|The Occupy Wall Street movement|
In October 2010, CEO Ted Rollins helped Campus Crest Communities complete a Wall Street IPO of more than $350 million.
In October 2011, we reported that Ted Rollins' ex wife and his two teen-aged daughters are on food stamps in Alabama.
That provides all the information you need to know about the kind of people who are favored in America's high-stakes financial sector. It also puts a new face on the protests against Wall Street that are sweeping the nation.
Ted Rollins teaches us an important lesson: Corporate fat cats not only will screw around with the general public, causing untold harm to our economy on a macro scale; they also are "bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling" on a micro scale, in some cases cheating their own children.
Here is another lesson to remember: Behind most crooked CEOs is a crooked lawyer--or in some cases, a whole army of crooked lawyers. Everyday Americans should not be angry with just corporate titans; they also should direct heavy-duty anger toward lawyers, who too often serve as nothing more than grossly overpaid enablers.
Author Naomi Klein has called the Occupy Wall Street movement "the most important thing in the world now." Writes Klein:
Today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.
I would take Klein's sentiments one step further: Too many CEOs simply do not care about our Constitution, the rule of law, and fundamental matters of right and wrong; too many CEOs do not care about their fellow humans. In the case of Ted Rollins, that appears to include his own flesh and blood.
How far was Ted Rollins willing to go in order to avoid paying a reasonable amount of alimony to his ex wife (Sherry Carroll Rollins) and child support for their two daughters? Here's how we spelled it out in a previous post:
Sherry Rollins had sued for divorce in Greenville, South Carolina, where the family had lived, and adultery was one of the primary grounds she cited. A South Carolina judge had issued a temporary order that called for Ted Rollins to pay $3,355 a month in child support, $5,000 a month in alimony, and continue paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance on the marital home.
When the mortgage went unpaid, Sherry Rollins and her children were forced from their home. Mrs. Rollins fled to Alabama, where her two sons from a previous marriage were living. Contrary to black-letter law, Ted Rollins was allowed to sue Sherry Rollins in Alabama and wound up with a reduction of roughly $2,500 in his monthly child support and $4,500 in his monthly alimony.
What a deal! No wonder this guy's rich.
How did Ted Rollins pull off this little scam? He didn't do it on his own. He has close ties to the powerful, "pro business" Birmingham law firm Bradley Arant. Prominent matrimonial lawyer G. John Durward, of the firm Durward & Cromer, filed the case in Alabama. Someone persuaded Shelby County Circuit Judge D. Al Crowson to unlawfully take a case where jurisdiction already had been established in another state.
See what we mean about enablers?
Ted Rollins doesn't seem to appreciate our reporting on the Rollins v. Rollins case. In fact, he recently threatened me with a lawsuit for reporting accurately on his activities, based on public documents and/or multiple published reports. That reminds me of a key theme from Paul Krugman, of The New York Times, in a piece titled "Panic of the Plutocrats." Writes Krugman:
Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. . . . They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.
Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees--basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.
This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny--and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage.
Ted Rollins has tried that stunt with me, but it's not going to work. We have much more to come about one of America's corporate titans and how he conducts his affairs--both inside and outside the boardroom. Those who have followed our reporting know that Rollins v. Rollins is an ugly story. It's about to get much uglier in the near future.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, so far, has been protesting against a faceless foe. But corporate titans who chip away at our democracy do, indeed, have faces. One of them belongs to Ted Rollins.