The Downfall of Rodney P. Hunt

Last week the Washington Post ran a profile of the downfall of Rodney P. Hunt which I found to be extremely sad but an all too common story of what happens when some Black people come into a large sum of money. What makes this story stick out more is that this Mr. Hunt was not your typical athlete, rapper or entertainer who blows his fortune; he was a successful entrepreneur. However, even with his successful business experience he still found a way to throw away his wealth on status symbols and foolish business ventures.

Rodney Hunt was the cofounder of RS Information Systems (RSIS), one of the nation’s most successful Black owned government contracting firms. At its height in 2005 RSIS employed over 1,700 people and generated $363 million in revenues. In 2007, the year RSIS was sold, Mr. Hunt’s net worth was estimated to be more than $250 million.

What would you do with $250 million…or even half that? Retire? Build a foundation? Give back to your alma mater? Give to your church? Collect cars? Buy a boat? Maybe travel? Do all of the above? Perhaps if you are a true entrepreneur you would start another business. That’s what Mr. Hunt did, and with at least tens of millions of dollars and experience creating and running a successful business how could it go wrong?

Well the first step in Mr. Hunt’s downfall was perhaps his decision to build a 20,000 sq ft home at a cost of $23,000,000; a home so over the top and ostentatious that it was featured on MTV’s Teen Cribs. The home is now scheduled to be sold at auction due to Mr. Hunt defaulting on a $9.4 million loan from Bank of America. You would think Mr. Hunt would’ve had the resources to pay cash upfront for the home. Or maybe a “simpler” $5 million or $10 million dollar home would have been a better choice.

Maybe the second mistake was deciding at 51 years old you could become the next music mogul. Launching RPH Entertainment and signing up local rappers (including your son A Kid Named Breezy and another rapper named Big Pokey) to your record label seems like an odd second act. Perhaps releasing the album “Money, Cars, Clothes and Hoes” is a bit stranger and not at all reflective of a man that ran one the nation’s most successful black owned IT businesses.

Money, Cars, Clothes & Hoes

If the first two ventures were not creative enough ways to blow a fortune, perhaps partnering and creating a clothing line is. Currency Clothing seems like a great excellent way to burn through cash, especially for a person that probably know little to none about the world of fashion. Stranger still is the decision to partner and create designer jewelry, including custom grills and gaudy pendants and chains. Again, I would suspect a person that made their fortune in government IT contracts to know little about the world of jewelry.

Rodney P Hunt Hi Top Spike Sneakers. Wow.

I will invite you to read more of the Washington Post’s expose to get further details of the tidal wave of creditors and additional failed businesses that have followed Mr. Hunt since he sold RSIS. You can also read there about his penchant for “exaggerating the truth” in regards to his education and personal achievements among other things.

What I find most shockingly sad is someone who you would think would be an excellent example of a successful Black entrepreneur turns out to be your stereotypical story off what ‘successful’ Black people do with money: spend it all away on material items and nonsensical business ventures. Some of the time you can cut an athlete of rapper some slack because they come from a background that provides them virtually no exposure as to how to properly save and invest their money. However in Mr. Hunt’s case you would expect a higher level of financial and business sophistication.

You would think that a man who cofounded a business that did hundreds of millions of dollars in business with the federal government would not follow in the footsteps of MC Hammer. You would think that he would think the idea of him running a hip hop label, an urban fashion line and designing diamond grills for rappers would be absurdly preposterous propositions. You would think his business acumen would be a little bit higher.

On a broader point it frustrates me that so much Black talent limit themselves, they only see sports, fashion and entertainment as business avenues when there are infinite other ways to make a dollar. It frustrates me more that Mr. Hunt was a prime example as to an entrepreneur who built a successful business outside of those stereotypical domains and after his success he chose to go backwards and blow it all away in those very same stereotypical industries. He chose to be flashy and chase fame over finding comfort in protecting and growing his substantial wealth.

My bet is Mr. Hunt will be file for bankruptcy sometime in the next 12 months. Whether he does or not, the story of Rodney P. Hunt is a sad, sad, sad one.

Washington Post: A $23 Million Mansion Heads to Foreclosure as an Entrepreneur’s Fortune Vanishes

A Kid Name Breezy’s Mansion Party

 

4 thoughts on “The Downfall of Rodney P. Hunt

  1. I believe that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but it is sad that we believe what is written without ever questioning if what is written is only part of the truth. There is more to be questioned about the current state of Mr. Hunts financial mismanagement. Like questioning why would a man with such apparent success make such unwise business decisions? Clearly there is more beneath the surface than a mere article can tell. You so eloquently question the level of intelligence by Mr. Hunts ability to make, at one time, wise business decisions. I would suspect one would question, if a man at one time made wise business decisions then why would that same man now would make unwise business decisions? Was he the brains behind those decisions and someone else running the business? Leaves much to be questioned before simply summarizing what we presume the issues are.

    I have met and had many personal discussions with Mr. Hunt and he does have a brilliant mind. Perhaps just like so many other talented vessels we have seen in our history. Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Picasso, Albert Einstein, and the list goes on. They were visionaries, perhaps even considered genius, but they did not run their businesses, they were the brains behind the business. And while they may have had many failures, they have been remembered for their success. Should we not remember Mr. Hunt for his, and not the current state of his misfortunate financial decisions. After all, the man is still alive and has the ability to return to success time and time again while there is breadth remaining in his body. Why would you forecast his demise with bankruptcy? Or is it just for selling stories?

    In defense of Mr. Hunt, I believe that his desire to expand his wealth and provide avenues of opportunities to those who are in the entertainment and fashion world failed primarily because of his inability to effectively partner with the appropriate business-minded people. After all, Sean Combs created a successful line of clothing, but knew very little about fashion. His continued success is in part due to his ability to partner with the appropriate people in business.

    Mr. Hunt, while very intelligent, perhaps to his own demise did not collaborate and partner with the best business people. And while I have never made multiple millions, I bet that this experience will serve Rodney P. Hunt as one of the best life lessons and he still has the ability rise from where he is. Once you fall, you only have up to go, but the second time around you are smarter and wiser for the lessons learned.

    Lets be slow to judge and more willing to dig deeper for understanding. That way we can extend compassion and not condemnation and judgement. After all, I do not know of any man or woman alive who has not made unwise decisions in his or her life, they simply were not printed for the world to see and aren’t we thankful for that.

  2. Whatever has or will become of Mr.Hunt, will definatey be something for my book. Good luck Rodney in all of your new adventures. Remember, Derrick hotel

  3. As a friend and ex employee of Mr Hunts, I can tell people who read this to keep in mind that this is only one persons point of view and opinion. While some of these things are solid facts, the important facts in his defense are left out entirely. Life throws us curveballs throughout the years and puts even the most successful and intelligent people in completely unfamiliar territory. It only becomes harder when you are targeted by people on a daily basis that want to bring you down by taking whatever they can get from you. Rodney battled some of the worst issues you could imagine and all at the same time. I feel like a hypocrite by stating these next facts but I’m only doing it so that others can try to put themselves in his shoes before being so judgemental. He struggled with the death of his wife who was killed by a drunk driver, a police and political corruption/scandal which will one day come to light and shock the nation.

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