Albany - Late Monday afternoon, a jury was seated in the case of former state Representative Lawrence Roberts. Opening statements took place Tuesday morning, and then Roberts took the stand.
The premise of the case is simple. Mike Brown says, "I think there's a controversy here about what happened with a check." But what happened with the check, or didn't happen is the $60,000 or $105,000 question.
"He just issued him the check and so we contend that that's our money," says Mike Brown, Lawrence Roberts' attorney. He says there's one thing everyone is clear on: Roberts sold his business, and went through a closing. He then received a check for that sell.
Brown says, "What they're [the plaintiffs] saying is that Roberts had in his possession, a copy of an assignment from Atlantic approving the transfer of the note from Roberts to the new buyer, and without that they wouldn't have closed." Approving the transfer because Atlantic, the lender, had to give permission for Roberts to sell the property since there was a security deed on the business.
He says, "They're saying that Roberts told them he had it, that it was in the possession of his attorney, Larry Mims, and that Larry Mims was going to give it to them later on. Divine contends that that's why he went ahead and gave him the check."
But before the check was cashed, both sides agree that Roberts was told not to cash the check at least once, and that he was told to give it back, because the group buying was backing out of part of the deal. That's why the plaintiffs say Roberts should not have cashed the check. The defense says Roberts had the right to cash the check. Brown says, "We're contending otherwise and we'll wait to see what happens in the courtroom."
He says, "He [Roberts] got the check because he showed up and he did what he was supposed to do at the closing. Closing was conducted by an attorney in this area, Doug Divine, who issued him the check."