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Investors Await Ruling on Developer's Bankruptcy Move

March 07, 1995|CHRIS WOODYARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge is expected to rule today whether Donald Hill Williams Jr., whose company lost as much as $90 million in investors' money, can shelter some of his remaining personal assets through a bankruptcy filing.

Disgruntled investors are challenging the 1993 personal bankruptcy filing of Williams, founder and president of Hill Williams Development Corp. in Anaheim Hills. If Judge John E. Ryan upholds the filing, Williams could potentially use it to try to shield himself from court judgments stemming from lawsuits brought by investors.

Neither Williams nor his lawyer could be reached for comment Monday.

Hill Williams Development filed for corporate bankruptcy in early 1993 amid allegations that it was operating as a pyramid scheme. New investors, who thought they were buying into the company's real estate offerings, were being paid with funds from earlier investments, according to investors' lawsuits.

Several thousand people lost an estimated $90 million in the company, and many of them filed lawsuits that are pending in state and federal courts.

Williams, who reportedly has been living in Utah, denied that he intended to defraud investors.

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