Kennedy Funding Lawsuit details and outcome.
Business Law

Understanding the Kennedy Funding Lawsuit

Kennedy Funding, Inc. (KFI), a major player in the commercial real estate lending sector, has been embroiled in a series of lawsuits that have raised significant legal questions concerning contractual obligations and business ethics. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the key issues and legal arguments that have emerged from the Kennedy Funding lawsuit.


Kennedy Funding: An Introduction

In the realm of commercial real estate lending, Kennedy Funding has established a noteworthy reputation. With a portfolio that includes high-profile clients such as Hubspot and Wordstream, KFI’s influence within the industry is undeniable. However, the company’s business practices and dealings have on occasion attracted legal scrutiny, leading to a series of lawsuits, one of which is the subject of this article.

The Kennedy Funding Lawsuit: An Overview

The lawsuit that has garnered significant attention is that between KFI and Virgil Shelton, the seller of a cemetery in Arkansas. The jury awarded Shelton $1,675,000 based on his claims of breach-of-contract and fraud against KFI. However, KFI disagreed with the verdict and appealed.

It is important to note that the legal battles involving KFI extend beyond this singular case. They face numerous other lawsuits, each with unique circumstances and allegations.

Key Details

  • The Kennedy Funding Lawsuit refers to a legal case involving Kennedy Funding, a commercial bridge loan lender and real estate loan broker.
  • One of its investors sued Kennedy Funding, alleging fraudulent actions that led to a significant loss of money. The investor claimed that Kennedy Funding misrepresented the value and quality of the properties they invested in.
  • The lawsuit focused on the allegation that Kennedy Funding did not evaluate the property adequately before approving the loan. The investor claimed that the company inflated the property’s value to encourage investment.
  • An important detail in this lawsuit was the alleged violation of the Securities Exchange Act by Kennedy Funding. This included the claim that the company failed to disclose material facts about the properties and the associated risks.
  • The investor demanded compensation for the losses incurred due to the alleged fraudulent activities of Kennedy Funding.
  • This lawsuit reminds investors to conduct thorough due diligence before investing in properties, especially when dealing with brokers and lenders. It also serves as a warning for companies to ensure transparency and honesty.

The Players

In the Kennedy Funding lawsuit, the primary players are the plaintiff, Virgil Shelton, and the defendant, Kennedy Funding, Inc. Shelton is the original owner of the Rest in Peace Cemetery in Hensley, Arkansas. KFI, on the other hand, is a New Jersey-based company specializing in commercial real estate lending.

The Case Background

Shelton established the Rest in Peace Cemetery in 1967 and operated it until 1992 when he decided to retire. He sold the cemetery to Willie Acklin, a local undertaker, in a deal involving a promissory note and mortgage. In the late 1990s, Acklin experienced financial difficulties and sought to restructure his financing by obtaining a bridge loan from KFI.

The Estoppel Certificate

The Estoppel Certificate is a critical piece of evidence in the Kennedy Funding lawsuit. An Estoppel Certificate, in legal terms, is a document used to prevent (estop) a party from making a claim or denial that contradicts what was previously agreed upon.

In this case, they used the Estoppel Certificate to clarify Acklin’s obligations to Shelton before KFI committed to a bridge loan. KFI requested that Shelton reduce the value of his mortgage to a certain sum and attest to certain facts about the cemetery‚Äôs title.

The Loan Commitment

In the context of the lawsuit, the Loan Commitment refers to the agreement between KFI and Acklin. Based on court documents, KFI was willing to provide Acklin a bridge loan and intended to use Rest in Peace as collateral. However, KFI wanted to ascertain the amount owed under the note to Shelton, as his mortgage would have priority over any mortgage Acklin might give KFI.

The Loan Default

Acklin defaulted on his bridge loan in 2000, leading KFI to initiate foreclosure proceedings on Rest in Peace. This situation brought to light the issue of the Estoppel Certificate and whether KFI had met its commitments as stated therein.

The Legal Issues

The primary legal issues in the Kennedy Funding lawsuit revolve around breach of contract and fraud. Shelton argued that KFI failed to uphold the terms of the Estoppel Certificate, thereby breaching the contract. He also alleged that KFI made false representations and acted fraudulently.

The Verdict

The jury sided with Shelton, awarding him $1,675,000 based on his breach-of-contract and fraud claims. However, KFI disagreed with the verdict, arguing that the Estoppel Certificate was not enforceable due to the Arkansas Statute of Frauds, among other legal arguments.

The Appeal

Unsatisfied with the jury’s verdict, KFI appealed the decision. They argued that the Estoppel Certificate was not enforceable due to the Arkansas Statute of Frauds. They also contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict on fraud claims.

The Outcome

The appeal was decided in both parties’ favor. The court affirmed the district court’s judgment regarding the breach-of-contract claim but reversed the judgment for the fraud claim. The court also remanded the case for further proceedings to reduce Shelton’s judgment to $675,000.


The Kennedy Funding lawsuit provides a compelling case study of the complexities and intricacies of commercial real estate dealings. As this case illustrates, the intersection of business practices and legal obligations can often lead to intricate legal battles. As KFI continues to operate within the commercial real estate lending sector, it remains to be seen how this case and others will impact its business practices and reputation moving forward.

Kennedy Funding Lawsuit FAQ

Who is the plaintiff?

Virgil Shelton, owner of the Rest in Peace Cemetery in Hensley, Arkansas

Who is the defendant?

Kennedy Funding, Inc

What was the verdict of the Kennedy Funding lawsuit?

Shelton, the plaintiff, was awarded $1,675,000

Was there an appeal to the Kennedy Funding lawsuit?

Yes, and the payment was reduced to $675,000 and the fraud charge was dropped.

Leave a Reply