Clock starts on Hank Wilton’s shares

Wilton Companies headquarters

The Wilton Companies headquarters at Dickens Road and Staples Mill Road.

The chance to own a piece of a prominent local real estate development company has arrived.

But interested parties will have to outbid Rich Johnson and Rodney Poole, two top executives of the Wilton Companies hoping to strengthen their hold on the firm.

The public has until Dec. 5 to outbid the twosome for shares of the Wilton Companies. About 3.5 percent of the company is at stake.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Richmond last week approved a stalking horse auction process that let an entity run by Johnson and Poole set the initial bid at almost $900,000 for 1,400 of Hank Wilton’s shares in the Wilton Companies.

The auction is a result of Hank Wilton’s personal bankruptcy, which when filed in late 2010 revealed that he had guaranteed tens of millions of dollars in loans on residential real estate projects using shares of the Wilton Companies as collateral.

To help attract bidders and drive up the auction price, the trustee is offering a finder’s fee of $25,000 to anyone who helps bring in a bid above Johnson and Pool’s.

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Bob Atack
Bob Atack

The demise of the real estate industry over the past 6 years has taken down some of the most talented and gifited people and companies Richmond has been fortunate to have . The iconic Wilton family been as generous to the community as it has benefited from it for over 50 years . We will all be better off with Hank Wilton and those like him as leaders in the real estate industry and leaders in our community. Let’s hope for the best of them as we look forward to their return in the real estate business .