Our dedicated team of real-estate, lending, and cannabis-industry experts have solid track records that they’ve brought to AFC Gamma.
Board of Directors
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Mr. Berger has over 3 years’ experience focusing on Corporate Finance and Investment Banking. Mr. Berger most recently served as an Analyst on the Corporate team at Ventas (NYSE: VTR), an industry leading Healthcare REIT, where he supported the Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis and Investor Relations functions. Mr. Berger began his career at Livingstone Partners, where he was an Investment Banking Analyst focusing on middle-market sell-side M&A and Debt Advisory transactions in the Industrial, Healthcare, Media & Technology, and Consumer Products sectors. He has also completed internships with Capstone Partners, Morgan Stanley, and Cedar Street Companies in Chicago. Mr. Berger graduated from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Finance, with Honors.
Executive Director of Origination
Mr. Gioia has over 9 years of private equity investing experience, and an additional 2 years of investment banking and capital markets experience. Previously Mr. Gioia worked at ArmaVir Partners, a private equity firm he co-founded with over $375 million in assets under management. Prior to that he worked at Cowen in private equity investing and investment banking roles. He graduated with an A.B. in English Literature from Princeton University.
Carly has 6 years of experience in structured investing, data governance, investment reporting, and middle office operations. She previously served as a Senior Associate at Eldridge Industries and as a Manager in the middle office At Security Benefit Life Insurance Company. Carly graduated with a B.S. in Biology and Natural Sciences from Washburn University.
President of Tannenbaum Family Office
Mr. Boccuzzi has over 5 years of experience investing in leveraged loans across multiple industries. He additionally has 9 years of experience managing middle office and operations teams. Mr. Boccuzzi previously served as a Senior Associate at Oxford Square Capital Corp. and as a Manager in Fixed Income Middle Office at AIG Investments. He graduated with a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Connecticut and is a Level III CFA Candidate.
Mr. Hetzel has 11 years of accounting and finance experience. He previously served as VP of Finance for a real estate development company. Mr. Hetzel spent 7 years with PwC where he was a manager in the REIT audit practice. He received an MBA from the University of Central Florida and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.
Controller of Tannenbaum Family Office
Mr. Attar has over 10 years of related accounting and finance experience, primarily in structured investments, fund accounting, and regulatory reporting; with focus on auditing, SOX controls, and overall accounting compliance. Holding previous roles of VP Finance and Corporate Controller, he has intimate working knowledge with both GAAP and IFRS. Mr. Attar received dual B.S.B.A. degrees from Florida International University, in Finance and Business Management & Administration.
Ellyse has 15 years experience in the accounting field with a focus on payable and receivables. She started her education in healthcare and ultimately received an AAS in Accounting.
Chief Legal Officer
Mr. Katz has over 7 years of experience advising public and private companies in acquisitions, debt and equity financings, corporate governance matters and continuous reporting obligations. He previously worked in the corporate and securities groups at national law firms and prior to joining AFC Gamma he led the corporate legal team at a unicorn technology company. Mr. Katz received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and his B.S. from the University of Maryland.
Jeffrey R. Kay
Independent Director of Equity Holdco.
Mr. Kay brings over 30 years of business, entrepreneurial and marketing expertise to his board service with the Equity Holdco. Mr. Kay has founded and operated two different successful businesses providing marketing services and consulting to Fortune 500 companies. He is the founder and managing director of Brandfan, Inc., a marketing services firm that specializes in strategic planning and the development of revenue-generating marketing partnerships for consumer-oriented companies. Mr. Kay was the vice president of business development for Fanscape, Inc., a division of Omnicom Group specializing in social media marketing, where he established and managed the company’s New York office. Mr. Kay’s previous experience also includes founding and operating Performance Marketing Communications, an independent consumer-oriented marketing services agency, and holding management positions at various marketing agencies. Mr. Kay graduated from the University of Maryland College of Business and Management with a B.S. in Marketing and Business Administration.
Chief Marketing Officer
Mr. Velgot has over 30 years experience with strategic brand development, content marketing and creative services. In 2018, Mr. Velgot created the VELGOT group specializing in helping companies develop and grow both their brand and revenue. Mr. Velgot formerly worked as the Chief Marketing Officer for Fifth Street Asset Management, rebranding the firm in the private equity space, while also creating a content marketing and creative services platform. Prior to joining Fifth Street, Mr. Velgot spent over 20 years at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. and Alliance Bernstein, where he rebranded the company in 26 countries around the world and created one of the most respected internal communication agencies on Wall Street, ranging the full spectrum from strategy and concept to delivery of all integrated communications print, presentations, digital assets both internal and external websites and social media, event branding, interactive video and full motion graphics. Before joining Sanford Bernstein, Mr. Velgot worked with Kidder Peabody and Coopers & Lybrand. He is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communications Design.
Independent Director of AFC (Class III).
Mr. Tzur is an independent director of AFC. Mr. Tzur has had over 15 years’ experience as a consultant in consumer, sales and pricing, operating and strategy practices. Currently, Mr. Tzur works as a Senior Partner and Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group, where he was driven global growth strategy and mergers and acquisitions work across various consumer categories, including supporting a major food and beverage player’s entrance into the cannabis space. He joined BCG in September 2001 in New York, and spent 2003-04 in BCG’s Mumbai office, before returning to New York. He relocated to Israel to start and lead BCG’s Tel Aviv office in 2011 and now leads BCG’s Miami office. Prior to BCG, Mr. Tzur built a business in the restaurant industry and served for three years in the Israel Defense Forces 8200 Intelligence Unit. Mr. Tzur received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his Bachelors in International Relations from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
Independent Director of AFC (Class III).
Mr. Frank has more than 30 years’ experience in financial and operational infrastructure. He was previously at Fifth Street Asset Management, where he joined in 2011 and during his tenure through 2017, he held various positions and was responsible for the operations of the Company during his tenure from 2011 to 2017. He was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Fifth Street Asset Management from the time of its IPO in 2014 to its sale to Oaktree in 2017. He served formerly as CFO of Fifth Street Asset Management, Managing Director and CFO at Chilton Investment Company and Global Head of Institutional Operations and in other capacities for 22 years at Morgan Stanley. From September 2008 to March 2011, he served as a managing director and Chief Financial officer of Chilton Investment Company LLC, a global investment management firm. Prior to that, Mr. Frank spent over 22 years at Morgan Stanley, having served as global head of institutional operations, global corporate controller and chief financial officer of U.S. broker/dealer operations and global treasurer. In his roles, he oversaw various securities infrastructure services, creating efficiencies throughout the organization, and managed all aspects of the internal and external financial control and reporting functions. Mr. Frank began his career in audit and tax accounting at Arthur Andersen LLP before joining Morgan Stanley in 1985. He received an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Dartmouth College.
Independent Director, Lead Director (Class I) of AFC.
Harrison is an independent director of AFC, and the lead director. Mr. Harrison is currently a Senior Operating Partner at Merida Capital Partners, a private equity firm investing across the cannabis ecosystem. In addition, Mr. Harrison brings 30 years of experience in marketing, communications and brand positioning. He formerly founded Harrison & Star, a healthcare marketing agency that was sold to Omnicom. He is Chairman Emeritus of Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom and the world’s largest group of marketing services companies. He is currently a board member for MainStem, the leading purchasing platform in the state-regulated cannabis industry. Mr. Harrison is on the Board and acts as lead director for Fifth Street Street Asset Management. In addition, he was previously the Chairman of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee for Zynerba Pharma, a leader in pharmaceutically-produced cannabinoid therapies.
Mr. Gomez has five years of experience focused on managing real estate properties, both commercial and residential. He is involved in the inspection, maintenance, leasing and tenant relations for both commercial and residential properties. Mr. Gomez also coordinates the sale and purchase of commercial properties.
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Mr. Kaufman has over twenty-six years’ experience as a senior financial executive leading diverse, global organizations in corporate and operational finance. He most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., an NYSE-listed diversified financial services company, which generated approximately $1.5 billion in revenue on a trailing twelve-month basis prior to being sold in 2020. Prior to that, from April 1999 until March 2008, he served in roles of increasing responsibility at Bear Stearns Companies Inc., including Managing Director and Director of Financial Planning and Analysis. While at Bear Stearns, Mr. Kaufman was responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight for the company’s financial reporting, planning, budgeting and forecasting initiatives on a worldwide basis. He also worked for approximately five years at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the Audit and Business Advisory Services division. Mr. Kaufman earned a B.S. in Accounting from Binghamton University and is an active Certified Public Accountant.
Partner, Head of Origination and Investor Relations.
Mrs. Tannenbaum has over 8 years’ experience focusing on mergers and acquisitions and leveraged loans to healthcare companies. Additionally, she has 5 years of experience as an investor relations professional within the finance industry. Mrs. Tannenbaum formerly served as Head of Investor Relations at Fifth Street Asset Management and as a Vice President in Healthcare mergers and acquisitions at CIT Group Inc. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Finance, with a concentration in Marketing and a Public Relations minor from Lehigh University.
Director of Underwriting.
Mr. Levin has 20 years’ experience focusing on real estate and leverage finance transactions, including performing sourcing, underwriting, performing due diligence, strategic advisory and arranging financing. Mr. Levin has closed over $2 billion of real estate loans in his career, in addition to his principal and cash flow underwriting experience. He was most recently the Chief Investment Officer for Stackhouse Capital, a family office-backed boutique real estate investment and advisory firm focused primarily on multifamily and self-storage value-add or ground up opportunities. He also previously served as a Principal and a CFO for the real estate division of a $1 billion family office. Mr. Levin graduated with a B.A. in History from Princeton University before working in Deutsche Bank’s Leverage Finance Group. Mr. Levin also graduated with an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was on the Dean’s List.
General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, Secretary of AFC and Equity Holdco and Class II Director of AFC. Mr. Castro-Blanco is AFC’s and Equity Holdco’s General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer as well as a member of the AFC Board.
He has more than 28 years’ experience as an attorney, litigator, mediator and advisor to publicly traded and private clients. He previously served as an Assistant United States Attorney and narcotics prosecutor, and as a Chief Deputy County Attorney for Westchester County where he was responsible for all litigation, appeals, negotiations, compliance matters and the management of outside counsel.
Principal of Manager, Head of Real Estate and Class II Director of AFC. Mr. Kalikow is AFC’s Head of Real Estate as well as a member of the AFC Board.
He is president and founder of Gamma Real Estate, a boutique commercial real estate firm based in New York City. The firm lends on real estate nationwide, owns a portfolio of approximately 5,000 apartments and several office properties in the Southeastern US, and developments real estate, including an 850 unit residential building on Sutton Place in Manhattan. Prior to co-founding Gamma Real Estate, Jonathan Kalikow spent 18 years on Wall Street investing across industries and asset classes as a proprietary trader at Morgan Stanley and then as a hedge fund trader and portfolio manager. Mr. Kalikow is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business with degrees in Real Estate and Finance. He also holds a JD from Fordham University School of Law and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.
Leonard M. Tannenbaum, CFA
Chief Executive Officer of the Manager, Chief Executive Officer of AFC and Class I Director of AFC.
He is responsible for the overall management of AFC and leads the firm’s Investment Committee, which is responsible for overseeing investment processes including origination, credit underwriting, risk analysis and investment approvals. Mr. Tannenbaum and his management team members have been involved in approximately $10 billion of successful loan transactions. Mr. Tannenbaum is of Cuban heritage with extensive leadership experience. He was formerly the founder and CEO of Fifth Street Asset Management (Fifth Street), a credit asset manager with a nationwide platform, which was sold to Oaktree Capital Management in 2017. Prior to its sale to Oaktree, Fifth Street had a core focus on disciplined credit investing across multiple economic cycles, and issued billions of dollars in public equity, private capital and public debt securities. Fifth Street made flexible investments across capital structures to growing middle market companies, primarily in conjunction with private equity sponsors. It managed $5 billion of assets across multiple private investment vehicles and two publicly-traded business development companies. Subsequent to the sale to Oaktree in 2017, Mr. Tannenbaum founded LMT Investments, a singly family office that is focused on allocating capital across various strategies including credit via Tannenbaum Strategic Credit Fund, a $100MM+ fund, equities and real estate. Mr. Tannenbaum graduated from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.S. in economics. Subsequent to his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he received an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School as part of the submatriculation program. He is also a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of The Wharton Graduate Executive Board.
Independent Director (Class II)
Mr. Levy has served as our independent director since December 2020. Currently, Mr. Levy works as a Managing Member at LBX Acquisitions, a position he has held since January 2018. Prior to launching LBX Investments, Mr. Levy co-founded Big V Capital (“BVC”) in March of 2016, where he oversaw and underwrote the partnership’s 11 Southeastern U.S. shopping center acquisitions and managed all capital raising (both debt and equity) and asset management efforts. Prior to BVC, Mr. Levy was the Chief Operating Officer of the Real Estate Group at Benefit Street Partners, a multi-strategy credit manager with over $11.0 billion in assets under management from May 2015 to June 2016. Prior to Benefit Street, Mr. Levy held various leadership positions at Centerline Capital Group, including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Office, Chief Financial Officer, and Member of the Board of Trustees. Centerline was a multifamily finance and investment management company with over $13 billion in debt and equity under management. Mr. Levy received his M.B.A. from the Leonard M. Stern School of Business at New York University and his B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University. Mr. Levy brings to our Board a critical management experience in capital raising within the finance industry.
Jodi Hanson Bond
Independent Director (Class II)
Ms. Bond has served as our independent director since December 2020. Currently, Ms. Bond serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Quantum Wave Strategies, LLC, a position she has held since March 2020, and as the President of DevryBV Sustainable Strategies, a position she has held since August 2020. Additionally, Ms. Bond has been serving as a Corporate Director at Fifth Street since March 2017. Prior to those experiences, she was the Executive Vice President and Head of Government and Industry Relations at Chubb Limited from October 2017 until September 2019. From October 2011 to October 2017, Ms. Bond held the position of Senior Vice President International at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and as the President and a Board of Director for the following U.S. Chamber of Commerce subsidiaries: U.S.-Colombia Business Council, Association of American Chambers of Commerce of Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil-U.S. Business Council, U.S.-Argentina Business Council, and U.S.-Cuba Business Council. Ms. Bond is also a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Economic Club of Washington. Ms. Bond received her M.A. in Government from John Hopkins University and her B.A. in Politics from Whitman College. Ms. Bond’s experience as a global business practitioner and her executive leadership positioning for corporate advancement and business strategy development across various countries bring meaningful insight to our Board.