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LGBT youth form ‘JustUsATL’ as option to crumbling YouthPride

YouthPride executive director Terence McPhaul

As YouthPride continues to face obstacles including a funding crisis, a group of young people who have used its services before are now breaking off to begin forming their own organization.

The group, named JustUsATL, hosts a town hall forum on March 31 at Greater Smith Church at 7 p.m.

“LGBTQ young people including teens and young adults have come together in a consensus-based process to form a new organization,” the group stated in a press release on March 22, the day after a Fulton Magistrate judge ordered YouthPride vacate its premises as part of a settlement agreement with its landlord, Inman Park United Methodist Church.

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[Updated] LGBTQ youth rise up to start new organization as YouthPride crumbles

As YouthPride continues to face obstacles including a funding crisis, a group of young people who have used its services before are now breaking off to begin forming their own organization.

In a press release sent today, members of "JustUsATL" are hosting a town hall forum on March 31 at Greater Smith Church at 7 p.m. The church is located at 183 Mayson Ave., Atlanta, GA 30303. More information about the group and town hall can be found on JustUsATL's Facebook page.

"LGBTQ young people including teens and young adults have come together in a consensus-based process to form a new organization," states the press release.

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YouthPride ordered to move out of space by May 31

A Fulton Magistrate Court judge ordered YouthPride to vacate its space at 1017 Edgewood Ave. by May 31 as well as pay its landlord, Inman Park United Methodist Church, a total of $28,000 as a settlement.

Inman Park UMC sued YouthPride on Feb. 17 for some $40,000 in back rent. Court documents show the organization currently owes $54,656.19.

The counterclaim filed by YouthPride against the church claiming the church had not made repairs to the building it has been renting for the amount of $500 per month for 60 months — or $30,000 — was dismissed for being "without merit."

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Inman Park UMC allows YouthPride to stay in space ‘for now’

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At a Fulton Magistrate Court hearing today, Inman Park United Methodist Church agreed to allow YouthPride stay in its space for now as a way to settle the disagreements between the two parties "peacefully," according to the church's attorney.

The consent order was reached before today's hearing but the specifics of the agreement won't be available until tomorrow after it is signed by a judge, said Peter Morgan, attorney representing Inman Park UMC.

"We came to an agreement … to settle things peacefully and to the benefit of both parties," Morgan said following the hearing.

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Local activist says it’s time to step up to help LGBT youth in midst of YouthPride crisis

A startup community initiative for "a safe and brighter future for Atlanta's LGBT Youth Rising!" is being organized by a local activist who worked with the volunteer task force that investigated the viability of YouthPride and found it to be in deep debt and disarray.

A Facebook event created by Maggie Lopez late Thursday asks for adults and youth to organize together in the midst of the financial crisis YouthPride is facing.

"It is evident that the demand for services and a safe community center for LGBT youth is larger than any one current organization. The cry for 'someone' to provide alternatives to the status quo in this community has gone on long enough without anyone stepping forward. So, to that end, I invite everyone interested, to come together in unity, sow the seeds that will take root to begin the endeavor," Lopez states.

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YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul seeks millions in string of lawsuits

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YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul is no stranger to lawsuits. Since becoming executive director of YouthPride in June 2009, he has personally filed three lawsuits handled in federal court — including one showing that he began searching for other jobs within months of taking the helm of the youth group.

Like McPhaul’s recent lawsuit in Fulton County against a car dealership, the federal lawsuits are all filed “pro se,” or with McPhaul representing himself instead of having an attorney. The lawsuits are filed on behalf of McPhaul as an individual, not as a representative of YouthPride. One remains pending.

Court records show McPhaul has filed six lawsuits handled by the federal court system since 1994, all representing himself without an attorney. Defendants include at least four of his previous employers, including three prominent Atlanta nonprofits: AID Atlanta, National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities, and St. Joseph’s Mercy Care.

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YouthPride ED sues Mercedes-Benz for nearly $1 million over an oil leak

YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul filed a lawsuit for nearly $1 million against an Atlanta Mercedes-Benz dealership on Feb. 28 saying its technicians never fixed a continuous oil leak in his vehicle.

McPhaul is suing the car dealership as an individual, not on behalf of the LGBT youth group.

McPhaul and YouthPride also recently countersued Inman Park UMC after the church, the agency's landlord, alleges YouthPride, an organization serving gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer youth agest 13-24 in metro Atlanta, has not paid more than $40,000 in rent.

McPhaul filed his lawsuit on Feb. 28 against Mercedes-Benz dealership RBM North of Atlanta “pro se” — meaning he is representing himself — for nearly $1 million because he claims  employees at the Atlanta dealership called him “paranoid” for his ongoing complaints of an oil leak.

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[UPDATE] YouthPride files counterclaim against landlord Inman Park United Methodist Church

YouthPride is digging in to fight the lawsuit filed against the LGBT youth group by its landlord Inman Park United Methodist Church, which says the LGBT youth group nonprofit owes more than $40,000 in back rent.

A court date is set for March 20 in Fulton Magistrate Court to try to settle the dispute, according to online documents filed with Fulton Magistrate Court. The notice was mailed out to the church on Tuesday, March 13.

Inman Park UMC filed its lawsuit against YouthPride in Fulton Magistrate Court on Feb. 17 including an eviction notice to be served on the organization mandating it leave the premises.

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Landlord’s attorney: ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ with YouthPride

The attorney for Inman Park United Methodist Church, which leases space to YouthPride and is suing after months of unpaid rent, strongly disputes a charge from the LGBT youth agency's executive director that the organization has any legal claims against the church.

"As it relates to the $40,000 rent, which we have always said was overpriced… the bottom line is this: We have legal claims against the church as well," YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul told attendees at a March 6 town hall meeting, which was hosted by an independent task force concerned about the future of LGBT youth services in Atlanta.

"We had legal claims against the church as well," McPhaul repeated. "So there were certain things that we actually missed out on as a result of certain things the church did not comply with — so we haven't answered the lawsuit yet, but we will, and soon."