Potential congressional candidate accused of ripping off moms - KMOV.com

Potential congressional candidate accused of ripping off moms

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A man who’s run for political office in Missouri twice is now accused of ripping off two local mothers.

In 2012 Paul Berry ran for state representative in the democratic primary, but lost to challenger Mary Nichols.  In 2014 Berry switched parties and challenged Mary Nichols as a Republican. Berry lost again

Despite losing twice, Berry is still exploring a political future and in June announced he’s forming an exploratory committee for a potential run for Congress.

It was also during the month of June News 4 received complaints regarding Berry’s bail bonds business. Paulette Williams tells News 4 she hired Berry to bail her son out of jail in March, and paid Berry $2600.00 in cash. Williams says her son was never released from jail, but Berry kept her money.

“I feel betrayed, I feel violated, we’re on a fixed income,” Williams told News 4.

Williams claims she made multiple attempts to get a refund from Berry, but when that did not happen she contacted KMOV. On June 26 News 4 reporter Chris Nagus interviewed Paul Berry at a Clayton law office regarding Williams accusation. Berry told Nagus he refunded Williams money that day, in the hours before the interview. Nagus asked Berry if the money was refunded because News 4 got involved.

“Absolutely not, your involvement impeded the process because every time I get a call from the media I have three or four attorneys I have to contact, Berry said.” 

Paulette Williams wasn’t the only mother complaining about Berry. Charlesetta Cole told News 4 she paid Berry $4800.00  in May to bail her son out of jail. Cole said, “he never got my son out. He was supposed to return the money but he didn’t, and there was always some excuse why he wouldn’t show.”

Cole and her family began their own investigation into Berry and became concerned when they discovered a default judgement for $25,000 against Berry recorded in April.

Berry told News 4 the judgement involved his Maryland Heights landlord and was not related to Cole or Williams. “I made a decision not to contest the judgement and make payment to him. We are satisfying that as we speak.”   

In regards to the allegations made by Cole, Berry said “we have a contract agreement. I attempted to make a refund pursuant to our agreement and she refused and contacted me several times over my political career and quite frankly I feel like I’m being extorted for funds she’s un-entitled to so we will address it in the 21st court not the media.” 

"Once that suit is filed I’m going to deposit all $4800.00 in the 21st circuit court registry once the judge gives me permission,” Berry added. 

News 4 checked with the court’s accounting office following the interview, the accounting office was unable to locate any deposits made by Berry. On Tuesday July 14 Berry told News 4 Investigates he was going to refund Cole's money – as of Thursday July 16 the Cole family tells News 4 Berry hasn’t refunded the money. 

Charlesetta Cole tells News 4 “I would like to get the money back so I can help my son.” 

Cole said she is confused by Berry’s accusation that she’s trying to extort money and added “we worked hard to gather that money, we’re not rich.”

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