An attorney for Campus Crest Communities CEO Ted Rollins has threatened me for the third time with legal action for reporting accurately about the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case.
Chad Essick, of the North Carolina firm Poyner Spruill, informs me this time that his client's patience is wearing "razor thin." Next thing you know counselor Essick will be putting me on double-secret probation.
Essick goes on to question why I continue to report about a case that he calls a "private family matter." If you know anything at all about the American court system, that sentence should make your jaw drop.
The court file in Rollins v. Rollins is a public record. The case was litigated in a taxpayer-funded courtroom, with lawyers who are officers of a taxpayer-funded court, overseen by a judge who is paid by taxpayers. The Rollins case could not be more public, and it only came to my attention here in Alabama because Ted Rollins filed a complaint in this state after Sherry Carroll Rollins got things rolling by suing him for divorce in South Carolina.
If Ted Rollins is unhappy that I'm reporting on his divorce case, which he brought to the county where I live, he has only himself to blame. The crumbling Rollins marriage was a private family matter back when the couple was developing "irreconcilable differences" and, according to Ms. Rollins' complaint, her husband was rather flagrantly committing adultery.
But once either party filed a lawsuit, it became as public as any other divorce record. Chad Essick has to know this. After all, he got through law school at Campbell University, so he probably isn't stupid.
Why then is Mr. Essick making wacky statements on Ted Rollins' behalf? Desperation, maybe? Heck, I don't know.
I do know that the business about a "private family matter" is not the only sign that Ted Rollins and his lawyer are out of touch with reality. Let's examine a few key issues in their latest missive. (You can read the whole thing at the end of this post.)
* Threats to cut off family support to Sherry Rollins and the couple's daughters, Sarah and Emma--I reported this in a February 3 post titled "Has CEO Resorted to Extortion In An Effort to Silence Our Reporting?" I reported the threat because Sherry Rollins called me and told me about it in detail, and I tape recorded the conversation. Ms. Rollins had reported similar threats to me on probably a dozen occasions over almost two years' time.
* Ted Rollins' status as a deadbeat dad--I've reported this in multiple posts, and public records--plus a videotaped interview with Sherry Rollins--show that it's true. Sherry Rollins stated, with a camera rolling and under no coercion from anyone, that Ted Rollins had failed to pay more than $200,000 in court-ordered family support from South Carolina. It still hasn't been paid, and that makes Mr. Rollins a deadbeat dad. It's fact.
* My communications with Sarah Rollins, and the threat of a restraining order--Mr. Essick is topping himself with this one. He states that I have been in contact with Sarah Rollins, and Ted Rollins vows to get a restraining order against me if I contact either of his minor children again. A fact: I was "in contact" with Sarah Rollins because she called me at home. Let me repeat: Sarah Rollins called me, not the other way around. Is Mr. Essick going to seek an order to prevent me from answering my own phone?
It's interesting that Ted Rollins would voice such concern about the welfare of minor children. I have information about how he has treated minor children who were under his care, and it's not a pretty story. More on that coming soon.
A response to the latest in your ongoing series of threats:
* The threats to cut off family support were communicated to me by Sherry Rollins in a tape-recorded conversation. She called me about them, not the other way around, and she has made similar reports to me on probably 8-12 occasions. I've never initiated a conversation on such topics; she has always brought it up. My posts on this subject are true, and there will be no retraction.
* Public records, and videotaped interviews with Sherry Rollins, show that Mr. Rollins still owes a significant sum of money that he never paid, based on South Carolina court orders. Thus, he is a deadbeat dad. My posts on this subject are true, and there will be no retraction.
* Sarah Rollins contacted me via telephone. She initiated the communication. That is fact, and Mr. Rollins should learn the facts before making threats about restraining orders.
* Sherry Rollins has not provided documentation to show that one word of my reporting is false. Whether I continue to report on this subject is not her call--it's mine. This also is not a "private family matter," as you should know. Rollins v. Rollins is a matter of public record, litigated in taxpayer-funded courts, and Ted Rollins is CEO of a publicly traded company that conducts business from coast to coast.
Finally, public records show that you are not a member of the Alabama State Bar, and yet you continue to send law-related communications to an Alabama citizen. You appear to be practicing law in Alabama without a license. You also have repeatedly made threats against me, hinting at legal actions that you cannot lawfully take. This appears to be a violation of legal ethics at both the state and national levels.
Your unlawful and unethical actions will no longer be tolerated.
I've conducted additional research since I wrote that, and under the State Corporate Admission Rules of Alabama, I don't think Mr. Essick is practicing law without a license. He is, however, violating
Rule 3.1 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct ("Meritorious Claims and Contentions"), which states, in part:
(a) In his representation of a client, a lawyer shall not file a suit, assert a position, conduct a defense, delay a trial, or take other action on behalf of the lawyer’s client when the lawyer knows or when it is obvious that such action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another.
In addition, Mr. Essick, Mr. Rollins, and any number of other individuals and entities would be subject to a counterclaim for abuse of process, conspiracy, defamation (and other possible claims) if they bring a baseless lawsuit against me. Any lawsuit they file would be baseless because my reporting has been accurate.
Essick is threatening a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), which is the kind of tactic to which a low-rent, cowardly law firm would resort. Is that what Poyner Spruill is all about? The answer appears to be yes.
Essick's claim that Rollins v. Rollins is a "private family matter" makes him come across as someone who knows he has no serious position other than to flail at the air.
It's ironic, however, that Essick raised the issue of Ted Rollins and minor children. That is a subject that merits very serious attention.
Ted Rollins--Letter No. 3