On Instagram, the $24 million trophy estate overlooking the Potomac River is known as the #RPHMansion in honor of its once highflying and now bankrupt former owner, Rodney P. Hunt. Over the past six years, the lavish mansion has attracted throngs of partygoers to one of Northern Virginia’s most exclusive neighborhoods, as well as dozens of visits by law enforcement — 68 stopovers, according to an Arlington County police spokeswoman.
The reasons: fights, grand larceny, hit-and-runs, trespassing, the delivery of court orders and arrest warrants. Now the 20,000-square-foot mansion, which was rented out to party promoters to generate income for Hunt, has been tied to a drive-by shooting that occurred shortly before 4:45 a.m. Sunday about a mile away, not far from the CIA’s Langley headquarters.
News of the shooting’s link to the Hunt mansion was first reported by NBC4. Fairfax County police said the shooting involved two cars carrying people who had just come from a party at the mansion. Shots were fired from one car of partygoers at the other, wounding three passengers. Arlington police had been summoned to the 200-person party twice early Sunday to investigate two separate altercations.
The mansion, at 201 Chain Bridge Rd., was built by Hunt in 2006 as a monument to his towering success as founder of RS Information Systems, one of the country’s most successful black-owned government contracting firms. At the time Hunt sold the company in 2007 to an aerospace company, his net worth was estimated by Northern Virginia Magazine at $265 million. But then came his downfall: He defaulted on a $9.4 million loan on the house, racked up more than $10 million in debt, became entangled in shoddy investments and was sued by multiple creditors.
This summer came the ultimate blow: In June, his $24 million house was auctioned off on the steps of the Arlington County Courthouse for $7.3 million in one of the region’s largest foreclosure sales. The buyer is listed only as Chain Bridge LLC, with an address of 7735 Old Georgetown Rd., Suite 1200, in downtown Bethesda.
But it is unclear which specific individuals are the new owners.
The Bethesda office suite is leased by a company called Jurie Holdings LLC, whose registered agent until July was Sara Harris. Harris did not return calls for comment.
A previous executive of Jurie Holdings was Cynthia Kim, who could not be reached for comment. Her husband is Jeong Kim, the tech mogul who once served as president of Bell Labs and is now a partner with Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owners of Verizon Center, the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
When reached by The Washington Post and asked whether he owned the Chain Bridge Road mansion, Jeong Kim repeatedly refused to answer yes or no. “I don’t want to talk with you,” he said. “I do not wish to talk about this.”
Hunt, 55, who had faced drug charges in Virginia and Texas over the years, had been living on the property all summer, according to his former personal assistant Nneka Grimes, who also lived on the property. But on Aug. 9, he was convicted of violating his probation stemming from a drug arrest in 2015 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, according to online Arlington criminal records. Harry Dennis, who is listed as Hunt’s criminal attorney, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Daniel Press, who is Hunt’s bankruptcy attorney, said his client did not authorize the use of the house for the party. “He wasn’t there, and he didn’t know anything about it because he’s in jail,” Press said. “My guess is [the partyers] were trespassers.”
Press said that he, too, is not sure who bought the house. He said one entity bought it at the foreclosure auction and then flipped it to someone else. He is not sure whether Chain Bridge LLC is the first purchaser or the second purchaser.
The Post reached two people who organized or promoted the party. One declined to comment or give his full name, citing the need to confer with attorneys. Another man, who insisted on anonymity and described his job as “to bring people to the party,” said the party was meant to celebrate the 2016 Eritrean Festival.
One of his friends was shot in the leg during the drive-by attack, said the man, who said he did not know what precipitated the shooting.
“This is very stressful,” he said. “Everyone just wants to find out who did it.”
Grimes, the former personal assistant to Hunt, said the IT millionaire had rented out the house for parties for several years. She said Hunt would ask promoters to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 to use his place for parties. The mansion sits on a bluff that overlooks the Potomac. Once featured on “MTV Cribs,” it boasts five bedrooms, a detached guesthouse, a pool, a basketball court, his-and-her gyms, a two-lane bowling alley, a movie theater and an underground garage with 15 spaces.
On Instagram, the hashtag #RPHMansion yields numerous videos and photos of people partying outside by the pool with music playing loudly in the background.
Fairfax police said it is unclear what happened at the party that led to the shooting at Route 123 and Kirby Road in McLean.
Don Gotthardt, a Fairfax police spokesman, said that shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday, a Hyundai SUV with four occupants left the party and traveled northwest on Route 123 in the direction of the CIA, crossing into Fairfax County. At some point later, a second car of partygoers left the mansion and headed the same way. When the second car pulled up alongside the first, one or more of its occupants fired into the SUV. Two men, ages 29 and 31, were injured. A third passenger, a woman, was wounded by shards of glass.
Someone in the SUV called 911, and then the vehicle was driven to Sibley Memorial Hospital just across the river in the District. No other details about the victims were released. “We have a high degree of certainty that whatever events took place at the mansion are directly related to the shooting. We’re trying to determine what way,” Gotthardt said.
Gotthardt said it is unclear whether the shooting is connected to the two fights at the mansion that Arlington police responded to. The attack, he said, could have stemmed from another fight altogether.
Will the RPH Mansion parties go on? “Uptown Big Boyz Ent. presents LEO BIRTHDAY Splash Party,” reads the invitation to one astrology-themed event still scheduled at the mansion for Saturday. Among the attractions: “Cream and her exotic girlfriends.” Tickets cost $30.
Partygoers are told to drive to 1205 Dolley Madison Blvd. — the address of Trinity United Methodist Church — about three miles down the road from the mansion, where they can park and take a shuttle to the gated residence. In a statement to The Post, the church’s board of trustees said it “has not and will not authorize parking or shuttle use for this [weekend’s] event.”
Given last weekend’s fights and nearby shooting, one man listed on the “Splash Party” flier as a contact said he is not so sure the festivities can continue.
“People are leery of shootings. I really don’t like being affiliated with those things,” said the man, Garvin, who declined to release his full name.
The Post reached a second person organizing this weekend’s party who also declined to be named. When asked how they had permission to be on the property, he said: “We’re not renting anything out. We are affiliated with someone.”
Then he hung up.