By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
After months on the phone and thousands of dollars in attorney's fees, Manley finally filed for bankruptcy.
"Can you see why I have a little animosity toward Mike?" he says.
WHEN HIS PHONE RANG, Dick Brown answered. Hudalla was on the line, and Brown was hoping he had good news.
For months, he'd been complaining about his paltry retirement savings. He knew the $60,000 he'd saved was far too little.
Hudalla pitched a way Brown might now retire comfortably: investment properties. Hudalla promised to help Brown find renters and loan him the extra money for the down payments. All Brown had to do was sign a few papers.
"He set it in motion," Brown says. "It was like any house closing: Sign this here, sign that, initial this, date that."
By 2007, Hudalla was CEO and owner of Enzo Mortgage Group in downtown St. Paul. The fantastic investment he had for Brown turned out to be three townhomes in Oak Park Heights, a village near the Wisconsin border, where the second-biggest employer is the nearby state prison.
Brown took out $814,000 in loans. Hudalla's colleagues wired money for the down payments to Brown's bank account, and Hudalla allegedly collected commissions of 16 to 26 percent of the purchase price—about $230,000 in total—when the sales closed, according to court documents.
At first, it wasn't hard to find renters. Hudalla kept the properties leased and everything was going fine.
But in 2008, the economy tanked and housing prices collapsed. Suddenly, Brown couldn't find tenants.
"One guy bought a house, I think it was like three doors down, and he was paying $500 a month less than I was charging him for rent," Brown says. "How the hell am I supposed to compete with that?"
Within the year, Washington County foreclosed on all three of Brown's properties. His small nest egg squandered, Brown was forced to file for bankruptcy.
"When we were at Trackstar, I was his best unpaid employee," says Brown. "We'd go in there Saturday morning and have some donuts and hot dogs or whatever was on the grill for the day, and shoot the shit about motorcycling. End of day comes around, and we all went for a ride."
IN EARLY OCTOBER, an official-looking piece of mail arrived at the seven-bedroom, four-bath Mendota Heights home where Hudalla lived. It was a court summons.
The letter leveled two felony racketeering charges against the former motorcycle king. The first count accused Hudalla of participating in a pattern of criminal activity including theft by swindle and concealing criminal proceeds. The second alleged he knowingly invested criminal proceeds in an enterprise or property.
Both charges carry heavy penalties that could land Hudalla in prison for 40 years.
Hudalla's next scheduled appearance in Hennepin County District Court is May 31. No trial date has yet been set.
For now, he's a free man. Although Enzo folded about the time that the criminal charges became public, Hudalla now works for Acceptance Capital Mortgage Corporation, a firm based in Spokane, Washington. The company is licensed to do business in Minnesota, and Hudalla is listed as a branch manager.
He works from the Mendota Heights mansion he shares with his girlfriend and three children: a 12-year-old daughter, an 8-year-old son, and a new baby.
"I have a lot to say about the Enzo case," Hudalla wrote in an email "However, until I speak with my attorney that topic will be off the table—sorry."
Hudalla's attorney, a Hennepin County public defender, advised him not to speak and declined to talk about the case himself.
Friends say that Hudalla seems unfazed by the possibility of spending four decades in prison. He recently bragged of selling millions' worth of product. Bankruptcy paperwork, however, places his income last year at a modest $37,000.
"Michael makes it sound like he's really facing nothing more than a minor inconvenience," says Leir. "Like a DWI."
City pages and Erin Carlyle should just join forces with Star Magazine. Gossip and all Nonsense. Highly Disturbed is right on the money. Take all the magazines and ship them back to where they came from. They will not post your comment if it talks about certain things and they get paid under the table to write the stories. Big waste of time to read anything she has written.
I have no doubt that the article is substantially accurate and that Michael did a disservice to many people who trusted him, including many friends. With that said, the article was scathing and went overboard in villianizing him. An article about him is one thing, but putting it on the front page etc went too far.
Why was it not revealed in this article that one of the people at the center of the story and shown in one of the published pictures, is a current City Pages employee?
Is it a policy of City Pages to pursue the personal vendettas of its employees?
Having read City Pages for years I have become accustomed to being impressed with the excellent craftsmanship of its writers and editors. The prose is always witty and the stories, in my humble opinion, typically well researched and edited with a care for both the English language and the reader's enjoyment. Which is why I so regretted having to take all twenty copies with me out of my carwash today after reading this piece of libelous, malevolent drivel. It's nice to have a surplus of kindling, but the expense of this particular tinder is a high one that is being paid not only by Michael Hudalla, but his family as well.
Has everyone forgotten the biblical quote about throwing stones only if you yourself are without sin? Even for a group of torch-and-pitchfork-weilding artists and atheists like myself and many of the other readers of this publication the message is clear. In case this is lost on you, Erin Carlyle, and whomever approved the publishing of this fanciful accounting of this man, I'll break it down to one phrase; You should be ashamed of yourselves. Imagine this being written about your father, brother, son, friend.
As for the contributors in the article and anyone else who was once a friend of Michael's, you can count yourself if high esteem I'm sure, you should be commended even, for your pursuit of a highly moral and ethical life. Three cheers for you! It takes a real pillar of conviction to be kind to someone when they are a popular, wealthy, influential person. It takes almost as much moral fiber to kick a man when he's down and publicly tar and feather him for the world to see. Tom Petters was once a beloved member of the Edina community, I wonder how many of his friends have been to see him in prison.
I think the most demoralizing part of this poor attempt at journalism is the self-rightous tone that seems to permeate it throughout. Where on earth is the integrity? The character? Again, you should be ashamed. Villanizing people for your entertainment is petty and foolhardy, and I hope anyone involved in this smut is lucky enough to escape it in their own lives. Picture your face in place of his in that dreadful characature. Can you honestly say there is no one who would say mean things about you?
I am sorry to say that I am a grudge holder, and have a poor track record of forgiving publications that disappoint me. Minneapolis Magazine and I parted ways after an article written a few years back and I have yet to touch it again. I fear city pages may hold the same fate, but I suppose the added bonus of lining the guinea pig cages with it will soften the blow for me. I truly hope for Michael's family, especially his children's sake, that they are so easily appeased.
The objective of the article remains a mystery to me. As noted below, lots of "idea guys" start businesses, can't manage them, live the high life/live off credit for a while, and eventually the businesses fail. That's unfortunate, but it's not unusual and it's not newsworthy.
I think City Pages could have had a better story had they explored the mortgage fraud more thoroughly. They should have spent less time on 15-year old recollections about the motorcycle business, colorful though they may have been, and dug into Hudalla's Enzo Mortgage Group and the actions of the other four co-conspirators charged in October 2010.
Finally, why is this guy still allowed to sell mortgages today? He's charged with at least two felonies and is financially stressed (low income, using a public defender, several mouths to feed and a big house to maintain). Given the above plus a long history of financial mismanagement and no compunction about stiffing his friends and business partners, he's the last guy I'd trust with personal financial data and social security numbers.
If people of Hudalla's ilk are allowed to call themselves mortgage brokers, it's no wonder the housing and financial industry are all f'd up.
I had a direct dealings with him and walked away based on the illegal dealings. There are 2 people in Duluth Prison and 2 more going to prison that have dealt with him. Mortgage fraud and the other charges against him are not unfounded.
Hudalla was 23 in 1989 – about as late 80’s as it gets, don’tcha think? Halverson’s professional opinion, then, of the guy’s moral fiber would be based on a comment made by Hudalla at 23 years of age.
If you are interested in facts, why not catch up with Mr. Brown, if you’re acquainted, and get his take on the matter? He’s fabulous and always good for shooting the breeze. While there were a few loyalists in the bunch, YES – I really REALLY *do* imagine that a good number of the folks offering up commentary (and SLIDESHOWS) would throw someone under the bus who they have spent *countless hours with*; who has been generous to them; who has offered them what help he could give when they asked for it. YES a good deal of the people quoted have not spoken to Hudalla in YEARS, but claim to know how much money he makes, his character and mental attitude, his feelings re: prevailing circumstances.Clearly I’m bitter, which shines through my commentary, but this pointless article – this piece of creative fiction strung together with *just* enough facts to make it believable, makes me SICK. To see the same people who were more than happy to dine on Hudalla’s tab, hang on his coattails to further their own interests turn on a DIME and burn the guy at the stake…it’s too much BS to swallow without spitting back.
Bob’s probably refused to serve me for rolling up on my Vespa sporting my ‘Euro Trash Girlfriend Sold Separately’ t-shirt and I still can't let it go.
Also - employing basic math, which is perhaps beyond Erin Carlyle, Hudalla would have been 14 in 1980 and 23 in 1989, so Halverson's character assault? Yeah, would be based on an exchange between guys in a BAR, 20 years ago, when Hudalla was roughly 19 years old. The Uptown Bar tending to be occupied by people DRINKING ALCOHOL, I'm sure both lads were completely SOBER at the time of the conversation.
How refreshingly consistent to see that even in infamy, Hudalla attracts the same pack of hypocritical, artificial sycophants as in the Trackstar 'glory days' - which P.S., were OVER at least a solid 10 years ago. And where are these so-called 'victims' referenced??? Some d-bag from the motorcycle era, a decade or 2 ago? Ill put money on 90% of the people quoted not having spoken to Hudalla in 5 years. These fame whores need to get a life and accept that Trackstar is gone; they can't buy their personalities off a showroom floor.
Guy looks kind of like Chris Noth or Charlie Sheen. And he sounds like a Bernie Madoff, except since he couldn't steal hedge fund money or from rich people, he just conned the people around him; especially those who trusted him. And like Bernie, kind of unlikely they'll get anything back...?
I 100% agree with Highly Disturbed. With the experience I know for a fact that the stories written by E. Carlyle are paid for by certain people and she does in fact except money under the table to make peoples lives a misery. I hope one day Karma does not come back to haunt her. LOL. But as one internet site shows, it is already starting to bite the tail that is wagging at the local bar for the bar fly Carlyle.
I was SO WITH YOU until the last paragraph...This is still America, right? We still have a shred or two of the Constitution to cling to and claim we are a FREE COUNTRY??What happened to innocent until proven guilty? No compunction about stiffing his friends? Which friends would these be? The business partners from Trackstar? Victims of mortgage fraud are not notoriously shy about coming forward, and if all we're basing the stiffed-friends on is Brown, I assure you, he is the last person to characterize himself that way.The reason the financial industry is so f'd up is cuz of the money. Everybody's got a price tag. Congress has been bought and purchased, down to the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Christopher Dodd, who got a mortgage through a VIP Countrywide program for 'Friends of Angelo'...as in Mozilo. As in Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide CEO who made $140 MILLION selling his Countrywide stock shares alone from 2006-7. Until we have laws & policies to make it illegal to institute the trading messes we continue to watch implode globally since 2007, that protect PEOPLE instead of risky-business policy that makes the rich richer, the housing and financial industries are likely to remain f'd up by varying degrees. Instead of hemorraging BILLIONS to bailout 'too big to fail' banks, the government should bail out its CITIZENS and close Wall Street. Hudalla is the least of anyone's problems.
I'm pretty sure I know of the Duluth dawgs you refer to, and they were practicing their own special brand of creative mortgage lending FAR before coming into contact with Hudalla.
Any person who originated mortgage loans from 2000-2007 almost undoubtedly perpetuated mortgage fraud. Loan products like 'Stated Income' 'Stated Income, Stated Asset' 'No Income, No Asset' 'No Income, Verified Asset' 'Low Doc' and 'No Doc' otherwise known as LIARS LOANS were offered by countless warehousers to be englutted by Wall Street. From the countless mortgage lenders pimping product to brokers, to the Wall Street investment banks that bundled the crap home mortgages into securities, to the ratings agencies that gave the steaming piles called Mortgage Backed Securities AA ratings, which were sold to investors and other market players - all of these players made MILLIONS of dollars in profits for most of the 2000's decade. You had Goldman Sachs betting against their own clients, CEO's making hundreds of millions by selling their stock just prior to their companies buckling under the weight of defaulting mortgage loans.
Forgive me, but this guy is no Denny Hecker.
I think that the quote from the article says late 80"S and not (1980) , which would be correct given that I worked at the Uptown at the time... As someone who knows all parties quoted and Michael very well, It's a fairly accurate time capsule that the writer has represented.. I have to admit, I don't know all of the facts surrounding the claimed damage to Mr.Brown and others, but I would stand by the time frame represented in this story....
As for your comment "Fame Whore's" really?... Do you really imagine that any of the people quoted in this story just wanted to see their names in print??.. So much so that they'd throw someone who they spent countless hours with under the bus!... Not likely.. a good number of the people quoted in this story were Michaels closest friends and companions.. Imagine the feeling of betrayal that takes place when you realize that someone you love, care for and listened to for hours has played you, Or just lacked the capacity to be honest and true.. even when it was just one on one,, to realize that you've been had for whatever reason sucks!... Like living in the same house with a stranger who leads a double life... You could be right that a good deal of the people who were quoted haven't talked with Michael in recent years.. Like Chicken little.. who got everyone together and running with excitement,, Eventually the townsfolk quit coming.. That or you lose sight of what you've told people was fact... when it was far from the truth... When you realize that burning the bridge isn't going to be enough... you blow the shit out of it leaving no trace of the island of people that you've left behind...
And lastly, As for your remarks about hypocritical,artificial sycophants, did someone from Bob's knock over your moped or make fun of your trike?.... :-)
Interesting, your vile spewing about people you probably hardly knew. I knew all of these people and most were honest and hard working. "Some d-bag from the motorcycle era"... I guess you'd lump Malcom Forbes, Lyle Lovett, Steve McQueen, T.E. Lawrence, aka “Lawrence of Arabia”, Bob Dylan, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Lindbergh, Buddy Holly and James Dean in there since the "Motorcycle Era" started when the first motorized bicycle was built. With your narrow viewpoint I don't expect you to know who these people are.
Obviously ranting is your life and style. I'll choose to spend my time with the the "d-bags" you refer to who add something to and enjoy this existance as opposed to spendnig time with people like you who wallow in self-righteousness and have no clue how the people you refer to live. My bet is they add infinately more to this culture and life than you'll ever hope to. Thanks for a rather pathetic rant, but then it does take a view like yours to appreciate that we're not all like you.
I think the writer meant the motorcycle era of Michael Hudalla, which was 10-15 years according to the article, as opposed to counting from the invention of the machine.
For what it's worth, there are two early deaths, one suicide and and at least two bi- or homosexual men in that list (Dean, Holly, Thompson, Forbes and Lawrence, respectively). Live fast and die hard.
Yeah Cafe, I got what he meant but his is problem-plagued thinking to begin with. It would be naive to think that Michael started the "d-bag" era. The Upton bike crowd was doing their thing with Italian iron and street fighters, etc way before Mike stepped onto the stage, they continue today and will in the future. Mike was a catalyst and there were hundreds of respecatable folks "hanging around" Trackstar buying product and riding with the groups including Doctors, Attorneys, Entertainers, Government employees, Educators, etc. EasyArtemis was trying to conveniently lump everything negative to him about bikes and hang it around Michael's and Trackstar's neck. Are there pissed off people who got stung? I'm sure of it, but that happens every day in business. Can EasyArtemis pass the Ten Commandments test? Remember, it's either 100% or you fail. Ha! Love to see his skeleton-in-the-closet resume.
Who knows, maybe he got stung by Trackstar or another cycle dealer. If so, he should have had his eyes open and not fallen in. I don't know where the "fame whore" came from but I was there a lot due to business and while every cycle store attracts groupies, the reality is that Trackstar was a unique space in time and people from every walk of life enjoyed the atmosphere. These people already had personalities, Trackstar didn't create them. Cudos to Mike, Marty, Mike Weston and Tom for having the vision to bring it together because it was special while it lasted. It's just too bad it didn't survive but bashing everyne who was there isn't called for either. Many people keep it alive because it was cool and retro, something I'd guess EasyArtemis isn't.
Let's face it, City Pages is a sensation rag and while serious news is in here, the tabloid twist feeds the flames of guys like this who just don't get the big picture. Bet he watches Fox news every night and believes everything Heraldo feeds him.