Hunt ditches $6 million in debt through bankruptcy

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 19, 2012

CHARLESTON – Getting a new lease on life after $6 million takes on new meaning for a Charleston attorney and lawmaker

Last October, records show Mark A. Hunt emerged from Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Known as "liquidation" bankruptcy, Chapter 7 allows the debtor -an individual, couple or business - to sell all non-exempt property via a court-appointed trustee to pay off creditors.

One stipulation of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the debtor must receive approved credit counseling at his or her own expense.

In a joint petition filed on Aug. 18, 2010 with his wife Tracy, Hunt listed $1,059,883.94 in assets and $6,041,855.99 in liabilities. Details of their finances were not made available until a month later after the case was transferred to Huntington.

According to the petition, the bulk of their assets, $1,017,140, was in real property that included their residence on Edgewood Drive in Charleston, and two rental properties in Florida, one in Ft. Myers, and the other in Key West. The remaining $42,743.94 in personal property included a 2005 Cadillac LTS, and 2004 Audi A6 totaling $16,500.

The bust of the housing bubble appears to be among the reasons the Hunts declared bankruptcy. In their petition, they list the values of the properties in Ft. Myers and Key West at $671,850 and $813,632 with the value of their interest in them at $321,560 and $445,580, respectively.
Elsewhere in the petition, the Hunts stated they made no money off the Key West property in 2008. Instead, it cost them $15,557.

At the conclusion of their petition, the Hunts stated their intention to surrender the Florida properties, but keep their home in Charleston and continue making payments on it. In the section of statement of financial affairs where they are asked to list any lawsuits to which they are party, the Hunts state the Ft. Myers property was pending foreclosure.

Records show another foreclosure suit was filed in Monroe County, Fla. against Mark in 2009 by Deutsche Bank. Though details of the suit are not provided, Hunt’s largest creditor holding an unsecured non-priority claim is High Point Place in Ft. Myers for a “Personal guaranty of loan to Hunt and Serreno for preconstruction purchase of 2 condos (investment property)” made in 2005 for $1,575,984.

Prior to forming his current firm, Mark A. Hunt and Associates in 2007, Hunt was partners with Anthony Serreno in the firm Hunt and Serreno. In the petition, Hunt lists several debts, including $102,893.99 in unpaid advertising owed to SuddenLink, SuperMedia, West Virginia Radio Corp, WOWK-TV 13 and WSAZ-TV 3, carried over from the old firm.

Another underperforming asset Hunt listed on the petition is his ownership of New Colonial Broadcasting in Key West. In his first two years of ownership in 2008 and 2009, Hunt stated he incurred a loss totaling $181,175.

The losses from the rental properties, and television station in Florida significantly ate into Hunt’s income.

According to the petition, his law firm income in 2008 was $121,869. Though his law income dipped the next year to $99,722, his total income increased to $122,699 due to the pay he received as a legislator.

Between Jan. 1, and July 31, 2010, Hunt reported his total income at $85,222. At the time the petition was filed, he and Tracy listed their total income at $9,244.30.

Twenty years ago, Hunt was first elected to the House of Delegates in then-newly created 31st District. He vacated his seat in 2000 to run unsuccessfully for the state Senate.

In 2002, Hunt made a political comeback by running successfully for one of the seats in the 30th District. Four years later, he again vacated his seat, this time to run unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

However, Hunt made a second political comeback in 2008 by rounding out the Democratic ticket for the 30th District in the May primary. All Democrats in that race, including Hunt, incumbents, Bobbie Hatfield, Bonnie Brown, Danny Wells, Nancy Peoples Guthrie and Sharon Spencer and political newcomer Douglas Skaff Jr., were successful in November.

Following redistricting, the 30th was split into the 35th and 36th districts. Hunt, 52,who is vice-chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, along with Guthrie and Wells, faces Republicans Robin Holstein of Belle and Steve Sweeney and Stevie Thaxton, both of South Charleston, in next month’s general election for the 36th District.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number 10-bk-20819

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