Wilberding, Merle F.

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Address: 33 West First Street Suite 200, Dayton, OH 45402
Lawyer Firm: Coolidge Wall Co., L.P.A.
Phone: 937-608-9464
Fax: 937-223-6705
Website: https://www.coollaw.com

Areas of Practice Corporate and Business Law, Real Estate, Tax, Non-Profit Corporations, Business Planning, Shopping Centers Law, Zoning Law

Merle F. Wilberding has more than thirty-five years experience advising and representing clients in the areas of business planning, non-profit organizations, real estate law, taxation, shopping center law, and zoning. This experience affords his clients a unique, skillful, and practical management of matters ranging from general corporate legal and strategic business management issues to complex reorganizations involving asset sales, public and private financing, and spin-offs.

He has represented a wide range of corporations (both for profit and not-for-profit corporations), developers, and religious organizations located both within and outside of the United States. He has served as chairman and general counsel for the Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone, Inc. He has a broad range of legal and business experience, and is an active adviser and board member to a variety of businesses and community non-profit organizations.

He served as chairman of the firm’s Tax Department for ten years. He has briefed and argued a number of tax cases in the Ohio Supreme Court, including Dupps Company v. Lindley and Dayton Supply & Tool vs. Montgomery County Board of Revision.

Merle’s professional publications include articles in national law reviews and other legal and business media. In addition, he is a free-lance writer with a number of articles and books in his list of Publications. He has testified before the United States Congress and before the Ohio legislature as well as giving a number of speeches and presentations as listed in his Speeches.

He is active in the Community and has often been in the News for his professional and community activities. His Personal interests complement his professional and community interests.

Prior to his association with Coolidge Wall, Merle practiced with the Arent Fox law firm in Washington, D.C. Merle also served as a U.S. Army Captain, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Government Appellate Division, where he briefed and argued appeals in the Presidio Mutiny case and the Lt. William L. Calley – My Lai Massacre case.


Lloyd O’Hara Public Interest Law Award from the 2016 Access to Justice Award – November 3, 2016State of Ohio Award for Distinguished Community Service awarded by the Ohio State Bar Foundation – – This award is one of top two awards given out in the State of Ohio, and was given at the annual OSBF dinner on November 12, 2012. Best Lawyers® "2012 Dayton Lawyer of the Year – Real Estate Litigation" Best Lawyers® "2015 Dayton Lawyer of the Year – Corporate Law"Ohio State Bar Foundation – Life Fellow. As a part of the Distinguished Community Service award by the Ohio State Bar Foundation, I was automatically named a Life Fellow. However, I elected to participate in the Life Fellow program that includes a series of one day workshops and a commitment to make a significant contribution to the understanding of law in the community.Dayton Bar Association – Life Fellow, given in recognition of support and participation in public interest projects on behalf of the Dayton Bar Association.Dayton Original, Named as a "Dayton Original" by the Dayton City Commission, I am joining others who have helped shape the development of the city, including such noted individuals as Edwin Moses, Willis "Bing" Davis, Mike Peters, Daequan Cook, Hal McCoy, and C. J. McLin.Muse Machine Honoree. In recognition of 25 years of service as a board member, emeritus board member, legacy donor, and contributor of legal services, the Muse Machine honored Merle Wilberding by dedicating its, "Seussical," to him on January 18, 2014. The Muse Machine is a nationally-acclaimed music and theater program for elementary and high school children in more than 90 schools in the Miami Valley. Appointed by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland on May 15, 2009 to the Judicial Appointment Selection Panel to fill a seat on the Dayton Municipal Court.Ohio Super Lawyers – recognition of the Top 5% of lawyers in the State of OhioThe Best Lawyers in AmericaWho’s Who in AmericaPeer Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell

Community Leadership Activities

Advisory Council, School of Law, University of Dayton (2004 – Present)Advisory Council, College of Liberal Arts, Wright State University (2008 – 2013)Dayton Opera, Trustee (2008 – 2011)Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, Trustee (2005 – present)The Muse Machine- Trustee Emeritus. The Muse Machine is an organization devoted to promoting drama and bringing the arts to more than 100 elementary and high schools throughout the Miami Valley.The Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone(FTZ #100) – Trustee & Chairman (1996 – 2006). Member, Founding Committee for the establishment of Foreign Trade Zone #100. General Counsel, 1996 – Present.2003 Inventing Flight Committee – Trustee (2000 – 2003). A community board responsible for promoting the creation of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park in the year 1992 and for planning and directing the celebration of the Centennial of Flight during the year 2003.Board of Community Contributors, Dayton Daily News (2005 – 2006)Graduate, Leadership Dayton Class of 1984Holy Angels Parish, MemberThe 100 Club – Member. A community organization devoted to recognition of heroic work by members of area police and fire departments.President’s Club, University of DaytonSorin Society, University of Notre DameNotre Dame Club of Dayton, Member



150 YEARS OF COOL LAW (2003), a book on Dayton and the history of the firmDUMPLINGS & DOUGHNUTS (2004), a collection of recipes and rural Iowa memorabiliaWHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT LAW (1971) (Book Published by U.S. News & World Report, Book Division)BOBSLEDS & FARMSTEADS, a book on rural Iowa (1998)HAKI AND THE RULE OF LAW (2009)

Free Lance Writing

Book Review, THE FARM AT HOLSTEIN DIP: AN IOWA BOYHOOD by Carroll Engelhardt,Antioch ReviewPage 193 (Winter 2013).Citation for Tim O’Brienas Richard Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize (November 11, 2012), as published on website and in award program."The Continuing Echo of the Vietnam War," GuestColumnon Tim O’Brien, DAILY TIMES HERALD (Carroll, Iowa) (December 12, 2012)."Vietnam Experience Rules Passion for Peace," Ideas & VoicesColumnon Tim O’Brien, DAYTON DAILY NEWS (November 23, 2012)"A Time to Recall our Civil War Volunteer Regiment, Ideas & VoicesColumnon the Ohio 93RD Regiment, DAYTON DAILY NEWS (August 16, 2012)"Fighting the War Within," GuestColumnon The Invisible War, DAILY TIMES HERALD (Carroll, Iowa) November 8, 2012."IN MEMORIAM: Roger Makley – A Man to be Remembered," Dayton Bar Briefs, Page 12, (October 2008) (Reprinted in DAYTON BARRISTERS, Pages 167-169 (Orange Frazer Press 2009))"Remembering Bobby Kennedy at Notre Dame on April 4, 1968," WE ARE ND: THE STORY OF NOTRE DAME AS TOLD BY HER ALUMNI, Pages 126 – 127 [ISBN 978-0-9554097-4-5] (Booklink, Holywood County, Ireland 2008)"My Lai 40 Years Later – – What Really Happened in Pinkville?" VIETNAM Magazine, Pages 28 – 35 (April 2008)"Sexual Assault in the Military – – Looking for a Few Good Changes,"http://www.iowaindependent.com/(August 4, 2008), reposted atwww.rhreality.org/blog(August 10, 2008)Essay on Coolidge Wall(Living Arts magazine 2008 1Q)Essay on History of Coolidge Wall Law Firm(OHIO – An Illustrated History)(Book 2008)"People Connect When They Take Part in the Big Read," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, April 2006"A My Lai Case Lawyer Sees Comparison to Iraq," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, March 2006"A Walk Through History," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, January 2006"Building Communities – A Yard at a Time," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, November 2005"Mother’s Love Was Secret Ingredient," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, September 2005"Columbus Gets Special Treatment," DAYTON DAILY NEWS, August 2005"The Time Mudlick Distillery went to Washington, D.C." GERMANTOWN PRESS, Germantown, Ohio (August 19, 2004)"Gunckel to be Inducted into Miami Valley Walk of Fame," GERMANTOWN PRESS, Germantown, Ohio (September 14, 2006)"JUMP for Joe," KETTERING OAKWOOD TIMES, September 13, 2006

Law Review Articles

"Tax Consequences of Shareholder Guarantees: There’s Still Hay in Tulia Feedlot," 6 WYOMING LAW REVIEW 165 (2006), reprinted in THE MONTHLY DIGEST OF TAX ARTICLES (Vol. 58, Page 41, October 2007), and posted for comment on TAX PROFESSOR BLOGhttp://taxproof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2006/04/wilberding_on_t.html"Banks and the Equal Pay Act: Establishing a Bona Fide Management Trainee Program," 1 U. DAYTON LAW REVIEW 1 (1976)"An Individual’s Business Investigation Expenses: An Argument Supporting Deductibility," 26 TAX LAWYER 219 (1973)"Enforcement of the Merger Laws by Private Party Litigation," 47 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 293 (1972) (co-author: Earl W. Kintner) (Reprinted in 14 CORPORATE PRACTICE COMMENTATOR 209 (1972)). (Article cited by United States Supreme Court in California v. American Stores, 492 U.S. 1301, 1306 (1989))"New Tax Considerations Injected into Antitrust Treble Damage Proceedings," 19 KANSAS LAW REVIEW 441 (1971)"An Ominous Warning for Antitrust Law: The Disposition of the ‘Bathtub’ Conspiracy — as Applied to Unincorporated Divisions — May Have Left a Tell-Tale Ring Around the Tub," 32 OHIO STATE LAW JOURNAL 43 (1971) (Reprinted in CORPORATE COUNSEL’S ANNUAL – 1972, 393 (1972))"State Voting Residency Requirements and Civil Rights," 38 GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW 93 (1969) (co-author: John A. Macleod) (Article cited by United States Supreme Court in Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 346 n. 16 (1972))"The Progressive Penal System at the United States Disciplinary Barracks," 31 FEDERAL BAR JOURNAL 44 (1972)"New Speedy Trial Guidelines Promulgated," 2 ARMY LAWYER 1 (Feb. 1972)"Balance Amid Change — You and Military Justice," 28 SOLDIERS 4 (June, 1973)"Supreme Court Adds New Guidelines in Determining Court-Martial Jurisdiction," 1971 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW QUARTERLY 413 (1971)"Miranda-Type Warnings for Consent Searches?" 47 NORTH DAKOTA LAW REVIEW 281 (1971)"Church-State: A Legal Survey — 1966-1968," 43 NOTRE DAME LAWYER 684 (1968) (See Text accompanying notes 230-399, at 715-734)Case Comment, "Criminal Procedure — ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’ Standard Not Applicable in Judge’s Determination of the Voluntariness of a Confession," (Clifton v. United States, 371 F.2d 354 (D.C. Cir. 1966), cert. denied, 386 U.S. 995 (1967)), 43 NOTRE DAME LAWYER 115 (1967)Book Review: MERGERS, MANAGERS & THE ECONOMY (Dr. S. Reid), 45 NOTRE DAME LAWYER 154 (1969)

Speeches & Media

Ohio State Bar Committee on Military Affairs. On January 18, 2013, Merle Wilberding made a presentation on recent legislative changes (as well as proposed changes) relating to the victims and perpetrators of sexual assault in the militaryUnited States House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. Merle Wilberding testified before this subcommittee in the Oversight Hearings on "Sexual Assault in the Military" on February 24, 2010, in Washington, D.C.United States House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. Mary Lauterbach and Merle Wilberding participated in the Oversight Hearings on "Sexual Assault in the Military" on July 31, 2008, in Washington, D.C.State of Ohio House Ways & Means Committee. On January 12, 2006, Merle Wilberding testified before the Ohio House Ways & Means Committee in support of H. B. 390, a bill to impose a statute of limitations on the enforcement of tax assessments in Ohio, now enacted in part as Section 131.02(F)(3) of the Ohio Revised Code.Conference on the Legacy of 1968. "The Legacy of the My Lai Massacre & Lt. William L. Calley," presented at The Legacy of 1968 – – an Inter-Disciplinary Conference held at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 4, 2008.Chancery Club. At its luncheon in the rotunda of the old Dayton Court House on January 20, 2012, Merle Wilberding gave aspeechentitled "Controversial Cases in a Controversial War – – The Presidio Mutiny and the My Lai Massacre," a presentation on two cases he worked on while in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.2008 ORALL Conference. "Losing Space and Tightening Budgets: How to Build the 21st Century Law Library," presented at the 2008 Annual Conference of the Ohio Regional Association of Law Librarians, Dayton, Ohio on October 16, 2008.Dayton Walk of Fame. Acceptance speech on the induction of Lewis B. Gunckel into the Dayton Walk of Fame. Lewis B. Gunckel along with Hiram Strong founded what is now known as Coolidge Wall law firm in 1853. Gunckel served as a United States Congressman and is credited for securing the Soldier’s Home in Dayton where is now serves as the V. A. Center.Writer to Writer. Merle Wilberding was featured in a forty-five minute interview by Sharon Rab on Channel EATV-24 discussing the history and writing of his book, 150 Years of Coollaw. (This interview is periodically re-aired on Channel EATV-24.)WHIO Reports. Merle Wilberding and Doris Pontiz were featured in a thirty-minute interview by Jim Otte on WHIO-TV (Channel #7) on the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Award and celebration event. (October 29, 2006).DBA Celebration of Life 2008. Memorial presentation speech on the life of Janice M. Paulus (1960 – 2007), shareholder at Coolidge Wall Co. LPA. (May 19, 2008).DBA Celebration of Life 2009. Memorial presentation speech on the life of Roger J. Makley (1934 – 2008), shareholder at Coolidge Wall Co. LPA. (May 18, 2009).DBA Celebration of Life 2011. Memorial presentation speech on the life of Robert B. Matusoff (1930 – 2011), former shareholder at Coolidge Wall Co. LPA. (May 16, 2011).DBA Celebration of Life 2012. Memorial presentation speech on the life of Ronald S. Pretekin (1942 – 2011), shareholder at Coolidge Wall Co. LPA. (May 22, 2012).Ohio Super Lawyers. In the 2007 issue of theOhio Super Lawyers, Merle Wilberding was featured in an article entitled "Memories of My Lai," focusing on Merle Wilberding’s briefing and arguing on behalf of the Government in the appeal of Lt. William L. Calley’s appeal of his court-martial conviction for his role in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam on March 16, 1968.

In the midst of media attention and growing anti-military sentiment, Wilberding managed to focus on the task in front of him. Working on the case meant sorting through enough trial records and exhibits to fill a four-drawer file cabinet. ‘There wasn’t any question of evidence.’ he says.

Barrister of the Month. Merle Wilberding was featured in theDBA Bar Briefsas theBarrister of the Monthin February 2008 (reprinted in the DBA bookDayton Barristers(2009)).CCH Property Tax Alert. In the February 2007 (Vol. 13, No. 2) issue of CCH Property Tax Alert, Merle Wilberding was interviewed on his argument before the Ohio Supreme Court inDayton Supply & Tool Co. v. Board of Revision, a case that granted non-lawyer company officers the right to sign and file complaints with a county board of revision on property valuations. Quoting Merle Wilberding, the interview concludes, the ruling means an end to "the way the local boards have been arbitrarily keeping some corporate property owners out of the appeal system."1st Annual Tax Controversy Forum. "The Legislative History of HB 390," a presentation on the legislative history of what became the basis for Section 131.02(F)(3) of the Ohio Revised Code, presented at Sinclair Community College on November 3, 2009.


Executive Editor, Notre Dame Law Review (1968-1969)Awarded the John F. Kennedy Scholarship while attending Notre Dame Law School (1967-1968). This scholarship was funded by Senator Robert F. Kennedy.Awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal during my service in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.Awarded a Certificate in Librarianship for a summer program at Oxford University (England) through a program offered by the University of North Carolina (2001).Awarded admission to Beta Phi Mu, the national honor society for library and information studies.I have an avid interest in genealogy, amassing more than 2,500 names in my extended family’s database. I am specializing in the descendants of Carl Herman Joseph Wilberding (1793-1872) who lived in the town of Holdorf, Germany until his death in 1872. Two of his children, Carl Wilberding (1827-1888), and Anton Wilberding (1841-1912), emigrated to America while a third child, Regina Wilberding (1833 – 1908), married Bernhard Strunk and remained in Holdorf.My daughter, Abigail, has a B.A. from Purdue University, a M.Ed. from the Ohio State University, and teaches English at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio.My son, James, has a B.A. and a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame, a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and teaches ancient philosophy and the classics at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany.

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