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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Leveled W Resort at center of dispute between Act 60 beneficiaries

Brock Pierce

By The Star Staff

Crypto entrepreneur and former “Mighty Ducks” actor Brock Pierce has sued a trucking tycoon over the ownership of a leveled W resort in Vieques, claiming the former family friend fabricated a fictitious default to “steal” his property, according to a report from the New York Post.

Local courts are expected to hear the case this month.

In 2021, Pierce paid $18.3 million through his holding company for an 80% stake of the Vieques resort that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017, according to the Post.

But Joseph Lipsey III gained control of the property last month after claiming Pierce defaulted on a $10 million loan from Lipsey’s company VRRRF, according to the complaint filed Dec. 19.

Pierce, the chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, is suing to get the court to reverse the transfer, he told The Post.

Pierce said he believes Lipsey has conned him and is seeking $80 million in damages.

Lipsey, the CEO of VRRRF, told Bloomberg the transfer was legal and called Pierce’s allegations “baseless.”

Lipsey allegedly tricked Pierce to get his hands on the former W Hotel property worth about $50 million, the Post reported.

Pierce, 43, moved to Puerto Rico in 2017, where he built a real estate portfolio worth about $35 million, according to Bloomberg.

The 60-year-old Lipsey, who runs a trucking and a logistics company, relocated to Puerto Rico with his wife, Shira, and son in 2021 after reportedly running into legal hot water in Colorado amid drug-related charges.

They came to Puerto Rico to benefit from tax incentives under the former Act 20/22 bills, now Act 60.

The two men forged a friendship in Puerto Rico, where Pierce’s mother also lived. He reportedly also bonded with Lipsey’s son, Joseph Lipsey IV, who is in his early 20s.

Pierce took a $10 million line of credit Lipsey’s company extended to him in October as he sought to buy out the minority partners in the resort, according to his Dec. 19 complaint.

However, Lipsey seized the property as collateral just a month later after claiming that Pierce missed a deadline to complete the transaction — a claim Pierce denies, according to the Post.

Pierce alleges the loan agreement gave Lipsey the right to manage the holding company that controls the hotel if he defaulted, but Lipsey needed to go through a legal process that would take at least 30 days in order to transfer the hotel to himself, a step that Pierce says was ignored.

Pierce is planning to open the former W under a new nationally recognized hotel banner as early as 2025 and said he has about 30 workers engaged in renovations.

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