A development company, with a CEO who has extensive personal and professional baggage, is planning a new project at Auburn University. The company already has close to 30 student-housing developments across the country.
Campus Crest Communities, of Charlotte, North Carolina, has announced that it plans to build a 216-unit student-housing complex adjacent to Greek housing at Auburn. The $26.3 million project is expected to be ready for the 2012-13 academic year.
Campus Crest is led by Ted Rollins, who has been the subject of several posts here at Legal Schnauzer--and he will be the subject of quite a few more. Ted Rollins has significant financial clout; he belongs to the Atlanta-based Rollins clan, the folks behind Orkin Pest Control and one of the nation's wealthiest families. Campus Crest Communities is Rollins' latest venture, and it completed a $380-million IPO on Wall Street last year.
Public documents, however, indicate that Ted Rollins has a troubling history of using abusive legal tactics and questionable business practices.
At least three former or current Campus Crest employees have filed lawsuits alleging the company engages in sex and race discrimination. The cases are pending, and here is how we reported on them in a previous post:
Campus Crest Communities, which develops student housing near college campuses, is charged in Charlotte federal court with creating a work environment that is hostile to women and African-Americans. Two plaintiffs in the lawsuits, Nicole McAuliffe and Heather McCormack, say they were terminated after complaining of a sexually hostile work environment at Campus Crest. A third plaintiff, Tammy Hughes-Brown, says she has faced discrimination because she is an African-American. . . .
McAuliffe says the company practiced blatant discrimination against people of color--and for that matter, older people. She and other staff members were directed to hire predominantly young, white women to available positions at the company's various residential rental properties.
One complaint alleges that women in the Campus Crest office environment were referred to as "cunts," "bitches," and "whores." The company's marketing department was called "the whore's den."
How does Ted Rollins treat women? You might want to ask his former wife, Sherry Carroll Rollins. We have written extensively about the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case, and I have called it perhaps "No. 1 on my 'hit parade' of courtroom abuse." As regular readers know, that is saying a mouthful.
Sherry Carroll Rollins now lives in Birmingham, and her court case speaks volumes about how Ted Rollins views the justice system. Does he believe that all parties in a court case should receive fair and lawful treatment? The public file in Rollins v. Rollins indicates the answer is no. Here is how we recently summarized the case:
Sherry Rollins filed for divorce in Greenville, South Carolina, where she and her husband lived. The case got rolling, jurisdiction was established, and it could not be changed, under the law. But Sherry Rollins was not married to a regular working schmuck. Ted W. Rollins is a member of one of America's wealthiest right-leaning families, the folks behind Orkin Pest Control and other enterprises. Ted Rollins apparently decided that the law didn't apply to him. He ignored a court order to maintain the mortgage payment, insurance, and taxes on the family house, causing Sherry Rollins and the couple's two daughters to be booted from their own home. Sherry Rollins and the girls fled to Alabama, where she had relatives. When it looked like a South Carolina judge was going to zap him with hefty alimony and child-support payments, Ted Rollins sued Sherry Rollins for divorce in Alabama--and an Alabama judge named D. Al Crowson took the case. All kinds of law says this can't be done; jurisdiction already was set in South Carolina--and Ted Rollins had been found in contempt of court and had a warrant for his arrest. Crowson took the case, contrary to clear Alabama law such as Wesson v. Wesson, 628 So. 2d 953 (1993) and proceeded to administer a colossal cheat job to Sherry Rollins and her two daughters. How did this happen? Well, Ted Rollins is the CEO of Campus Crest Communities, which corralled a $380 million IPO on Wall Street, and his primary corporate lawyers are with the influential Birmingham firm of Bradley Arant. Knowing the right lawyers, who apparently know the right judge, seems to have helped Ted Rollins pull a major fast one on his ex wife and their two daughters.
Notice that we have highlighted the fact that Ted and Sherry Rollins had two daughters. They also had two stepsons, from Sherry Rollins' previous marriage.
Why have we highlighted this? At its 27 student-housing properties around the country, Campus Crest Communities essentially is selling an image to college students and their parents. Ted Rollins presents himself as a CEO who is concerned about providing wholesome, healthful living environments for young people--to promote their academic and personal growth.
All of that raises this legitimate question: How does Ted Rollins treat his own children? How do his own children fare when they are on his watch?
Public documents provide considerable insight into those questions--and they do not paint a pretty picture of Campus Crest's CEO.
A recent profile in The Charlotte Observer provides insight about Campus Crest Communities and its competitors in the student-housing market. The article, "Developer Finds Success Just Off Campus," is written by reporter Kerry Hall Singe and focuses heavily on the company's financial growth. But it does not present the whole picture about Campus Crest Communities.
Ted Rollins' company is coming soon to Alabama. Students and parents with ties to Auburn University have a right to know what kind of person is leading this new presence in the "Loveliest Village." We will be providing some troubling answers.