Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back Story of the Terry M. Shoultes Porn Empire Legal Squabble; His Mentor was Harry Mohney

This happened about a month ago, but it's a good read.

Check it out below & here, courtesy of AdultFYI.com.




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Back Story of the Terry M. Shoultes Porn Empire Legal Squabble; His Mentor was Harry Mohney


GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan -- from www.mlive.com Terry M. Shoultes built an in-your-face X-rated empire, setting up nearly two dozen Velvet Touch bookstores and massage parlors throughout Michigan and daring police and politicians to try to stop him.

"I don't take any shi- ... I don't back down. I don't know how to," he told The Detroit Free Press in 1985, 13 years before he died from a heart attack at age 50.

But even in death, nothing has been according to the book for the man who grew up in the Flint area and was buried in Grand Blanc Township.

More than 10 years after he died without a will, Shoultes' estate remains a tangled mess in an Ingham County Probate Court.
Flint Journal extras Divided empire

• Terry Whitman Shoultes became a pornography kingpin in Michigan in the 1970s, opening massage parlors and adult book stores across the state, including Velvet Touch stores that remain in Genesee County.

• Born Jan. 3, 1948, in Belding, he was adopted by a Flint couple as a young child, took the Shoultes name and graduated from Bentley High School, where he ran track and played football and basketball.

• Using a 200-acre farm in northeastern Ingham County, about 8 miles south of Perry, as a base of operations, he made millions selling sex toys, massages, peep shows and lingerie.

• By the time of his death in December 1998, Shoultes had been arrested more than 40 times on felony and misdemeanor charges related to his business but was never convicted. He filed more than 80 lawsuits around the state, most related to the constitutional right to free expression.

• More than 10 years after his death, his estate remains unsettled in Ingham County Probate Court.

Source: Flint Journal files, Ingham County Probate Court records

Although his six children have signed off on a division of the remaining stores and other assets of the estate, including Velvet Touch outlets in Flint and Mt. Morris Township, they are scheduled to return to court Thursday.

Some heirs want Judge R. George Economy to start the process of splitting up the porn empire all over again, saying they've been short-changed.

Economy called the hearing to find out why the estate hasn't already been closed, considering Shoultes died in the same year the U.S. House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.

"It's a shame what's become of (the business) that he built," said Karen Christy Louth, mother of two of Shoultes' children. "I don't think the business will ever be the same."

Without the flamboyant Terry Shoultes at the helm, that's a safe bet.

With his long hair, beard and penchant for bucking authority, Shoultes had been arrested 43 times in Flint alone by 1984 and his Velvet Touch and Royal Massage businesses here were raided 78 times from 1977 to 1981.

"He never hid from anything, said Louth, 51, of Laingsburg, who plans to be at today's hearing and to ask Economy to reconsider how the estate has been divided.

It's unusual for a probate case to linger so long, but there have been complications from the start, according to Ingham County court records. Among the problems:

• Shoultes filed for bankruptcy protection for himself and three businesses he owned before his death.

• Disputes with the IRS, which eventually cost the estate $400,000, weren't settled until 2005.

• Louth filed an objection and questioned accountings of the estate, claiming some property that should have been divided among the six children was never accounted for.

• The search for a buyer to liquidate the estate, which included businesses and real estate, was unsuccessful, forcing the estate into six separate but related pieces.

• An attorney for the mother of one of the children -- Adrian Shoultes -- filed a petition with the court in 1999, claiming Shoultes' oldest children were receiving "payments in excess of a proper amount" of compensation for running the family business since their father's death.

"That length of time (for the estate to stay unresolved) is very unusual. That is certainly not the norm by any means," said Mark Harder, a partner in the Grand Rapids law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, who is not involved in the case. "Some things will cause an estate to linger... . It's not unusual for it to drag out, but not for 10 years."

Two of Louth's children with Shoultes and another son -- Michael Shoultes of Swartz Creek -- are expected at today's court hearing, asking that their father's estate be left open longer and that Montgomery reconsider what they were given.

"I should have done something a long time ago," said Michael Shoultes, who received a half-share of a Velvet Touch storefront in Kalamazoo Township and a house in Burton as part of his distribution.

"I'm making chump change ... I qualify for the (low-income) Genesee Health Plan," Michael Shoultes said. "(My brother Anthony Shoultes is) sitting in a big house with everything."

Anthony Shoultes, the personal representative of the estate, received Executive Art Studio, a business in his father's estate, as a part of his distribution.

Through Neil J. Hirshberg, an attorney for the estate, Anthony Shoultes would not comment on the court case or the future of Velvet Touch operations here or elsewhere.

Retail Velvet Touch stores remain in Flint, Mt. Morris Township, Parma, Kalamazoo, Charlotte and Lansing. Louth has owned two Velvet Touch stores in the Ypsilanti and Charlotte areas since before Terry Shoultes' death.

Daughter Michelle Shoultes-Smith became owner of the Mt. Morris Township store, 4208 W. Mt. Morris Road, while another child -- Adrian Shoultes -- received the property at 2480 S. Dort Highway in Flint, according to court records.

A letter from Hirshberg to the probate court in April said final distributions of remaining estate assets have been made, but an accountant has failed to prepare a final report and income tax returns so the estate can be closed.

The letter says the estate could be closed before June 1.

Neither Hirshberg nor accountant Jan Jepson would comment when reached by The Flint Journal.

Michael Shoultes said he worked as his father's personal assistant, witnessing first-hand his willingness to take on anyone who interfered with his business.

"He was fair, very fair," Michael Shoultes said. "He could be mean, and he could be nice but he was generally a good person ... I'm proud to say he was my father."

Michael Shoultes said the business has changed since his father's death, which left him in business with his brother Anthony in Kalamazoo. The two haven't been able to agree on how the business is run and how information is shared, he said.

"My goal is to get him removed as personal representative (of the estate)," Michael Shoultes said. "I see business thriving after that."

Louth said the Velvet Touch reached its peak during the 14 years she lived with Shoultes, a Navy veteran who entered the world of adult businesses after going to work for Harry Mohney, a secretive Durand businessman some called the Howard Hughes of pornography.

Mohney turned a run-down Shiawassee County drive-in theater into the "Durand Dirties" and grew it into a collection of adult-oriented businesses, including Deja Vu, the largest strip club chain in the country.

Shoultes ended up nothing like his mentor, seeking out rather than avoiding publicity and pushing back at politicians, judges, police and ministers who tried to shut him down.

A study of Shoultes by a bankruptcy court-appointed examiner in 1990, said, "Confrontations, run-ins with the law and various episodes of litigating against municipalities have made (Shoultes) belligerent, controversial, eccentric, and a maverick in his industry."

Flint Councilman Scott Kincaid said he spoke with Shoultes several times before he died, arguing that his store on Dort Highway was a public nuisance.

Before Kincaid was elected to council, a U.S. District Court jury awarded Shoultes $26,000 in damages for an earlier arrest by a Flint police officer outside the same store.

Shoultes claimed he was assaulted by the officer after refusing to show identification.
"I tried my damnedest to shut it down," Kincaid said. "He didn't like me and I didn't like him."

Mt. Morris Township officials also have tried to close the Velvet Touch there for nearly three decades and in 2005 police raided both local stores in prostitution stings.

As a result, women working in the stores stopped offering customers "fingertip caresses."

Louth said she still recalls the bravado of Terry Shoultes, who she said was at his best with a chip on his shoulder, taking on most every type of authority -- even over a speeding ticket he didn't feel he deserved.

"Three-fourths of our life was in court," she said. "He was a true American. He wouldn't let anyone take away his rights. That's the part of him I enjoyed."



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He's been dead 4 awhile now & they r still fighting over his estate.

It's all about "The Benjamins"...

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