LOCAL

Bill Hynes and Live band member exchange new allegations of fraud, theft

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Founding members of alt-rock band Live partnered with developer Bill Hynes to form Think Loud in York in 2011, a name that apparently reached like an umbrella to hold a host of other companies under it.

They bought the former Bi-Comp building, renovated it, put Think Loud’s name on it and made it a headquarters — almost a literal umbrella, with numerous businesses and LLCs registered under the address.

Among them, United Fiber and Data launched a decade ago to local fanfare and expectations the company would help lead a tech industry revolution in the city. Plans called for buying up nearby properties, including the former York County Prison along Chestnut Street, and turning the area just northeast of downtown into a data hub.

That was then.

This is now.

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.

Hynes and three band members from Live — Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey and Patrick Dahlheimer — have been at the heart of various lawsuits over the past few years. Some were resolved this year, including a criminal domestic violence case against Hynes.

But as other cases are resolving, a new one has landed on the heap.

The latest case indicates a significant rift between Hynes and his former partners. Hynes wants to collect on hundreds of thousands of dollars from each of the band members for a series of loans he says he made in 2011 totaling $1.4 million.

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In a complaint filed Friday, Hynes seeks repayment while alleging breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement and concealment, and civil conspiracy.

He targets Taylor in particular, accusing the musician of lying about his wealth and covering up financial problems he had at the time the loans were made.

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

The suit looks to back up the claims by attaching several documents — financial records that Hynes alleges he found abandoned in Taylor’s office last year.

“In short, defendant Taylor, who was unable to even pay his gardener, convinced plaintiff that he could repay a $482,000 promissory note,” the suit alleges.

Taylor denies the allegations.

“As we will prove shortly, there were no ‘loans’ ever made,’” he said in a written statement to The York Dispatch.

Taylor also took issue with the suit’s description of how his financial records were obtained.

“To be clear, the documents Hynes claims he found were documents stored in my former office at 210 York [Street], which Mr. Hynes and the new building owner locked me out of. It appears Hynes searched through those documents without permission, perhaps illegally, to fabricate the false loan story,” he said.

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Gracey and Dahlheimer did not reply to messages seeking comment Tuesday.

According to the lawsuit, Hynes claims he loaned Taylor, Gracey and Dahlheimer each $482,000 in January 2011 so they could invest in a company called ADS Builders East. State records show the company is registered in Nazareth, Northampton County, and is currently listed as inactive.

Hynes put the loans into forbearance for years as the suit alleges the three men asked him to while saying they could pay the money back if given more time.

From left, Chad Taylor, on guitar,  Chad Gracey, on drums, lead singer Chris Shinn, and Patrick Dahlheimer, on bass, of the rock band Live, perform at the Wyndham Gardens Hotel during Starbucks’ anniversary celebration of 20 years at the York roasting plant in York, Pa. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015.  Dawn J. Sagert - dsagert@yorkdispatch.com

When the funds weren’t repaid when asked, Hynes ended the forbearance so he could collect the debts. An exhibit in the suit shows an email he sent to Taylor, Gracey and Dahlheimer on Aug. 10. The message says the “landscape has now changed” and they need to start paying off the loans.

The lawsuit describes at length the accusations of fraud against Taylor.

“Defendant Taylor represented himself to be a millionaire rock star with ample liquid assets and few debts,” the suit states.

Hynes alleges that Taylor exaggerated his net worth in 2011 and hid that he had overdue accounts, was facing collections on unpaid bills and a home foreclosure, and was losing money on his business ventures.

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The suit then accuses Taylor of conspiring with Dahlheimer by having him fake a personal financial statement in order to convince Hynes to continue the forbearance period on his loans. The document, according to the suit, inflated Dahlheimer’s net worth by showing he had about $35 million, largely from business interests. Taylor partially owned or managed many of those businesses, the suit alleges.

Hynes allegedly found Taylor’s financial records “abandoned” in his office in October 2021.

Around that time, Think Loud had emerged from bankruptcy and given up ownership of its building to Kinsley Construction, the company that performed construction management work at the site.

The move came after Kinsley won a nearly $14 million judgment against Think Loud over an outstanding construction loan. Kinsley then sold the building to a company called Invictus One LLC, the current owner.

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Invictus filed a civil suit against the Live founders in August, alleging they left numerous assets, band memorabilia and equipment in the building when they vacated it. The case seeks to divide up what the bandmates own and what Invictus will keep as part of a push for them to take possession of their stuff.

Hynes, meanwhile, settled a civil suit with Louis Appell III, the son of late philanthropist Louis Appell Jr., over management of United Fiber and Data in August.

Hynes also pleaded no contest in September to counts of simple assault, stalking, trespassing and forgery in a criminal case involving a woman he was romantically involved with.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.