The as-seen-on-MTV estate in one of Washington’s most exclusive — and expensive — neighborhoods is scheduled to be sold at auction on Sept. 27, in what would be one of the biggest foreclosures in the region’s history.
The looming public auction on the steps of the Arlington County Courthouse has former associates and neighbors wondering what happened to Hunt, the co-founder of RS Information Systems who was once among Washington’s highest-profile African American entrepreneurs.
Northern Virginia Magazine estimated Hunt’s net worth at $265 million in 2007, the year he sold RSIS to Wyle, a California aerospace engineering company. Now Bank of America says Hunt is in default on a $9.4 million loan on his 20,000-plus-square-foot house on a Potomac River bluff. According to court and land records, Hunt also owes more than $10 million on unpaid loans and bad business investments; creditors have filed a series of lawsuits to claim Hunt’s assets.
Multiple efforts to contact Hunt — by phone, e-mail, text message, certified mail, through his largely dormant Rodney P. Hunt Family Foundation and through intermediaries — were unsuccessful. Attorneys attempting to reach the beleaguered 51-year-old entrepreneur on other financial matters said that it’s not clear where he’s been living. In addition to the sprawling estate here, Hunt also has property in Texas, where the charismatic, 6-foot-7-inch former chief executive has been trying to launch a career as a hip-hop music and fashion impresario.
One recent morning, there were six cars in the parking-lot-size driveway at the McLean mansion. One appeared to be the same 1993 Nissan Maxima that Hunt’s son, Bradley, showed off while giving MTV a tour of the property for an episode of “Teen Cribs.”
The call box at the security fence did not ring the house; instead, as planes approaching Reagan National Airport buzzed high overhead, a phone-company message blared from the box, announcing that the number had been temporarily disconnected.
Reveling in success
Hunt launched RS Information Systems in 1992 by landing a $5,000 contract with the General Services Administration.
The next year, his wife, Leila, was killed in a car crash, leaving Hunt to raise their 14-month-old son on his own. He considered giving up on RSIS, he told a gathering of black business executives many years later, but decided not to. It became a test, he said, of his focus and fortitude.
RSIS became a huge success as Hunt juggled his work with being a single father. Certified as a minority-owned small business, the technology company began winning computer-networking contracts throughout the federal government and military, eventually becoming a mainstay of the Inc. 500 list, which measures revenue growth. At its peak in 2005, RSIS, which provided information technology, systems engineering, scientific support and management consulting, was generating $363 million in revenue and employing about 1,700 people.