Foreclosure auction is off for $23 million McLean mansion

September 26, 2012

Rodney P. Hunt won’t be losing his $23 million McLean mansion. At least not this week.

The 20,000-plus-square-foot home was scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction Thursday morning on the steps of the Arlington County Courthouse. On Wednesday evening, Tranzon Fox, the auction house, canceled the sale. David K. Lowry, an executive vice president for the auction house, would not comment on the reason.

Hunt’s Potomac River home is the most expensive property in the Washington region to enter some stage of foreclosure since the housing market crashed in 2007. The entrepreneur owed more than $9.4 million to Bank of America, public records show, for money borrowed against the house, which was once featured on MTV’s “Teen Cribs.”

Sources familiar with the situation said Hunt was able to convince the bank that he can make payments on the loan. Hunt could not be reached for comment.

Hunt, 51, co-founded RS Information Systems, which was one of the country’s most successful black-owned government contracting firms before he sold it five years ago to Wyle, a California aerospace engineering company.

At its peak in 2005, RSIS generated $363 million in revenue and employed about 1,700 people. It provided NASA, the military, the Energy Department and other government agencies with information technology, systems engineering, scientific support and management consulting.

Hunt built his trophy house as a symbol of his rise from a kid who mowed lawns in Fort Washington to a chief executive who landed billion-dollar government contracts. The Mediterranean-style manse, which took three years to build, boasts a movie theater, an indoor basketball court, an outdoor kitchen, two pools, a two-lane bowling alley, 10 fireplaces, a 15-car underground garage and sweeping views of the Potomac. This year, Washingtonian magazine ranked it third among the region’s most expensive homes, behind the estates of AOL co-founders Jim Kimsey and Steve Case, both of whom live just upriver on Chain Bridge Road.

But since Hunt sold RSIS in 2007 for an undisclosed figure, the charismatic, 6-foot-7 former chief executive has run into financial difficulties. He tried to remake himself in Texas as a P. Diddy-style rap music and fashion mogul. Along the way, he racked up multimillion-dollar judgments from former business partners, a former commercial landlord and a former girlfriend.

There were other signs of trouble, too. Hunt was arrested in September 2006 in Arlington County for alleged possession of marijuana, court records show. The charges were dropped. In 2009, he was arrested by Houston police for alleged possession of cocaine and ecstasy, according to court records, which show that those charges were also dismissed.

The prospect of a foreclosure auction represented a stunning reversal of fortune for one of Washington’s highest-profile African American entrepreneurs. Northern Virginia Magazine estimated Hunt’s net worth at $265 million five years ago, and he was part of a failed effort to buy the Washington Nationals.

J. Freedom du Lac and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Annys Shin has been a staff writer at the Washington Post since 2004.
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