Herschel Walker owes $600k in unpaid restaurant loans, courts say


U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker and a enterprise accomplice have didn’t repay $625,000 in loans used to fund a pizza franchise, court docket information reviewed by the Ledger-Enquirer and McClatchy Information present.

The previous NFL star and Brandon Scrushy, president of Zoner’s Pizza, Waffles and Wings, personally assured the compensation of two loans issued by a Texas financial institution.

Two Georgia counties used a Texas court docket judgment to place a lien of greater than half one million {dollars} in opposition to Walker, Scrushy and the enterprise to attempt to get them to pay. Fulton County Superior Courtroom filed the lien in December, and Johnson County, the place Walker’s hometown of Wrightsville is positioned, recorded the lien later that month.

The lien will stay within the counties’ information till the loans are paid off, and the Texas financial institution might search additional motion to gather the debt.

The ruling is the newest in a sequence of points for Walker, who hopes to unseat incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, on this yr’s midterm election. Current polling from Quinnipiac College exhibits him main Warnock, 49% to 48%.

Makes an attempt to succeed in D. Woodard Glenn P.C, the Dallas attorneys who dealt with the Texas loans lawsuits, had been unsuccessful. An Atlanta lawyer who dealt with proceedings in Fulton and Johnson counties stated he was not permitted to touch upon the matter.

In an announcement to the Ledger-Enquirer and McClatchy Information, Walker’s communications director Mallory Blount didn’t say if Walker would repay the debt.

“Herschel is a minor investor and provider for Zoners Pizza who allowed his likeness for use in advertising supplies. Like many different small companies throughout America, Zoners was hit arduous by the pandemic. Herschel just isn’t a decision-maker within the firm, however trusts that they’re resolving this situation.”

Walker’s authorized points with Zoner’s had been first reported by the Related Press as a part of an investigation into the Republican’s enterprise dealings and private life. The AP discovered that Walker exaggerated his enterprise success and alarmed enterprise companions with unpredictable habits. Walker additionally threatened the lifetime of his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, AP reported.

The lawsuits and court docket rulings

Each Walker and Scrushy agreed to repay the loans, which had been issued in 2018 and amended in 2019 by Veritex Neighborhood Financial institution, in line with two lawsuits filed within the 14th District Courtroom in Dallas County.

Veritex filed the first lawsuit over a roughly $500,000 mortgage in September 2020. A second go well with over a roughly $100,000 mortgage was filed in June 2021.

Vertex accused Zoner’s of defaulting on each loans and stated Walker, Scrushy and Zoner’s declined to repay regardless of agreeing to take action.

Walker prevented involvement within the Texas lawsuits. Safety guards wouldn’t permit authorized paperwork to be personally delivered to Walker, who lives in a gated group in Westlake, a city northwest of Fort Value. Makes an attempt to contact Walker by cellphone had been unsuccessful, court docket information present.

Courtroom paperwork state Walker and his co-defendants failed to look in court docket to reply the costs within the lawsuits.

The courts dominated in favor of the financial institution in each instances, and ordered Walker, Scrushy and Zoner’s Restaurant Group LLC to pay again the loans in addition to lawyer charges and different associated prices.

Atlanta lawyer Michael F. Hanson filed a civil case in Fulton County Superior Courtroom in November 2021 to implement the judgment on the $500,000 mortgage case. Decide Rachelle Carnesale enacted a lien in opposition to Walker, Scrushy and Zoner’s Restaurant Group.

The identical lien was filed in Johnson County in late December. Veritex has not requested Fulton or Johnson County courts to implement the second Texas ruling.

Walker’s different enterprise troubles

Zoner’s Restaurant Group additionally owes simply over $6,000 in unpaid taxes in Montgomery County, Texas, north of Houston. Different Zoner’s franchise teams haven’t paid taxes in different Texas and Georgia counties. The largest owed quantity is simply over $10,000 in Gwinnett County. Walker’s title just isn’t talked about in these paperwork.

Walker’s actual function within the enterprise was not outlined within the Texas lawsuits, although paperwork and Walker’s earlier public statements recommend the connection is shut.

A December 2021 monetary disclosures report Walker filed with the Securities and Alternate Fee states that he owns private Zoner’s inventory value an “unascertainable” quantity. He earns lower than $201 a yr in revenue from the inventory, in line with the report.

Zoner’s has 15 places in 4 states, greater than half of them in Georgia. Every location serves Walker’s rooster and waffles, in line with the corporate’s web site. Walker owns a rooster enterprise that distributes its merchandise nationwide.

Walker is known as an proprietor and majority stockholder in a number of information tales about varied Zoner’s places. He recognized himself as an proprietor of greater than “two dozen eating places throughout the nation, together with Zoner’s Pizza, Wings and Waffles” throughout a talking occasion in Fort Irwin, Calif., in 2019.

The assertion from Walker’s marketing campaign about his association with Zoner’s mirrors the connection enterprise associates described to the Related Press in July about Walker and his rooster processing crops. The associates claimed that Walker is only a licensing accomplice who lends his title to the enterprise — very similar to former President Donald Trump did with many merchandise.

Walker and the previous president preserve an in depth relationship, courting again to the short-lived United States Soccer League of the Eighties. Walker, a 1980 School Soccer Nationwide Champion and 1982 Heisman Trophy Winner because the star operating again for the College of Georgia, performed for the New Jersey Generals. The staff got here underneath Trump’s possession after the 1983 season.

Trump endorsed Walker’s Senate bid in September 2021.

This story was initially printed February 11, 2022 6:50 AM.

Nick Wooten is the Southern Tendencies and Tradition reporter for McClatchy’s South area. He’s primarily based in Columbus, Georgia on the Ledger-Enquirer however his work additionally seems in The (Macon) Telegraph and The Solar Herald in Biloxi.Earlier than becoming a member of McClatchy, he labored for The (Shreveport La.) Instances overlaying metropolis authorities and investigations. He’s a graduate of Mercer College in Macon, Georgia.

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