How to lose $200M without really trying

posted at 5:01 pm on June 2, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Halsey Minor has filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Of course, given the condition of the economy and high unemployment rates, that probably doesn’t sound terribly shocking. Lots of people have found themselves facing bankruptcy. But it’s a bit more unusual when you consider that this is a guy who just sold his company for $1.8B five years ago.

In 2008, Halsey Minor sold CNET Networks, the technology media property he founded, to CBS Corp. (CBS) for $1.8 billion. Minor’s personal haul was $200 million, according to CNNMoney. Now, just five years later, Minor, 47, has declared bankruptcy, listing debts of up to $100 million and claiming assets of at most half that much.

Minor has filed for Chapter 7 protection, which a bankruptcy lawyer who spoke to Bloomberg said “is clearing the slate”

The geeks in the audience won’t need to ask what CNET is, but Minor certainly seemed to be on top of the world at that point. So how does somebody go from pocketing 200 million to filing for bankruptcy in only five years? Bloomberg has a guess.

How do you sell the technology company you founded for $1.8 billion and five years later file for personal bankruptcy? For Halsey Minor, it may have been a fascination with houses, hotels, horses and art…

After years of technology investing, Minor embraced real estate. In February 2008, Minor bought the Carter’s Grove Plantation from Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for $15.3 million. The 400-plus acre estate, with a mile of frontage on the James River, was at one time a museum. Its 12-bedroom Georgian mansion was built for Carter Burwell, a scion of one of the richest families in colonial Virginia, in the 1750s. Architect magazine said Minor planned to raise racehorses on the property…

Minor also listed Claiborne Farm, Lanes End Stallions, KESMARC Kentucky and Braeburn Training Center among his creditors. Amounts owed to each creditor weren’t disclosed.

The list of purchases goes on for some time. And it seems that a lot of the people Minor owes money to are “unsecured creditors” which means that they’ll get stuck with the bill after his bankruptcy goes through. It may come as some comfort to them that he’s had to sell off quite a bit of his art collection. It sounds like Mr. Minor is doing alright for himself, though. When Bloomberg went to interview him at his home in the 90210 zip code, the driveway was clogged up with three SUVs and gardeners were working on the lawn.

It’s a hard knock life, but you’ve got to give the guy props for persevering.


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There was talk of him running for Gov in VA.

Punchenko on June 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM

There was talk of him running for Gov in VA.

Punchenko on June 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM

As a what?

NotCoach on June 2, 2013 at 5:08 PM

It still doesn’t add up to $200 million plus — though I’m sure he is in deep doo doo.

I read these high end celebrity real estate blogs. People like Ellen who is always buying houses and flipping them is not making any money. She pays too much, improves them, and then sells them for less or barely over what she paid for them. I guess it is a hobby but it is not a way to make money.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Oops! 1.8 billion he lost in 5 years?? I’d like to see how…

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Sounds like he was into raising race horses. Probably the only hobby more expensive than wine-making or Formula One racing.

What an idiot.

trigon on June 2, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Oops! 1.8 billion he lost in 5 years?? I’d like to see how…

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:11 PM

No, the 1.8 was what he got for the company, but $200 million was his share of the 1.8. I guess he didn’t own it 100%. I figured it was the entrepreneur’s saga, of boom and bust, but reading the excerpt, it was more like:

What an idiot.

trigon on June 2, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Paul-Cincy on June 2, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Very few of these celebrity houses actually look like homes. They mostly look like hotels or hotel lobbies. At least Russell Brand admits he prefers the hotel look. Then again, he is OCD.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM

http://realestalker.blogspot.com/2008/06/halsey-minor-takes-loss-in-bel-air.html

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:14 PM

That house doesn’t even look comfortable. I always wonder what these people do when they have the flu and have a house that looks like that. Do they carry around the tissue box, have dirty dishes in the sink and medicine all over?

Yes I’m weird LOL

gophergirl on June 2, 2013 at 5:22 PM

And it seems that a lot of the people Minor owes money to are “unsecured creditors” which means that they’ll get stuck with the bill after his bankruptcy goes through.

Unsecured loans are losers unless the vig is big.

Curtiss on June 2, 2013 at 5:25 PM

There was talk of him running for Gov in VA.

Punchenko on June 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM

As a what?

NotCoach on June 2, 2013 at 5:08 PM

democrat?

rob verdi on June 2, 2013 at 5:27 PM

This guy has lousy taste in California trophy properties. I’d have gone for this…

Click

trigon on June 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM

http://realestalker.blogspot.com/2008/06/halsey-minor-takes-loss-in-bel-air.html

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Ugly house, not warm nor architecturally pleasing. Nice location though except it’s CA, the place I no longer wish to be.

arnold ziffel on June 2, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Very few of these celebrity houses actually look like homes. They mostly look like hotels or hotel lobbies. At least Russell Brand admits he prefers the hotel look. Then again, he is OCD.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM

You should see the Marriott Estate on Lake Winnipesaukee here in New Hampshire. Looks more like Buckingham Palace, and compared to it Mitt Romney’s waterfront compound just down the lake is an outhouse.

Del Dolemonte on June 2, 2013 at 5:34 PM

I’m guessing crack.

faraway on June 2, 2013 at 5:35 PM

http://realestalker.blogspot.com/2008/06/halsey-minor-takes-loss-in-bel-air.html

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Ugly house, not warm nor architecturally pleasing. Nice location though except it’s CA, the place I no longer wish to be.

arnold ziffel on June 2, 2013 at 5:33 PM

The interior looks like a hipster sports bar, the exterior looks like the set for The Prisoner.

Curtiss on June 2, 2013 at 5:41 PM

It’s the economy, stupid!

CTSherman on June 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM

How do you make a small fortune in the race horse business? Start with a big one.

jnelchef on June 2, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Kirsten Stewart’s house is the nicest one I have seen and it’s a mere 2.2 million. I can’t find photos that do it justice, but I would live in it.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Maybe it was something like Brewster’s Millions where he had spend it?

tommer74 on June 2, 2013 at 5:48 PM

How to lose $200M without really trying

Give it to Green Energy companies…

Electrongod on June 2, 2013 at 5:49 PM

I don’t understand why very large homes are popular. It’s not like people travel for months to see you and then stay for months. I saw one house out near Malibu that was so large, I wondered how they kept their small children from getting lost in it. You would have to keep wings and door locked all the time. You would have to do daily checks to make sure no one was squatting in them.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:51 PM

I don’t understand why very large homes are popular. It’s not like people travel for months to see you and then stay for months.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Actually back in the time before we had trains and then cars and then jets, many people did travel to large places and then stayed for months-because it took so long for them to get there!

Del Dolemonte on June 2, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Al Gore, you’re next.

22044 on June 2, 2013 at 5:59 PM

There was talk of him running for Gov in VA.

Punchenko on June 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM

As a what?

NotCoach on June 2, 2013 at 5:08 PM

democrat?

rob verdi on June 2, 2013 at 5:27 PM

…looking at his bio…r v…that may be a 90% good guess!

KOOLAID2 on June 2, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Actually back in the time before we had trains and then cars and then jets, many people did travel to large places and then stayed for months-because it took so long for them to get there!

Del Dolemonte on June 2, 2013 at 5:57 PM

It’s not back in the time. Now is now. Didn’t think I needed to spell it out.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 5:59 PM

It sounds like Mr. Minor is doing alright for himself, though. When Bloomberg went to interview him at his home in the 90210 zip code, the driveway was clogged up with three SUVs and gardeners were working on the lawn.

That’s what kills me about these aholes, they’ll make others suffer for their irresponsible choices but won’t sacrifice their lifestyle. They have millions in outstanding debt yet live in a lap of luxury. They should be living in a trailer with a fifteen year old Chevy Malibu for transportation to whatever job they can find, just like everyone else would.

lowandslow on June 2, 2013 at 6:12 PM

President Choom is conducting an interview with him to become his new Economy Czar.

RoadRunner on June 2, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Sounds like some athletes and lottery winners. Always astounds me.

President Choom is conducting an interview with him to become his new Economy Czar.

RoadRunner on June 2, 2013 at 6:30 PM

LOL

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 2, 2013 at 6:41 PM

How to lose $200M without really trying

Give it to Green Energy companies…

Electrongod on June 2, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Very easy. No need to spend it on Green Energy. Just spend like you’re going to keep getting that $200 million every year or, every few years.

You overextend yourself on the one hand and don’t take into account that you’re spending your capital (what creates income) that you will need to maintain your standard of living on the other.

It seems to me that many lottery winners fall into that trap. Of course, not everyone but the ones who do fail tend to draw the attention.

Russ808 on June 2, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Al Gore, you’re next.

22044 on June 2, 2013 at 5:59 PM

From your lips to God’s ear…

Midas on June 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Matt Drudge is very wealthy because he lives very frugally.

Blake on June 2, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Anyone care to guess his voting preferences?

98ZJUSMC on June 2, 2013 at 7:24 PM

There was talk of him running for Gov in VA.

Punchenko on June 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM
.

As a what?

NotCoach on June 2, 2013 at 5:08 PM

.
democrat?

rob verdi on June 2, 2013 at 5:27 PM

.
With a resume like that, what else?

listens2glenn on June 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM

How to burn through $200-million, to the point of bankruptcy? Just ask Lotto winners. There are whole books of case studies on just that phenomenon.

Being genius doesn’t imply a grasp of numbers.

ss396 on June 2, 2013 at 7:40 PM

CNET used to be the Go-To place for technology news, reviews, and software from aspiring developers. Now it’s rife with apps that are more likely to spy on you or incessantly overlay ads on the websites you visit.

southsideironworks on June 2, 2013 at 8:05 PM

All of you who guessed he wanted to run for Governor of Virginia as a Democrat guessed wrong.
http://waldo.jaquith.org/blog/2008/09/halsey-minor-governor/

He is a Republican.

smokin hot politics on June 2, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Jon Corzine did better — he lost millions of other people’s money.

AesopFan on June 2, 2013 at 9:17 PM

This is so boring. No talk of hookers or blow.

“Lost it in real estate”

Snort.

pedestrian on June 2, 2013 at 10:41 PM

He is a Republican.

smokin hot politics on June 2, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Obviously, the wrong kind of republican.

trigon on June 2, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Jon CorzineFederal Government did better — they lost billions of other people’s money.

AesopFan on June 2, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Fixed.

BlaxPac on June 3, 2013 at 1:48 AM

Jon Conzine did not lose billions of other people’s money, it just went missing. No one knows where in the heck it went. There has been no accounting for the losses and he is still walking free.

SC.Charlie on June 3, 2013 at 5:33 AM

All of you who guessed he wanted to run for Governor of Virginia as a Democrat guessed wrong.
http://waldo.jaquith.org/blog/2008/09/halsey-minor-governor/

He is a Republican.

smokin hot politics on June 2, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Well, duh, he blew his own money rather than the taxpayers’.

When I was 18, I received a small inheritance. I blew it on cars, liquor, partying, and not having a job. It goes real fast when you do that.

Odysseus on June 3, 2013 at 6:47 AM

on Conzine did not lose billions of other people’s money, it just went missing. No one knows where in the heck it went. There has been no accounting for the losses and he is still walking free.

SC.Charlie on June 3, 2013 at 5:33 AM

Yes he did. The fact that he’s not in jail is another taint against the corrupt Eric Holder.

Deafdog on June 3, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Slow news day?

Wade on June 3, 2013 at 8:46 AM

A guy that went to the same church as I many years ago actually worked for a company that made its money buying up lottery winnings and such. They would approach the winners and offer to buy out their lottery winnings for fifty cents a dollar or some such. It would give the lottery winner a cash infusion to pay off the debts they had accrued, and the company would take over the annuity income from the lottery. I’m sure they worked with guys like this, too.

GWB on June 3, 2013 at 9:33 AM