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Thread: Former Tipitina?s owner Roland Von Kurnatowski, 68, dies in shooting accident, family friends say

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    Former Tipitina?s owner Roland Von Kurnatowski, 68, dies in shooting accident, family friends say

    https://www.nola.com/news/article_fa...w4DKwIlgSUk1Hc

    Beleaguered New Orleans businessman and former Tipitina?s owner Roland Von Kurnatowski died Sunday night after he accidentally shot himself on property he owned in Mississippi, close family friends said Monday.

    Details about exactly how Von Kurnatowski, 68, died were limited. But the family friends said he was using a rifle to try to kill wild boar, which had become a problem on his property near Carriere. He was alone at the time.

    Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said Monday that Von Kurnatowski's death remained "under thorough investigation" but declined to discuss the case further.

    His death came several months after he sold Tipitina?s, the famed Uptown music club he owned for roughly two decades, to the band Galactic. He had also sold his share of the Orpheum Theater, which he had assisted in restoring after Hurricane Katrina.

    Both sales occurred as questions swirled over whether he had mingled his private business interests too closely with a charitable nonprofit under the Tipitina?s name. Several lawsuits also accused him of swindling investors whose money he had promised to invest conservatively.

    On Monday, however, former Mayor Mitch Landrieu praised Von Kurnatowski as "a kind man, always family-centered and a good friend. His commitment to the culture of New Orleans through the Tipitina's Foundation was unmatched."

    Von Kurnatowski was also dealing with a series of legal disputes pitting him against his sister and her sons, who had partnered with him on real estate deals that had soured.

    The various circumstances had triggered an FBI investigation, WWL-TV reported earlier this year.

    Von Kurnatowski had gotten good news in at least one of those disputes last month, having reached a settlement with his sister and nephews, court records show. Terms of the settlement haven't been disclosed.

    Before his recent legal troubles, Von Kurnatowski?s ownership of Tipitina?s and stewardship of the nonprofit foundation with the same name earned him a first-rate reputation and much favorable media coverage. The Tipitina?s Foundation donated thousands of musical instruments to local school bands and provided practice space to underprivileged musicians.

    He had also devised plans for a $13 million redevelopment of South Shore Harbor near Lakefront Airport ? where his office was ? as an entertainment district.

    But in late 2017, Von Kurnatowski began showing signs of financial strain, bouncing checks to high-profile music acts that performed at Tipitina?s and the Orpheum, WWL-TV reported.

    Things got worse for him last year. Several people began filing lawsuits alleging that they had invested in something called Bond Fund One, or BF-I, at the behest of Von Kurnatowski.

    The fund was supposed to trade U.S. Treasury bills, which are considered generally safe investments ? only the fund lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and the investors then were barred by Von Kurnatowski from cashing out their stakes in it.

    One investor, retired Jesuit priest Antone Lynch of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, went so far as to accuse Von Kurnatowski of running a Ponzi scheme ? an illegal scam in which the organizers convince early investors that they are banking excellent returns when they are actually just receiving later investors? money.

    Lynch also alleged that Von Kurnatowski was not registered to engage in the investments the fund was supposed to have been dealing in and that he kept an unusually large portion of the profits ? 40% or more ? for himself.

    Those cases remain unresolved. In at least a couple of the disputes, his lawyers this month requested to stay the proceedings while the U.S. Department of Justice?s criminal probe into Von Kurnatowski was ongoing. The plaintiffs opposed the request, which had not been ruled on.

    The bond fund terminated at Von Kurnatowksi's death, though the plaintiffs will change their suits to go after his estate, WWL-TV reported.

    Complicating matters was a separate lawsuit in which his sister Joan Hooper and her sons Christian and Andre Hooper accused Von Kurnatowski of reneging on a sizable loan involving some building projects that had not gone according to plan. A judgment found he owed a real estate firm run by his sister and nephews nearly $830,000 in principal and more than $18,450 in accrued interest.

    The Hoopers and Von Kurnatowski had since settled the disagreement out of court, and the case was dismissed.

    Von Kurnatowski sold Tipitina?s and his stake in the Orpheum Theater as his legal problems mounted. But that didn?t stave off scrutiny of the Tipitina's Foundation, which had conducted several financial transactions with for-profit entities he controlled.

    Von Kurnatowski defended his stewardship of the foundation, which was allowed to continue using the Tipitina?s name after the sale of the music club to Galactic. He said he had donated millions of dollars to the nonprofit, providing it free rent and utilities while forgiving debts it owed him.

    Von Kurnatowski also denied wronging investors in Bond Fund One, telling WWL-TV that a falling-out with his partner in the Orpheum as well as negative media coverage had caused his struggle to pay the investors.

    In an interview with this newspaper, he said the investors ?don?t have the full information, which they will be provided with shortly, and then they?ll see the error of their claim.?

    Survivors include his wife, Mary, and children.


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    Former Tipitina's owner defrauded relatives out of $2M in real estate projects, lawsuit says

    https://www.nola.com/news/article_59...f57cb442c.html

    New Orleans businessman Roland Von Kurnatowski defrauded his sister and two nephews through a series of real-estate deals involving the Tipitina's Foundation, according to allegations made in a lawsuit the three filed Wednesday.

    The lawsuit filed by Joan Hooper and her sons, Andre and Christian Hooper, alleges that Von Kurnatowski, a real-estate developer and former owner of Tipitina's music club and the Orpheum Theater, exploited the trust of Hooper and her two sons to dupe them into investing $2 million into a series of development projects across Louisiana and Texas.

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    I'm probably wrong but I don't think this was an accident.

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