Fleming Furniture owner Danny Kelley spoke out on Tuesday for the first time since his arrest, saying he'll get customers their money back. Kelley appeared in court for his arraignment Tuesday morning.
He pleaded not guilty to the 10 felony charges against him that stem from customers who say they paid for furniture the store never ordered. His attorneys also want to get his bond lowered, announcing Kelley is paying off $22,000 in restitution to customers who filed criminal complaints.
"They're going to be taken care of. Today," Kelley said.
Kelley spoke out for the first time since his arrest with a promise and apology to customers.
"Well, we hate that it happened, but it did," Kelley said.
His attorney, Mark Bryant, announced cashiers checks were signed and ready to be delivered to each of the customers listed in the criminal complaint. A check for $11,451 was also sent to the Merryman House on Friday. Bryant says the restitution is coming out of Kelley's retirement fund.
"He's not broke by any means and, I don't know, he's not a bottomless, certainly," Bryant said.
Bryant says Kelley's business went down hill when three of Kelley's furniture suppliers went bankrupt.
Bryant says the bankruptcy stopped supply from Broyhill, Lane, and Thomasville. I reached out to the companies and a spokesperson tells me the Heritage Home Group formed to buy all of them. A spokesperson says the sale was long before the criminal investigation started into Kelley six months ago, and other stores they supply weren't impacted.
Assistant County Attorney Todd Jones says it was already asking that Kelley pay back customers, so restitution or not, Kelley faces criminal charges. Any Fleming Furniture customers who haven't received orders are asked to contact the county attorney's office.
"All of these other things where there's criminal charges, he'll pay them off because he can do it," Bryant said.
A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 25. That's when Bryant says he will ask the judge to lower Kelley's bond. This is specifically restitution customers who have filed criminal complaints. As of now, Bryant is not representing Kelley in the civil cases and couldn't comment on them.
We wish to be transparent in our reporting. Kelley's company, Kelley-Wiggins Furniture, owes a significant amount of money to our parent company, Paxton Media Group. We have turned these unpaid advertising bills over to a collector.
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