Court documents show that YouthPride was to pay the Magistrate Court $6,000 by June 3 to cover unpaid rent costs at house located at 955 Washington Place SW, Atlanta, Ga., 30313. YouthPride relocated to this house last June after it was faced eviction from its previous location at Inman Park United Methodist Church, also for non-payment of rent.
Terence McPhaul, acting on behalf of YouthPride as the organization’s executive director, in turn is suing the property owner for $10,000. McPhaul claims in court documents filed in response to the eviction notice that the organization was not allowed complete use of the space allowed in the rental contract and therefore is owed $10,000.
McPhaul writes in a May 17 document the organization was only allowed to use 800 square feet of the 1,745 square feet that was contracted for.
“We are not using the basement because they put a lock on it and they changed some of the locks and shut off utilities that was included in the rent and provided continuance [sic] disruption, coercion and harassment during the course of business,” he wrote.
‘He is a con artist’
Eddie Turner, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Classic, is representing the property owner, who asked to not be named for this story. In an interview with GA Voice, Turner said the organization was allowed to use the downstairs as well as the large porch, according to the rental agreement, which adds up to 1,745 square feet. The upstairs bedrooms were not open to the youth, he added.
“He’s a con artist and a predator and a bad example for the community, be it LGBTQ or whoever,” Turner said of McPhaul. “It’s horrible he is leading a group for youth. Our biggest concern is we want it to stop with us. My client doesn’t want Mr. McPhaul to continue scheming people, conniving people in the name of YouthPride.”
Turner said troubles began when YouthPride’s first rent check bounced. McPhaul would eventually get enough money, but it was always after the 15th of the month and included late fees.
Turner also said that often McPhaul would receive a check from United Way and simply sign it over to pay for rent, rather than depositing the check in a YouthPride account and writing a new check for rent.
“He would receive a check for say $4,100 from United Way and just sign it over to the property owner,” Turner said.
When emailed to respond about money owed in rent and the new address, McPhaul wrote back: “Suffice it to say that YP was not in the best situation. Being in the previous location YP came under pressure to become involved in activity that it just did not agree with.
“The move is part of a plan which was instituted over a year ago. I don’t know what documents you refer to but YP has tried to recover $10,000 it is owed. Thanks for reaching out. I will be unavailable through July 9, 2013.”
McPhaul did not answer follow up questions.
United Way did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
The first eviction hearing was set for May 28. Documents show McPhaul appeared in court to ask for a continuance.
In a document dated May 28, McPhaul asked for a continuance and wrote that he has been hospitalized since May 17 “and is the person with knowledge of the facts surrounding dispossessory and YouthPride’s counterclaim.”
“McPhaul was released from the hospital May 24 and began receiving home health care on May 25 and will continue receiving medical home health care until at least June 3. McPhaul is on continuous IV treatment, running 24-hours per day and is supposed to remain a home bound patient,” McPhaul wrote about himself in court documents.
Turner said McPhaul appeared in Magistrate Court on May 28 with an IV attached to his upper arm with a bag held in his pocket. The continuance was granted with the next date set for June 11. The court on May 28 ordered McPhaul to pay $6,000 by June 3 to the court or the eviction process would begin.
McPhaul received another continuance, documents show, and a third date was set for June 18.
“The bottom line is we went to court a third time and he did not appear and his $6,000 check bounced,” Turner said. “He’s been avoiding my client. He’s a master manipulator of the system. He came to us saying he met with his board and they told him they were paying too much for rent. This was said after eight months and knowing the lease was not going to be renewed.”
On June 18, Fulton Magistrate Court ordered McPhaul to pay $2,000 to the property owner plus $83.50 in court costs. The court ordered no money paid to McPhaul. On June 24, the Fulton Marshal’s office received the papers to evict YouthPride on June 28.
Turner added there was damage to the carpet in the house, the porch and the house will have to be repainted. Turner said the property owner plans to sue McPhaul to pay for repairs. YouthPride also left behind many belongings.
“The truth is he [property owner] was duped by Mr. McPhaul. He thought he was helping a youth program,” Turner said. “And he’s going to continue to do this.”
YouthPride sent out an email June 26 stating its new location is 807 Atlanta Student Blvd., Atlanta, Ga., 30314. This is where the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center is located within the Atlanta University Center.
The center is LGBT friendly and serves as a meeting place for many groups, including the Morehouse College Safe Space project.
Rev. Kimberly Jackson of Absalom Jones Episcopal Center said the center has a long history of helping with LGBTQ causes.
“Youth Pride needed a space, and I had one,” she said. “At this moment it is a temporary relationship – through the summer. And they are paying a nominal fee to help offset the cost of utilities. Hosting YouthPride simply continues our commitment to providing a haven for LGBTQI young people.”
Jackson said her center is happy to help YouthPride.
“When Terence reached out to me and explained that YP needed a new home, I had to say, ‘yes.’ We’re excited to have them in our space and we’re glad to be able to help YP continue its good work in this city,” she said.
Top photo: YouthPride was evicted from 955 Washington Place in southwest Atlanta for nonpayment of rent. The organization states it has relocated to an Episcopal student center with the Atlanta University Center. (by Dyana Bagby)