|R. Randall Rollins|
The defining moment in the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case came when the proceedings were moved, in midstream, from South Carolina to Alabama. That could not happen under the law because Sherry Carroll Rollins had initiated the action by suing for divorce in Greenville, where the family lived and the case was litigated for three years.
But Ted Rollins managed to get the case shifted to Shelby County, Alabama, where he turned the tables by suing his wife for divorce . . . even though she already had sued him for divorce? If that sounds wacky to you, it should--because it's illegal. All sorts of procedural, statutory, and case law shows that a case cannot be moved once jurisdiction is established. The principle perhaps is most clearly stated in an Alabama cased styled Wesson v. Wesson, 628 So. 2d 953 (Ala. Civ. App., 1993). ("Once jurisdiction has attached in one court, that court has the exclusive right to continue its exercise of power until the completion of the case, and is only subject to appellate authority.")
How did Ted Rollins pull off such a feat of legal hocus pocus? Well, it probably helped that his corporate law firm, Bradley Arant, is based in Birmingham and holds considerable sway over judges in these parts. It also probably helped that his cousin, R. Randall Rollins of Atlanta, is a billionaire--and it appears the prime purpose for the jurisdictional switch was to hide the assets of a real-estate investment firm the Rollinses had jointly formed.
The company is called St. James Capital, LLC, and it was established during the Greenville portion of the Rollins divorce case that Ted Rollins served as president of the firm. By the time, the case shifted to Alabama, Ted Rollins had managed to make St. James Capital (SJC) disappear. On an Alabama child-support affidavit called a CS-41, he listed his only income as roughly $50,000 annually from Reynolds Mortgage Company, of Brentwood, Tennessee. The form included no mention of St. James Capital, which clearly existed at the time.
Evidence strongly suggests that Ted Rollins perjured himself in order to greatly reduce his child-support payments. But our research indicates he had considerable help from Randall Rollins in pulling off the scam--and it apparently was driven by concerns that went beyond child support. St. James Capital was formed during the course of Ted Rollins' marriage to Sherry Rollins, and that means it was a marital asset that should have been equitably divided as part of the divorce proceedings. The company had substantial value, and it appears that Ted and Randall Rollins did not want to share it--so they cooked up a scheme to ensure that Mrs. Rollins would not receive her lawful share.
The actions of Ted and Randall Rollins regarding St. James Capital clearly were underhanded. Were they also criminal? Our research indicates the answer is yes.
Why would two grown men do such a thing? Well, you apparently don't reach the financial big leagues by being kind and gentle to others. And make no mistake about it, the Rollinses are heavy hitters when it comes to money. The thought of sharing their booty with anyone, especially Ted's soon-to-be ex wife, must not have pleased them.
As CEO of Campus Crest Communities, which completed a $380-million Wall Street IPO in late 2010, Ted Rollins travels in rarefied financial circles. But Randall Rollins, his cousin, travels in the stratospheric circles of the truly 1 percent.
Randall and his brother, Gary, are the chairman and president/CEO, respectively, of Atlanta-based Rollins Inc., which is parent company for Orkin Pest Control and other profitable enterprises. Reports in The Atlanta Business Chronicle indicate that Randall and Gary Rollins are worth more than $1 billion each.
You might think that Randall Rollins would have no reason to worry about the outcome of his cousin's divorce case in Alabama. But our research shows that Randall Rollins had made a substantial investment in St. James Capital, and he had reason to know the company was a marital asset that was due to be equitably divided. It appears Randall Rollins wanted to make sure that Sherry Carroll Rollins did not receive her lawful share of the company--and he was willing to engage in skulduggery to make that happen.
We soon will be taking a detailed look at SJC documents that were produced during discovery in the Rollins divorce case. But for now, let's focus on some peculiar math associated with the company.
In one document, Randall Rollins states that Ted Rollins sold his interest in St. James Capital for roughly $85,000. This was the total of several loans that Randal Rollins had made to his cousin. In lieu of repaying the loans, documents show, Ted Rollins gave up his interest in St. James Capital.
What makes this odd? For one, Ted Rollins just happened to sell off his interest in SJC as his divorce case was being shifted to Alabama. Hmmm.
For another, the numbers do not add up.
Sherry Rollins states that she saw documents during the course of her marriage that showed St. James Capital was formed with $34 million--$17 million from Randall Rollins and $17 million from John W. Rollins Sr., on behalf of his son, Ted. The elder Rollinses were Class A shareholders, and Ted was designated a Class B shareholder and company president. When John Rollins died in 2000, his shares went back into the company, and Ted became half owner.
During the course of the Rollins divorce case, St. James Capital owned at least 28 properties throughout the United States and Canada. So we are supposed to believe that Ted Rollins sold his share in SJC for about $85,000--even though it was worth at least $17 million, plus a portion of the value on 28 properties around North America?
That sounds like the kind of business deal Jethro Bodine might make. It reminds me of an old Steve Martin routine--"How I turned a million in real estate into $25 in cash."
Something tells me that Ted Rollins is a better businessman than that. Something also tells me that Ted and Randall Rollins pulled a fast one in Alabama courts.
(To be continued)