By Amanda Taylor, NEWS 9
FROM MY PROSPECTIVE:
This story started like most. Typically I get a complaint and then I get the other side and then it goes to air. But the response of Baron Hopgood made this a very different case, one that took three months to put together.
The first person that complained to us was Courtney Thompson. When we went to Hopgood about this, he denied it and said that she had kept a company computer and phone and that's why he had stopped payment on her check. She told us she had the phone but denied having the computer. Because of the uncertainty of what happened, we felt it necessary to see if this was an isolated incident. What we would soon discover, is it was not. Hopgood consistently asked "Where's the proof?". I would accept that question had there only been one or two people. But when you talk to a dozen people over the span of three cities who all give similar accounts as to what happened, it makes you question Hopgood. Why would all of those people lie?
WHAT YOU DIDN'T SEE ON TV:
Watch the entire, unedited interview with Baron Hopgood.
A lot.. if you say you're a "bank" and you're not. In 2005, the Texas Banking Commissioner along with the Texas Attorney General's Office investigated Hopgood, his partner, and their company "Destiny Capital Mortgage Bank and Destiny Capital Commercial Mortgage Bank." They were following a complaint that Hopgood's company was advertising as a bank, when in actuality it's not one. The Department of banking received a permanent injunction against Destiny Capital Mortgage Bank and required them to change their name.
In itself, that didn't bother me. What did however, is Hopgood's reaction when I asked him about it. He claims that the Texas Banking Commissioner had made a mistake. He says he filed a lawsuit against the Department and won a monetary compensation. I asked him how much he won and he said he couldn't tell that to me because of a non disclosure clause. It just sounded fishy, so I called the Commissioner to ask him about this and he said "We didn't give Baron Hopgood a cent". So who's lying?
TOO MANY PEOPLE TO MENTION:
There were too many stories to include in the on-air broadcast. One came from a lady who knew Hopgood since he was a little boy. She asked to remain anonymous, but sent me a statement, detailing her ordeal. It will sound very similar to the others:
Read her statement.
WHAT NOW:The Oklahoma Department of Labor is investigating Hopgood. They've had 18 complaints since 2002 - 10 of which were closed when Hopgood was ordered to pay his employees. Eight are currently pending.
Read Baron Hopgood's official statement rebuking NEWS 9's Consumer Watch story.
Listen to why the Labor Commission had to come to the NEWS 9 station to have Hopgood served.
Find out what happens next.