Lawsuits: Bonding company held homes hostage

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Mid-South bonding company placed liens on customers' homes to demand money they never agreed to pay, according to two lawsuits filed in federal court this week.

In the first lawsuit filed Tuesday, Deirdre Knight said she put up her home for collateral to secure a $100,000 bond for her daughter through Memphis Bonding Company in 2014.

She said she was told she would owe no money so long as her daughter showed up to court, which she says her daughter did.

But a year later, Knight said she discovered Memphis Bonding Company had taken out a lien on her home and was demanding more than $7,000 to have it removed.

"The bonding agent allegedly said to Ms. Knight, ‘Your husband doesn’t even need to know about this. It’ll go away as soon as your daughter shows up in court,'" said Knight's attorney, Matthew Jones.

A second man filed a lawsuit against Memphis Bonding Company Wednesday afternoon.

Robert Bailey said he pledged his house as collateral for a $75,000 bond for his brother in 2015.

But he said he was told he wouldn't owe anything if his brother appeared in court. He said his brother did.

In 2018, Bailey said he discovered Memphis Bonding Company had placed a lien on his home and wanted $5,500 to remove it.

The lawsuits, which seek monetary damages, allege violations of the Truth-in-Lending Act, Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Jones said more lawsuits are likely.

A woman who answered the phone at Memphis Bonding Company hung up when WREG asked about the lawsuit and the company never responded to an email requesting an interview.