Huntsville daycare dispute continues

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HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (WAFF) – WAFF 48 first introduced you to a Huntsville daycare owner who believes her federal COVID aid has been stolen. She is also suing her landlord who she says doesn’t even own the building.

The case gets even more complicated from here.

One by one, lawyers and clients filed a lawsuit with Madison County Circuit Court over a case involving Just 4 Kids Daycare in Pulaski Pike.

“Paulette Edwards owns the building and has invested a lot of money in the building, so she has a fair interest in the building,” said attorney Mari Morrison.

WAFF’s Margo Gray first introduced you to Paulette Edwards who is in the middle of two chases.

One with her current owners, William “Bo” and Barbara Matthews regarding an illegal detainee and another alleging fraud and theft against the owners’ daughter Brandi Matthews and her stepfather regarding her federal Covid money for her nursery.

The appearance before Judge Claude Hundley was the subject of some legal wrangling.

It all started in District Court where Matthews prevailed over Edwards’ missed rent payments. Then the case went to circuit court, then to the Alabama Supreme Court, back to where we are now – Justice Hundley’s courtroom.

The Matthews claim that Edwards broke his lease by making changes and improvements to the building that were not approved by the landlord.

Edwards claims she was forced to make these improvements to the tune of nearly $ 200,000 because the Matthews refused to do so. She says that’s why she missed those rent payments.

A signed affidavit from October 2020 written by Willie Peavy, who identifies himself as the Matthews’ contractor and maintenance man, was submitted as evidence.

He says Matthews told him not to disclose that the building was in fact in very poor condition due to the roof leaking all over the building, 75 percent of the lights were not working and on all 4 toilets in the building, only one worked. He also said the Matthews refused to make repairs and bring the building up to standard.

Edwards and his lawyer, Mari Morrison, claim that the Matthews do not own the building.

“He owned the building at one point, but handed it over to the Bo Matthews Center of Excellence. He no longer owns the building. Morrison said.

The name was still on the wall when I sat down with Mrs Edwards in March. It used to be a non-profit tutoring center.

“Bo Matthews does not own this building, it belongs to the Bo Matthews Center of Excellence which has a lien on it from the federal government for non-payment of taxes and has not declared its own taxes since 2012 and status for purpose. nonprofit more, ”explained Morrison.

Until now, the property has been registered with the Madison County Tax Assessor as a church for religious use, making it tax-exempt since 2004.

However, the appraiser has just updated the property’s records, now attaching just over $ 7,000 in taxes for the year 2021, after learning that a daycare has been housed there since 2018.

Matthews attorney Richard Raleigh declined to comment on camera but sent me a lengthy email defending his clients. He said that an illegal detainee is not required to be brought in by the owner of the property and that this only relates to the right to possession of the property. He also added that the Bo Matthews Center for Excellence is still an Alabama nonprofit and has not been dissolved.

I learned from the IRS that the Bo Matthews Center For Excellence has not filed a tax return since 2017 and that its status should be revoked if none are filed by next tax season.

Ms. Edwards only wrote rent checks directly to William Bo Matthews and not to the Bo Matthews Center for Excellence.

Raleigh explained that when the courts held hearings in this case, his clients won.

Judge Hundley ruled that since Edwards was up to date with rent payments, she could stay in the property as long as she paid July rent, but noted that her lease would end at the end of that month, which makes the question moot.

With that decision two weeks ago, the Matthews gained possession of the building on July 31.

But just days ago, Edwards’ attorney filed a new complaint. This time, a preliminary injunction and restraining order against the Bo Matthews Center For Excellence, which she claims is the rightful owner of the building.

Edwards also filed two liens against the building in hopes of recovering the money she says she invested in it.

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