Marietta attorneys help win $75.4M judgment
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
February 02, 2012 12:38 AM | 8578 views | 31 31 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Marietta attorneys Fred Bentley Jr., Roy Barnes and John Salter landed a $75.4 million judgment against Vinings-based Delta Community Credit Union last week in a lawsuit over a loan gone bad, netting themselves $18.85 million in attorneys’ fees in the process.

The suit was heard in front of Cobb Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy, who was appointed by Barnes when he was governor.

The trial, which lasted from Dec. 14 to Jan. 9, revolved around a $30 million loan the credit union granted Florida developer David Pearson, an investor with a net worth of about $100 million. When Pearson attempted to draw on that loan to buy up property in the Florida Panhandle near the exclusive Seaside community, the credit union blocked him, costing him the deal.

In the 132-page opinion he issued Friday, Flournoy said the credit union “went to great lengths to either misapply loan payments or to allow misapplications to remain uncorrected so that a payment default” on the loan would occur. He also said the credit union initially refused to turn over hundreds of documents, prompting the court to order a search of Delta’s computers.

An attorney for the credit union notes that damages were not awarded based on the failure to turn over documents or accept loan payments, but because of the lost opportunity to buy real estate.

Flournoy described the credit union as the largest of its kind in Georgia and one of the largest in the U.S., with more than $4 billion in assets and a net worth of about $440 million.

Bentley said it was one of the largest judgments in the county’s history.

“We’re certainly pleased with the ruling, and we’re studying it to determine what if any future action we’ll take,” he said.

Delta Community Credit Union CEO Rick Foley sent out a Wednesday email, saying they would appeal the judgment.

“We’re obviously upset that any amount was granted to the plaintiff, but we are particularly upset by an award of this size,” Foley said. “We think it’s unwarranted and contrary to the facts or applicable law. We will file an appeal and believe we have a strong legal basis for doing so.

But Foley said it was important not to get distracted or speculate beyond what is known.

“We believe the judgment will not impact the credit union’s ability to continue to meet all of its obligations,” he wrote. “Our credit union is well capitalized and has sufficient reserves to cover the cost of the award, if necessary.”
Comments
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Riverwood 1
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September 26, 2012
Let me just update any of you that think David Pearson is ethical, he is not. I have lived in Riverwood for several years, we took him to court for raising the HOA fee's from $500 to $1500...so we took him to court.

A Cobb county judge awared him that it's ok to charge such a price, it's not right for services performed. The Credit union may be 100% right, but I know personally Pearson has no ethic's, so there is something not right about Cobb County, David Pearson and money
Lives By Seaside
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October 28, 2012
Think what you want but Im in the Real Estate business Investor and Sales along 30a where Seaside is. Given the time period he was trying to get this loan, he would have easily doubled the money if not more. The real estate market along there has climbed back to 03/04 levels and with his development skills he would have made a ton of money. 75 million sounds like a fair judgement ammount
know the facts
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February 04, 2012
Both sides have to agree to have the judge decide and not a jury. This is a non-issue. If Fred Bentley is involved in anything, then it is 100% legal and ethical. I have never met a finer family than the Bentley's.
Panamaed
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February 04, 2012
I had some dealings with the Management and Attorney of Tyndall Federal Credit Union in Panama City, Florida and they did everything they could do to keep the MEMBERSHIP in the dark about their illegal conversion of Credit Union assets.

This case sounds like the Credit Union Management should not have entered into any such agreement with the David Pearson, personal or business, and they are covering up the details of who, why, when, where and how.

I think someone needs to analyze this whole deal and the fact that the property, if he was allowed to purchase with Credit Union funds, would now be worth less than half the purchase price.....HOW CAN THERE BE ANY DAMAGES?

Something is very fishy about this whole scam.
Around In West Cobb
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February 03, 2012
Why is a not for profit credit union involved in a $30mil business loan to begin with?
Makes no sense.
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February 02, 2012
If he had a NET worth of $100 Million like the article says, why didn't he just use some of that $100 million to buy whatever the credit union didn't let him buy? Doesn't make any sense at all. Something's odd when somebody who the article says has a net worth of $100 Million can't buy something for $2 million or whatever it was without borrowing it from a credit union.
URKiddingRight?
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February 03, 2012
First rule of business.

You NEVER EVER risk your own money if you have access to someone else's.

This is especially true in real estate.
Old Marietta
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February 02, 2012
"...Pearson, an ivestor with a net worth of about $100 Million...."

Folks, this is just another case of Roy living up to his motto in law practice of ...."making it right for the little man..."
wrong bentley
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February 02, 2012
I know it has been a while since the Bentley's have been in the MDJ, but surely you remember who is Randall and who is Red Head Fred. :-)

Just Saying.....
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February 02, 2012
A nice little "nest egg" for the son-in-law to have as he starts his political career.
irked
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February 02, 2012
The Bentleys are moving? Must be because they have NO POLITICAL FUTURE HERE
lechat
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February 02, 2012
$75.4 mil for not getting a $30 mil loan. Thank you, lawyers! I'm sure the credit union members will appreciate you, too
jeff w
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February 02, 2012
Delta CCU is one of the few financial institutions that gives its customers good service, and up until the past year, better savings rates than other local banks.

As a DeltaCCU customer, I realize this "award" to Mr Pearson, ol' Roy, and probably Judge Flournoy (down the road as a campaign contribution) will come out of the accounts of Delta depositors.

I can't wait to work for the campaign of whoever the next opponent is of the "honorable" Judge Flournoy.
Just the facts
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February 02, 2012
Note that both sides agreed to have the judge, and not a jury hear the case. If the credit union had been worried about the judge's alleged bias, it would not have agreed to waive its right to a jury.
East Cobber
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February 02, 2012
I am sick and tired of reading about cases that Roy Barnes argues successfully in from of Judge Flournoy. This is a clear conflict of interest. I am going to work my tail off reminding the Cobb County voters of this when Flournoy is up for reelection. He should be thrown out for poor ethics.
Sue Bee
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February 02, 2012
Perfect example of why this country desperately needs tort reform. No one is worth an 18 million dollar fee.
Piney Woods Pete II
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February 02, 2012
Judges who were appointed by Barnes and then don't recuse themselves when a Barnes case comes before them should be thrown off the bench.

And not a peep out of the legal community. So much for legal ethics.
SG68
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February 02, 2012
Legal ethics?

Isn't that what they call an oxymoron?

Should be "legal antics"!!!!

Of course, all these guys are laughing on their way to the bank.

Is there anyway to monitor Judge Flounoy's bank account?
Good Moo-ve
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February 02, 2012
Fred and Roy brought more than their skills as attorneys to this case. Both have been involved in starting banks in this area. When they pay up, Roy should be able to buy a couple more cows.
Marietta Attorney
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February 02, 2012
It's seems suspicious that all of Roy Barne's cases end up in front of Judge Flournoy considering there are 8-10 Cobb County judges in the rotation.
Poor But Proud
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February 02, 2012
Red Fred is the real legal talent. Just like his father Bow Tie, he gets jurors and judges eating out of his hand. And he's humble too, not a conniving bone in his body.
Marietta Attorney
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February 02, 2012
No talent - just this Judge's bias
Soreps
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February 02, 2012
Pearson and his fake British accent have been playing the victim for over 20 years here in Cobb. Combine that with Barnes and the judge and low and behold everybody but the credit union gets rich. My guess is that the appeal will be successful .
JVD
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February 02, 2012
We bash attorney's when were not involved in the issue but if I needed an Aattorney I hope I could get Roy Barnes to represent me!
Grammar-ist
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February 02, 2012
You are under arrest for apostrophe abuse, JVD. Go get some attorneys. By the way, Roy will be happy to represent you...in exchange for some seriously big bucks.
Wow ?
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February 02, 2012
And how much for the judge ? The bank is not worth much, those assets belong to the depositors ! Not a developer, a lawyer or a judge !
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