Our Team

 

Partners

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Jim Stern, CPA, JD

Partner
  • Phone: (312) 443-5025
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Jim Stern founded the firm in 1988.  Jim specializes in tax planning and compliance for individuals and wealthy families as well as partnerships, corporations and not-for-profits. Jim uses his tax experience and expertise to help clients minimize their tax burden and plan for the future while complying with the latest tax laws and regulations.

Prior to starting the firm, Jim worked for Arthur Young & Company (now Ernst & Young). He also practiced at a major law firm in Minneapolis, where he concentrated in tax and business planning for closely held businesses and their owners. Jim obtained his Bachelor of Science in Accounting, with honors, from Case Western Reserve University and his Law Degree from the University of Miami.

Sam Cassello, CPA, MST

Partner
  • Phone: (312) 443-5000
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Sam joined the firm as a partner in 1991. Sam provides tax and accounting services to high net worth individuals, their closely held companies and their families. He has helped his clients in many different types of business including:  private equity, professional services, financial services, technology, manufacturing, and real estate.

Prior to joining the firm, he was a manager in the tax department of Ernst & Young. He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, with high honors, from the University of Illinois and a Master of Science in Taxation from DePaul University.

Professional Staff

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Kellie Armstrong, CPA

Senior Manager
  • Phone: (312) 443-5003
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Kellie provides accounting and tax services to several business clients and individuals. She has experience preparing federal and state tax returns for Individuals, Trusts, Partnerships, LLCs, C Corporations and S Corporations.

Kellie joined the firm in 2000. She graduated from Saint Xavier University, Suma Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

Debbie Barrett

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5027
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Debbie provides tax services to many individual clients.  She is a Certified Public Accountant with experience in tax preparation and review of individuals, partnerships, corporations, trusts and private foundations.

Debbie began working at the firm in 2016. She has a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a Master of Science in Taxation, both from DePaul University in Chicago.

Karen Campbell, CPA, MST

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 263-9100
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Karen provides tax consulting, tax compliance and accounting services to a wide range of clients.

Prior to joining the firm in 1999, she was Manager of Federal and International Taxes for Molex, Inc. Before that, Karen was Manager of Research and Planning at Federal Signal Corporation, Tax Manager at Donnelley Marketing, Inc. and a Tax Consultant at Ernst & Young. Karen graduated Cum Laude from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and received a Master of Science in Taxation from DePaul University.

Teal Cassello, CPA; MSA

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 263-9100
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Teal provides accounting and tax compliance services to several small business clients and individuals.

Prior to joining the firm in 1990, she gained a wide range of experience at a large local accounting firm, where she performed audits, reviews, and compilations in addition to preparing tax returns for individuals. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Illinois and a Master of Science in Accounting from DePaul University.

Patricia Cawley, Affiliated CPA, MBA

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5001
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Through her work in public accounting and private industry Pat has gained extensive experience with closely held corporations and family businesses, including manufacturers, real estate developers and professional service providers. Her experience includes audits, reviews, compilations and corporate tax return preparation, as well as integrated tax and estate planning and preparation of gift, estate, trust and individual income tax returns.

Pat joined the firm in 1994. She received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, with honors, from San Francisco State University and a Master’s Degree in Business and Finance from DePaul University.

Carissa Colander, CPA, MBA

Senior Manager
  • Phone: (312) 443-5021
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Carissa provides many of our business and individual clients with tax services. Her experience includes preparation of various entity and individual tax returns as well as tax research.

Prior to joining the firm in 2004, Carissa worked for a CPA firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Prior to that she worked for a large Chicago based CPA firm. Carissa graduated from Saint Xavier University, Suma Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and has earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Paul Erikson, Affiliated CPA

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 263-5199
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Prior to associating with the firm, Paul specialized at Arthur Young & Company in tax planning and compliance for wealthy individuals and their families. He also has extensive experience meeting the tax and accounting needs of independent restaurant owners.

Paul became affiliated with the firm in 1989. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University and continuing education credits in Taxation from graduate level courses at DePaul University.

Claudia Fernandez

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 263-7692
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Claudia provides accounting and tax services to business and individual clients.

She joined the firm in 2018. Claudia received both her Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a Master of Science in Accountancy from DePaul University.

Ann Giglio, CPA

Accountant/Manager
  • Phone: (312) 443-5026
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Ann has a well-developed base of experience in accounting and tax services for individuals and small businesses.

Prior to joining our firm in 1989, Ann worked as a property manager at Grubb and Ellis. Ann completed her accounting studies at DePaul University.

Monica Hernandez

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5044
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Monica provides bookkeeping services and accounting support for many of our clients.  Along with maintaining the books and preparing financial statements for a variety of clients, she assists with accounting work for partnerships and provides support services for our private equity clients.

Monica joined the firm as an administrative assistant in 2002. She graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce with a major in Accountancy.

Thomas Janowiak, CPA

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5041
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Thomas works with the Private Equity/Venture Capital group providing accounting and tax services to our business and individual clients.

Thomas joined the firm in August 2018. He holds Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance from the University of Iowa and is a licensed CPA. 

Cathy Koltz

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5028
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Cathy provides bookkeeping services and accounting support, as well as tax services, to many of our individual and business clients.

Cathy joined the firm in 1998. She graduated from DePaul University, College of Commerce with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Cum Laude.

Gretchen Lottmann

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5050
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Gretchen provides tax and accounting services to our individual and business clients.

Gretchen joined the firm in 2016. She has a Master of Science in Accounting from Roosevelt University.

Angelica Luna

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5008
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Angie provides accounting support and analysis services for high net worth individuals, their closely held companies and their families.

Angie joined the firm in 2016. She graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and a minor in Spanish. Prior to joining the firm she worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP conducting financial statement audits and as an Audit Manager at CNA Financial. 

Patricia Marzullo, CPA, MST

Senior Manager
  • Phone: (312) 443-5020
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Pat is a Tax Professional with extensive experience servicing high net worth individuals and families.  She possesses a strong technical knowledge of individual, trust and partnership income tax planning, consulting and compliance.

Prior to joining the firm in 2016, Pat was a Senior Manager at Andersen Tax LLC.  Pat graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting as well as a Master of Science in Taxation. 

Anthony Miller

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5004
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Anthony provides bookkeeping and accounting services for many of our clients.  Along with maintaining the books and preparing financial statements for a variety of clients, he also assists with all back-end functions for our Private Equity clients.

Anthony joined the firm in 2018. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Finance and an emphasis on International Management.

Nayely Ortiz

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5046
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Nayely provides accounting and administrative support to our private equity group. Her responsibilities include reconciling the bank statements; assisting the PE group with general daily accounting activities, analyzing, updating and maintaining accounting records and completing related projects as assigned. 

She has been with the firm since October 2013.  Nayely graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University in 2018.

Michelle Paulsen

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5042
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Michelle provides accounting and tax services to business and individual clients.

Michelle joined the firm in 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

Frank Ring, CPA

Principal
  • Phone: (312) 443-5029
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Frank supervises accounting and tax services for our clients who outsource those services to us. Frank provides valuable tax expertise to partnerships and closely-held corporations in several industries, including: real estate, construction, manufacturing and service. He has extensive accounting experience in audits, reviews, compilations and agreed-upon procedures.

Prior to joining the firm in 1996, Frank worked for a large local accounting firm. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has additional masters level credits in taxation at DePaul University.

Marisol Rios

Bookkeeper
  • Phone: (312) 443-5019
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Marisol works with many of the firm's PE & Venture capital clients. She is responsible for maintaining LP contact and wire information, she records capital calls and distributions, and she works with the GP in setting up wires for new portfolio investments. Additionally, Marisol prepares quarterly financial statements, LP capital account statements, distributes LP communications for capital calls, distribution notices and year-end packages, including K-1's to investors.

Marisol joined the firm in 2007. She graduated from Fox College with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Ofelia Sanchez, MST

Director
  • Phone: (312) 443-5023
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As Director, Ofelia specializes in managing client engagements for Private Equity and Venture Capital ("PE and VC") clients. She also supports family offices, individuals and other entity types. She focuses on engagement management and operational excellence by overseeing the day-to-day interactions and expectations of clients. She works with her staff to provide a range of accounting, tax preparation, financial statement preparation, audit support, and PE/VC administration services. She supervises the development of the accounting staff, providing guidance and mentoring for the group. Ofelia plays an integral part in new business development by engaging in opportunities through networking, attending industry functions and building solid client relationships. She continues to expand her technical and professional knowledge through exposure to new client situations, training opportunities, and ongoing education.

Ofelia joined the firm in 2007 as an Accountant and was promoted to Director in 2015. Ofelia received her Bachelor of Science from DePaul University as well as a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Taxation from DePaul University.

Roselyn Vo

Accountant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5022
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Roz provides accounting and tax services to many of our individual and business clients.

Roz joined the firm in 2005. Prior to joining the firm Roz worked for a futures and brokerage firm. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Roz is currently attending DePaul University's Masters in Taxation program.

Support Staff

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Mary Abdullah

Executive Assistant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5040
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Mary is the assistant to partner Jim Stern as well as provides general administrative support to the firm. She keeps things running smoothly for Jim and is a key contact for many clients.

Mary joined the firm in 2003. She brings a wealth of administrative experience and skills to the firm. She graduated from the Taylor Business Institute's Executive Secretarial program and has over 20 years experience in the administrative field.

Kristina Maroney

Administrative Assistant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5009
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Kristina is part of our front office administrative team providing general administrative support to our staff and clients. In addition, Kristina handles Accounts Payable entries for the firm and provides assistance to the Partners and Firm Administrator for various firm related needs. No stranger to a detailed oriented industry, Kristina thrives on organization and timeliness.

Kristina joined the firm in 2014. She has a background in theatre management. She previously managed the front of house at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Management.

Marjorie McGuire

HR/Firm System Administrator
  • Phone: (312) 443-5024
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As Firm System Administrator Margie works with our administrative team and IT support consultants to continually update our processes and keep our systems running smoothly. She assists the Partners and staff with variety of other projects as needed. In her Human Resource role she is responsible for payroll, benefits administration, policy implementation, as well as managing our staffing needs.

Margie joined the firm in 2002. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Northern Illinois University. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Tiffany Garcia

Receptionist
  • Phone: (312) 443-5047
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As our receptionist, Tiffany answers the main phone line, greets our clients as they arrive, and assists the front office administrative staff with general support needs.

Tiffany joined the firm in 2016.

Fran Nykaza

Office Manager
  • Phone: (312) 443-5045
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Fran is the Office Manager. Fran manages the firm’s administrative team and provides administrative support for all staff by keeping the front end processes running smoothly. She handles vendor contracts and various purchases for the firm. Fran also assists in various special projects as needed.

Fran joined the firm in 2005. Fran graduated from the University of Illinois with both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Social Work.

Helen O'Farrell

Administrative Assistant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5001
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Helen is part of our front office administrative team.  She provides general administrative support to our staff and clients.

Prior to joining the firm in 2017, she worked for a large investment bank providing support to the trading team.

Arcie Ramirez

Executive Assistant
  • Phone: (312) 443-5002
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Arcie is the executive assistant to partner Sam Cassello as well as provides general administrative support to the firm. She keeps things running smoothly for Sam and is a key contact for many clients.

Arcie joined the firm in 2018, coming from a background in Private Equity. She assists Sam and other staff with clients and special projects.