Dueling lawyers ally on fate of jailed Jefferson’s Richmond properties

Posted at 11:52 AM, Jul 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-24 13:41:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. –Lawyers on opposing sides of a Richmond federal tax credit fraud case are working together to keep a local developer’s real estate holdings off the auction block.

The defense team for Billy G. Jefferson Jr. and the federal prosecutors trying to put him behind bars for nearly 40 years filed a joint motion this week to try to stop a bank from foreclosing on 29 of the imprisoned landlord’s rental properties.

The lawyers argue the portfolio of Fan, Carytown and Museum District apartments could fetch higher prices in a standard sale process, generating cash that could be used to pay down Jefferson’s $9.6 million restitution.

“On at least one issue, Bill Jefferson and the U.S. government agree,” said Chuck James, a Williams Mullen attorney representing Jefferson. “His properties should be sold at fair market value to maximize the recovery for the victims.”

Wells Fargo is set to auction the portfolio of properties on the steps of the Richmond courthouse on July 31. The bank is pushing for foreclosure after Jefferson defaulted on $36 million worth of loans secured by the real estate.

The buildings include 441 apartment units scattered throughout the Fan, Museum District and Carytown. Richmond city assessments value the properties at a total of about $33 million. It is unclear what Jefferson owes on the loans that include two notes: one each issued to Jefferson-owned entities River City Renaissance LC and River City Renaissance III LC.

Both Jefferson’s defense team and the prosecution agree that selling the properties on the open market could generate “several million dollars” more than what Jefferson owes on them.

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