BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A motion has been filed with the Benton County Court to have Travis Story disqualified as the attorney for ALB Investments because of a conflict of interest.
Story is representing the owner of ALB Investments, Josh Duggar, in a real-estate lawsuit involving fraud and breach of contract for buying a property that belonged to someone else in Benton County. Also named in the lawsuit is Edward Lewis.
The conflict is that Story was listed as the manager for ALB Investment, LLC on the company’s tax report for years 2015 – 2019.
On April 11, 2019, Story submitted an amended franchise tax report removing his name as a manager for ALB Investments, LLC. He stated “this was done in error, as ALB Investments LLC is a member-managed LLC.”
Story filed for the tax amendment after the lawsuit happened.
Echols attorney, Kesha Chiappinelli tried to clarify Story’s role in ALB Investments by asking him if he was a member of ALB investments. “His response was something along the lines of he would have to speak to his client first,” according to the court document.
April 3, 2019, Carl Echols, through his attorney Kesha Chiappinelli, filed a lawsuit claiming land he bought from his cousin in 2006 was sold out from under him — quiet title, according to court documents.
Echols bought five acres of land in Garfield from his cousin Edward Lewis for $17,500 cash. He received a signed and dated bill of sale with the property description. When Echols asked if he needed to do anything else, he claims Lewis said, “no, all you need is the receipt and make sure you pay the property taxes.”
Echols has lived on-site, put a mobile home on the property and paid property taxes from 2006, but did not record a deed.
Over the years, Echols received the property tax statement at the residence addressed to his cousin, Lewis, with the words “in care of” preceding Echols’ name.
Recently, when Echols tried to pay the property tax he was told ALB Investments owned the property. Echols checked on this. He found the State Commissioner of Lands sent a notice to Lewis that back taxes were owed for 2008-2010. Echols never received the notice that Lewis paid the back taxes, redeemed the land, and sold it to ALB Investments, a company that Josh Duggar is part of, for $1,000 in 2016.
Per court documents, in 2012 the power of attorney and $17,500 bill of sale for the property was given to the Land Commissioner’s office. That information shows up on a full title search. In 2016, Josh Duggar used City Title & Closing, LLC and a “current owner search only” was done something that would not show the power of attorney/bill of sale.
City Title issued a warranty deed which Duggar recorded.
According to Echols, Duggar has never visited the property and through research found that Lewis sold Echols the land before he even owned it.
“Petitioner has suffered damages because he has been paying property taxes on the property, has maintained the property, and may [be] displaced from the property if he does not prevail on his quiet title action.” — Per Court Documents
The case is set for trial on April 27, 2020 at the Benton County Courthouse.