Thursday, July 05, 2007

Subsidies For Stephen Hilbert Firm

While Conseco continues its battle to recover tens of millions of dollars from its former CEO Stephen Hilbert, the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis think he's an okay guy. So much so that they are offering a company he now leads a government handout to relocate the company from its current location in Carmel to the city's westside. "Haverstick Consulting, the tech and business services company led by ex-Conseco chief Stephen Hilbert, is moving from Carmel to Indianapolis," writes the Star's Erika Smith. "In exchange for relocating, the city of Indianapolis offered property tax abatement worth more than $68,000, and IEDC offered Haverstick up to $30,000 in training grants."

The Wall Street Journal's Joseph Hallinan, a former Star reporter, wrote about Hilbert's game of hide and seek with Conseco on February 9, 2005:

Conseco contends Mr. Hilbert owes it $248.2 million. During his heyday, the college dropout and former encyclopedia salesman was among the country's most highly paid executives, pulling in over $100 million a year at peak compensation.

Today, Mr. Hilbert, 59 years old, pleads poverty. At a hearing in November in Hamilton County Circuit Court in Indiana, he said he had virtually no income and only $175 cash in his pocket, and that his wife, Tomisue Hilbert, 34, "generously" pays his bills.

Since he was ousted from Conseco in 2000, Mr. Hilbert has transferred some $100 million in assets to his wife, according to court filings by Conseco. The sum includes $20 million in cash and an interest in a Caribbean chateau.

Phillip Fowler, an attorney representing Mr. Hilbert, says any transfers Mr. Hilbert made to his wife were "completely proper" and that Conseco isn't entitled to recover anything from Mrs. Hilbert. "Tomisue Hilbert owes not a dime to Conseco -- period," Mr. Fowler says.

In October, Conseco won a court order, which has since been stayed, giving it the right to foreclose on Mr. Hilbert's $25 million mansion in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel. Before Conseco could kick him out, Mr. Hilbert agreed to leave.

On Jan. 31, Mr. Hilbert and his family moved out of the 25,500 square-foot mansion, only to move into a 14,000-square foot home nearby. According to the deed, the home was purchased by Mrs. Hilbert, as trustee of the Tomisue Hilbert First Amended Trust. Its reported sales price: $2.3 million. Conseco now is in possession of Mr. Hilbert's mansion, which it hopes to sell.
Do you think the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis would be as kind to you if you didn't pay your bills?

UPDATE: Today's Star adds this: "About six months ago, Hilbert and his wife, Tomisue, settled a $300 million legal dispute over Conseco-backed loans that Hilbert used to buy Conseco stock in the late 1990s." It also notes tax abatements and incentives are being offered to another Hilbert-controlled business next door to where Halverstick is moving its offices. "The state is providing New Sunshine up to $420,000 in tax credits and $92,000 in training grants. The city is providing $126,000 in a property-tax abatement. New Sunshine employs 314 people."

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

This company is locating at 6720 Corporate Drive. What is odd about that is the fact 6720 Corporate is currently occupied and has been occupied for several years. The business located there is Australian Gold, Inc. which has something to do with sun tanning. Guess who owns Australian Gold? Tommie Sue Hilbert!
So now we have software with sun tanning all in the same little space and we get to help pay for it?
The city didn't have to give Hilberts anything on this deal because Tommie Sue and hubby were already there. A BIG move from Carmel? Hardly.
Cronyism? Well, maybe a wee bit.

Anonymous said...

None of this bothers me as much as one salient fact:

The Hilberts, who married after Steve "discovered" Tomisue as she jumped out of the cake at his son's bachelor party, had enough Neuvo Riche money to write a big check to the Circle Theatre. Which was promptly renamed in their self-praising glory.

Now one of the world's greater symphony groups plays in The Hilbert Circle Theatre. The naming rights are in perpetuity. As in forever. Because the check was that big.

As one of Bill Clinton's lawyers said about one of his alleged tryst partners:

"It's amazing what happens when you drive thru a trailer park with a ten dollar bill taped to the bumper."

You couldn't get more Appalachian if you tried.

And now her tanning bed company's HQ gets a co-tenant, partly on our backs. Let's see...entertainer at a bachelor party, marries well, big hair, tanning beds, self-indulgent, millionaire...

It's a country song.

Gary, is this tax break final? The Econ. Devel. Commission and/or the council have to vote on this ultimately, don't they? If they haven't yet, we can call our councilpersons.

I'm just betting that Ice Miller is lurking around this deal somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Even better update. New Sunshine LLC made $12,500 contribution
to Daniels campaign in late June. So which came first - the IEDC money to the LLC or the LLC's contribution to Daniels' campaign?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

And who can forget Mark Lubbers who was spokesperson at Conseco before it crashed and burned. Now what's his wife's name?
Annnnnnnnnnnd let us remeber Mr and Mrs Hilbert are going to be neighbors with Mitch and his wife soon.
If Indianapolis were a publicly traded stock I'd short sell it just like I did Conseco. It's money in the bank.
I find it incredible that Hilbert even shows his face in public around here let alone do business.

Anonymous said...

10:09 -

I've heard the rumor that the Hilberts didn't make all the planned payments to the ISO. I have also heard good information to the contrary. Careful with the rumors.

Advance Indiana said...

10:09 deleted at commenter's request.

George said...

Wooo... How incredibly brave you are. Anonymous, anonymous, anonymous...
Whatever they've done, they've helped YOU, they've helped YOUR town.
Oh my, you have a brand new basketball court. You're all happy about it, right? Who paid for it?
Oh my, the theatre has no money problem, same for the zoo, several institutions...
But shhh, let's forget that, and be jealous of this guy's success.
Oh and btw, we used to praise him. Now that he's broke, let's spit on him. Nice example of the american dream.
One more thing, what in the world is your problem with the way Stephen and Tomisue met? How is it any of YOUR concern? Aren't you just jealous? Ha ha ha.
Go back to your sad little life.

scm101 said...

well... after messing up the large company and manny small investor, steve and Tomisue is ready to take more taxpayers money...!!!! Shame on them and Shame on our system who gladly rewards crooks like them.... Are they working hard? or Hardly working?
Steve...