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Unified Wine and Grape Symposium 2020

Bill Hambrecht: Billionaire’s Cash Flow Issues Have Broad Impacts

Billionaire financier and vintner William Hambrecht’s recent pattern of behavior toward financial obligations  seems to demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to stand behind personal guarantees of loans or even to make mortgage payments on one of his prized vineyard properties that was almost sold at a foreclosure auction and still remains in jeopardy.

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The un-met obligations have spawned a legion of lawsuits and written-off loans that stretch from California’s wine country to the worlds of securities brokerage and failed football leagues.

The situation also weighs heavily on the Truett-Hurst offering which is finding its Hambrecht-backed OpenIPO rough going as it heads for yet another revision in pricing and terms.

The storm of mortgage defaults, court judgments, lawsuits and other signs of cash flow problems flooding Bill Hambrecht’s door steps would be enough to send mere mortals scurrying for the shelter of higher ground. But not the unflappable vintner financier and venture capital mogul who called Wine Industry Insight from a tech start-up conference he is sponsoring in Portland to explain calmly why he thinks everything is under control and that everybody else need not be so litigiously upset.

But those on the other side of the courtroom — who have pending lawsuits and/or court judgments for payment somewhere north of $10 or $11 million — are not so sanguine.  And that gives wary investors looking at the current Truett-Hurst IPO, another pause for thought.

None of the court judgments have been paid yet, some of which have been waiting since June of 2012. New lawsuits are also being filed that up the ante. Add to that loan defaults on one of his major properties and a puzzling picture arises that appears to be a billionaire’s cash flow problem.

LOAN GUARANTEE ISSUES RAISE TRUETT-HURST FINANCE CONCERNS

The fact that a substantial number of the lawsuits are over personal loan guarantees that Hambrecht has refused to honor, brings into question the security of the Truett-Hurst loans that Hambrecht and co-founder Phil Hurst have guaranteed.

That’s because court documents — in matters not related to Truett-Hurst — indicate that none of the loans that Hambrecht guaranteed will likely be paid in full because so far, all of the court cases terminated in private settlements were for substantially less than the loan principal supposedly guaranteed by him..

While Hambrecht has said that the loans will be paid in June after he sells an unspecified asset, the question is why a person who reportedly is a billionaire has not paid those obligations thus far.

The current odyssey into the world of William Hambrecht’s loans and lawsuits began after Wine Industry Insight’s first series of articles on the Truett-Hurst Winery IPO, currently being handled by Hambrecht’s OpenIPO, a part of W.R. Hambrecht & Co.

For more on those articles, please see:

Wine Executive News subscribers please click here to read the complete 1,899-word article.

Also In This Article:

The full text of the following sections is available to premium subscribers of Wine Executive News.

  • COURT ORDER CLAIMS PART OF HAMBRECHT’S TRUETT-HURST OWNERSHIP
  • HAMBRECHT FAILURE TO HONOR LOAN GUARANTEES COULD ENDANGER THST CREDIT
  • $7.7+MILLION IN COURT-ORDERED GUARANTEES UNPAID
  • HAMBRECHT SAYS WAITING ON ASSET SALE TO PAY LITIGANTS
  • BRADFORD MOUNTAIN FORECLOSURE ANOTHER SIGN OF CASH FLOW ISSUES?
  • $19+ MILLION IN WR HAMBRECHT LOANS UNPAID OR WRITTEN OFF
  • WINE GROUP EMPLOYEE SETTLEMENT UNPAID

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