CHARLESTON - After two years, a South Charleston attorney and former mental hygiene commissioner has accepted as fact, he and his wife defaulted on a $56,000 loan given to them by a Nicholas County financial services company to refinance two cars they previously owned.

Theodore R. "Ted" Dues Jr. and his wife, Mona, agreed with a motion for summary judgment in a the civil suit filed against them by Nicholas Loan and Mortgage of Summersville. Summary judgment is ruling by a judge prior to trial that there is no contested fact or facts in a case.

Originally filed in October, Dues, both on his and Mona's behalf, signed the order for summary judgment on Jan. 24 agreeing that they will repay Nicholas $89,345.49 plus interest for defaulting on a 2004 loan to refinance their 2001 Infiniti QX4 and 1989 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL. When the suit was filed on Jan. 17, 2007, records show they owed Nicholas $67,893.03

According to court records, the Dues secured the loan from Nicholas on Oct. 15, 2004, for $56,128.21 at 18 percent annual interest. As stipulated in the agreement, they were to repay it in monthly installments of $1,425.28.

However, when they failed to repay the loan, Nicholas began repossession procedures. Though they were successful in repossessing the Infiniti, Nicholas was less successful in repossessing the Mercedes as its whereabouts remain a mystery.

After the Infiniti was repossessed, it was sold at auction for $5,000. Prior to the sale, Nicholas discovered the Infiniti sustained some body damage.

Records show Nicholas discovered the Dues were aware of damage, and instead of using a $1,606.68 check from their insurance carrier to pay for the repairs, they pocketed the money. However, as stipulated in the order, the Dues aver that they made arrangements for an alternate shop to handle both the body work as well as some minor engine repair which was thwarted when the car was repossessed.

In both his answer to Nicholas' lawsuit and collateral complaint filed with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the investigative arm of the state Bar, Dues alleged he "lost" possession of the Mercedes. This occurred in 2002 when, despite instructions to keep it in the Charleston-area due to its "dilapidated" condition, Dues' son, Ted III took the Mercedes to Huntington where it broken down.

Because of "a progressive and chronic health condition" he was suffering at the time, Dues says he was unable to assist Ted III in retrieving the vehicle. Upon his recovery, Dues alleges he took Ted III to the place in Huntington the Mercedes was "believed to have been left" and, despite the assistance of the Huntington Police Department, their search was "to no avail."

However, an HPD incident report shows that the Mercedes was cited for "sidewalk and curb violations" starting on Aug. 13, 2002, after it was left unattended for 48 hours. It was eventually impounded and towed by Cogan's Wrecker Service eight days later.

There are no records of Dues either filing a stolen vehicle report or making any inquiries to HPD about the Mercedes' whereabouts. Despite Nicholas' making claims of fraud in addition to the defaulted loan in the original complaint, the order shows they agreed to Dues' stipulation that "At the time of the attempted repossession of the Mercedes Benz, the Defendants were no longer in possession of the same."

The West Virginia Record attempted to obtain a comment from Dues concerning the settlement. However, a telephone number listed for his home on Upland Avenue in South Charleston was disconnected.

No license, no job

Currently, Dues' license to practice law is administratively suspended for failing for pay his annual Bar dues for 2008 and 2009. Also, he's failed to disclose whether he has malpractice insurance.

At the time the suit was filed, Dues was nearly halfway though a two-year restricted practice of hearing only mental hygiene cases. Mental hygiene commissioners are attorneys who hear cases of those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others as a result of mental illness or addiction, and are typically appointed annually by the chief judge of each judicial circuit.

However, the state Supreme Court on Dec. 19, 2005, placed Dues on the restrictive practice to begin on March 2006 as punishment for mishandling the cases of nine clients, and failing to respond to the complaints they lodged with ODC. A woman at the Kanawha County Mental Hygiene Office said Dues stopped hearing cases in August 2007, and has not been heard from since.

Kanawha Circuit Court, Case No. 07-C-118

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