Ryan C. Baker has extensive receivership experience involving a broad range of real estate and operating companies in special and troubled circumstances. Over the past 15 years, he has tackled complex cases involving large real property portfolios and operating companies alike, each facing their own unique challenges. Mr. Baker has been appointed or served as lead agent on 150+ Receiver, Provisional Director, Trustee, Partition Referee matters and regulatory receivership assignments originating from traditional banks, private equity, debt funds, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and various district attorneys, among many others. Mr. Baker currently leads DWC’s Fiduciary Practice Group.
In the real estate arena, Mr. Baker has managed a wide variety of residential and commercial properties across the country ranging from a $130M+ varied real estate portfolio to a four-plex apartment building, 40-unit retail center, and 180,000 square-foot commercial building. His property expertise spans large-scale event venue space, vacant land, multi-family, hotel, vacation rental, commercial, residential, restaurant and mixed-use, with tasks ranging from the simple collection of rents to the more involved forensic accounting of books and the oversight of ground lease and sale negotiations. At the Court’s direction, Mr. Baker has sold and managed residential and commercial properties ranging from the straightforward to the highly complex.
Mr. Baker has directly managed the operations and provided financial oversight for companies involved with partnership disputes, defaulted loans, turnaround consulting, and allegations of fraud as well as those in need of orderly liquidation. He also has significant experience with cannabis-related receiverships, including managing day-to-day financials and operations and overseeing and renewing cannabis retail, manufacturing, cultivation and distribution licenses with both state and local cannabis licensing agencies.
Mr. Baker’s most significant assignment was in the matter of Private Equity Management Group – a $1 billion-dollar Ponzi scheme exposed in Federal Court by the Securities and Exchange Commission that led to the appointment of a Federal Equity Receiver. Mr. Baker was tasked with tracing $1 billion worth of investment from nine investors over a 10-year period into 46 investment vehicles located in the British Virgin Islands. The overall investments included over 50 assets and 275 life insurance policies (with over a billion dollars in face value) and a cash flow requirement of $70 million per year to keep the premiums current. Most of the assets were jointly owned by multiple investors. This analysis provided the basis for the court-approved distribution plan to victims of the $336 million recovery.
Mr. Baker earned an MBA at the University of Southern California and holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from New York University. He is currently on the board of the California Receiver’s Forum (CRF) and is a member of National Association of Federal Equity Receivers (NAFER). He has regularly published articles in “Receivership News” and “The Receiver” magazines and regularly speaks on panels in receiver and insolvency education courses sponsored by the California Receivers Forum and Loyola Law School. Mr. Baker authors Receivership News’ Heard in the Halls column, published by the California Receivers Forum.
Private Equity Management Group
Mr. Baker’s most significant assignment was in the matter of Private Equity Management Group – a billion-dollar alleged Ponzi scheme exposed in Federal Court by the Securities and Exchange Commission that led to the appointment of a Federal Equity Receiver. Mr. Baker was tasked with tracing $1 billion worth of investment from nine investors over a 10-year period into 46 investment vehicles located in the British Virgin Islands. The overall investments included over 50 assets and 275 life insurance policies (with over a billion dollars in face value) and a cash flow requirement of $70 million per year to keep the premiums current. Most of the assets were jointly owned by multiple investors. This analysis provided the basis for the court-approved distribution plan to victims of the $336 million recovery.
Time Night Club and La Vida Cantina
Mr. Baker was appointed as Receiver to take operational and financial control of the nightclub and restaurant which was the subject to an investor dispute. Mr. Baker operated both businesses, generating gross revenues of $15M per year, in a neutral capacity while the investor lawsuit played out in Court. Mr. Baker implemented cost saving measures as well as robust cash controls over the business which had accusations of malfeasance and fraud.
Mr. Baker was appointed as Receiver over a 25-unit strip mall located in Westminster, CA with many complex issues including a ground lease reevaluation and negotiation, allegations of fraud and misconduct relating to a prior sale and title transfer. Not to mention the defendant filed for bankruptcy during the Receivership whereby Mr. Baker was able to successfully petition the bankruptcy court to keep Mr. Baker in as Receiver during the bankruptcy process.
Starr Pass Hotel
Mr. Baker provided operational and financial oversight of a 575 room hotel-resort located in Tucson, Arizona which was the subject of a receivership appointment. The hotel generated $70M+ each year and, adding to the complexity, underwent a $10M construction project during the receivership to repair the hotel’s façade.
Mr. Baker was appointed as the Partition Referee for a 2.5 acre car dealership located in Simi Valley. The property was subject to a partition action involving three owners and a tenant, all with competing interests. Mr. Baker was able to successfully sell the car dealership for 20% above appraisal by creating a bidding process between the owners and obtaining a third party interested buyer.
Liquidation of a construction company which had defaulted on its loan with a bank. In order to achieve the maximum recovery for its creditors the company was liquidated in two parts: a portion of the equipment was sold to a competitor while the rest of the company, along with all the work-in-progress projects, was sold to a separate buyer.
Specialty Chemical Group
Liquidation of a $75M specialty chemical company involved in a bitterly contested partnership dispute. The liquidation included the sale of valuable chemical inventory as well as properly disposing of unsellable chemical inventory. Finding purchasers for the unique chemical inventory required resourcefulness and persistence.
Medical equipment vendor that came under the scrutiny of the District Attorney for alleged wrongdoing. Mr. Baker oversaw the review of the invoicing practices of the business to determine if it was performed in accordance with prescribed guidelines.
California Receivers Forum (CRF) – Board Member
National Association of Federal Equity Receivers (NAFER) – Member
California Bankruptcy Forum (CBF), Los Angeles County Chapter – Member
California Bankruptcy Forum (CBF), Orange County Chapter – Member
Participates on panels for Receiver and Insolvency Education courses sponsored by the CRF and Loyola Law School
Habitat for Humanity
Douglas Wilson Companies was founded in 1989 to provide a wide range of specialized business, workout, and real estate services to law firms, state and federal courts, corporations, partnerships, pension funds, REITs, financial institutions, and property owners throughout the United States.
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San Diego, California 92101