Councilman avoids warrant
High Point City Councilman Foster Douglas staved off a possible arrest last week stemming from a Davidson County judge’s ruling that found him in contempt of court for failing to pay child support.
Douglas last week paid $640.64 he owed in back child support that was in question in a civil contempt order issued against him by District Court Judge Mary Covington on Sept. 17, according to Davidson County Child Support Enforcement Agency attorney Michael Newby.
Covington issued an order for arrest after Douglas failed to appear in court to explain why he shouldn’t be ordered to pay the arrears, Newby said. Douglas later paid the money and the order against him was lifted.
“He turned himself in and paid it out, which means he purged his arrears. So, right now, there’s not a continuing case against him. By purging your arrears, you’ve done what the court’s asked you to do,” said Newby.
Sheriff’s deputies were poised to serve the order on Douglas at last Friday’s City Council meeting, but county officials learned beforehand that the matter had been resolved, Newby said.
“That would have happened except, when I called, he had turned himself in and purged his contempt, so the order for arrest wasn’t still outstanding,” he said.
Douglas did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday.
He’s been under scrutiny of late for a $32,000 federal judgment he owes the city, as well as unpaid federal and state income taxes he owes. Some council members have called for his resignation, as well as that of Mayor Bernita Sims, for unrelated financial issues she’s facing.
Douglas, who has held the council’s Ward 2 seat since 2008, has recently been dogged by questions over whether he actually lives at 309 S. Scientific St., which he lists as his official residence on the City Council’s website.
City emails, obtained by the High Point Enterprise through a public records request, state that Douglas works for Health Partners Home Care in Hampton, Va., some 280 miles from High Point. Court documents related to his child support case state that Douglas was served with a notice in August to appear in court in September by certified mail at an address in Yorktown, Va., about 20 miles northwest of Hampton.
Douglas signed for the certified mail delivery at the Yorktown address, according to the court file. Real estate records indicate the address is a 4,445-square-foot, five-bedroom home worth approximately $600,000.
City records show Douglas missed half of the council’s 20 meetings and five of its six budget review sessions during the first six months of 2013. Douglas is the council’s liaison to High Point’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. From August 2012 to August 2013, he missed all nine of the ABC Board’s meetings, according to city records.
Douglas is under a court order to pay $545 every month in support of his child, who resides in Davidson County.
Court documents show he has run afoul of child support enforcement in the past in relation to the case.
On Feb. 6, 2004, a judge found him in contempt for failing to appear in court after being served with an order to show cause for $690.16 he owed in back child support, court documents state.
An order for arrest was issued Feb. 23, 2004 for the nonpayment, which was served on Douglas on March 24, 2004, according to court documents. Court records show Douglas paid the $690.16 he owed on March 30, 2004.
Consent contempt orders followed in 2009 and 2010, in which Douglas acknowledged he was in violation of the child-support order and agreed to pay part of the arrears.