State Senate candidate previously hit with lawsuit over unpaid rent

Donyale Hall

DOVER — State Senate candidate Donyale Hall has faced civil lawsuits for unpaid rent, failure to pay a mortgage and debt. The mortgage lawsuit was ultimately settled and dismissed and the debt case was satisfied, according to court records.

Ms. Hall is running for the Republican nomination in the 17th Senatorial District, which includes Dover, Camden and Wyoming.

In 2010, a lawsuit was entered in the Justice of the Peace Court by Dover Investors LP against Ms. Hall, then known as Donyale London. According to the filing, she failed to pay rent for three months for an apartment on Webbs Lane.

Court records indicate she did not appear at a hearing and the court entered a default judgment of $2,306.14 on Aug. 4, 2010. A writ of possession, a legal order mandating a resident vacate the premises, was issued in September.

Ms. Hall said Thursday she had never been notified about the case and does not recall missing rent payments.

“I’m a little befuddled about that,” she said, claiming it does not appear on her credit report.

She did not dispute the other cases, although she noted they have been resolved.

In August 2005, she was instructed to appear in the Court of Common Pleas for debt owed to Capital One. The court entered a default judgment of $3,713.04, plus court costs and with post-judgment interest of 25.9 percent, the following month.

The case was then moved to the Superior Court at the request of Capital One. In November 2006, the court reported the debt had been satisfied.

Ms. Hall said she had been unable to work for a time due to injuries sustained in a car accident.

A foreclosure lawsuit was filed in April 2013 by Nationstar Mortgage, alleging $181,279.93 in mortgage debts and interest by Ms. Hall (known at the time as Ms. London) and Rowle London for a home on Post Boulevard.

In a filing, Ms. Hall denied defaulting on the mortgage.

Efforts to reach an agreement through mediation were initially unsuccessful, but the case was ultimately dismissed in September 2014 at the request of Nationstar.

Ms. Hall said the parties were able to reach an agreement and the mortgage was modified.

She still owns the house identified in the suit, according to Kent County property records.

She was also named as a defendant in a 2013 lawsuit and as a plaintiff in a separate suit that same year. In both cases, the officiating individual in the Justice of the Peace Court dismissed the individuals as parties, ruling the suits involved Avenue Automotive, a company Ms. Hall and her husband, Herman, owned.

“The Court finds that Donyale and Herman Hall were, in fact, acting on behalf of the artificial entity Avenue Automotive, LLC and not as individuals,” Magistrate Debora Foor wrote.

Ms. Hall said she believes the financial struggles she has faced make her more relatable to voters.

“You live, you get bumps and bruises, and I’m certainly not without my burmps and bruises, and the thing that is important is that when we find ourselves in those situations we resolve those as quickly as possible,” she said.

She said she has nothing to hide and sees herself as “a beacon of hope” for individuals who have encountered similar obstacles.

The primary is Sept. 6. Ms. Hall is running against Camden Mayor Justin King, with the winner to face Democrat Trey Paradee. Incumbent Sen. Brian Bushweller, a Democrat, is not running for reelection.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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