Delegate wants financial woes behind him

CHIP ELLIS | Gazette Mark Hunt.

Delegate Mark Hunt, D-Kanawha, said Monday he’s hopeful he can put his 2010 bankruptcy behind him, possibly as early as today.

Hunt filed for bankruptcy in 2010, citing $1.059 million in assets and $6.04 million in liabilities.

The Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy was originally closed on Oct. 3, 2011, but reopened on Jan. 10, 2013, for the trustee to administer newly discovered assets.

Hunt said that was the result of about $36,000 of settlements paid in two cases dating back prior to 2010.

“I didn’t try to exempt those, because I didn’t think they’d ever pay anything,” he said. “There was no allegation of fraud. It just was what it was.”

Bankruptcy trustee Janet Smith Holbrook filed an amended final report in U.S. Bankruptcy Court April 9, providing 21 days for any party to file a written objection. That deadline is today.

The final report disburses a remaining balance of $35,966, with first payments directed to the Internal Revenue Service of $12,376 to pay down a total of $38,897 in federal income tax liens, $2,623 to the state Tax Department for state income taxes due. After that, the first priority payment is also to the IRS, for $14,154.

Additionally, 19 creditors with unsecured claims — primarily credit card and loan companies — will be paid a total of $2,335, recovering about 5 cents on the dollar on their claims.

Hunt said his failure to pay income taxes, as well as having property tax liens in Kanawha County, and on investment properties in Fort Myers and Key West, Fla., is not a reflection on his ability to serve as a legislator.

“I’m under a payment plan on both, and as soon as all this is worked out, there’s money to pay most if not all the taxes,” Hunt said.

Hunt blamed his financial situation on purchases of two luxury houses in Fort Myers and Key West with mortgages of nearly $1.5 million shortly before the housing market there collapsed, as well as the break-up of the Hunt and Serreno law firm in 2006.

He also has liabilities of $650,000 to Huntington Bank for the WB Building on Bigley Avenue on Charleston’s West Side — briefly the home of WHCP-TV, the short-lived television station that Hunt was an investor.

He also claimed unpaid student loans in excess of $259,272, including $216,375 to Direct Loan Inc., and a total of $56,552 in credit card debt on five credit cards.

Hunt also reported he was the subject of five collections suits, filed by West Virginia Radio Corp., Huntington Bank, BJW Printing, Preferred Mail Advertising, and WOWK-TV, and a civil action by American Express Travel Related Services, as well as foreclosure proceeding for the house in Fort Myers.

“I know I have some liabilities, and I hope they’ll be paid in the next few days,” Hunt said of finalizing the trustee’s report.

“Believe me, I would have liked to get this part of my life behind me a long time ago,” he said.

Reach Phil Kabler at or 304-348-1220.

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