ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The real estate lawsuit involving ALB Investments, LLC, associated with Josh Duggar, is not over. Duggar’s new attorney is requesting for the “Quiet Title” September 2020 court decision to be reversed.
In January 2021, Springdale attorney Samuel Adam Martin filed a motion in the Arkansas Court of Appeals on behalf of ALB Investments, LLC (appellant) against Carl Echols (appellee).
The appellant is asking for a “request for relief (applies to a higher court for a reversal of the decision of a lower court — basically, a change in action).”
In the 21-page brief, submitted in March 2021, Martin argued that the court made a mistake by removing the first attorney, Travis Story, among other claims.
The Circuit Court’s Order of March 23, 2020, by which counsel for Appellant, Travis Story, was disqualified having been entered in error, which consequently resulted in the court summarily dismissing Appellant’s pending Motion for Summary Judgment without counsel present, and, therefore, without adequate hearing in its merits, and the court’s Decree Quieting Title in favor of Appellee Carl Echols also having been entered in error and should be considered null and void, this case should be remanded to allow Appellant to properly defend with Travis Story as counsel of record and returned to the posture as it was on March 16, 2020, Appellee having responded to Appellant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, this case to proceed from that point.ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS, BENTON COUNTY, REQUEST FOR RELIEF [PG 19].
Story was disqualified by the judge because he was listed as a manager of ALB’s tax documents, creating a conflict of interest.
The attorney who replaced Story was Joshua Bryant. Bryant is currently listed as the registered agent for ALB Investments, LLC, and Story as an officer, according to an Arkansas Secretary of State website search on May 17, 2021.
The real estate lawsuit involves Carl Echols, Edward L. Lewis, and ALB Investments, LLC. In April 2019, Echols sued his cousin, Lewis, accusing him of re-selling property he bought from him for $17,500 in 2006.
Echols and his family had been living on the property and paying taxes. In 2016, Lewis sold the property to ALB Investments, a business Duggar was listed as the registered agent, for $1,000. Echols went to court saying the property was sold without his knowledge.
On September 30, 2020, a Benton County judge ruled in Echols’ favor and a “quiet title” was ordered.
Now, with the most recent lawsuit [filed in March 2021], the case is being handled by a third attorney, Martin, who filed an appeal.
“We won the actual case. My client, Carl Echols, got a deed and the property is titled in my client’s name,” said attorney Kesha (Chiappinelli) Zaffino.
Zaffino will not be representing Echols in the appeal case, for one reason she doesn’t do appellate work.
“Martin was paid a chunk of money, in my opinion, and instead of being honest that his client [Josh Duggar], missed two consecutive hearings, he is instead going to make an argument that the judge ruled in error,” said Zaffino. She asked, “if you don’t show up to court … what is their position?”
Respondent Edward Lewis was properly served on April 10, 2019, but has failed to
answer and is in default.
ALB Investments LLC failed to appear for the hearing on September 10, 2020, and
is ordered to pay attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $5,000.00.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, that title to the above-described property is hereby quieted in fee simple absolute and confirmed in Petitioner, Carl Echols; that any existing or potential adverse claims or interests of any persons whatsoever, and specifically as to Defendants herein, their unknown heirs, devisees, successors and assigns, and anyone claiming through or under them, be extinguished and declared a nullity; and that this Court retains jurisdiction of this action to grant such other relief as may be shown necessary andCircuit Court of Benton County, Arkansas, Civil Division. Sept. 30, 2020.
When Duggar did not show up for the last hearing, right after Story was dismissed from the case, Zaffino gave a courtesy call to Josh and asked him if he knew he had court [that particular day].
“He told me he didn’t know he had court and then proceeded to talk about other stuff … he seemed so non-caring,” said Zaffino. “I’m thinking maybe Travis [Story] forgot to tell him since he’s not Duggar’s lawyer anymore. So that is why I gave him [Duggar] a courtesy call, and legally I could because, as far as I knew, he was not being represented by an attorney at that time.”
Echols’ attorney had offered to settle the lawsuit prior to the scheduled jury trial which was set for April 27, 2020.
“We offered to pay him $1,000, which is the amount he paid Lewis for the property, and then some, and let’s just call it a day,” said Zaffino, “but he refused.”
If the appeal is won by Martin, it means the case would start over in a lower court. Echols is not required to respond to the appeal because he is not going to lose anything. But if he did, it would cost him thousands of dollars in legal fees, according to Zaffino, “I’d say it would cost Echols about $10,000 to hire a lawyer and respond to this case. He would probably have to go through legal aid.”
Zaffino believes this appeal could drag on for a couple of years, especially with Duggar’s current legal situation regarding federal charges for possession and receiving of child pornography.
ALB INVESTMENTS, LLC
ALB Investments, LLC was created on August 24, 2015 in Arkansas.
The current registered agent is Joshua Bryant, 9 Halsted Circle, Rogers, Arkansas. Travis W. Story is the Incorporator/Organizer and does not show an address. The Principal’s address was listed at 438 E. Millsap Rd., Suite 103, Fayetteville, Arkansas. At one point, this address was associated with Story, but, Story’s current business address at 3608 Steele Blvd., Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The exact owner of ALB Investments, LLC, is unknown since Arkansas, along with three other U.S. states — Delaware, New Mexico, and Wyoming — have confidentiality clauses (in Arkansas it’s Act 865 created in 2007).
The day ALB Investments, LLC was created, Josh and Anna Duggar sold their Siloam Springs home on the same day for $65,000, plus tax, — to ALB Investments [then located] in Siloam Springs.
The business address for ALB Investments is the same as the Siloam Springs house address on Kinchloe Road. Story signed the deed as the grantee and the notary public. The county-issued date stamp is the following day, according to the state document.
In short, Josh and Anna Duggar sold the home to themselves.
The home on two acres, with five bedrooms and three baths, sold in February 2020 for $336,500, according to real estate websites.
According to the Washington County Tax History for Joshua and Anna Duggar, they have paid personal property tax at two locations: 1900-block of N. Porter Road in Fayetteville (2010-2013) and the 500-block of Arbor Acres Ave. in Springdale (2014-2020).
An online search was done for ALB Investments, LLC, in Arkansas, for a website or service that it provides, but nothing showed up. There is an ALB Investments, LLC in Farmington, Utah, but the company has no Arkansas connection.
In North Carolina, there is an ALB Investments, LLC, but it is a part of Connected Investors. This agency is owned by Tony Brannon and it appears to be a consortium of property investors. There were no Arkansas affiliates listed, according to an online search.