Lutfi Kharuf


Tel: (619) 525-1302


At a Glance

Lutfi works with clients on compliance with propositions 218 and 26, rate setting and issuing bonds.
He has experience in advising clients on complex tax, securities and constitutional issues arising out of public finance transactions.
Lutfi received his master’s of law degree in finance from the Institute for Law and Finance in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lutfi Kharuf is a partner in the Special Districts and Public Finance practice groups of Best Best & Krieger LLP. Lutfi works with clients on compliance with Proposition 218 and 26, rate setting and issuing bonds. Lutfi is based in BB&K’s San Diego office and serves on the firm's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Prior to joining BB&K, Lutfi worked as bond, disclosure and issuer’s counsel to cities, special districts and other public agencies in California. Lutfi has experience in advising clients on complex tax, securities and constitutional issues arising out of public finance transactions. Additionally, Lutfi advised public agency clients on issues relating to Proposition 218 and 26 in the context of protests and threatened and ongoing litigation. Lutfi previously worked in the corporate and finance group of an international law firm in Frankfurt, Germany.

While earning his law degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Lutfi was a member of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. After completing law school, Lutfi received his master’s of law degree in finance from the Institute for Law and Finance in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lutfi sits on the Leadership Council of the GO Campaign, an organization dedicated to empowering local heroes to improve the lives of children across the globe. Lutfi is a mud run enthusiast, and enjoys the sounds of live music during a night out at the Hollywood Bowl.


  • Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt am Main, Institute for Law and Finance, LL.M., finance
  • University of Southern California Gould School of Law, J.D.
  • University of Southern California, B.A., international relations, with a minor in law and public policy, magna cum laude


  • California


  • ​San Diego Super Lawyers Rising Stars, Public Finance, 2021
  • 40 Under 40, SD Metro Magazine, 2020
  • Top 40 Under 40, San Diego Daily Transcript, 2019


Legal Alerts Dec 21, 2020

Special Taxes by Voter Initiative Only Require Majority Voter Approval

For the Second Time This Year, California Appellate Court Upholds Voting Requirement

Legal Alerts Aug 06, 2020

Local Utility Charges Cannot Be Challenged by Referendum

Calif. Supreme Court Decision in Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir

Legal Alerts Jul 14, 2020

Property Owners Must Participate in Public Hearing to Challenge BID Assessments

A “No” Vote is Not Enough, California Appellate Court Holds

Legal Alerts Jul 13, 2020

Special Taxes by Voter Initiative Not Restricted by Proposition 13 or Proposition 218

Court of Appeal Holds Only Simple Majority Needed to Impose Special Taxes by Initiative Power

Legal Alerts Jul 07, 2020

A Toll Increase for Toll Bridge is Not a Tax Increase

California Appellate Court Says Toll is a Fee to Use Government Property, Exempt from Tax Definition

Legal Alerts Apr 16, 2020

When is a Franchise Fee a Tax?

Franchise Fees Charged to Waste Hauler are Not a Tax if Reasonably Related to the Value of the Franchise

Legal Alerts Jun 06, 2019

Failure to Participate in Prop. 218 Hearing Does Not Bar Fee Challenge

Calif. Supreme Court Holds Such Hearings Do Not Adequately Address Challenges to Method for Calculating Fee

Legal Alerts Feb 19, 2019

Uniform Application of Parcel Tax Does Not Require Uniform Effect on Taxpayers

California Appellate Court Upholds Los Angeles County Parcel Tax

Legal Alerts Oct 04, 2018

Statutory Authority to Adopt Fees Negates Any Potential State Mandate Funding

California Appellate Court Finds There is No State Mandate When a Public Agency Has The Statutory Authority to Levy Fees

Legal Alerts Aug 27, 2018

Transfer of Electric Utility Revenues to City’s General Fund is not a Tax Under Proposition 26

Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeal

Legal Alerts Aug 16, 2018

General Tax Measure with Related Advisory Measure on Same Ballot Does Not Turn It Into a Special Tax

Issue Related to Number of Votes Needed to Pass a General Versus Special Tax Under Proposition 218

Legal Alerts Jun 29, 2018

Ballot Initiative Withdrawn, Leaving Intact Local Authority to Impose Taxes, Fees and Charges

Last-Minute Deal to Withdraw Includes Moratorium on Certain New Taxes in California

Legal Alerts May 17, 2018

City’s Electric Utility Fund Transfer to General Fund Upheld by Court

California Appellate Court Interprets Term “Increase” and Statute of Limitations

Legal Alerts Aug 29, 2017

Taxes By Voter Initiative Not Restricted By Article XIII C of the California Constitution

California Supreme Court Holds That Article XIII C Does Not Restrict Initiative Power To Impose Taxes

Legal Alerts Jul 05, 2017

Surcharge on Utility Users Imposed Under a Franchise Agreement is Not a Tax

California Supreme Court Holds Surcharge for Franchise Rights Not Subject to Voter Approval if Reasonably Related to Value of Franchise

Legal Alerts Jun 19, 2017

No Mandatory Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies for Proposition 218 Challenge

California Court of Appeal Allows Challenge to Prop. 218 Without Public Protest

Legal Alerts Jun 16, 2017

Non-Property Owners in Cities and Counties May Now Sue for Wasteful Government Spending

California Supreme Court Decision Widens Potential Claimant Pool

Legal Alerts May 31, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review a Legal Challenge to Mello-Roos Special Taxes

Funding Mechanism for “Additional Services” for New Development Remains

Legal Alerts Apr 10, 2017

School Districts not Exempt from Paying Assessments to Fund Flood Control Services

California Appellate Court Finds Constitutional Mandate Supersedes Statutory Exemption

Legal Alerts Dec 14, 2016

Transient Occupancy (Hotel) Taxes May be Limited by Ruling

Online Booking Rates Addressed by California Supreme Court

Authored Articles & Publications Nov 08, 2016

New Laws of 2017 Series Part I: Parcel Taxes and Property Related Fees

CSDA Series Kicks Off With Analysis by BB&K Attorney Lutfi Kharuf

Legal Alerts Oct 24, 2016

Financing Increased Demand On Pre-Existing Services Constitutes “Additional Services”

California Court Decision Rules on Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982

  • “Ruling is Causing Uncertainty Over Local Special Taxes,” Daily Journal, Feb. 25, 2019
  • “Ruling Leaves Local Public Agencies Open to Legal Actions Asserting Wasteful Government Spending by Non Property Owners,” BBKnowledge, July 20, 2017
  • “Federal Securities Laws of Municipal Bonds Deskbook,” 6th Edition, contributor, National Association of Bond Lawyers, 2014


Contact Lutfi Kharuf

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