Local lender fights for control of Hild properties, wants receiver appointed

7.7R Live Well dogtownbrewing

The Hilds’ Dogtown Brewing was open for a time, but has been closed since the start of the pandemic. (BizSense file)

As he continues to battle a long running criminal case in New York and the corporate bankruptcy case of his former company in Delaware, Michael Hild’s newest legal fight is playing out closer to home.

Local lender Virginia Credit Union is suing the embattled Richmond businessman in an effort to take control of some of his Manchester real estate holdings.

Filed in December in Richmond Circuit Court, VACU’s lawsuit claims Hild and Church Hill Ventures LLC, an entity owned by his wife Laura, defaulted on several loans borrowed to finance the development of some of the couple’s more notable properties and owe the credit union around $6.2 million.

VACU, through affiliate VACU Resolution LLC, seeks court approval to appoint a receiver to take over management of the properties. The lawsuit’s ultimate goal is to allow VACU to take possession of the real estate, likely through foreclosure, and then sell it off to help satisfy the balance on the loans.

The properties it’s targeting are: 1200-1206 and 1213 Hull St., home to the Hilds’ Butterbean café and Hot Diggity Donuts, both of which have been shuttered since around 2020; the building at 1209 Hull St., which houses the Hilds’ shuttered Dogtown Brewing Co.; a vacant lot at 1124 Bainbridge St.; and a small home at 2010 Maury St. The café and donut shop buildings also house apartments on the upper levels, some of which are actively rented.

hilds

Michael Hild and his wife Laura Hild in Manchester prior to his legal troubles. (BizSense file photo)

VACU claims those properties have a combined assessed value of $5.78 million. It has asked that Peter Barrett, a seasoned local attorney at the Kutak Rock law firm, serve as the receiver to maintain the properties and collect the rents until VACU can formally take possession and sell them.

VACU’s efforts come nearly four years after Hild’s now-defunct reverse mortgage company Live Well Financial was forced into bankruptcy by several large lenders and Hild was subsequently charged and convicted in a criminal fraud case that federal prosecutors called a massive reverse mortgage bond pricing scheme.

Two other former Live Well executives also were charged and pleaded guilty in the case. Hild pleaded not guilty and has continued to proclaim his innocence while fighting his conviction in federal appeals court.

Live Well’s bankruptcy liquidation also continues in Delaware federal court.

Both the criminal and bankruptcy cases have cast a cloud over much of Hild’s personal assets, as the government and the Live Well trustee claim he used ill-gotten funds from Live Well to purchase much of the Manchester real estate.

Both the federal government and the trustee have fought for access to those assets for forfeiture in the criminal case and to help pay back Live Well’s creditors in the bankruptcy case, with each side asking for tens of millions of dollars from Hild.

VACU navigated those complications by settling with the Live Well trustee, agreeing to pay $275,000 to the bankruptcy estate in order to be freed up to go after the Manchester real estate.

In addition to its claims that Church Hill Ventures defaulted on five loans, all of which were personally guaranteed by Hild, VACU also argues that the LLC is insolvent due to its loan debt and the claims from the government and bankruptcy trustee. The credit union has maintained that it is a first lien holder on the properties.

7.7R Live Well Butterbean

Butterbean Cafe, like the neighboring Hild businesses, has been closed since March 2020.

Hild and Church Hill Ventures are pushing back against some of VACU’s allegations, arguing in their Jan. 4 response that the $5 billion credit union doesn’t have a right to have a receiver appointed or to take possession of the properties.

In calling for the case to be dismissed, the defendants question the amounts VACU says are owed on the loans and also accuse VACU of breaching its fiduciary duty to the borrowers. They also question the motivations behind VACU’s settlement with the Live Well trustee.

A hearing is set in the case for Feb. 21 in Richmond Circuit Court.

Hild did not respond to a request for comment. Hild and Church Hill Ventures are represented in the case by attorney Brad Marrs of Richmond law firm Marrs & Henry. Marrs declined to comment beyond the pleadings.

VACU declined to comment on the matter. The credit union is represented in the case by Spotts Fain attorney Robert Chappell, who also declined to comment.

Hild, meanwhile, continues his other legal battles on several fronts.

He and his wife have been asked to be deposed in the Live Well case. In his criminal matter, arguments continue over how much in restitution he should pay, if any, to the lender victims. A separate judge has been brought in to help resolve those arguments.

And Hild’s appeal of his conviction and sentence is ongoing in Manhattan, with the next filings due in March.

He was sentenced to 44 months in federal prison but has remained free on bond while his appeals case plays out.

VACU’s battle with Hild comes as it is in the midst of a major merger with a $1 billion credit union in Roanoke. The deal was announced last week.

7.7R Live Well dogtownbrewing

The Hilds’ Dogtown Brewing was open for a time, but has been closed since the start of the pandemic. (BizSense file)

As he continues to battle a long running criminal case in New York and the corporate bankruptcy case of his former company in Delaware, Michael Hild’s newest legal fight is playing out closer to home.

Local lender Virginia Credit Union is suing the embattled Richmond businessman in an effort to take control of some of his Manchester real estate holdings.

Filed in December in Richmond Circuit Court, VACU’s lawsuit claims Hild and Church Hill Ventures LLC, an entity owned by his wife Laura, defaulted on several loans borrowed to finance the development of some of the couple’s more notable properties and owe the credit union around $6.2 million.

VACU, through affiliate VACU Resolution LLC, seeks court approval to appoint a receiver to take over management of the properties. The lawsuit’s ultimate goal is to allow VACU to take possession of the real estate, likely through foreclosure, and then sell it off to help satisfy the balance on the loans.

The properties it’s targeting are: 1200-1206 and 1213 Hull St., home to the Hilds’ Butterbean café and Hot Diggity Donuts, both of which have been shuttered since around 2020; the building at 1209 Hull St., which houses the Hilds’ shuttered Dogtown Brewing Co.; a vacant lot at 1124 Bainbridge St.; and a small home at 2010 Maury St. The café and donut shop buildings also house apartments on the upper levels, some of which are actively rented.

hilds

Michael Hild and his wife Laura Hild in Manchester prior to his legal troubles. (BizSense file photo)

VACU claims those properties have a combined assessed value of $5.78 million. It has asked that Peter Barrett, a seasoned local attorney at the Kutak Rock law firm, serve as the receiver to maintain the properties and collect the rents until VACU can formally take possession and sell them.

VACU’s efforts come nearly four years after Hild’s now-defunct reverse mortgage company Live Well Financial was forced into bankruptcy by several large lenders and Hild was subsequently charged and convicted in a criminal fraud case that federal prosecutors called a massive reverse mortgage bond pricing scheme.

Two other former Live Well executives also were charged and pleaded guilty in the case. Hild pleaded not guilty and has continued to proclaim his innocence while fighting his conviction in federal appeals court.

Live Well’s bankruptcy liquidation also continues in Delaware federal court.

Both the criminal and bankruptcy cases have cast a cloud over much of Hild’s personal assets, as the government and the Live Well trustee claim he used ill-gotten funds from Live Well to purchase much of the Manchester real estate.

Both the federal government and the trustee have fought for access to those assets for forfeiture in the criminal case and to help pay back Live Well’s creditors in the bankruptcy case, with each side asking for tens of millions of dollars from Hild.

VACU navigated those complications by settling with the Live Well trustee, agreeing to pay $275,000 to the bankruptcy estate in order to be freed up to go after the Manchester real estate.

In addition to its claims that Church Hill Ventures defaulted on five loans, all of which were personally guaranteed by Hild, VACU also argues that the LLC is insolvent due to its loan debt and the claims from the government and bankruptcy trustee. The credit union has maintained that it is a first lien holder on the properties.

7.7R Live Well Butterbean

Butterbean Cafe, like the neighboring Hild businesses, has been closed since March 2020.

Hild and Church Hill Ventures are pushing back against some of VACU’s allegations, arguing in their Jan. 4 response that the $5 billion credit union doesn’t have a right to have a receiver appointed or to take possession of the properties.

In calling for the case to be dismissed, the defendants question the amounts VACU says are owed on the loans and also accuse VACU of breaching its fiduciary duty to the borrowers. They also question the motivations behind VACU’s settlement with the Live Well trustee.

A hearing is set in the case for Feb. 21 in Richmond Circuit Court.

Hild did not respond to a request for comment. Hild and Church Hill Ventures are represented in the case by attorney Brad Marrs of Richmond law firm Marrs & Henry. Marrs declined to comment beyond the pleadings.

VACU declined to comment on the matter. The credit union is represented in the case by Spotts Fain attorney Robert Chappell, who also declined to comment.

Hild, meanwhile, continues his other legal battles on several fronts.

He and his wife have been asked to be deposed in the Live Well case. In his criminal matter, arguments continue over how much in restitution he should pay, if any, to the lender victims. A separate judge has been brought in to help resolve those arguments.

And Hild’s appeal of his conviction and sentence is ongoing in Manhattan, with the next filings due in March.

He was sentenced to 44 months in federal prison but has remained free on bond while his appeals case plays out.

VACU’s battle with Hild comes as it is in the midst of a major merger with a $1 billion credit union in Roanoke. The deal was announced last week.

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kay christensen
kay christensen
4 months ago

How this guy has managed to escape prison to date And his wife has not been criminally charged is truly stunning.

CM Reynolds
CM Reynolds
4 months ago

I’ll answer your question with a hypothetical, if the two gentlemen in the background of the picture of Hild and his wife robbed VACU (causing a loss of around $2-5k) they would get 5+ years easy. Hild “robbed” VACU for well over $400,000 (using the $6.2 million VACU is owed minus the $5.78 million the property is worth mentioned in the article) and zero jail time, and I guarantee VACU will lose this case because that’s just the way it is. This country has a problem.

SA Chaplin
SA Chaplin
4 months ago
Reply to  CM Reynolds

Nonsense. The guys who rob VACU would get what they deserve (e.g., 5yrs for armed robbery) after due process. Hild will get what he deserves as well, albeit after many months of due process.

Vicki Croisetiere
Vicki Croisetiere
4 months ago

Isn’t it though? How many people have already suffered because of their greed?

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
4 months ago

It’s not called Live Well Financial for nothin’

Fred Squire
Fred Squire
4 months ago

The wife (clown that she is walking around free, claiming she knows nothing about the money she spent) has yet to face any consequences BUT honest folks in Richmond are getting massive $ penalties (relative for their business) because the government can’t be transparent about their financials.

What a truly screwed up system we have to operate in. And people keep voting for the same folks. Ahem…..Stoney

George MacGuffin
George MacGuffin
4 months ago
Reply to  Fred Squire

Rule of law is for little people

Justin Ranson
Justin Ranson
4 months ago

I was hoping the days of seeing this clown’s face plastered on RBS were over.

Greg Samuels - EO Richmond
Greg Samuels - EO Richmond
4 months ago
Reply to  Justin Ranson

I totally agree. Some days I just don’t get how articles are picked for RBS. There are amazing local businesses who could use the spotlight, yet RBS chooses to take the path of the criminals, the bankruptcies, and who has bought the most expensive house.

If the name of the game is eyeballs (which in media, it is)….then perhaps more eyeballs would be interested in how Richmond is growing and the small businesses and organizations that drive this city forward.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
4 months ago
Reply to  Justin Ranson

Well I do want at least one more article with the picture of him, when appeals fail, reporting to a FCI for his sentence. Nice one of him walking into the gates head down with a tall, wired fence around him.

Mike Rinko
Mike Rinko
4 months ago

The lenders were the people that enabled this fraudster to create so much damage. They should have spotted this clown a mile away. Seriously, he was doing reverse mirtgages and making supposedly so much money he could buy half of manchester and other things?? Get real. This wasnt a new piece of tech. It was reverse mortgages. These banks (and the media) hold responsibility when they throw ridiculous funding and coverage on the fraudsters and schemes (like Justin French, HDL, CarLotz, True Health, Salveo and so many others. Is it really not hard to study the reverse mortgage business and… Read more »

Justin Fritch
Justin Fritch
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Rinko

fraudsters and schemes (like Justin French, HDL, CarLotz, True Health, Salveo

I am surprised to see Salveo on this list, especially since I am surprised to see them as being known in the first place. Considering you connected two other heavily related labs, you must have some interesting tid-bits.

Mike Rinko
Mike Rinko
4 months ago
Reply to  Justin Fritch

Nah, just another Bio startup that sprouted from HDL carcas with big promises, big dreams (most likely big salaries) and a list of unpaid creditors and former employees after there demise. I probably could have just said HDL (and that would have included True health and the others), My problem is that the media and banks never scratch the surface to see if these businesses are really disrupting the indistries they claim or just making a lot of noise. The press and money they get lure in employees, vendors…. that all wind up getting burned when they realize people like… Read more »