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500 Fourth Street, NW, P.O. Box 2168 ,
Albuquerque, New Mexico - 87103-2168



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Samuel L. Winder recently joined Modrall Sperling Law Firm in the firm’s Indian Law practice group. Mr. Winder has over 18 years experience representing the interests of Indian tribes, including serving as General Counsel to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, of which he is a member. Prior to joining Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A., Mr. Winder was Assistant United States Attorney/Tribal Liaison for the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Mexico.

In addition to trying many major felony cases as the Tribal Liaison for the District of New Mexico, Mr. Winder advised the United States Attorney on matters affecting Indian tribes. He served as the district’s official liaison among federal, state, and local officials on federal law matters. He has also argued several cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Winder’s experience also includes drafting and analyzing legislation regarding Indian affairs as Deputy Counsel to Senator John McCain.

Mr. Winder received his Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Because of the stewardship of two associate attorneys at Modrall Sperling, Gov. Richardson signed into law Conservation Easement Tax Credit (House Bill 990) on Wednesday.

Ethan Epstein and Leslie Padilla undertook the effort to modify existing laws currently providing for tax credit for conservation easement grants. These modifications make these credits saleable and more than double the credit limits. The end result will be the conservation of more New Mexico land.

HB 990 more than doubles the tax credit available for conservation easement and allows those credits to be sold. As an example, if a rancher grants an easement to his ranch saying that his ranch can only be forever used as a ranch, that action is going to create a tax credit relative to the reduction in value of the ranch because of its limited use constraint (i.e., the easement). That credit can be sold. Typically, these credits sell for $.90 on the $1. So, if the rancher in the above example gets the maximum conservation easement credit of $250,000 for his grant, then he can expect to sell that credit inventory for $225,000. This results in the rancher getting $225,000 without changing the use of the underlying property.

There are land development implications (i.e., developers can take advantage of the higher credit limit) and estate planning uses as well (i.e., valuable land can be donated to conservation to get that value out of an estate which lowers the estate tax burden). Additionally, any business or person can benefit from this because they can buy the credits at a discount. Assuming an infinite inventory of these transferable credits, New Mexico taxpayers could expect to lower their overall tax obligation by 10% based on the market information which these credits exchange in Colorado.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution, Antitrust, Appeals, Banking, Bankruptcy/Creditors' Rights, Business, Corporate and Partnerships, Civil Rights, Class Action and Mass Torts, Commercial Litigation, Construction and Design, Cultural and Historic Resources, Education, Employee Benefits and Erisa, Employment and Labor, Energy and Utilities, Environmental, Estate Planning, Federal Taxation, Healthcare, Indian Law, Insurance, Litigation, Lobbying, Mining, Oil and Gas, Products Liability, Professional Liability, Public Finance, Public Lands, Railroads, Real Estate and Zoning, State and Local Taxation, Torts/Personal Injury, Trademarks and Copyrights, Water Resources and Quality.

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