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More of Wilton’s shares headed for auction

Michael Schwartz July 8, 2013 0
Wilton Companies headquarters

The Wilton Companies headquarters at Dickens Road and Staples Mill.

Another sizeable chunk of a local real estate firm is up for grabs.

Shares of the Wilton Companies that had been most recently owned by the firm’s former head and namesake Hank Wilton will be auctioned off today.

Randolph Trow, an attorney at local law firm Poole and Poole who is handling the auction, said the shares had been pledged as collateral to First Capital Bank for some of Mr. Wilton’s debt. That debt, along with numerous other loans went into default amid Mr. Wilton’s personal bankruptcy filing in late 2010.

A total of 3,049 shares of the Wilton Companies will be offered for sale at 11 a.m. today. Trow said the shares will be sold as one block.

Wilton Companies President and CEO Rich Johnson said the shares up for auction account for about a 4.8 percent stake of the firm. Those shares, along with two other blocks held by creditors are some of the final pieces of the company’s attachment to Wilton’s personal bankruptcy.

“There are still a couple of creditors floating around out there who had just never acted upon their collateral. It’s what I’d call a residual cleanup,” Johnson said.

The company weighs its options each time shares have come up for auction in recent years during the bankruptcy.

“We have in some cases bought [the shares] and in some cases not,” Johnson said. “If it goes to a certain price, beyond what we’re willing to pay, somebody else can own it. We look at it and determine what’s in the best interest of the company.”

Johnson, along with Wilton Companies General Counsel Rodney Poole, through an LLC paid nearly $900,000 for 1,400 shares through a bankruptcy court-ordered auction late last year.

Poole is principal of Poole and Poole, the law firm conducting the auction. The law firm’s office is in the same building as the Wilton Companies headquarters at 4901 Dickens Road.

The Wilton Companies develop, own and manage shopping centers, apartments, offices and other properties across Richmond.

Mr. Wilton’s bankruptcy filing 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.

Wilton was discharged from his Chapter 7 bankruptcy case earlier this year.

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