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Last summer, my predecessor Ruth Samuelson reported on the fall of an elite Georgetown ad agency and its “flamboyant” owner, Jack Shoptaw. Hammer Communications fell on hard times like a lot of businesses tied to the real estate industry—the agency repped builders like Toll Brothers and Brookfield Homes—but threw boozy parties right up until starting to lay off his employees, leaving salaries unpaid and going deep into debt. Creditors later filed a petition to liquidate the company through an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding.
Earlier this month, Shoptaw reinvented himself as a real estate agent, forming a sales team with Sotheby’s. And he’s already scored some free publicity, with a townhouse condo in Georgetown that will be featured on HGTV’s real estate reality show “My First Sale.” (Though with the amount of time HGTV spent finding candidates for the show, it can’t have been that difficult to land a spot).
He’s still running the new incarnation of his ad agency, Shoptaw Design. But prudently, he appears to have wiped all mention of Hammer Communications from his online presence. Here’s hoping buyers beware.