Settlement reached between Appell family and former United Fiber & Data CEO Bill Hynes

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by United Fiber & Data and Louis Appell III against the company’s former CEO and his associates.

The lawsuit against William Hynes and others involved with the company was settled privately on Aug. 2, according to court records. It puts an end to the civil case originally filed in October 2020 that alleged fraud, theft and misuse of funds related to the project.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed Tuesday.

The Appell family and Hynes became affiliated because of the late philanthropist Louis Appell Jr.'s estimated $20 million investment in the company, which sought to install hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cable along the East Coast. The company was founded by Hynes and members of the rock band Live — Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey and Patrick Dahlheimer — in 2012 through their Think Loud family of companies.

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United Fiber and Data CEO Bill Hynes (second from left) poses with Live band members (from left) Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey and Patrick Dahlheimer, who are founders of the company.

At the time, the project was heralded as a potential economic powerhouse for York City and the surrounding region, bringing an estimated 300 jobs and millions per year in revenue.

The members of Live stepped down as managers to focus on their music careers a few years later, and Hynes stepped in as CEO. In late 2017, the company’s leadership was restructured and Louis Appell III joined the board.

Hynes resigned as CEO after he was arrested and charged in a burglary case in 2019, and Appell III's lawsuit came a year later.

“Both parties are satisfied with the result of the business resolution and look forward to seeing UFD become a profitable company," Justin Tomevi, the attorney who represented United Fiber & Data and Appell, said in a written statement.

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“All outstanding claims against Mr. Hynes and his related entity have been mutually, fully and fairly settled, including all allegations of fraud, theft of funds and related allegations of wrongdoing alleged in the Complaint that United Fiber & Data, LLC and Mr. Appell filed,” Tomevi stated.

Attorney Gavin P. Lentz, who represented Hynes, also was satisfied with the settlement. 

“We are pleased the case has been resolved and have no further comment beyond the statement released by UFD,” he said. 

The original lawsuit claimed Hynes and others “engaged over a period of years in a pattern of unlawful conduct intended to siphon off assets belonging to UFD (United Fiber and Data) and plaintiffs.”

York County Economic Alliance and CampusDoor, a "financial technology company" formerly located in Carlisle, is now located at 210 York Street, inside the former Think Loud building, in York City, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The suit alleged Hynes did so in order to afford a lifestyle he otherwise could not.  

“This unlawful pattern included the outright theft of company funds, fraud and persistent self-dealing,” the original lawsuit alleged. 

It also alleged that Hynes transferred millions of dollars from the company for his own use instead of repaying Appell for loans he had given the company. It was alleged that Hynes used company money to advance his career as a stadium super truck driver and to sponsor race car driver Michael Andretti. 

Hynes promised Appell that all loans would benefit the company and be repaid, the suit alleged. According to the Appell family, they held $20 million in promissory notes that were never repaid.

Hynes still faces other legal troubles.

Bill Hynes leaves the York County Judicial Center after a pretrial conference Monday, June 29, 2020. He faces charges that include stalking, burglary, forgery and tampering with public records. Bill Kalina photo

He is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 12 in the court of Judge Harry Ness on a number of criminal charges, including felony counts of burglary, trespassing, attempted theft, forgery and tampering with public records; misdemeanor counts of stalking and simple assault; and summary offenses of harassment and criminal mischief in a case filed in November 2019. 

The case involves accusations surrounding Hynes’ behavior toward his ex-girlfriend, who was also a former UFD employee. 

Think Loud gave up ownership of its former headquarters in 2020. Kinsley Construction took possession of the four-story building at 210 York St., near PeoplesBank Park in downtown York City, after winning a nearly $14 million judgment in a separate civil suit against 120 York LLC, another Think Loud-affiliated company. The agreement apparently helped Think Loud to emerge from bankruptcy in 2021.

— Courts reporter Aimee Ambrose contributed to this report.

— Reach Anthony Maenza at amaenza@yorkdispatch.com or @atmaenza on Twitter. 

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