Blind-sided, again

Page 5 of 5

"What made my clients suspicious was that he was spending all this money and yet, according to his bankruptcy schedule, only making $50,000 a year, and it didn't fit," says Zyne. "So now the question is, how accurate were these bankruptcy schedules? I mean, that's bankruptcy fraud."

The Dudleys have always amazed people with their grand lifestyle. Shortly after the alleged check scam began, the Dudleys bought a big house and spent a lot of money renovating it. They own three rental houses, drive a 1991 Lexus and a 1994 Suburban and, at the time of their bankruptcy filing last February, had $28,000 in credit card debt, and many outstanding bills, including $3,414 to Circuit City and $2,108 to Linz Jewelers.

But that allegation of bankruptcy fraud could catch up with them. If a criminal charge were pursued for not reporting extraneous income--and it most likely will be--the result could put Dudley in a world of hurt. "We're going to have the creditors' meeting reopened to ask Mr. Dudley about this," says Charles Kennon, staff attorney for the Chapter 13 trustee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. "And after we have that meeting, we will be referring this to the U.S. Attorney's Office. I'm sure the Internal Revenue Service is on to it, too, but we'll be copying them on it also."

Still, the Lipscomb-Dudley family seems particularly adept at getting away with outrageous behavior. For example, in February 1995, Dudley got upset with an electronics salesman at the Foley's Department Store at Red Bird Mall. The Dudleys wanted to buy a big-screen TV and apparently didn't like how they were being treated. So Dudley hauled off and beat the crap out of the guy. Specifically, after pummeling the salesman, he grabbed the guy's portable radio and beat him over the head with it.

Dudley currently is on probation for that.
But even that is all news to councilman Lipscomb, who in our conversation last Saturday wanted me to know just how removed he is from his son-in-law and last remaining business associate.

"When you put in the paper that Rod was an ex-con, I thought perhaps it was a typo," Lipscomb said, referring to the May Observer story about Lipscomb's imploding chemical business. "I asked someone else whether it was true, and it was confirmed that it had been.

"You see, I had no idea.

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Laura Miller