Letters to Editors
News from the I(E)rving Family
Thelma Joyce Irving Taylor
SALUDA, S.C. – Had Attorney Billy C. Coleman (Saluda, SC) along with his cohorts [including Attorney Kathy O. Rushton (Saluda, SC); Attorney Christian G. Spradley (Moore Taylor Law Firm, PA, Saluda, SC); Attorney Henrietta Gill (Leesburg, SC); the late Richard “Dick” Clark (friend of Coleman, Leesville, SC); and Bobbie Jo Clark (wife of Clark, Leesville, SC)], not been involved in the outright taking and then secret selling on March 28, 2014 of the I(E)rvings’ heirs property in Saluda, SC, then the 185+ U.S. residing descendants of David and Sallie Mae (Williams) Irving (Saluda, SC), would be, today, in the midst of the final preparations for what was to be their grand celebration in 2017 of their 100th year of ownership of their property.
“It was Coleman and Clark who became the masterminds in plotting to take my family’s farmland,” says Bennie Warren Butler, a second generation I(E)rving family heir who resides in Saluda, SC. “These two men, together, in befriending the I(E)rving family for years, got to know my grandfather’s children and their children very well. My grandfather’s sons (my uncles) hunted and fished lots of times with both Coleman and Clark on the I(E)rvings’ property which was purchased by David and Sallie Mae on November 28, 1917 for $2,750.00 in cash from Mrs. Eva Lou Mitchell (Saluda, SC). Coleman was, at one time, even the legal counselor for the entire I(E)rving family.”
According to court records, Coleman and Clark made their first sneaky attack upon the I(E)rvings in December 2003. When they were confronted on December 24, 2003 (Christmas Eve) by the late Rev. Thelma Joyce Irving Taylor, the youngest daughter of David and Sallie Mae and the I(E)rving family’s matriarch, Coleman and Clark were immediately angered because she had found out about this attack. It was then that they made the threat that they would, indeed, take the I(E)rvings’ property from them.
“My family (the I(E)rvings) was unwillingly forced by Coleman and Clark into a decade-long court battle where they, along with their cohorts, continuously attacked and fiercely tormented us, especially targeting and then taking advantage of some of our weak, sick and mentally incompetent I(E)rving family members ,” recalls Diethric Langford (Indianapolis, IN), youngest daughter of the late Rev. Irving Taylor. “In their effort to destroy the original deed acquired by my grandparents in 1917, Coleman and Clark filed in the Saluda Court House records, a number of erroneous court documents along with nine falsified and/or questionable deeds they made up from 17 transactions that they executed. Hearings were held on short notice. Court reporters were dismissed. Our lawyer’s motions and appeals were regularly overruled or thrown out. We [the I(E)rvings] even had to contend not only with Coleman and Clark posting untruthful documents on the Saluda Courthouse door and publicly publishing untruths about the I(E)rving family, but also with their installing gates and hanging “No Trespassing” signs on the I(E)rvings’ property.”
After Clark’s death and Coleman’s retirement, it was actually Attorneys Rushton, Spradley, and Gill who continued to harass and torment the I(E)rving family as they dutifully carried out this most devious plot. Without one of the 185+ I(E)rving family members knowing, Rushton, serving as the Judge/Special Referee, eventually used a 2008 untruthful complaint written and filed by Spradley, to quiet title and then sell, on March 28, 2014, the I(E)rvings 110 acres of Saluda farmland to Randy A. Barnes and Adam T. Barnes (Barnes Oil and Propane, Batesburg, SC) for supposedly $201,000.00. No notification or paperwork regarding this sale of their property was received by the I(E)rvings until nearly a month after it’s occurrence. To this day, the I(E)rvings have no idea who cut down and took the timber (having grown for over twenty years) and the 14 pecan trees (planted between 1917-1929) that were on their property [Note: During litigation, I(E)rvings were told that it would be against the law for them to cut down their own timber].
It was on April 22, 2014, at a so-called “supplemental hearing” held in a backroom of the Saluda Courthouse, that Spradley presented the I(E)rving family with his Disbursement Explanations (Exhibits A & B) that included his made up monetary distribution amounts, incorrect mathematical calculation, misspellings, I(E)rving family name omissions as well as other errors. According to this document, $100,464.67 was to be given to a plaintiff with no name and $57, 312.12 to the lawyers/law firm where he worked (Moore, Taylor & Thomas, P.A., Saluda, SC). Even Gill, serving as the Guardian ad litem (GAL) who couldn’t even tell the I(E)rvings the name of one I(E)rving family member she had been an advocate for during this decade-long case, was included to be paid for services rendered. Spradley picked out only three living members of the I(E)rving family and assigned them a total of $27,813.88. Three deceased members of the I(E)rving family were assigned $15,449.33. Note: Spradley intentionally assigned to an ex-inlaw (husband to one of the deceased members) a second payment for his agreement to lies told earlier by Coleman and Clark). I(E)rving family members were told that money not picked up would go to the State. It was Rushton, again serving as Judge/Special Referee, who concluded, without even examining or questioning anything that Spradley had presented, that Exhibit A was proper. Overlooking every complaint and protest that the I(E)rving family then had, Rushton immediately signed Exhibit B and had Spradley quickly go, even before the hearing was over, to file this document in the Saluda Court records. The I(E)rving family, to this day, has no final document(s) or clear idea as to what these lawyers exactly did with all of the money from the sale of their property.
“These Saluda County area lawyers (and their cohorts) are known thieves. They should have been arrested long ago for their wrongdoings,” says some of the third generation I(E)rving family heirs. “It’s plain to see that they schemed and plotted, manipulated the law, and then outright took and then sold our family’s 110 acres of Saluda farmland for their own self-profit. We’ve filed enough complaints and reports about them to federal, state, and local authorities. The question now is “Why are these lawyers and their cohorts, three years after committing this most atrocious criminal act upon the I(E)rving family, still walking around free?”
For more information, contact: Debrah J. Taylor-Greene @ 773-259-4293
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the (E)erving Family and not those of www.copylinemagazine.com