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For a comprehensive timeline, please see Josh Duggar Scandal Chronology

As early as August 2015, Josh Duggar had a real estate company called ALB Investments. Through this company, he claimed to have legally purchased property from Edward L Lewis. This claim was disputed by Lewis’ cousin, Carl Echols in 2019, who sued both Lewis and ALB Investments.


Background

Although he never recorded a deed changed, Carl Echols did receive a bill of sale with the property in the description. Echols paid his cousin $17,500 for the property in question and began living there in January 2006. Since that time he maintained the property, both cosmetically and financially, and paid the property taxes. However he later discovered that notices were sent to Lewis about back taxes being owed for 2008-2010.[1]

Echols claims he never received those notices and that Lewis paid back taxes in order to redeem (or reclaim) the property so he could sell it. However, Echols also claims that it was he who paid the back taxes and redeemed the land in 2016. This claim is backed up by the assessor’s office who issued a bill of sale for the back taxes to Echols.

According to Echols, later that year Lewis fraudulently resold the property to Josh through his proxy ALB Investments for $1000 without his knowledge or consent. He claims Josh never even visited the property.

Scandal

After Echols attempted to pay the property taxes, he was informed ALB Investments owned the property. Therefore, on April 3, 2019, Echols sued both Edward Lewis and ALB Investments for fraud and breach of contract.[2] On September 12, 2019, a three day trial was set for April 27, 2020.[1]

At a hearing on December 16, 2019, Josh failed to appear in court.[3] Despite his lawyer being present, a contempt order was issued and the judge expressed the difficulty with completing the case due to ALB Investments’ lack of cooperation with the discovery provisions. At six previous hearings, taking place on June 11, July 25, September 3, November 12, December 5, and finally December 16, the defendant had failed to comply with the courts order.[2]

On March 23, 2020 the court heard Echols’ attorney’s petition to have Josh’s attorney, Travis Story, disqualified from the case as he was listed as a registered agent, officer, incorporator/organiser with ALB Investments, and therefore his representation of the company was a conflict of interest.[4] Story was registered as such with ALB Investments from August 24, 2015 through April 11, 2019. On April 11, the day after ALB Investments was served with the lawsuit, Story filed to amend the business filings with the Arkansas Secretary of State, stating the filings for 2015 through 2018 were all in error. The Judge granted the plaintiff's request and Story was disqualified from the case.[2]

Two days later, Josh’s wife, Anna, was deposed in court.

On September 30, 2020, the court issued a ruling in Echols’ favour, citing him as the owner of the property and granting him the quiet title for the property. The documents also state that ALB Investments were properly notified on April 10, 2019 of the lawsuit and - yet again - failed to appear in court on September 10, 2020, and was ordered to pay Echols’ attorney costs and fees in the amount of $5000.[5]

Aftermath

ALB Investments is still registered in Arkansas and is currently in good standing. While Josh is no longer connected to it, Travis Story is still listed as an officer, as an incorporator/organizer.[6]

References

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