Mother says former congressional candidate took advantage of her - KMOV.com

Mother says former congressional candidate took advantage of her grief

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO -

A former congressional candidate is accused of taking advantage of a grieving mother after her son committed suicide.

DaShawn Dingle contacted News 4 to investigate a transaction between herself and Paul Berry.

Berry is a former congressional candidate who’s also hosted a political talk show on St. Louis television.

According to Dingle she met  Berry at the Republican National Convention and developed a friendship.

In February Dingle's son, Brendan, committed suicide.  Dingle says she began discussions with Berry about creating a "legacy" for her son.

"He was going to put a whole mental health series into his show," said Dingle. 

Dingle tells News 4 she spoke with Berry about airing Public Service Announcements, and about doing a show at Truman State University in Kirksville where several young men in the same fraternity committed suicide over the past year.  

Dingle says Berry needed financing to make the deal work, so she provided Berry with a loan. 

According to a notarized loan agreement for $15,000 Berry was to repay his debt obligation in three installments between April 15th and June 15th 2017.

Dingle says Berry never paid any money back, and says she's unaware of Berry airing anything regarding her son or suicide awareness on his show. 

After missing payment obligations Dingle says she successfully disputed a payment made on her American Express Card to Sinclair Broadcasting, the company that aired Berry's program. 

Dingle says those are the only funds recovered, and that she's still owed "thousands" from Berry. 

On July 5th during a phone conversation, Berry told Dingle he would pay $6,000 on July 17th, and the balance on July 31st. 

According to Dingle she never received any additional funds following her conversation with Berry. 

"He preyed on my grief for his political gain and ambitions that is who Paul Berry is," said Dingle. 

After Dingle spoke with News 4, Berry filed a complaint against her with the Illinois Attorney General's office. 

In the complaint, Berry states Dingle operates a "quasi-charity" in Illinois that's not registered with the Office of Attorney General. 

Berry also takes issue with Dingle's claim that money paid to him originated in a Go Fund Me Account set up in Dingle's son's name. 

Dingle says she's done nothing wrong, and that Berry only complained about her after she contacted News 4. 

In his signed and notarized statement to the Attorney General Berry also states: 

23.) Solely provided for disclosure purposes regarding the complainant's submission of this complaint, URE (Berry's limited liability corporation) has filed suit against Ms. Dingle in the State of Missouri related to legal controversies stemming from the Business Agreement. 

Dingle says she's never been served with a lawsuit by Berry, and is unaware of any filed litigation.

News 4 was unable to locate any pending litigation filed by Berry or his company against Dingle in Missouri. 

You can read Berry's complaint here.

Dingle isn't the only person complaining about Berry. 

Reese Forbes tells News 4 he evicted Berry from his Maryland Heights home for chronically failing to pay rent. 

According to a court judgment, Berry owes Forbes $11,000. 

Forbes said, "Paul Berry was the worst tenant I've had in 30 years of renting out places."  He added Berry has made no attempt to pay his debt. 

Berry's financial issues appear to contradict his online persona.

In June he posted "State of Georgia offered 7.5 million to move Nightlife to Atlanta..." 

A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Economic Development tells News 4 their agency offers tax credits, but does not make direct payments to anyone producing television shows in the state. 

The spokesperson added, "We have not received any sort of application for Mr. Berry." and " Georgia has not agreed to pay Mr. Berry any monies to come film in Georgia, and never will." 

News 4 has made numerous attempts to speak with Berry on camera. 

After agreeing to an interview, then declining an interview Berry was emailed several questions pertaining to the allegations. 

Berry responded threatening litigation. 

In communications between a News 4 producer and Berry, the former congressional candidate said he would provide information by Thursday August 10 at 1:00 p.m.

News 4 has not received any further communication from Berry since that time. 

DaShawn Dingle tells News 4 she will continue to raise awareness for suicide prevention in her son's name.

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