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Woodies file counterclaims against Hotel Tavern owners

JEFFERSON — Answers, affirmative defenses and counterclaims were filed by the Woodie Family against Guion & Lyle Enterprises, owners of The Hotel Tavern, in the Ashe County Clerk of Courts Office Tuesday, Oct. 29.

The filing came in response to a complaint filed by The Hotel Tavern owners on Aug. 29 alleging that Jo Ann Woodie, Billie Jo Woodie, Deborah Woodie Ellis, David Ellis, Sharon Woodie and Woodie Investments, the Old Hotel’s former owners, as well as Bridgetree Investments, the hotel’s current owner, conducted unfair and deceptive trade practices and breached their contract, among other claims, Ashe Post & Times previously reported.

Within the answers to the complaint, the Woodie co-defendants deny the existence of an alleged 2018 lease agreement with The Hotel Tavern owners, which Guion & Lyle Enterprises claim in their complaint is the contract that was breached by Bridgetree Investments’ alleged attempt to evict The Hotel Tavern from the building, according to court documents.

In addition, the Woodies bring the following counterclaims against Guion & Lyle Enterprises: breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, conversion, trespass and abuse of process.

According to the Woodies’ counterclaims, The Hotel Tavern owners conducted renovations on the property without permission from the building’s owners, which was not permitted according to the lease the two parties signed in 2013.

The Woodies also claim that The Hotel Tavern owners started to use areas of the hotel without permission from the owners, citing that the 2013 lease only allowed for use of the restaurant space and an upstairs office space, according to court documents.

The counterclaims additionally include allegations that The Hotel Tavern failed to pay rent on time, saying that from May 2016 to June 2019, The Hotel Tavern owners paid rent on time, by the first of the month, seven times. The Woodies claim that these allegations are in breach of the rental provision of the 2013 lease.

“(Guion & Lyle Enterprises’) payment history deteriorated to the point that it paid more than 20 days late from January 2019 through May 2019,” the court documents claim.

In the initial complaint filed by Guion and Lyle Enterprises, it states that a lease was signed in 2018 for another 10-year period, which also includes a clause stating that the lease may transfer to a new owner if the property were to sell.

Andy Guion, co-owner of The Hotel Tavern, then received a signature from Jo Ann Woodie on an alleged draft document of that 2018 lease while trying to refinance The Hotel Tavern, according to the initial complaint document. Guion then immediately went to the Ashe County Register of Deeds to attempt to record the lease, but was denied as the document was not notarized.

In their answers to the complaint, the Woodies claim that Jo Ann Woodie’s signature on the alleged draft document for the 2018 lease was procured by fraud. They also claim that the 2018 lease was still under negotiation at the time of the Old Hotel being sold, and a final agreement was never made.

Negotiations related to the lease included an increase in rent payments due to The Hotel Tavern’s use of other portions of the property, which were not permitted in the 2013 lease. A final agreement was never made between the two parties before the building was sold to Bridgetree Investments, the Woodies claim in their response to the complaint.

The Woodies also cite in their counterclaims N.C. General Statute § 47-18, which states that leases of land for greater than three years must be registered in the county of the leased land to be enforceable against creditors or subsequent purchasers for value, and claim that Guion & Lyle Enterprises’ allegations of the Woodies’ breach of contract is barred under this statute as the document was never recorded in the register of deeds.

Andy Guion, speaking on behalf of Guion & Lyle Enterprises, said that they are currently working on answers to the Woodies’ counterclaims, and offered no further comment at this time. Ashe Post & Times will continue to provide updates on this story as they are made available.

Helping our heroes: Vaughn ensures no veteran is left behind as Ashe Veterans Service Officer

Darryl Vaughn didn’t stop serving his country when he returned from Iraq in March 2005.

Although Veterans Day offers the nation an opportunity to express our gratitude for those who chose to serve their country at home and abroad, Vaughn works all year to serve the nearly 1,800 veterans in Ashe County, ensuring that no one is left behind after returning to civilian life.

Vaughn, Ashe County’s veterans service officer and retired staff sergeant in the Army National Guard, serves as liaison between veterans, their family and any benefits they are entitled to receive from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He started in the role in 2013, and his only regret is that he wishes he started the job sooner.

With 26 years of service in the Army National Guard, he is far from lacking a working knowledge of veterans’ needs in Ashe County. Vaughn was born in Indiana in 1962 where he lived for 10 years before moving to Ashe County. When he decided to join the National Guard in 1980, he enlisted in Jefferson.

“I’ve lived here for almost 48 years now,” Vaughn said in his office on the second floor of the Ashe County Courthouse. “It is home to me.”

Vaughn said he was brought up in a military home, with a father who served in the Marine Corps and five uncles who served in numerous branches of the U.S. Military.

“I was raised to be a lover of the United States and a believer in the flag and the American way,” Vaughn said, adding that choosing to enlist after four years in Beaver Creek High School’s ROTC program felt like his next natural step.

Vaughn was first deployed in 1990 for Operation Desert Storm, he said. He then returned to the Middle East between 2004 and 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his tours, he served as a squad leader and assistant platoon sergeant, overseeing convoys that traveled throughout the region.

Photo courtesy Darryl Vaughn 

Pictured are Greg Jones, Randy Lewis, Anthony Ham, Rick Weaver, Bill Pruitt (Deceased), Jeff Dillard, Willard Sullins, James Long (Deceased), Joe Gentry (Deceased), Tim Stamper (Deceased), Jeff Watson, Bill Carter, Keith Dillard, Joe Taylor, Bartt Winebarger, Danny Houck, Gary Roark, Mike Macchia (Platoon Leader), Joe Parsons, Thomas Rhyne, Darryl Vaughn, Marvin Taylor, James Hendrix, Rick Hamm and David Lewis while deployed during Operation Desert Storm. 

With more than two decades of time spent serving, Vaughn said having that level of comradery with his fellow servicemen ultimately influenced his decision to take the job as a veterans service officer for Ashe County.

“For the most part, it was all family,” Vaugh said. “We’d been in the Guard together for so many years, it wasn’t about rank. It was about the brotherhood.”

Vaughn retired from the military in November 2005 and worked with Pepsi Bottling Ventures for several years before hearing about the available position for Ashe County’s veteran services. Within hours of interviewing for the job, he received an offer.

“I said ‘thank you,’ hung up the phone and immediately threw my stuff everywhere and cheered up and down,” Vaugh said.

As the county’s only veterans service officer, Vaugh said he’s a one-man-show, assisting with any and all kinds of needs for local veterans.

“The only bad part about my job is getting people in here, getting to know them and making friends with them, and then doing their funeral,” Vaughn said. “That’s the hardest part.”

He added that being able to help a surviving spouse or family member, though it doesn’t make up for the loss of that friend and loved one, does make the job worth it. He said he’ll continue to work in his role as veterans service officer until he is either kicked out or he can’t come in the office anymore.

“It is a family,” Vaughn said. “You don’t go through the threats, you don’t go through the sickness, you don’t go through I.E.D. explosions and sniper fire and RPG rounds, and you don’t go through the heat exhaustion ... you don’t go through all of that stuff and come out the other side still being friends and not be family.”

The Veterans Services Office can be found on the second floor of the Ashe County Courthouse in Suite 2100. For more information, contact Vaughn directly at (336) 846-5575 or darrylvaughn@ashecountygov.com.

Grassy Creek man faces 21 felonies, faces extradition to Virginia

JEFFERSON — A man from Grassy Creek has been charged with 21 felonies following his arrest Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Christopher C. Campbell, 27, was charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, possession of a firearm by a felon, four counts of selling methamphetamine, four counts of delivering methamphetamine, four counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine, four counts of possession of methamphetamine, two counts of manufacturing/selling/delivering/possessing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park and extradition/fugitive of other state.

According to the warrants for his arrest, Campbell is accused of selling methamphetamine in and around Ashe County Park in Jefferson. He is also alleged to have had a sawed-off 410 shotgun in his possession at the time of his arrest. Campbell plead no contest to a charge of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine in 2016, making him a convicted felon.

Campbell is also facing a charge of conspiracy to sell a schedule II controlled substance in Grayson County, Va.

Campbell is being held at the Ashe County Detention Center under a $500,000 secured bond.

Ashe County turns out for municipal elections

ASHE COUNTY — Election Day for the 2019 Municipal Elections was Tuesday, Nov. 5, with citizens of West Jefferson, Jefferson and Lansing turning out to cast their votes.

The polls opened at 6:30 a.m., closing at 7:30 p.m. Only registered voters in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction were able to vote, with registration ending Oct. 11.

At roughly 1 p.m., West Jefferson precinct chief judge Joy Campbell said it was obvious work schedules were getting in the way of voter turnout, but the early morning hours gave hope for a good turnout in the afternoon. At the time, Campbell said just more than 100 of the roughly 800 registered voters had turned up to the Ashe County Arts Center to vote.

In Jefferson, precinct judge Kathy Bauer said 16 people had voted. The Jefferson precinct was home to a ExpressVote machine, which was being tested for possible use in future Ashe County elections. Bauer said three people had used the machine to vote up to that point, with two of them being judges.

West Jefferson saw Tom Hartman run opposed for mayor, with incumbent Rusty Barr, Christopher Neaves, Crystal Miller, Laura McPherson, Jeffery Caudill and Grant Price running for two alderman seats.

Blueford Eldreth and Mike Spencer ran for Mayor of Jefferson and Charles Caudill and Cathy Ballou ran for the two alderman seats as incumbents.

Following Lansing Mayor Dylan Lightfoot’s decision to rescind his re-election bid, Mack Powers ran unopposed for the seat. Tina Greer ran against incumbents Jim Blevins and Tom Richardson for two seats on the Board of Aldermen, while Cheyenne Blevins ran unopposed to keep her own.

Results from Tuesday’s election were not available for print presstime. Check www.ashepostandtimes.com now and next week’s print paper for election results.