Firm highlighted by Trump for work in opportunity zones files for Chapter 11

A screenshot of the R. Investments website. The Denver-based firm has filed for bankruptcy protection.

A Denver-based investment firm whose CEO last year spoke on stage alongside former President Donald Trump has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  1. R. Investments, which lists an office at 1624 Market St., said in its March 4 filing that it owes between $10 million and $50 million to between 50 and 99 creditors. It said it has assets between $500,000 and $1 million.

The company is the parent entity of a number of different divisions, most notably a real estate investment firm that describes its model as leveraging opportunity zones.

Neither R. Investments CEO Travis Steffens nor its lawyer responded to messages requesting comment.

The company’s focus on opportunity zones, a Trump-era initiative that came as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and provides tax incentives to develop in “economically distressed” communities, is how Steffens found himself speaking behind a presidential lectern last year.

Steffens was invited on stage at a Feb. 7, 2020, event in Charlotte, North Carolina by Trump during an “Opportunity Now” summit in which the president was touting the legislation and the economy. Steffens, videos show, stood and spoke for a few minutes at the lectern with the seal of the president on it, Trump looming over his shoulder.

Steffens took the stage that day following Tony Rankins, a veteran who had been homeless, incarcerated and addicted to drugs before R. Investments put him to work in construction. Rankins had been honored as a guest at the State of the Union earlier that week.

An Associated Press investigation published Feb. 13, 2020, discovered that while Rankins was indeed employed by R. Investments, and had in fact used that job to work his way out of homelessness and addiction, some of the president’s claims about him and the company weren’t quite true.

Rankins, the investigation found, had been hired prior to the Opportunity Zone roll out, did not then work on an Opportunity Zone site, and, at the time, no active construction was being performed by R. Investments entities on Opportunity Zone sites.

The company’s website lists six Colorado properties as “completed assets.” Among 15 total, only one in the state appears to be located in an Opportunity Zone. The hotel on that property in Aurora was built in 1961, according to reports from its most recent sale.

Among R. Investments’ 20 largest creditors are a number of local individuals and companies. The single largest creditor is J.D. Ryan Investments LLC in Denver, owed north of $3.1 million, according to court documents.

Attorney Patrick Akers of Denver’s Moye White is representing the company.

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