York County's Think Loud saga gets a Hollywood plot twist

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

York County's long-running Think Loud saga now boasts its own Hollywood plot twist.

At least five ongoing civil lawsuits now chronicle a bitter, public feud, with the company founders spinning a complex web of fraud and theft allegations. Recently, a former actor who testified in the unrelated criminal trial against Harvey Weinstein submitted an affidavit in one of those cases.

Ashley Matthau, who had a background role in the film "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" and was once married to Walter Matthau's son Charles, alleges that one of the founders of Think Loud recounted details of a plan to secretly collude with a partner amid the legal warfare involving rock stars-turned-entrepreneurs in York City.

The former Think Loud space in York on Nov. 22, 2022.

Matthau accuses her ex, former Live drummer Chad Gracey, and real estate developer Bill Hynes of plotting fraud in one case. Meanwhile, a judge removed founding Live members Chad Taylor and Patrick Dahlheimer’s attorney from two cases for allegedly overstepping professional bounds.

Hynes and Gracey deny Matthau’s allegations.

“We’re confident in our ability to demonstrate their inaccuracy when this matter proceeds to discovery,” Hynes said.

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To understand Matthau's new allegations, one must understand the flurry of litigation that unfolded since last August.

A two-man company called Invictus One LLC owns the building at 210 York St., which previously served as the headquarters for Think Loud, where Hynes still keeps his offices.

Invictus purchased the facility in late 2021 amid the resolution of a bankruptcy with a Think Loud subsidiary and a defaulted construction loan. The company filed a lawsuit last August, with Hynes, Taylor, Dahlheimer and Gracey as defendants, seeking to establish ownership of assets in the building.

Invictus argues it owns recording equipment and studio infrastructure, while Taylor and Dahlheimer can keep music gear and other assets that were left there. Taylor disputes the claims.

Hynes then sued Taylor, Dahlheimer and Gracey in November, seeking to collect on promissory notes he issued to the men at $482,000 each in 2011. The gist was to let them buy into a company of his, and the company’s losses would help offset the tax burden from the gross income the bandmates received in a separate deal, according to court documents.

In this file photo, Bill Hynes, Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey and Patrick Dahlheimer stand together as founders of United Fiber and Data.

Taylor has denied such loans were made, and that the statute of limitations to collect on them long passed. Gracey admitted Hynes issued the notes, and they reported them on their taxes.

The thrust of the lawsuit, however, was for Hynes to accuse Taylor of fraud, financial mismanagement and concealing records about his financial status.

Gracey also sued Taylor on similar allegations as he sought access to financial records for Think Loud Holdings, one of at least a dozen companies branded with the Think Loud name.

Three investors came forward with another suit against Taylor, demanding access to financial records at another company, Think Loud Entertainment.

Hynes also recently sued Taylor for defamation in Philadelphia over comments Taylor made in a Rolling Stone magazine interview in February.

Taylor fired back though his attorney Jason Confair when the cases were filed. He accused Hynes of seeking vengeance for their falling out by orchestrating the current cascade of civil lawsuits in order to bury him and Dahlheimer in litigation.

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In particular, Taylor alleged Invictus naming Hynes a defendant in that suit was a sham, saying Hynes collaborated with the owners, who are friends of his.

Taylor also accused Hynes and Gracey of working together in the promissory note case in spite of Gracey’s role as a defendant.

Enter: Ashley Matthau of Los Angeles.

In the affidavit, submitted earlier this month as an exhibit in the case, Matthau stated she dated Gracey briefly in 2022.

She alleged that during a phone call on June 25, Gracey told her how he and Hynes “hatched a scheme” to file the suit. The idea, she alleged, was to “fool the court” and create an appearance that Hynes and Gracey were opposed in the case.

“By giving the court the appearance that he was opposed to Hynes in the lawsuit — if Gracey were to then corroborate Hynes’ story — the court would think Hynes was being honest,” Matthau stated in the affidavit. “Gracey made it clear to me that he and Hynes planned to commit fraud on the court.”

She said she later contacted Taylor but didn’t specify when, to tell him about the conversation after seeing reports on the Think Loud suits.

Matthau made headlines last October when she testified against Harvey Weinstein in his rape and sex assault trial in L.A.

She did not respond to attempts by The York Dispatch to contact her for further comment on her Think Loud affidavit.

Chad Gracey smiles while sitting in a restaurant booth on Dec. 5, 2022.

Gracey denied Matthau’s allegations, and he said they dated a handful of times but were never in an exclusive relationship.

“I was honest with her the entire time,” he said. “I thought that we had ended things amicably. Why she has chosen to insert herself in this situation is beyond me. I disagree with her recollection of events and have no further comment.”

Hynes also denied any wrongdoing.

“We’re supremely confident in our chances in the promissory note case. We have the actual notes with the wet ink signatures, so I’m not worried at all about demonstrating their validity,” he said.

Taylor did not respond to requests seeking comment.

Think Loud Development in York City, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

His attorney when the affidavit was filed, Jason Confair, declined to comment on the matter.

In a related filing, Confair called Matthau’s affidavit “the smoking gun” that proves Hynes and Gracey intended to manipulate a local court. Confair also alleged the promissory note case was filed as an attempt to strong-arm Taylor and Dahlheimer into conceding the Invictus suit.

Confair, however, withdrew as Taylor and Dahlheimer’s attorney in the promissory note lawsuit March 14. The move came after a judge disqualified him from Invictus and Gracey’s lawsuits.

Confair’s role as attorney in the legal Royal Rumble came into question last month when Gracey and Hynes sought his removal.

Attorney Jason Confair in a professional headshot with law firm Saxton & Stump

They alleged he had conflicts of interest because of his history advising and providing counsel to them while they were involved with Taylor and Dahlheimer in Think Loud and affiliate company United Fiber & Data.

“There are conflicts wherever you look in this case, real and perceived,” Hynes’ attorney, Gavin Lentz, told York County Court of Common Pleas Judge Matthew Menges during a March 2 hearing.

Confair denied the claims, saying he doesn’t know Gracey, and he hasn’t provided him legal services. He also said he hasn’t represented Hynes. He was hired to represent Taylor.

“Mr. Hynes himself didn’t pay me a cent,” Confair said at the hearing.

The two sides disputed evidence they each attached to a flurry of new legal filings in February.

In the documents, Gracey and Hynes’ legal teams pointed to emails and texts that they argued show Confair provided legal advice and consultation.

The former Think Loud space in York on Nov. 22, 2022.

They alleged Confair was privy to confidential information related to issues involving Think Loud and UFD, as well as Gracey’s divorce case in California.

The attorneys told Judge Menges that Confair would likely have to be called as a witness in the two cases.

“His role in that process will be critical,” said Sean Summers, Gracey’s lawyer.

Lentz went another step further and accused Confair of sharing information about Hynes to Taylor. He pointed to a filing in the Invictus case where Confair argued he never represented Hynes.

In one paragraph, Confair wrote Taylor hired him to represent him and Think Loud independently of Hynes. He was also hired to, “develop a rapport and work with Hynes … to access documentation and evidence to assess whether the allegations made against Hynes in the UFD litigation were accurate or inaccurate,” the document states.

The quote refers to a civil lawsuit from 2020 where family of late philanthropist and UFD investor Louis Appell Jr. alleged Hynes led a scheme, along with Taylor and Think Loud, to embezzle funds from UFD. The case was settled in August 2022.

In this file photo from June 2020, Bill Hynes leaves the York County Judicial Center following a court hearing.

Confair’s filing shows that after quietly investigating Hynes, his findings would help Taylor decide whether to keep fighting the suit or switch sides and join the Appell family against Hynes.

Lentz alleged Confair admitted he spied on Hynes. And now that they’re on opposing sides, he argued Confair could use information from their relationship against Hynes in court.

“He’s all over these scenarios, and now he’s adverse to Mr. Hynes. And Mr. Hynes is angry about it,” Lentz said.

Confair disputed the spying allegation, and he characterized the statement in his filing as a company asking to monitor an employee.

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Confair denied ever representing Hynes, including in his criminal case, and said Hynes never paid to retain his services.

He also denied providing Gracey with legal services. He said they exchanged a few emails about Gracey’s divorce case, including one about a subpoena for Think Loud Holdings financial records.

Confair argued he gave a factual reply to a jurisdictional question while Gracey, in his email, was clear he had another attorney for his divorce. He noted he didn’t reply to several other unsolicited emails Gracey sent because he wasn’t his client.

Judge Menges ultimately decided to disqualify Confair from the Invictus and Gracey lawsuits because of his history with Think Loud and its members.

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He saw a potential conflict with Confair serving as an attorney when he could be called as a witness in the Invictus case.

“Because Confair has been identified early as a potential trial witness, the only course of action just to all involved parties is to disqualify him from representing the defendants,” Menges wrote in a March 6 order.

The former Think Loud space in York on Nov. 22, 2022.

The judge also saw conflicts in Gracey’s lawsuit with Confair representing Think Loud Holdings while Gracey is a minority member, that order shows. Menges also found Gracey was protected as a potential client since he and Confair apparently discussed his divorce case in 2020.

The judge’s orders were filed the same day Matthau affirmed her affidavit. That document was then filed two days later, according to court records.

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