Prominent Massachusetts real estate developer Neil St. John “Ted” Raymond has filed for bankruptcy protection as creditors pursue him for debts relating to his failed effort to develop an Ipswich golf community.
Raymond filed for Chapter 11 protection on Oct.24, listing more than $46 million in debt he incurred while trying to develop the Turner Hill golf course and residences. Raymond, who listed assets between $1 million and $10 million, sold the property at a loss in 2007, and it has since been developed under new owners.
Raymond has been a well-known developer in the Boston area since the 1960s. He built several major projects, including Trinity Place in Copley Square and Flagship Wharf in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
Now, several creditors say Raymond’s bankruptcy filing is part of a longer-term effort to block them from recovering millions of dollars in debt related to the Turner Hill project. Those creditors, James Cavanaugh, John Littlechild, and Charles Reed, allege in court papers that Raymond has refused to pay them while continuing to maintain a “lavish lifestyle” on his 27-acre Ipswich estate.
“When Raymond realized the extent of his financial problems, he began actively concealing, liquidating and transferring his assets so as to shield the from creditors,” the three creditors said in documents filed in US Bankruptcy Court in Boston.
Cavanaugh, Littlechild, and Reed want a US bankruptcy judge to order Raymond, his son, Neil St. John Raymond Jr., and other associates to appear for depositions and produce documents outlining his assets. The three creditors are owed about $5 million. Raymond owes much more money to investment manager Eyk Van Otterloo, who is owed $39.5 million, according to court papers.
Van Otterloo, a founder of the Boston investment firm GMO LLC, could not be reached for comment. In 2007, Van Otterloo purchased development rights to a portion of the 311-acre Turner Hill site. He was also an original investor in Raymond’s effort to build the golf club and more than 180 luxury residences on the property.
Raymond said in a statement that he has filed for bankruptcy protection to restructure his debts “in a manner that will be most beneficial for all his creditors.” He said the economic downturn in 2006 and 2007 resulted in a work stoppage at Turner Hill the left him with substantial losses.
“I’ve been working tirelessly for more than five years to generate additional opportunities to make up for those losses,” Raymond wrote in the statement. “Unfortunately, a small minority of my investors have refused to cooperate in reasonable efforts to treat all creditors fairly and equitably in an out-of-court arrangement.”
Raymond is seeking bankruptcy protection as an individual, not as the owner of Raymond Property Co., his real estate firm, according to court documents. His Chapter 11 filing is the latest twist in a tumultuous period for Raymond, who also failed in his attempt to redevelop the Government Center Garage in Boston.
That project has since been taken over by HYM Investment Group of Boston, which is seeking approvals for a towering multibuilding development of offices, residences, and stores.