Plot thickens: Halsey Minor claims outrage over foreclosure

news-cartersgrove-mMinor agreed to pay the Foundation over $17 million for the historic estate.

Claiming that he withheld his mortgage payments to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as part of an intentional strategy, financially troubled millionaire Halsey Minor lashes out at the condition of the mansion in a new story in the Williamsburg Gazette.

In the story, Minor talks of squatters living in the 1755 dwelling, of a "caved-in" wall, and suggests the he might have to remove the entire roof to find a leak that has allegedly been causing water damage. If he's right, it wouldn't be the first time someone sold Minor a leaky dwelling. And it wouldn't be the first time he fought back.

Five years ago, Minor plunked down $20 million for a modernist house in the tony Los Angeles community of Bel Air. Within two years, Minor was able to convince an arbitrator that the seller had hoodwinked him by failing to disclose various defects, and thus Minor won an award of $5.2 million.

Minor hints in the new Gazette article that he'll employ a similarly forceful strategy–- that may include bankrupting the company he used to buy the estate–- to rectify what he sees as misbehavior by the Foundation, which he alleges to owe just $3.5 million on a $17.2 million purchase price.

"They should focus their energies on arresting the tragic decline of Colonial Williamsburg," says the ever-quotable Minor, adding that the planned February 15 foreclosure sale will happen "in their dreams."

The Foundation points out that Minor, like most real estate buyers, was given a "substantial" due-diligence period in which to inspect the property prior to his 2007 purchase.

Raised in Charlottesville as the scion of a family that made substantial contributions to the University of Virginia, Minor went on to help launch such successful companies as CNet and and build up a net worth once estimated in the vicinity of $400 million.

However, after an autumn 2008 freeze on his $27.5 million credit line by Merrill Lynch, Minor has been embroiled in a multi-year series of creditor lawsuits–- including the loss of a $1.5 million deposit on a new Gulfstream jet, the recent loss of his planned 10-story Landmark hotel in downtown Charlottesville, and a statement by the California authorities, at $13 million, he is the Golden State's greatest tax delinquent.

A separate report in the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily reveals that Minor has tax problems at Carter's Grove too. The Daily alleges he owes nearly $22,000 on the property to James City County for the second half of 2010 and the first half of 2011.

Accusing a Hook reporter last year of tarnishing his reputation in his hometown, Minor demanded that all questions go through his publicist, Aaron Curtiss. An emailed request to Curtiss last week for comment on the Williamsburg situation did not, however, result in a reply.

–updated 10:21am, Tuesday, February 1 with Minor's measure of the indebtedness and the purchase price as well as the unpaid tax allegation


To say it has nothing to do with the economy is ignorant at best. A poorly thought out stance from a law student who, i regress, is trying to shine his intellect much like his fake rolex. Your words sound authentic and perhaps would have merit if it were not for the fact the man is literally in shambles. A long list of occurances lead him to this point, all of which are a direct result of the economy. Certainly, he made some poor investments but likewise made some proper ones. The issue here is that men who less than 5 years ago were valued at 400 million dollars ARE NOT THE DEAD WOOD my friend. They are your employers, my employer and they create jobs and prop up both local and state economies. The dead wood you speak of are the fifty thousand a year workers with one hundred thousand a year in debt who despite their own awareness they cannot do so, borrow more money than they can pay back. The folks whp purchase a half million dollar home on a combined sixty thousand a year household income....then complain and whine about government and banks and the rich all being the root of their financial problems. Personal responsibility folks, personal responsibility.......that phrase is paramount if we are to ever get back on track.

He has paid all but $3.2M....the property was never worth what he paid for it (just like his art, Bel-Air home, Fox Ridge, furniture, putter, horses...he was smarter than everyone. No one I know can point to single transaction that he has completed per agreement. He will never get another job, loan, or partner. God only knows how he can pay California or the IRS plus all the property taxes he owes. I suspect that the taxing authorities are looking pretty heavily at his bank statements and his wife's jewelry. Minor Ventures is no more as he has sold most all of those companies just to maintain his $1M lifestyle.

It's humorous to sit around and make all these jokes about rich people falling down. But it should be a warning to everybody that the economy is not improving, and of the fact that the entire country is on the verge of the worst econalypse in history. If you think the last couple of years have been bad, you ain't seen nothing yet!

He made a commitment to pay for it and had a chance to inspect it. If it had gone up in value he would have accepted it. It didn't and like he always does cries and goes to lawyers. With his track record like it is he will run out all that money he made and will be down with the rest of us and have to work for a living; be a good experience for him.

Minor was probably jealous that Patricia Kluge was getting more publicity with her foreclosure.

I don't see this as having ANYTHING to do with the economy as a whole. Besides, foreclosures tend to LAG economic declines and rebounds -- sometimes, an increase in foreclosures signals that the economy is finally shedding the deadwood that has been holding it back.

You may be right, gasbag, but anecdotal evidence also shouldn't be blown out of proportion. Besides, Minor may be telling the truth. Strategic foreclosure is often the right move to make, financially. The banks, gov't and HOAs won't ever admit that, but individuals SHOULD walk away from bad investments such as this one.

He borrowed 10 million dollars to buy real estate at the peak of the real estate bubble. Lord knows what this property is worth today, but why should he keep paying off a loan that is worth much more than the property? He can afford the hit to his credit rating, I'm sure.


A Minor just like the 50k a year person can borrow more than they can pay back. He is no more a 'victim' of the economy than those you claim he has employed, though I don't see him employing anyone beyond attorneys these days.

Never ceases to amaze me how those calling the shots are protected by the like of the LarryD's, but the person who shows up for work to make all those Minors wealthy is somehow guilty for all the economic woes.

It's like blaming the poor person who has no decision making power for the failure of Wall Street.

Give me a break.

GBSOE is right about the future prospects for the larger economy and the larger economy, even more so than the real estate bubble, has everything to do with the rash of high end foreclosures. These properties were purchased primarily for their "investment" value, not for their utility value. With the collapse of high end real estate prices, those properties no longer have any value to their notional "owners" since they cannot be sold for enough money to pay off the loan. Leverage only works going forward as many are finding out to their discomfort.
By the way, am I the only one who thinks Halsey Minor looks even sillier in that hard hat than Michael Dukakis did in that tank?

What did Santana do to the Alamo? Turn his guitar up too loud?

Dear Notsofast,

HM is a gentleman's gentleman. I could never envision him writing an inappropriate email to anyone under any circumstance. After all, he founded CNET and was the driving force behind the ultrasuccessful company Saleforce. He was also the brains behind google voice and many other significant computer applications. He is also one of the kindest people out there. He is motivated by altruism and a sense of duty to give back to the community. It would be far easier for him to have lived out the remainder of his years in the lap of luxury rather than construct a hotel in his hometown which would have created jobs and revenue and raised the stature of the town. He has tried to save nostalgic racing tracks like Hiyalea from people who would just soon as watch them rot. He has fought corrupt institutions like Merill Lynch which have wreaked havoc on the housing market. He fights for the common man. His fights are our fights and he should be supported as opposed to ridiculed. One day people will look back on him as a hero. How many people in a hundred years will remember Hawes Spencer as opposed to HM?

Johnny C;
Neither will be remembered after the last person dies who personally knew either...
But that applies to everyone on this board too, doesn't it?

Halsey Minor is greatly misunderstood. He's a great innovator more so than Bugsy Seigel who has a vision of returning horse racing back to its previous glory. While most people in his situation would have been content reaping the rewards of his immense fortune with endless vacations and dalliances with hotties, Halsey has instead dedicated himself to his vision. He has bought historic properties that served a dual function: preserving the heritage that he loves and giving back to the community and serving as sites where he could breed horses. Most of his activities have been to better the state that he adores. And for shame to those Virginians who now slander the good name of Minor. What have all of youse have done? Nothing.

Larry D---does that explain how is has stiffed almost every independent, small and big business. He even stiffed his housekeeper and she had to take him to small claims court. She won and he appealed. Finally he was forced by the judge to pay the $7000 he owed. He stiffed his interior decorator, his architect (even after they reached a settlement). The reality with Halsey is that he is NOT the person with the pedigree he says he is. He is smart enough but also sick enough to contradict any good that he might have. Halsey won the lottery and like most people he lost it all.

JohnnyC-----I bet you loved Hitler too. My God are you not aware of the shame he has brought the Commonwealth, his family, his classmates, etc etc? He has done more damage than Santana at the Alamo. Have you read the emails he sent the editor of the Hook? If so, do you think a "sane" business man with scruples would ever write another human being so drivel? He is a charlatan of minor proportion.

What did Santana do to the Alamo? Turn his guitar up too loud?<<<<

Acoustic at the Alamo.

What did Santana do to the Alamo? Turn his guitar up too loud?<<<<

Acoustic at the Alamo.

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