LOCAL

ThinkLoud legal battles intensify as new allegations fly involving Live, Bill Hynes

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Legal battles between the Think Loud business partners-turned-adversaries intensified in recent weeks with a new round of allegations of lies and deceit in the project that was supposed to revitalize York City.

In all, various members of the rock band Live and their former partner Bill Hynes are involved in at least four pending lawsuits with a flurry of new filings this month.

Chad Taylor, the former Live guitarist, made counterclaims in two of the three civil lawsuits filed against him in York County.

In one case, Invictus One, the new owner of the building that once served as the downtown headquarters for the Think Loud family of businesses, sued in August to define which assets and property left in the building it would own, and which belong to Think Loud.

A Road Closed sign sits outside 210 York St.

Two other suits filed in November by business partners Hynes and Chad Gracey, a Live co-founder, accused Taylor of fraud and financial mismanagement.

Taylor responded to the Invictus One suit on Dec. 9.

His filing argued that all the listed assets at 210 York St., including music gear and studio equipment, still belong to Think Loud and that Invictus can’t lay any ownership claims due to the terms of its deal to purchase the building.

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Taylor also alleged the lawsuit is part of a conspiracy by Invictus and Hynes to steal Think Loud’s property and to financially ruin him and Patrick Dahlheimer, another Live founder and business partner.

“The plaintiffs, Hynes and their cronies are coordinating to inflict substantial financial harm on, and to try and defame, Messrs. Taylor and Dahlheimer,” the filing states.

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

Across four counterclaims, Taylor sought rulings to deem that the disputed assets belong to Think Loud, to issue a permanent injunction that orders Invictus to give up the assets and deliver them to Think Loud, and to order judgments of more than $50,000 to compensate for losses and damages.

Taylor’s filing also includes crossclaims that accuse Hynes specifically of acting as a “puppet master” over Invictus and engineering the alleged theft of Think Loud’s assets. Those claims sought judgments of more than $50,000 as well, and a ruling to find Hynes had no authority through their business involvements to hand over assets to Invictus.

Hynes disputed the allegations and accused Taylor of lying.

“Chad seeks to enrich himself at the expense of others through calculated deception,” Hynes told The York Dispatch. “He is destroying anything and everything around him as the decade-long scheme to sabotage and steal from the very people he called ‘partners’ closes in around him.”

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This case started in August when Invictus One filed a civil complaint, seeking a declaratory judgment that the company owns a list of assets that were included with the purchase of the building. Assets included fixtures, recording studio equipment, wiring and furniture, as well as the painting that was used for the cover art to Live’s 1994 album, “Throwing Copper.”

Other assets were listed as “owned by a third party,” which included plaques from Live’s gold and platinum albums, music, guitars and other instruments, and memorabilia.

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The lawsuit named Taylor, Dahlheimer, Gracey, Hynes, a few Think Loud companies, another company named Note and Chord LLC, and 120 York LLC as defendants. 120 York was the company the group created to own the building that once boasted the name “Think Loud” on its side.

According to the timeline in Invictus One’s argument, Kinsley Construction won a $13 million judgment against 120 York in September 2020. That case involved a defaulted construction loan Kinsley made to 120 York in 2013 as part of the project to renovate the building.

In turn, 120 York filed for bankruptcy in May 2021, and Invictus alleged Taylor, Dahlheimer and Gracey abandoned the building along with assets and personal items, the suit argued.

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.

Kinsley took possession of the building that September following the bankruptcy proceedings, then sold it to Invictus One for $6 million at the end of November 2021.

The suit argued that 120 York, with Hynes as the manager, also conveyed assets like furniture and studio gear, including a Solid State Logic mixing board, to Invictus One as part of negotiations to settle the Kinsley judgment.

When it was renovated, the four-story 210 York St. building served as Think Loud’s headquarters; the second floor housed United Fiber & Data, a related fiber optic company the group founded; and the upper two floors held a recording studio along with rooms and amenities for hosting musicians.

Now, Hynes has offices on the first floor for other businesses he owns; financial company CampusDoor moved into the second floor in January after UFD left the space; the studio and amenities are still on the upper floors; and Hynes apparently leases one of the rooms there.

Taylor’s response to Invictus One’s complaint bundled Taylor, Dahlheimer, the Think Loud businesses and Note and Chord into a new term: “Think Loud Ownership Group.”

120 York LLC was excluded from the bundle.

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Taylor’s response, however, argued that 120 York is a subsidiary of Think Loud Capital while denying Invictus One’s description that Taylor, Dahlheimer, Gracey and Hynes owned an equal share of the LLC. In the filing, he argued that hundreds of pages of documents were provided to Invictus One in June, about a month and a half before the suit’s filing, showing the newly defined ownership group owned “virtually every item” listed in the suit.

He also alleged Invictus One “conjured up a number of bogus” theories to justify claims to the assets and that the “Think Loud Ownership Group” owned the assets — and therefore 120 York did not.

So, the filing argues, 120 York couldn’t have given a security interest in assets it didn’t own to Kinsley during the building deed transfer. And since Hynes allegedly wasn’t 120 York’s manager, he didn’t have authority to sign over assets, according to the assertions.

Taylor argued that Think Loud Capital, again as the parent of 120 York, didn’t vote or consent to the asset transfers. Kinsley allegedly didn’t include personal property in the building’s sale to Invictus One.

He was allowed to take several assets from the building in September as part of ongoing negotiations with Invictus One but was forbidden from taking the disputed property, the filing shows.

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

Taylor also denied the ownership group abandoned the building, calling it “flat-out false,” and alleged Hynes locked them out in September 2021.

The response then launched into scorching allegations against Hynes, including claims that he latches onto the “wealthy or famous” to expand his business network. Taylor also alleged that Hynes schemed to defraud the Think Loud Ownership Group, harassed Taylor’s wife and misappropriated funds.

The filing also references Hynes’ no-contest plea to counts of trespassing, stalking, assault and forgery in September that stemmed from a criminal case filed in 2019, which involved a former girlfriend and UFD employee.

He was sentenced to three years of probation, which included six months of house arrest. He’s apparently serving the house arrest from a room he’s leasing at 210 York St.

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The new allegations are part of a larger accusation that Hynes manipulated the sale of the building by convincing two men, Richard McIntosh and Nicholas Richardson, to form Invictus One for the purchase in 2021. Taylor’s response calls McIntosh a friend of Hynes' and refers to Richardson as a real estate investor.

In another allegation, Taylor said settlement negotiations with Invictus One were derailed in November by Hynes’ response to and crossclaims in the suit, resulting in the breaking off of negotiations.

Hynes, in his crossclaim, said he was manager of 120 York, that Taylor knew it, and that Taylor’s lawyer told Hynes that he — meaning Hynes — was the only one with authority to sign for the company.

Further, Hynes alleged Taylor “benefitted substantially” from the company’s bankruptcy and the Kinsley settlement.

Gracey, in his response to the Invictus Suit on Dec. 8, appeared to support Hynes’ argument. He said Hynes “acted within the scope of the authority” that Taylor delegated to him as a member of 120 York LLC.

Gracey also admitted to several of the points laid out in Invictus One’s complaint.

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In addition to this lawsuit, both Hynes and Gracey filed lawsuits against Taylor in November.

Hynes said he issued promissory notes of $482,000 each to Taylor, Gracey and Dahlheimer in 2011 as part of an investment into a company of his, ADS Builders East, in Nazareth, Northampton County.

As he called for repayments to start, he alleged Taylor lied about his wealth and covered up financial problems for years.

Gracey, meanwhile, alleged in a separate suit that Taylor has withheld Think Loud financial reports despite requests for them. He also accused Taylor of defaulting on two commercial loans that Think Loud took out in 2020.

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