Blinson not responsible for paying judgment

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A District Court judge on Monday ruled that Delma Blinson, a former president of the board of directors for Options to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Inc., is not responsible for paying a monetary judgment entered in a complaint filed against Options by the defunct nonprofit’s former director.

Basically, clerical errors listed Blinson as a defendant in the complaint filed by Ann Hastings, who filed a complaint for money owed to her. She sought her August 2008 salary as Options’ director and interest on that salary. In the complaint filed in September 2009, Hastings asked the court for $3,788.73, which included the $95 fee she paid to file her complaint. On Sept. 30, 2010, the small-claims court entered a judgment awarding Hastings $3,873.38.

Execution of that judgment was stayed Dec. 21, 2010, by a judge.

Blinson sought relief from the judgment. He also contended he should not have been a party to the complaint because he was not associated with Options when the complaint was filed.

Attorney Ranee Singleton Holbrook told Judge Christopher McLendon that Blinson had resigned as president of the Options board two months before the complaint was initiated. Holbrook said the judgment in favor of Hastings should have been against Options, not Blinson.

“He wasn’t being sued individually,” Holbrook said. “Jurisdiction was never obtained over Mr. Blinson.”

McLendon agreed and ruled that Blinson is not responsible for paying the judgment entered in favor of Hastings.

In another civil case involving Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan and Tony Warren Keech Jr., one of Jordan’s former deputies, Keech dropped his appeal of a $172.50 judgment entered against him in small-claims court.

Last year, Jordan, in his capacity as sheriff, filed a complaint alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment. While serving as a deputy, Keech voluntarily signed up to participate in a program in which the sheriff’s office agreed to purchase a $350 gym membership for each participating officer, according to the complaint. In return, each officer was required to spend 240 minutes each month at the gym training to be able to satisfy the fitness requirements of his or her employment with the sheriff’s office.

“Officers who failed to meet the 240 minute per month requirement were required to replay the $350.00 value of their gym membership,” reads the complaint.

The complaint states that Keech was terminated from the sheriff’s office for cause Jan. 13, 2010. That meant he was unable to go to the gym and meet the sheriff’s office’s fitness requirements because he was no longer employed by the sheriff’s office, the complaint states.

Keech failed to repay the $350, according to the complaint.

The small-claims court entered a judgment for Jordan in the amount of $172.50.

McLendon allowed Keech’s request to dismiss his appeal.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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