Logo for print Skip to main content
Toggle navigation MENU MORE

About Jonathan

Jonathan Frels has spent his entire legal career focused on public law, public finance and state legislative matters, both in private practice and through government service in Texas. He serves as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel and disclosure counsel in public finance transactions for school districts, cities, counties, state agencies, navigation districts, port authorities, economic development corporations, water districts and water authorities. He also represents political subdivisions as general counsel with respect to public law issues. In addition to helping governmental entities and developers meet their infrastructure and financing needs, Jonathan assists governmental bodies, nonprofit corporations and entities that contract with governmental bodies with respect to Public Information Act issues.

In addition to his experience in private practice, Jonathan served as deputy attorney general for legal counsel at the Texas Office of the Attorney General, 2008 – 2010. In this role, he acted as counsel to the attorney general and supervised the Office of the Attorney General’s non-litigation civil legal divisions, including the agency’s Public Finance Division, Opinion Committee, General Counsel Division and Open Records Division. While with the Office of the Attorney General, Jonathan frequently testified before and served as a resource to members and committees of the Texas Legislature on a variety of subjects, including public finance and open government matters.

He also served as chief of the Office of the Attorney General’s Public Finance Division, where he oversaw the division’s review and approval of all bonds and similar financial obligations issued by state agencies, political subdivisions and institutions of higher education, as well as certain nonprofit corporations created to act on behalf of political subdivisions.

Experience

Recent Notable Matters

Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $446.1 million Unlimited Tax School Building and Refunding Bonds, Series 2016

Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $37.625 million of Variable Rate Unlimited Tax School Building Bonds, Series 2014B-2

Fort Bend Independent School District — bond counsel to issuer in connection with the establishment of a $100 million Unlimited Tax Commercial Paper Program

Lamar Consolidated Independent School District — bond counsel to issuer in connection with the issuance of $33.185 million Unlimited Tax Refunding Bonds, Series 2013A, a series of convertible bonds that were issued as taxable bonds and subsequently converted to a tax-exempt rate

Lee College District — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $8.575 million of Revenue Financing System Refunding Bonds, Series 2015

Lee College District — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $8.07 million of Limited Tax General Obligation Tax and Refunding Bonds, Series 2015

City of Baytown, Texas — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $35.53 million of General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2016

City of Groveton, Texas (Texas Water Development Board Financing) — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $620,000 of Combination Tax and Surplus Revenue Certificates of Obligation, Series 2013

City of Pasadena, Texas — underwriter's counsel in connection with the issuance of $50.21 million of General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2016

City of El Campo, Texas — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $8 million of a State Infrastructure Bank Loan from the Texas Department of Transportation

City of Houston, Texas — counsel to the city in connection with $63.8 million of Taxable Pension Obligation Bonds Series 2007A, $63.74 million of Taxable Pension Obligation Bonds Series 2006A, and $57.165 million of Taxable Pension Obligation Bonds Series 2005

Port of Houston Authority — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $300 million of Senior Lien Flexible Rate Revolving Note Program

Port of Houston Authority — bond counsel and disclosure counsel to issuer in connection with $25.905 million of Unlimited Tax Refunding Bonds, Series 2015B (AMT)

Port Freeport — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $39.635 million of Senior Lien Revenue and Refunding Bonds, Series 2015A (AMT)

Port of Corpus Christi Authority of Nueces County, Texas — underwriter's counsel in connection with the issuance of $115 million of Revenue Bonds, Taxable Series 2015

Matagorda County, Texas — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $2.75 million of Certificates of Obligation, Series 2015

Montgomery County, Texas — underwriter's counsel in connection with the issuance of $73.725 million of Unlimited Tax Road Bonds, Series 2016A

Harris County, Texas — underwriter's counsel in connection with the issuance of $160.43 million of Tax and Subordinate Lien Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2012A

Gulf Coast Water Authority — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $5.185 million of Contract Revenue Bonds (Texas City Reservoir and Raw Water Conveyance System Project), Series 2016A

Lee County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 (Texas Water Development Board Financing) — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $525,000 of Combination Tax and Revenue Bonds, Series 2016

Conroe MUD No. 1 — disclosure counsel to issuer in connection with $1.28 million of Unlimited Tax Bonds, Series 2016

El Paso County, Texas 9-1-1 District — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $10 million of Revenue Bonds Series 2015

Bay City Community Development Corporation — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $2.871 million of Sales Tax Revenue Bond, Series 2013

Texas Public Finance Authority — underwriter's counsel in connection with the issuance of $500 million of Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Premium Revenue Taxable Bonds, Series 2014

Texas Water Development Board — bond counsel to issuer in connection with $18.95 million of General Obligation Bonds State of Texas Water Financial Assistance and Refunding Bonds, Subseries 2016B-3 (Taxable); $30.36 million of General Obligation Bonds State of Texas Water Financial Assistance and Refunding Bonds, Subseries 2016B-2 (Variable Rate); $58.555 million of General Obligation Bonds State of Texas Water Financial Assistance and Refunding Bonds, Subseries 2016B-1; $28.815 million of General Obligation Bonds State of Texas Water Financial Assistance Refunding Bonds, Subseries 2016C-1 (Economically Distressed Areas Program); $1.31 million of General Obligation Bonds State of Texas Water Financial Assistance Refunding Bonds, Subseries 2016C-2 (Economically Distressed Areas Program) (Taxable); and $11.55 million of General Obligation Bonds State of Texas Water Financial Assistance and Refunding Bonds, Subseries 2016D (State Participation Program)

Publications and Speeches

“Process and Utilization of Bonds in Public Financing,” Coalition for Responsible Infrastructure Finance presentation to Texas House of Representatives Staff, November 15, 2017.

“Recap: The 85th Legislative Session,” Texas Bond Review Board, October 17, 2017.

"Bond Issuers: How Does the SEC's "Bold and Unrelenting Enforcement Agenda" Affect You?," December 7, 2016.

"Municipal Market Legal and Regulatory Update," Government Finance Officers Association of Texas, February 25, 2016.

"Municipal Market and Regulatory Update: Understanding Section 2252.908, Texas Government Code," Gulf Coast Government Finance Officers Association, January 21, 2016.

“Disclosure Updates,” 2015 Government Treasurers’ Organization of Texas Winter Seminar, December 6-9, 2015.

“Bond Elections 101,” 2015 Annual School Law Section Retreat, July 25, 2015.

“SEC Enforcement and Continuing Disclosure,” Texas School District Accounting and Auditing Conference, June 2, 2015.

“A Practical Guide to Successful Tax and Disclosure Post-Issuance Compliance,” Gulf Coast Government Finance Officers Association Training Session, October 30, 2014.

“MCDC SEC Enforcement Offer, What It Means for You,” Texas Association of School Business Officials 2014 Business Managers Academy, October 28, 2014.

"MCDC SEC Enforcement Offer - What it Means for You," Texas Association of School Business Officials, Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative Webinar, September 10, 2014.

"How the SEC Came to Treat a Small Local School District the Same as a Corporate Fraudster – and How to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You," Texas Association of School Business Officials, Bonds, Buildings and Beyond Information, February 26, 2014 and March 27, 2014.

"Tax-Exempt Bonds: Federal Securities Law Enforcement and Tax Law Update," Government Treasurers' Organization of Texas Winter Seminar, December 10, 2013.

"Access to Non-Profit Corporate Records: Current Development in Public Disclosure," State Bar of Texas, 11th Annual Governance of Non-Profit Organizations Seminar, Chapter 10, August 23, 2013.

"Issuing School District Debt - Opportunities for Collaboration Between Bond Counsel and School District General Counsel," Texas Council of School Attorneys Education Law Conference, September 30, 2012.

"If the IRS Knocks, Will your House Be in Order?," Texas School District Accounting and Auditing Conference, June 12, 2012.

"If the IRS Knocks, Will your House Be in Order?," Texas Bond Review Board and Comptroller of Public Accounts, March 1, 2012.

Credentials

Education

The University of Texas School of Law,
J.D.
2001
with honors, Order of the Coif
Trinity University,
B.A.
1998
magna cum laude

Bar Admissions

Texas

Affiliations

CHRISTUS Foundation for Healthcare
Director, Chair of Nominating Committee, 2016-2017; Chair of Projects Committee, 2012 - 2014
Neartown Little League
Manager
2017
Teams of Our Lady
2012 - 2017
Texas Bar Foundation
Fellow, 2010 - 2017
Center for Houston's Future
Business/Civic Leadership Forum, 2011
Texas Exes
Public Affairs Committee, 2010 - 2014
Trinity University Alumni Association
Director, 2007 - 2008
Lamar High School Alumni Association
Director, 2007 - 2008
Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Bayou Buddies, Steering Committee Member, 2008
National Association of Bond Lawyers
State Bar of Texas
Houston Bar Association
Houston Bar Foundation
Fellow

News

News

The Law as a Bond

June 14, 2017
The Texas Lawbook

The Best Lawyers in America Recognize 74 Bracewell Attorneys

August 15, 2016
Best Lawyers, Woodward White, Inc.

Texas Super Lawyers Recognizes 23 Bracewell Attorneys

March 11, 2014
Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters

City of Tomball to sell bonds for business, tech park

March 19, 2013
Houston Chronicle - Online

Best Lawyers in America Recognizes Eighty-Eight Bracewell Attorneys

August 23, 2012
Best Lawyers, Woodward White, Inc.

People in businessPeople in business

December 24, 2011
Houston Chronicle Online/chron.com

Vinson & Elkins to exit Public Finance

December 14, 2011
Bond Buyer Online, The

V&E’s Public Finance Group Moves To Bracewell

December 13, 2011
The Texas Lawbook

Bracewell & Giuliani snags V&E public finance team

December 13, 2011
Business Journals, The

Noteworthy

Noteworthy

Thomson Reuters
Texas Super Lawyers
Rising Stars, 2014 - 2015, 2005 - 2009
Woodward/White, Inc.
Best Lawyers
Public Finance Law, 2013 - 2018
The State Bar of Texas
Pro Bono College
2015, 2007

Events

Past Events

TASBO Annual Conference

Austin
February 24, 2014
February 28, 2014

State Bar of Texas CLE

Austin
August 22, 2013
August 23, 2013