Rodney P. Hunt wants his party mansion back.
Hunt, the once highflying Virginia IT executive who lost his $24 million Potomac River palace this summer in one of the region’s largest foreclosure sales, plans to fight the buyer’s attempt to evict him from the property, according to his bankruptcy attorney, Daniel Press.
The 20,000-square-foot estate at 201 Chain Bridge Rd. near McLean, located down the street from the CIA’s headquarters and next to a house owned by the Embassy of Qatar, has been at the center of Hunt’s rise-and-fall saga. Hunt — who built the house a decade ago after founding RS Information Systems, one of the country’s most successful black-owned government contractors — is trying to fend off the purchaser, whose identity remains murky.
Court records say the mansion’s new owner is 201 Chain Bridge LLC, whose manager is Jeong Kim, the former president of Bell Labs and a co-owner of Verizon Center, the National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards and the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals.
But in phone calls with The Washington Post, Kim has refused to say whether he bought the property, and whether he and his family are moving in. On Friday, Kim did not return messages left by The Post.
Hunt, 55, declined to comment through Press.
Asked whether Hunt plans to fight the eviction, Press said: “I believe Mr. Hunt intends to contest it.”
Hunt, who was just released from Arlington County jail for violating probation on a drug charge, has now reoccupied the mansion, and is trying to get his financial affairs in order, according to his attorney.
“He is out of jail and currently at his house,” Press said.
Known on social media as #RPHmansion, the Mediterranean-style house boasts a basketball court, a 15-space underground parking garage and five bedrooms. It was once featured on “MTV Cribs.”
Numerous event planners have rented it out, drawing hundreds of people to one of Northern Virginia’s most exclusive neighborhoods (who publish party shots on Instagram), and prompting dozens of visits from Arlington County police. Nneka Grimes, Hunt’s former personal assistant, said Hunt was charging party promoters between $5,000 and $10,000 to rent out his place.
Last month, a party at “RPH Mansion” was linked to a drive-by shooting about a mile away. Fairfax County police said the Aug. 14 shooting involved two cars of mansion partygoers. Shots were fired from one car at the other, wounding three passengers. Before the shooting, Arlington police had been summoned to the 200-person party twice to investigate two separate altercations.
On June 16, the house was sold on the steps of the Arlington County courthouse for $7.3 million to an entity called GREI LLC, whose managing member is Alasgar Farhadov , a Realtor in Northern Virginia. Farhadov declined to comment.
The auction marked the financial downfall of Hunt, whose net worth was valued by Northern Virginia Magazine at $265 million in 2007, the year he sold his contracting company to an aerospace firm. In the years leading up to the auction, Hunt defaulted on a $9.4 million loan to Bank of America for the mansion, on top of owing millions of dollars in other loans and shoddy investments.
In early July, a few weeks after the auction, Farhadov transferred his company’s right, title and interest in the house to 201 Chain Bridge LLC, the entity managed by Kim, according to court records.
Later that month, Kim’s attorneys sent letters to Hunt at the mansion, warning that his possession “ceased” on the day of the auction, court records show.
“The new owner of the property is 201 Chain Bridge LLC. Please be advised that if you fail to vacate the premises on or before the expiration of five days from date of this notice, your continued possession will be deemed unlawful and eviction will ensue,” the letter warned. Kim’s lawyers also said if Hunt failed to leave, then they would charge him for rent, adding, “Hopefully this will be unnecessary.”
On Aug. 9, Hunt was sentenced to 90 days in Arlington jail for violating his probation on a drug charge. Even though he was incarcerated, Hunt apparently filed court papers on Aug. 24 — acting as his own attorney — and argued that the foreclosure sale was “corrupt” and that Bank of America, Kim’s LLC and even his own bankruptcy attorney “orchestrated the illegal taking of the property” without a “scintilla of due process which has caused him extreme and outrageously inflicted distress, harm and injury and violated other federal statutes including Bankruptcy Law Violations, Civil rights discrimination, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Acts and Legal Misrepresentation.”
The court papers contended that Bank of America, Kim and Press conspired to take his property by exploiting the fact that Hunt was in jail.
“There are also serious questions as to why the trustee of the bankruptcy estate allowed a property worth more than [$27 million] to be sold for just [$9 million],” the filings said.
But after Hunt was released this month, a federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 15 threw out the court papers supposedly filed by Hunt, ruling that the former millionaire “neither signed nor authorized” them.
The filings contain a signature bearing Hunt’s name and indicate he was serving as his own attorney. Asked how this possibly occurred, Press said: “We have no idea. We don’t know who filed that.”
Press didn’t rule out that Hunt could settle with Kim’s LLC. The next hearing in the eviction battle between the ex-mogul and current mogul is Oct. 24 at Arlington County General District Court.