Rodney P. Hunt, a once-rich-but-now-bankrupt government contracting titan, is losing his beloved $24 million mansion turned party house on the banks of the Potomac River.
On Tuesday, an Arlington County judge granted possession of the home to a firm managed by Jeong Kim, a former president of Bell Labs and a co-owner of Verizon Center, the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals.
Kim’s company, 201 Chain Bridge LLC, bought the 20,000-square-foot property earlier this summer after it had been sold at a foreclosure auction. But Hunt, still in bankruptcy proceedings, resisted relinquishing his trophy home, claiming the foreclosure auction was illegitimate.
In a bizarre hearing at Arlington County General District Court, the former multimillionaire served as his own attorney. Hunt, 56, told Judge R. Frances O’Brien that another entity, Crown Properties LLC, was the real owner and agreed to lease the home back to him in May, a month before the house was auctioned. He said he was providing technology consulting to another firm, Legal Investment Group, which was paying his rent to Crown Properties.
Hunt’s sudden claims — he never discussed these companies in his pretrial defense filings or pretrial hearings — prompted Kim’s attorney, Leon Koutsouftikis, to question the authenticity of those firms.
“I think he’s committing a fraud in this court. It’s ridiculous,” Koutsouftikis told O’Brien.
“I have not committed a fraud in this court,” Hunt countered.
The judge was skeptical. “I think there are issues of credibility,” she said, before ruling in favor of Kim.
For years, Hunt has been beset by legal and financial problems. He founded RS Information Systems in 1992 and built it into one of the country’s most prominent black-owned government contracting firms. By 2006, he finished building his Mediterranean-style home, which boasts a basketball court, a 15-space underground parking garage and five bedrooms. It was once featured on “MTV Cribs” and was known on social media as #RHPmansion.
The home’s size and location — around the corner from tech entrepreneur Steve Case and down the street from the CIA — symbolized Hunt’s perch atop Washington’s hierarchy.
In 2007, the year he sold his IT contracting company to a California aerospace firm, Northern Virginia Magazine estimated his net worth at $265 million.
But soon, Hunt began piling up astronomical debts. By 2012, Bank of America said Hunt had defaulted on a $9.4 million loan on the mansion. Court records also showed that he racked up more than $10 million on unpaid loans and shoddy business deals.
Last year Hunt filed for bankruptcy, citing debts between $10 million and $50 million. One creditor, a Texas woman, alleges in his bankruptcy court documents that Hunt raped her in July 2009 at a Houston hotel and owes her more than $600,000 in court-ordered judgments stemming from a settlement in a civil suit she had filed against him. Hunt has denied the assault accusations in court, saying the woman was trying to extort money from him so that eventually he would settle to avoid tainting his reputation.
On June 16, Hunt’s mansion was sold in one of the largest foreclosure sales in the region’s history, for $7.3 million to an entity called GREI LLC, whose managing member is Alasgar Farhadov, a Realtor in Northern Virginia. Then, in July, Farhadov transferred his company’s interest in the house to 201 Chain Bridge LLC, the firm managed by Kim.
Hunt has been living on the property “on and off” since July, according to his close friend and business associate Danny Jones.
In July, Kim’s attorneys began sending letters to Hunt demanding that he leave or be charged rent for every day he stayed on the property after his ownership had ceased on the day of the auction. In phone interviews, Kim has refused to say whether he personally owns the mansion and plans on moving into it.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Hunt declined to comment. Sara Harris, who serves as the chief financial officer of Kim’s legal entity, declined to say whether Kim planned to move into the property; he did not attend the hearing.
In early August, Hunt was sentenced to three months in Arlington jail for violating his probation on a drug charge. While Hunt was incarcerated, a party held at the mansion was tied to a drive-by shooting that occurred about a mile away. Three people were wounded in the incident. Although Hunt’s then-attorney said his client had not authorized the party, his client was well known for throwing huge bashes at the house — often noted on Instagram with the hashtag #RPHMansion — that required attendees to park at a nearby church and take a shuttle bus onto the grounds of the property.
There still is a remote chance for Hunt to reclaim the house. He has 10 days to appeal Tuesday’s ruling. But if he wants to petition another judge, he must pay a $132,000 appeal bond to the Arlington court — a figure that represents a portion of unpaid rent for living on the property during the summer and fall.
Will Hunt go through with the expensive appeal? “That’s being discussed right now,” said Jones, his close friend. “We’re not 100 percent sure.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the year that RS Information Systems was founded. The story has been corrected.