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I-TEAM: Uncovering more details of the Joe Mullins Masters fraud lawsuit

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The I-TEAM is uncovering new information about the Columbia County businessman accused in federal court of orchestrating a Masters fraud to the tune of $2.5 million.

The issue? Selling companies Masters badges that were then rejected at the gate totaling up to nearly 200 days of lost access for dozens of customers.

Our I-TEAM spent the day digging into the new federal suit against Joe Mullins.

This new federal lawsuit brought by an Arizona company is just the latest in a string of alleged Masters frauds we uncovered involving Joe Mullins and his company, Mullins Management Inc., which was dissolved in October. If Mullin’s name sounds familiar, he was a Columbia County businessman who ran for a state House Seat to represent the area back in 2015.

Current records show he legally lives in Florida where he serves as the vice-chair of the Flagler County Commission.

Today, the I-TEAM confirmed Mullins was investigated by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for felony theft by deception after an Ohio company, Winspire Sports & Entertainment, accused Mullins’ business of similar actions and losses of more than $170,000. It took a year but it was later dropped and settled privately.

We also found a lawsuit from 2012 where a Canadian company, Global Events Management Group, filed a $1.2 million civil suit against Mullins with similar accusations. This case was dismissed five years later and settled privately.

The third lawsuit found was nearly 50 pages and filed this month. In it, the Arizona company Golf Travel LLC is suing Mullins, accusing him of fraud, breach of contract, and civil racketeering for selling them Masters badges they say were “invalid.”

“These customers were told that their badges had been ‘flagged’ as invalid badges. After the customers were removed to a security area and interrogated by Masters security, the badges were confiscated, the customers were refused entrance to Augusta national, and they were escorted off the premises by Masters security,” the company said.

And we aren’t talking about a few badges. The suit alleges travelers from all over the world came to Augusta and lost 176 days of total access to the tournament in 2018. Golf Travel LLC says Mullins also didn’t deliver badges he contractually promised to produce in 2019.

While the suit says Mullins did pay the company back from some losses, they argue it’s not enough. They want nearly 2.5 million dollars in damages. That breaks down to $115,000 for the loss of the badges Mullins did not reimburse for and another $815,000 in lost profits over 2018 and 2019. Plus at least $1.5 million in lost future business because they argue their reputation was damaged and they want a jury to consider another $250,000 in compensatory damages, if not more.

The I-Team called and texted Joe Mullins for comment today. He declined an interview but sent this text: “Hope all is well, I’m in the middle of a commission meeting. We have not been served anything. It’s a frivolous lawsuit and my attorneys are handling it.”

As for his position on the commission, Flagler County said they could not conduct an inquiry into the matter as Mullins is a publicly elected official.

A public information official also told the I-Team only Florida’s governor has the ability to remove an elected official from office. Mullins is up for re-election next year.

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