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Has A CEO Resorted to Extortion In an Effort to Silence a Reporter?

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer


Ted Rollins, the CEO of Campus Crest Communities, has threatened to cut off all support to his ex wife and two daughters in Alabama over his anger about video interviews we published this week on Legal Schnauzer.


Sherry Carroll Rollins, who lives in Birmingham with her daughters Sarah and Emma, said yesterday that Ted Rollins told her through an intermediary that he would discontinue court-ordered child support and alimony if she continued to publicly discuss the Rollins v. Rollins divorce case.


The intermediary, Ms. Rollins stated, was Zac Parrish, her 32-year-old son from a previous marriage. Zac Parrish, who was Ted Rollins’ stepson during the 14-year Rollins marriage, is the managing member of Parrish Building Company in Birmingham. Parrish relayed Ted Rollins’ threat regarding family support in a telephone conversation shortly before noon yesterday, Ms. Rollins stated. She promptly called me.


According to Ms. Rollins, Parrish also stated that he was going to enlist the assistance of an unknown person to “take care of Legal Schnauzer.” Since I am the person who writes Legal Schnauzer, that seems to be a reference to me. A reasonable person could interpret that as a threat of physical harm.


What generated such vitriol? According to Ms. Rollins, her ex husband was incensed over two posts from this week that featured a videotaped interview with her. It is one of several interviews I taped with Ms. Rollins, discussing issues that mostly are a matter of public record–and in some cases–already have been reported here. The posts in question were titled Campus Crest CEO Ted Rollins Is the “Ultimate Deadbeat Dad” and Campus Crest CEO Ted Rollins Caused His Own Children To Be Thrown On the Streets.


I didn’t expect Ted Rollins to find those posts enjoyable reading. But they are indisputably true, and I didn’t expect him to resort to behavior that certainly is thuggish, maybe criminal. A review of Alabama law indicates that Ted Rollins and Zac Parrish might have engaged in attempted extortion, a misdemeanor. If Sherry Rollins were to cave in to their threat, it could constitute second-degree extortion, a felony under Code of Alabama 13A-8-15(c).


Ms. Rollins stated that Zac Parrish conveyed Ted Rollins’ threat via telephone, which might constitute a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 875.


Parrish did not respond to a voice message seeking comment, which was left with him yesterday evening.


This is not the first time Ted Rollins has issued threats, via Zac Parrish, about cutting off family support. Sherry Rollins has told me of such threats on probably a half dozen occasions. I’m writing about it now because I sensed, in our conversation yesterday, that she is genuinely fearful this time of being without food or shelter. Given the way she’s been treated by local judges, I can understand her fear. Access to large sums of cash seems to make Ted Rollins untouchable in court–that and his ties to the powerful Bradley Arant law firm.


This also is not the first time Zac Parrish has acted in a threatening manner toward me. In an e-mail dated September 20, 2011, Parrish wrote:


I am not as forgiving, legally, as my mother or stepfather. So tread lightly in your blogs, comments, opinions.


This is from someone who never has been mentioned in this blog–until now.


In an e-mail dated September 28, 2011, Parrish apparently perceived some threat, even though I never had written about him:


Tread lightly, threats come with very serious legal consequences. Especially when those threatened have the endless legal resources to defend themselves and their family.


How does Zac Parrish have “endless legal resources”? Is Parrish Building Company doing that well in the Great Bush Recession? Do the “endless legal resources” come from Ted Rollins, who belongs to one of the wealthiest families in the nation? Why would Zac Parrish convey threats to his own mother, on Ted Rollins’ behalf? Is Ted Rollins bankrolling Parrish Building Company, at least in part? Why would Ted Rollins have such a tight relationship with his former stepson, while flagrantly cheating his own biological daughters on child support?


Those are questions for another day. For now, we should note that I’ve heard no complaint from Ted Rollins or Zac Parrish that my reporting is inaccurate. It’s based totally on public records and a first-person account from Sherry Rollins, so they have to know that it is on target.


Perhaps the most alarming communication I’ve received from Zac Parrish came in an e-mail dated October 3, 2011. Here it is:


A very dear friend of mine lives on weatherford drive. Please be on the lookout for a new site coming soon, “www.mountschnauzer.com”. I will be sure to forward you a link. I assume you appreciate a counterintuitive approach to all views of life. I’ll send you a welcome link! See you soon.


Why is this alarming? Weatherford Drive is one street over from Logan Drive, the street where Mrs. Schnauzer and I live. Some properties on Weatherford Drive abut our backyard. It doesn’t take an investigative genius to figure this out. I’m listed in the phone book, and a simple Google Maps search shows that Weatherford Drive is right behind our house.


In my mind, Zac Parrish told me this for one reason: In essence, he’s saying, “I know where you live, and you should be ‘on the lookout’ in case someone decides to damage your property.” We’ve taken that threat to heart; we very rarely leave our house unattended for any length of time, and we’ve taken protective measures that an intruder could find most unwelcome.


What is Zac Parrish telling me with his reference to mountschnauzer.com, which to my knowledge has never taken flight as an actual Web site? I can think of only one perverse image. Schnauzer appears to be an obvious reference to me and my Web site. Why “mount”? It appears to be a reference to “doggy style” sex, from behind. In human form, it could be a reference to anal sex and a threat to “screw” with me.


Any way you look at it, this is disturbing stuff. And I’m not the only one who is alarmed. I know that Sherry Rollins is concerned enough about something that she recently purchased a gun and had new locks installed on all of her doors.


I haven’t written about Zac Parrish until today, but I’ve been concerned about him for months. He is Ted Rollins’ former stepson, but for some reason, he comes across as Mr. Rollins’ self-appointed henchman. Every communication I’ve received from Zac Parrish has been in apparent response to a critical post about Ted Rollins–all of which have been based on public records, published reports, or both.


Why has Zac Parrish repeatedly inserted himself into a story that, on the surface, doesn’t involve him? Why has Zac Parrish repeatedly taken up for his ex stepfather over his own mother and sisters? Has Zac Parrish ever voiced concern about the monstrous courtroom cheat job that has left Sherry, Sarah, and Emma Rollins on food stamps? Not that I’ve heard; in fact, he doesn’t seem concerned about that at all.


As for state extortion law, it is well summarized by an Alabama Supreme Court ruling in a case styled Preskitt v. Lyons (2003):


13A-8-15, Ala.Code 1975, in combination with §?13A-8-1(13)k., defines extortion in the second degree (as follows). . . . It is extortion by means of a threat to, among other things,


“[d]o any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm substantially another person with respect to his health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.”

§?13A-8-1(13)k., Ala.Code 1975.


In everyday language, that says it’s a real bad idea to threaten someone’s financial condition–such as withholding court-ordered alimony and child support–unless they bend to your wishes.


I’ve been in journalism for 30 years, so I know what it’s like to have someone unhappy with a story because it hits too close to home. But to threaten to cut off court-ordered support to your ex wife and daughters because of a video interview that no one seems to dispute is accurate? That not only is morally repugnant and ethically reprehensible . . . it might be against any number of state and federal laws.


It also makes you wonder what Ted Rollins (and perhaps Zac Parrish) is trying to hide.

 

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RogerShuler

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