By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Contractor wins lawsuit against probate judge
11th hour dismissal of disposessory case against woman suing judge for backpay
Placeholder Image

A contractor who sued Probate Judge Charles K. Mays Sr. for $10,500 of unpaid work and materials won his case against the judge Wednesday in Magistrate Court. A dispossessory case from the Mays family seeking to evict a former Probate Court worker living in Mays' home, who is also suing Mays for $20,000 of alleged unpaid backpay, was dismissed minutes before the hearing was to start Wednesday.

The two cases took place before Judge Phyllis R. Williams of DeKalb County Magistrate Court. Williams was sitting in for Rockdale's Magistrate Court judges, who recused themselves because the matter involved a judge sitting in the same circuit.

A disposessory case had been filed seeking to evict Freya Pearson, who is living with her 13-year-old daughter and 5-year-old granddaughter at the rented McCalla Street home of Judge Charles K. Mays and his family in Conyers. The lease agreement between Mays and landlords the Russells specifies only Charles Sr. and Victoria Mays, their three children and his sister could live at the home.

However, just minutes before the slightly delayed hearing at Rockdale Magistrate Court, originally scheduled at 1 p.m., attorney Michael Waldrop, who represents Pearson, was served by DJ Asante with a motion to dismiss the case. The motion was filed in Rockdale County Clerk of Courts office at 1:01 p.m.

A line from the motion, which referred to Pearson as having vacated the premises as of Oct. 24 was struck at Waldrop's request and the motion to dismiss was accepted.

In the case that moved forward, after hearing nearly four hours of testimony, Judge Williams concluded the parties did not question that the work had been done to the condominium, but there had been no formal contract regarding the work and that the lease purchase contract did not address the upgrading work Scott had done.

Contractor Rodney Scott, who was not represented by an attorney, was awarded a little under $10,000 and termination of the lease purchase contract between Scott and the Mays Family trust, as Scott requested. Scott was ordered to pay the October and November rent and move out of the condominium at the end of 30 days, at the end of November.

A counterclaim filed by DJ Asante, who represented himself to the court as a trustee of the Mays Family Trust, had asked $2,000 be awarded to Asante for damages. That claim was dismissed.

In June and July, Scott had been brought on board by Judge Charles K. Mays, who has a home repair and contracting business, to repair the condominium, which Scott described as not being in livable condition. Scott expressed interest in buying the condominium, he said, as a way to help the Mays family who were behind on their payments for the condominium and because he needed a more permanent home; at the time he was living with his daughter and her children. Scott thought he was buying a home from Mays and had put about $10,500 worth of renovations into the condominium, where he currently lives. He said there had been a verbal agreement between Mays and himself that Mays would cover the cost of the repairs.

"I felt I was being taken advantage of to spend the money I do have and the skills I do have," said Scott during his opening statement in court.

Scott said he also made two down payments of $1,500 and one payment of $1,000 to the Mays family, with no receipts.

"I thought I was trusting a judge," said Scott, on why he never asked for receipts for his payments.

Mays and Asante contended there had been no evidence given to them of the work and no receipts turned in for the work, besides receipts for parts of an electrical panel Scott had repaired by a certified electrician.

"You got all the payment you deserved," said Mays on the stand.

Asante said when he tried to ask for the receipts and to go onto the property, Scott became "belligerent," refusing to talk with Asante and wanting to talk with Judge Mays.

Scott later testified that he had talked over the phone with Mays and attempted to arrange a way to submit the totals, either by phone or in person, but was turned down. Scott said he had recorded the phone conversation with Mays.

Scott previously told The News he considered himself a supporter of the Mays family and had even loaned them $300 in order for them to come back from a trip to Florida, he said.

He began noticing red flags when the paperwork for the condominium was a long time coming. When the contract did arrive, Scott's lease purchase option contract was drawn up between the Mays Family Trust and himself; later he found out just a month earlier the condominium had been sold to Charles Kevin Mays Jr.

DJ Asante, who sat in court next to Mays' attorney Prince Brumfield, testified that the property had been transferred from Charles Kevin Mays Jr. to the Mays Family Trust.

The security deed between Mays Jr. and the previous owner specified there would need to be written notice of any transfer of property. The previous owner and deed holder told The News in October she was not aware the Mays family had attempted to transfer the property.

Judge Mays and the Mays family still face more court hearings.

Last week Pearson filed a warrant for Mays' arrest for felony theft; Rockdale's Superior Court Judges have recused themselves from the warrant hearing. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams will either hear the warrant hearing or assign a judge to hear the case; the hearing has not been scheduled.

The Viewpointe East Condominium Association is suing Charles K. Mays, Jr. over unpaid association fees.

The president of the Viewpoint Condominiums Homeowners Association, Mike Zanetti, is also suing Judge Charles Mays Sr. for about $2,500 of unpaid wages for supervisory work he did for Mays on a contract for the Marriott hotel in Conyers, near Home Depot.

Pearson also faces separate federal court actions in Kansas City, Missouri where she was recently indicted by a federal grand jury for nine counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and false witness. The charges are related to Pearson allegedly stealing more than $400,000 from a Missouri lotto winner.

For more on Pearson's federal charges, click here.