Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Woman Is Murdered at Campus Crest Communities Complex in Clarksville, TN

Shardae Wright

A woman was murdered last Friday at The Grove apartment complex in Clarksville, Tennessee. The Grove is the brand name for apartments developed by Charlotte-based Campus Crest Communities.

Ted Rollins, CEO of Campus Crest Communities, has been the subject of frequent posts at Legal Schnauzer for his role in a divorce action that was handled unlawfully here in Shelby County, Alabama. I've called Rollins v. Rollins the most grotesque courtroom cheat job I've encountered in the civil arena.

Ted Rollins has a history of unethical behavior in his personal affairs, so no one should be surprised that bad things keep happening in his business affairs--at the some 30 student-housing complexes he has built around the country. The latest involves a homicide at The Grove near Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Here is information from a Clarksville Police Department press release:

On March 3rd, 2012, Clarksville Police officers responded to a shots fired call at Building 6, 1523 Nolen Road and found a deceased female in the bathtub with gunshot wounds.

The victim’s name is Shardae Wright (B/F, DOB: 11/9/88) of Clarksville, TN. No further information is available.

Some Web research reveals that 1523 Nolen Road is the address for The Grove in Clarksville. Those are the apartments that Campus Crest Communities (and Ted Rollins) built to provide students with a "fully loaded" living experience. In some cases, unfortunately, that can involve fully loaded guns.

Nicholas Rico Durant, Wright's boyfriend, has been arrested and charged with murder. From Wright's hometown newspaper in Ashley County, Arkansas:

Shardae Wright, 23, a 2007 Hamburg High School graduate and a member of the U. S. Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was shot to death shortly after midnight Friday, and her boyfriend is in custody on a charge of criminal homicide.

Wright was living in Clarksville, Tennessee. According to a press release from the Clarksville Police Department, witnesses said that Wright had come to their apartment in Clarksville and her boyfriend, Nicholas Rico Durant, 21, of Clarksville came after her, pointing a gun at her in front of witnesses. When witnesses ran to get help, they heard several gunshots.

The Ashley County Ledger ran a photograph showing multiple bullet holes in Wright's apartment door at The Grove.

The bullet-riddled door of
Shardae Wright's apartment
at The Grove
This is not the first time young people have come to physical harm at a Grove complex. The most widely publicized event came at the University of North Texas, where three young men were severely injured in a balcony collapse. The victims in Denton, Texas, suffered a total of 11 broken bones in the fall.

Should anyone expect Ted Rollins to be concerned about the rising number of people who come to harm on his properties? Given that Mr. Rollins has shown disregard for his own flesh and blood living in Alabama, I would say no.

Sherry Carroll Rollins, Ted's ex wife, lives in Birmingham with the couple's daughters, Sarah and Emma Rollins. Ms. Rollins and the girls have qualified for food stamps because of the stunningly favorable divorce judgment that Ted Rollins received from Shelby County Circuit Judge D. Al Crowson.

You might think that a court would look down on Ted Rollins, given that public records show he is a deadbeat dad for failing to provide family support as ordered by a court in South Carolina, where Sherry Rollins initiated divorce proceedings. But you would be wrong; Mr. Rollins was able to file a divorce action in Alabama and have it unlawfully heard, apparently because he has ties to the powerful Birmingham law firm Bradley Arant.

Bradley Arant acts as the primary corporate law firm for Campus Crest Communities. If Shardae Wright's family files a wrongful-death lawsuit against Ted Rollins' company, you can rest assured that Bradley Arant, or its acolytes, will somehow be involved.

Here is a promotional video for "fully loaded" living at The Grove at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. No mention of fully loaded guns that leave bullet holes in doors:


Anonymous said...

I read your blog regularly and know Rollins/Campus Crest/Bradley Arant- and have no reason to doubt that much of what you write at the very least seems likely. That being said, an apartment community is not a fort, and unfortunately this woman made a poor choice to be in a relationship with a person that apparently had no regard for human life. This is a societal issue, and as Campus Crest is the home for 15,000+ young people with the stupidity/recklessness of youth (we all had it at one point) , this was going to happen at one of their properties at some point.

Not to defend CC but this one is not on them. They really ought to "own" that balcony debacle- not sure why the doors were even capable of being opened

Anonymous said...

Often this blog is incredibly informative. At other times it makes connections that are so specious I don't know why I come here.

This post is definitely the latter. You do good, hard, and frankly dangerous investigative work; take a day off rather than post something that chips away at your credibility.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:27:

Your point is well taken. But I think this should be remembered: These apartments are marketed to college students, as an alternative to dorm living. Clearly The Grove provides a snazzier living environment than your standard dorm. But parents might want to consider safety issues. Which is safer, a dorm that is on campus and managed by a university or The Grove, which is managed by . . . well, Ted Rollins, I guess. Most dorms that I'm aware of have some control over who comes and goes, card keys etc. That apparently doesn't happen at The Grove. Based on press reports it appears that neither the deceased nor her boyfriend were APSU students.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's necessary to blame the victim in this tragedy, as Anonymous 1 does. I do agree that bad things can happen anywhere. I believe, however, that more bad things happen at Grove developments than other comparable "student housing" complexes.

Campus Crest portrays their Grove developments as the next step away from the dormitory - a safe transition to more independent living. When Campus Crest comes into new communities and tries to get approval, they sometimes say (falsely) that only students may live in them. When citizens point out the falsehood (due to the Fair Housing Act), then they may say that 99% of residents are students (also presumably false). It appears neither the victim nor the suspect were students, and that does not surprise me.

In Wichita, KS, "The Grove" has had gang activity (documented in official city District Advisory Board minutes). Local citizens believe that background checks for residents at the Wichita Grove were not happening, and gang members moved in. In Jacksonville, AL, in 2010: "Within the last six months, (assistant police chief) Wineman said The Grove, a group of twelve apartment buildings located off Nisbet Street Northwest, saw “every crime but a homicide, including rapes, burglaries, robberies, drug charges, alcohol charges.”"

In my opinion, the tragedy in Clarksville is indicative of larger operational problems, stemming from apparently unethical leadership at the very top of the Campus Crest organization. I'd guess it's only a matter of time until the house of cards collapses.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:04:

Not sure how this chips away at my credibility. I simply reported about a woman being murdered at a college apartment complex, and it ties in to a string of posts I've written previously. Every word of it is true. Not sure what you mean by "specious connections." Campus Crest built the apartments in question and apparently manages them. That's all the article states, and it's fact. I've given the public information that has been reported nowhere else. That only adds to my credibility. The big issue here: Is it safer for college students to live in a dorm that is managed by university personnel or in an apartment complex managed by a private company? Different people will answer that question in various ways. But I have given them information to consider. The newspaper in Clarksville made it sound as if this murder happened at your standard apartment complex. It happened at a complex marketed to college students and their parents. The public needs to know that. If you don't care about that issue, fine with me.

Anonymous said...

When a man egregiously breaks laws and cheats his own family he invites a bright spotlight to be shown on all that he touches.

Anonymous said...

This is anon 9:27- I agree that most dorms are safer than any apartment complex. It simply isn't feasible that a sprawling apt community can be contained in a manner similar to a single building with a handful of access points. The Grove's crime issues are likely representative of the communities in which they may be located and a parent/student expecting the same level of security as a lock-down dorm has an unrealistic expectation. Often they live in such a community to avoid that lock-down dorm. That being said, every resident should (and probably does) have a criminal background check. Other large developers of communities catering to students seem to have similar problems.

legalschnauzer said...

It would be interesting to know what security measures, if any, are in place at The Grove locations--and other similar sites. I'm sure you are correct in stating that it is more difficult to secure an apartment complex than it is to secure a dorm. But I wonder if some measures have been known to help at least a little. Do security guards patrol the grounds? Is there a security checkpoint at entrances, to take names and license numbers of vehicles that come and go? Are there signs clearly stating that firearms are not allowed on the premises? Is there language in the rental agreement regarding the presence of firearms? If a lawsuit grows out of this event, I feel certain the family's lawyer will pursue such issues. If Campus Crest could have taken such measures but did not as a cost-saving measure, my guess is that significant liability will be in play.

If I were ruler of the world, complexes such as this would be allowed to rent only to students. I also would allow complexes to rent only to people without children, retirees, nonsmokers, etc. In the interest of fighting discrimination, we've made it hard to offer what might be called "specialty housing." We certainly should not discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, religion, national origin etc. But I don't have a problem with housing that caters only to students and other specialty groups.

Anonymous said...

I've read the post an this Wright Bright as I called her was a very good friend. Don't point the finger at anyone. Things can happen any where at any time. Why blame the apartment owner for this. He had no control over this. He is a business man trying to make a living. Yes, maybe he should look at have some safety surrounding his complexes. Whether he is paying child support or not. That is something his ex wife an his self need to resolve he doesn't need the media nor readers to tell him what he should do. At the end of the day you can teach a dog new tricks, but you can't make him do them. Enough said my heart pours out to my good/funny friend. Your life was taken to soon. We all have questions why, but I know you are with the Lord now smiling down on us. Love you an RIP MY WRIGHT BRIGHT!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if ole Buggy Dead Beat Bastard (BBBB) will let his daughter live in one of these deadly apartment complexes in more way than won. Willing to bet NAW!!! x Come to think of it.. Probably will but charge them double!

Robby Scott Hill said...

As anonymous #1 said, the facts of this case may very well not be "on them" but thank the Supreme Being for tort lawyers like Jere Beasley who will find a way to get this one into the right court room with a jury full of Brothers & Sisters who are ready to make a rich White dude who could care less about ordinary folks pay up. Cha Ching! I hear jackpot justice paying out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:28pm made a mistake I think. Shouldn't you have typed OBDB instead of BBBB. OBDB flows off the tongue easier too. I agree with your point that it would seem in character for OBDB to charge his daughters double for rent. The question is WHY? My guess is most deadbeat dads weigh sending child support and alimony against being able to afford something for themselves. Many times probably fairly basic, barely getting by necessities or that child support and alimony money is needed to make himself look attractive to women or maybe he needs the money for his new family. OBDB probably could pay triple what he legit owes following the formula and he wouldn't feel a thing or have to alter his lifestyle one iota. So, WHY?

Anonymous said...

In deciding whether deadbeat or dead beat was proper for Ole Buggy Deadbeat Bastard I googled deadbeat and got this:

Seems people spell it both ways. Read a few stories. Funny, didn't see any mentions of private planes.

Anonymous said...

As a former grove employee I asked numerous times to have a security officer at our community and was told no because it cost too much. I asked for half rent off in return for a patrol (security actually walking property from 10pm-4am 7 days a week and was told no that security is up to the residents to make sure they are not being followed to their apartment and if there is an issue they can call police themselves or the after hour phone. Guess what after hour phone is kept by an employee which is a college student and most of the time doesn't answer it because they are partying or asleep. Go figure issues within the groves. The owners are VERY quick to point blame on onsite management when onsite management is scrutinized daily and are told no no no to every idea given to improve the property because it might take away from the funds they need to throw their annual 300k party for management.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 2:47:

Thanks for your insights. Is there any sort of security post at the entrance, where a guard could at least check ID/car tags of people who come and go, especially non residents? Any sort of policy regarding possession of firearms on Grove property? Any fencing to limit access to the property? I can think of all kinds of things that could be done to secure these locations at least a little bit--but those cost money and affect the bottom line. It's a miracle someone else wasn't hurt or killed, with all of the bullets that were flying in the Clarksville incident. I'm going to be reporting further on that.

Anonymous said...

Since you are a Legal Schuauzer maybe you should look into the way this company treats its General Managers and Sales Managers. You will quickly find longevity and loyality is not something they are interested in. These young college grads are put in these positions with little or no training. The majority of them younger than 30 years of age, dealing with people in a similar age bracket!! They are expected to work day and night, for little compensation. The HR practices should be contested but of course once these young people are run out, they are so stressed out they are actually GLAD to be unemployed. The higher level of management in this company is pathetic, yet they continue to get away with it.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing your insights. You probably are aware of an ongoing lawsuit over race/gender discrimination in the home office of Campus Crest. Do the general managers and sales managers work at the various sites near campuses? Would be glad to hear more from readers about their experiences in these positions. It sounds like top Campus Crest management takes a short-term view of things; I'm not sure they are interested in whether the company is well run and develops employee or customer loyalty over the long haul. Ted Rollins, it appears to me, is a deal maker, not a manager.

Anonymous said...

I live at the Grove in Clarksville. They always ask me to renew my lease. I can't help but laugh in their face. It is terrible living here. I have a two year old and am a single mother. When we went on the tour I was told how safe it is and how I can get a hold of people after hours. Yeah right! This place has been hell and I can't even feel safe. We have no security behind our closed door. When I told them I was going to sue them, I got threatened by their "multi million dollar attorney." I give them an F rating, as do many people. Now that I know about the over all owner, it explains all. If anyone knows how to get out of a lease, please do inform me.

Ed lover said...

I knew that girl and it still hurts to know she ain't coming back home to her son