with building code, property maintenance code, and similar regulatory issues and has conducted training sessions for code enforcement officials in connection with the Certified Building Official (CBO) Program sponsored by MABOI and the code Enforcement Officials of Southern Illinois. He is the co-author of the Urban Redevelopment chapters of the Missouri Bar Continuing Legal Education Deskbooks on Real Estate Law and on Local Government Law.

Mr. Cunningham received his B.F.A. in Design from Syracuse University, his M.C.R.P. from Rutgers University, and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law, where he served as Managing Editor of Boston University Legislative Services.

Professional Affiliations

  • The Missouri Bar

  • The Illinois Bar

  • American Institute of Certified Planners (Charter Member)

  • American Bar Association (State and Local Government Section)

  • National Association of Bond Lawyers

  • Missouri Municipal Attorneys Association

Selected Publications and Lectures

  • Urban Development, Zoning and Planning, Subdivisions & Annexations, Co-Author, Missouri Bar CLE, 2011; CLE Guidebook Practice Series Seminar, 2012, 2017

  • Evolution of the NID Act and Neighborhood Improvement District Principals and Practices - an "illustrated History, Missouri Municipal Review, 2013

  • Development Financing, American Planing Association, Chancellor’s Certificate Program, 2006-2012.

  • Fundamentals of Redevelopment Agreements Webinar, American Planning Association, National Conference 2010.

  • Plays Well with Others, Getting Along in the Local Development Game, Missouri Municipal League – Annual Conference, 2009.

  • Nuts & Bolts of Planning & Zoning, Missouri Municipal League—Newly Elected Official Conference, 2007 and 2009.

  • Nuts & Bolts of Planning & Zoning PLUS, Missouri Municipal League—Annual Conference, 2007 and 2008.

  • Illinois Local Development financing, Illinois City Managers Association--Annual Conference, 2008.

  • Local Development Financing, Missouri Society of CPAs—Governmental Accounting Conference, 2008 & Osage Beach/Camden County—Leadership Camden County, 2008.

  • Illinois Local Development Financing, American Planning Association, Illinois Chapter—Citizen Planner Workshop, 2007& Illinois Downstate & Southwestern Illinois City Managers Association—Joint Fall Meeting, 2007.

  • Tax Incentives for Development, North Central Municipal Finance Forum, 2007.

  • Practical Redevelopment in a Post-Kelo World, Missouri Municipal League—Annual Conference, 2006.

  • Proposed Missouri State Constitutional Initiative:  The Tuohey "Eminent Domain" Amendment, St. Louis County Municipal League, 2006.

  • Legal Aspects of Planning & Zoning (Including Financing & Development Economics), American Planning Association, Module 6, 2004.

  • Comprehensive Review of Revenue Sources for Capital Improvements & Services, Missouri Municipal League, 2004.

  • Financing Neighborhood “Creation” Through the  Neighborhood Improvement District (“NID”) Act, Missouri Municipal Review, 2002.

  • Land Use and Planning – Legal Issues Involving Missouri Local Governments, National Business Institute, 2002.

  • Course Outline: Legal Aspects of Code Administration, Missouri Association of Building Officials/Inspection (MABOI), 2001.

  • Institute of Property Taxation: "Overview of Economic Development and Redevelopment Financing and Incentive Programs—Midwest Region (Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Iowa)" address to Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida