TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa civil rights attorney — known for his work for Justice for Greenwood — Demario Solomon Simmons is facing his own legal battles. He is being sued by his former law firm partner. The lawsuit, filed in September, states that he owes thousands of dollars in credit card debt.
Simmons fights for reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre survivors and descendants. He is also working on the public nuisance lawsuit against the City of Tulsa over the Tulsa Race Massacre move forward. Previously, Simmons has fought for justice for Terence Crutcher after a Tulsa Police officer shot and killed him during a traffic stop in 2016. He was one of the attorneys who represented Crutcher’s family following his death.
His latest fight is for Muscogee Creek Nation citizenship for Black Creeks, known as Creek Freedmen.
In 2019, Simmons made a name for himself on the national stage when he founded Justice for Greenwood Foundation.
His former law firm partner, not associated with Justice for Greenwood, Susan Sharrock, is suing him over what she says started happening in 2008. The lawsuit said she opened three business credit cards for their Tulsa law firm both both her and Simmons’ name on the cards.
According to the lawsuit, Sharrock “was required to personally guarantee payment of the business credit card balances.” The lawsuit goes on to say the firm struggled from to time and to protect herself, Sharrock took out loans to pay balances because she said Simmons didn’t pay his part.
The lawsuit says Simmons made “multiple promises and representations, both in writing and verbal, that he would pay the loans, including interest.” The suit said he did repay some, but at one point, he was still more than $73,000 worth of debt.
Sharrock retired from the firm in 2014, but still monitored the firm’s business credit card payments because her name was on them. In the lawsuit, Sharrock says in 2017 Simmons began using the firm’s credit cards to pay for personal expenses like “groceries and his wife’s business expenses.” Which the lawsuit goes on to say “was not approved by Sharrock.”
The lawsuit says when Sharrock saw the unauthorized purchases, she closed the accounts, but still owed the “significant balances accrued” from “misuse and non-payment.”
To avoid lawsuits from debt collectors, the lawsuit says Sharrock paid off the credit cards in total of more than $57,000. Documents goes on to say Simmons' total debt owed is more than $131,000.
The suit says, later in 2017, Simmons promised in writing that when he secured a “good, stable job, he would pay his debt,” The lawsuit then lists Simmons’ employment history since 2017, including the Justice for Greenwood Foundation, and being an agent for professional athletes.
Fox23 asked Sharrock’s legal representation for a comment and said “we do not comment upon pending litigation.”
Fox23 reached out to Simmons for an interview. He sent a statement in a text saying: “I was not aware of this lawsuit by my former law partner from my old law firm until you contacted me, I have not been served with the lawsuit, but I have asked my personal attorney to investigate the claims made therein. I expect that any outstanding issues between me and my former law partner will be promptly resolved.”
According to bankrate.com, it says personal spending on a business card is not illegal. However, it can violate terms and conditions. Which consequences may vary depending on those terms.
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