One of the first lawsuits filed against Compass Academy co-founder Jonathan “Jay” Brooks has been continued through December because the defense has been unable to produce some electronic evidence, according to court documents.
The suit was filed by the Caniglia Management Group of Aiken, alleging that Brooks and his wife, Tracy, were in breach of contract with them.
Circuit Court Judge Doyet “Jack” Early signed an order for continuance that was filed July 30. According to the order, a status conference on the case was held July 9, during which attorneys found “good cause” for a continuance.
The order notes that, shortly after the suit was filed in February 2013, the S.C. Attorney General’s office “commenced an action” against the Brookses and their businesses related to investments in the private school they were building, Compass Academy. A judge later appointed Columbia attorney Sherri Lydon as receiver of the Brookses’ assets.
Jay Brooks later was arrested and indicted on charges of securities fraud, forgery and a violation of the Securities Act. He remains in the Aiken County detention center awaiting trial for the criminal charges, which is set to occur in October.
According to the suit, the group was hired by Jay and Tracy Brooks to assist with selecting property for Compass Academy, contract with an architect and aid in acquiring the correct zoning permits to build and interact with utilities, as well as to act as a liaison between “contractors, builders and architects and city, county and state officials.”
The group alleged they were to be paid a fee equal to 5 percent of the project’s total cost, or $350,000 in contractually set increments. But, they claim, they had only received $17,000 by June 2012 when they were told their “services were no longer needed because the Texas investors had refused to permit any further payments.”
In responding to the plaintiffs’ discovery requests in this case, the defendants stated they have not been able to produce certain evidence. Discovery is the phase during which both sides collect and exchange information about the case to prepare for trial.
“Upon information and belief certain documents may be preserved on a personal computer which is in the possession of the Receiver ...” the document stated, “at this time (the defendants are) unable to produce that computer for inspection.”
The defense also stated that the attorney general and Lydon have “certain documents which may be relevant to the issues presented in this case,” and that those documents can’t be produced by the defense because they’re involved in the attorney general’s investigation.
“The defendants reserved their right to supplement their discovery answers in this case, but under the circumstances described above they have been unable to provide such information and documentation to date,” the order stated. “Ultimately, the plaintiffs’ attorney represents that he cannot go safely to trial without discovering such electronic and documentary evidence, and such other and further discoverable information and documentation to which the referenced electronic and documentary evidence may lead.”
The case was continued through December, and the attorneys requested a status conference for January 2015.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.