Police who tried to serve the owner of the bankrupt Melrose Resort on Daufuskie Island a summons related to a lawsuit filed by a former resort employee came up empty recently when they tried to locate J.T. Bramlette in his home state of Utah.
Former resort employee Tamar Berg filed a suit demanding unpaid wages last month against Bramlette, the resort, and its Utah-based developer the Pelorus Group, court documents show.
About two weeks after the suit was filed, a deputy with the Salt Lake City Sheriff’s Office was unsuccessful in serving Bramlette with the complaint and summons, according court documents filed earlier this week in Beaufort County.
An affidavit from April 26 noted that Bramlette had moved and no forwarding address was available.
This is not the first time Bramlette has proved difficult to track down.
When he was sued in 2014 for breach of contract, a court officer in Utah tried unsuccessfully three times to serve Bramlette with a summons before eventually locating him in Salt Lake City, Beaufort County court records show.
Once served, Bramlette appears to have ignored the summons.
He provided “no answer, notice of appearance, motion, or other pleading” in the breach of contract suit, Beaufort County Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen wrote in a 2015 court document.
Mullen ordered Bramlette to pay a roughly $42,000 judgment to the plaintiffs in that case, court documents show.
This apparent trend of attempting to avoid or delay correspondence with lawyers, government agencies, and courts continued last year when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators began looking into Bramlette’s possible links to an alleged “Ponzi-like scheme” to bilk investors out of as much as $65 million.
The SEC issued subpoenas for Pelorus Group documents last July. By October, those subpoenas “remain(ed) largely unanswered,” prompting the agency to seek — and ultimately receive — a judge’s order compelling Bramlette and the company to comply, court filings show.
The SEC and Bramlette settled the subpoena compliance case in March, according to court documents.
An SEC spokesman has repeatedly declined to comment on the status of any potential ongoing investigation into Bramlette or his company.
Berg’s suit claims she went without a paycheck from Aug. 15, 2016 through Oct. 19, 2016.
“Although Pelorus had ceased payment of wages ... Berg was encouraged to remain working with a promise (of) wage payments in the near future,” according to the suit.
A letter — signed by Bramlette and included in court documents — informs employees that after Oct. 19, 2016 the resort “will no longer be able to utilize your services.”
“We are working as quickly as possible to get you paid in full,” the letter said.
Pelorus Group officials declined to comment when asked about the Berg suit last month. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.