Halsey Minor files for bankruptcy

CNET Founder Halsey Minor Declares Bankruptcy

CNET Co-founder Halsey Minor has filed for personal bankruptcy.

In his Chapter 7 filing in Los Angeles federal court, the tech entrepreneur listed debts in the range of $50 to 100 million and assets of $10 to $50 million. He acknowledged that he owes money to 60 creditors.

Chapter 7 requires a bankruptcy trustee to conduct a complete liquidation (i.e., sale) of the bankrupt person’s assets to satisfy debts other than certain items that are considered exempt property and beyond the reach of creditors.

In 2012, Minor and his wife were listed as California’s top tax delinquents, owing the state $10.5 million in unpaid personal income taxes.

Minor and Shelby Bonnie founded the tech news website CNET in 1994. Minor sold his stake of CNET to CBS for about $1.8 billion but apparently that huge payday wasn’t enough to keep the wolves from the door. Evidently Minor made some major bad investments when he went outside the tech space: “Minor was an early investor in Salesforce.com … He also founded Minor Ventures in San Francisco, a firm that made more than half a dozen investments in early-stage tech startups and sold one of them, GrandCentral Communications, to Google, which turned the technology into Google Voice. Minor Ventures was shut down during the global recession, after Minor had moved beyond his initial focus in technology and made investments in art and real estate.”

In an email about filing for bankruptcy, Halsey Minor wrote in part: “I love being an entrepreneur even though it involves financial risk … But if you win some you are going to lose some too. A case might have been made that I should never have strayed from technology. However, I like doing things outside my comfort zone, and I believe that willingness in part accounts for my tech successes.”

Minor bought Carter’s Grove Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia — a 400-acre historic estate — in 2008, and Carter’s Grove itself filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011.

Prior to going bankrupt, Minor reportedly had been selling off his art collection to pay down his debts. He has also been sued by Sotheby’s over some paintings that he allegedly declined to pay for.

Does it surprise you that a billionaire could apparently go broke?

[Image via Shutterstock]