A developer who tours the nation lecturing audiences about how to reap real estate profits by using government loan programs has filed for bankruptcy on two Baltimore renovation projects he cites as examples of his success.
Wayne Phillips, who left Baltimore about a year ago and now lives in Arizona, was head of Greater Baltimore Building Corp. until it went out of business early this year with $200,000 owed to more than 20 other businesses, including local subcontractors and building supply firms, according to court records in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore.
The company's financial report lists $18,605 in assets.
Phillips travels thoughout the nation with a group calling itself National Real Estate Superstars, promoting a book titled "How to Get Government Loans." In the book and lectures, Phillips tells how he built a real estate "empire" in the Baltimore area using guaranteed government loans, which he calls "giveaways."
The $200,000 in debts stem from two apartment renovation projects for which the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided Phillips and his business associates more than $2.5 million in guaranteed, insured loans.
The projects -- involving the Hanlon House and Montpelier moderate-income apartment complexes -- have had other problems in addition to the Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings. According to Earl Cole, spokesman for the HUD office in Baltimore, Phillips and his brother, Richard, failed to give HUD a final accounting of actual expenses and outstanding debts for their renovation work. Greater Baltimore Building Corp., in which the Phillips brothers hold a controlling interest, was the general contractor for those projects.
Cole said that, because of this failure, HUD has barred the Phillipses and their company temporarily from participating in any similar loan projects in the Baltimore region. The loans were made in April 1983 under a HUD program that provides Federal Home Administration insurance to promote housing for moderate-income families.
Wayne Phillips could not be reached for comment. But Richard Phillips told The Baltimore Sun earlier this week that, after receiving the loans, company officials discovered the job was costing much more than they had expected. Officials then asked HUD to authorize a larger loan, but only part of the increase was granted. "So there was no recourse but to file bankruptcy," Phillips told The Sun. ". . .It's not like this is the first time this has happened to anyone. You win a few and you lose a few, and we lost one on the Hanlon House and the Montpelier apartments."
According to city officials, Wayne Phillips also has encountered problems with other projects that he touts in his lectures, cable-television appearances and book. The book sells for $75 by itself or $349.95 with a package of materials.
In 1983, the city -- which administers federal, state and city loan programs -- barred him from further participation in those programs after he allegedly improperly requested final payment of a rehabilitation loan before the project was completed.
According to Paul Schurick, a spokesman for the city's housing agency, Phillips was involved in 11 Baltimore projects between 1980 and 1983, and received loans anging from $16,000 to $175,000.
And HUD officials in Washington and Los Angeles are reviewing Phillips' book and package of materials to see if they promote illegal use of HUD programs, while city and state officials in Maryland say they are reviewing Phillips' projects there to make sure he complied with government loan rules.
Phillips, known in Baltimore for his white Rolls Royce with license plates that say "WEALTH," says the materials can help people learn how to achieve wealth by acquiring real estate through government loan programs.
Fredrick Stillion, spokesman for HUD's Los Angeles office, said that, in one recent appearance in that city, Phillips attracted more than 10,000 people to a lecture, at $39 a head.
HUD officials say they are especially dubious about one practice that Phillips calls the "gold mine loan" technique, which involves home improvement loans insured by the FHA.
In his book, Phillips recommends that homeowners borrow more than needed to complete repairs or renovation, then use the excess to buy more property. Federal housing officials say it is illegal to use home improvement loans for such purposes.