Story by Shannon Taylor Senior Investigative Reporter
Multiple issues and questions have been raised regarding a Dresden resident’s divorce proceedings which she has claimed violated her due process rights.
Jo Floyd contacted the WCP claiming that her divorce from Dresden businessowner Tommy Wu, who owns Smart Dollars in Dresden, went sideways. Floyd claimed that she and Wu’s three-year-old son was stolen using the court system. Wu’s attorney is Roy Herron while Floyd has not yet been able to retain an attorney. The judge presiding over the case is Michael Maloan.
A petition for injunction and a complaint for divorce was filed on Sep. 30, 2022, and the hearing was held while Floyd was attending a funeral in Michigan. The injunction claimed that Floyd had refused to allow their son to attend Head Start on so many occasions that Center Manager of the program, Lisa Alexander, stated that the child would soon have to forfeit his opportunity to be in school.
The head start program is a voluntary program and their attendance policy states that if a child has two unexplained absences, the program is supposed to schedule a home visit with the child’s parents. If chronic tardiness persists, steps will be taken that include speaking with the parents, making home visits and informing the parent in writing that the child would be placed on a waiting list. Termination only occurs after all of those above efforts have been made. According to Floyd, her son missed five days due to sickness and she was not contacted regarding any of the above steps.
The injunction further stated that the child had multiple, serious issues including failures to communicate, failures to engage with others, a lack of basic potty training and poor eating habits. However, Floyd stated that the child had a counselor with Cutting Edge Therapy who diagnosed the child with separation anxiety and sensory overload disorder, but that therapist was not called as a witness to the hearing that Floyd was unable to attend.
Floyd also claimed that in the six weeks that the child attended the program, none of the issues Alexander had claimed were ever brought to her attention. A policy was given to Floyd by Head Start that parents were required to sign at the beginning of the program stating that if there were any issues with the child that a meeting would be scheduled with family members. According to Floyd, no such meeting was ever scheduled.
Alexander was Wu and Herron’s only witness to remove custody from Floyd. Alexander’s affidavit stated that the child, when starting the program, was nonverbal, had poor social skills, consistently cried, was still in pull-ups and had poor eating habits, but that since attending the program he had made great progress.
Alexander claimed that students must attend 90% of the time or they are required to be removed from the program. Alexander has refused so far to speak with the WCP, nor did she state how many days the child had actually missed in her affidavit. This was the only witness whose testimony was used for the injunction granting Wu custody. The WCP contacted Rakaya Humphreys, Director of Head Start and Cheryl Oglesby-Townes, Executive Director of NWTN Economic Development Council, but when asked if Alexanders actions were in line with the Head Start Program’s policies, Humphrey’s stated that due to the confidentiality policy, that is not information that she could share.
The confidentiality policy, however, states “Confidentiality is very important in each of our jobs. Under state and federal law, information concerning clients and their families, including name, life circumstances, services provided and the like, is strictly confidential subject to certain reporting privileges. During the performance of duties, NWTEDC employees necessarily become aware of personal or confidential information about clients. Employees must hold this information in strict confidence and shall not discuss it with anybody, including co-workers, family members, or friends except on a professional, need-to-know basis. NWTEDC provides employee training on confidentiality issues and laws. Employees cannot divulge personal information concerning a client to newspaper, television, radio or other media, by telephone, in writing, or in person. Employees must direct all such inquiries to the Human Resource Administrator, the Program Director, or the Executive Director. Submit subpoenas or requests for court records to your supervisor. When a question arises regarding the possible conflict between confidentiality and reporting or court testimony obligations, consult your supervisor. Employees are to keep in strictest confidence information acquired concerning personal information or the personal affairs of other employees. Breach of confidentiality results in immediate disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.”
The injunction was amended on Oct. 5, 2022, to include that the child remains with Wu in his home and that Floyd had to “stay in a reasonable, alternative location.” The injunction also stated that the child must stay in Head Start “except when a respected medical doctor documents that attendance is not medically wise.”
The injunction further stated that Floyd had threatened Mr. Wu with a knife and made verbal threats to his life and that the police have had to repeatedly intervene because of Floyd’s irrational behavior. The press pulled the 911 logs, and they show that Wu called five times, but that it all amounted to hearsay, and nothing was ever done by law enforcement aside from taking reports on the claims. When Wu called about Floyd threatening him with a knife and claiming that she threw a flower at him which hit him in the head, he refused EMS treatment, and no action was taken by law enforcement.
Ms. Floyd filed a request motion for an extension of time on the injunctions stating that she had been cut off from all marital funds and resources, made homeless by the injunction removing her from her marital home and denied access to her police records by the supervisor of Weakley County 911 dispatch Theresa Alexander.
Floyd was also sent a criminal summons to appear in General Sessions court over a theft of $1,000 in an affidavit signed by Patrolman Lane Vargas with the Dresden Police Department. The theft was filed at the behest of Wu, the only witness listed on the affidavit, who claimed that Floyd had come to the home while he was at work and had taken cash, credit cards, driver’s license and a handgun permit. However, a list of items was given to Floyd at General Sessions court which included many more items than the affidavit listed including a backpack with invoices, an SBA notice letter, business journals, bank statements and Wu’s birth certificate.
Floyd stated that she was not informed of this until after Oct. 5 and that she took a box that was prepacked for her in the presence of both Wu and Herron on the date that she was removed from her marital home.
A contempt motion was filed against Ms. Floyd due to a letter she posted on Facebook alleging various claims against Wu. The contempt hearing on Jan. 6 was rescheduled to Jan. 27 due to insufficient notice, according to Maloan. Floyd said she received the notice of the hearing only two days prior.
Floyd believes that her reasoning for having her due rights violated was due to the fact that all of the people over the case were connected. Maloan had a law firm in 1984 titled “Brundige, Maloan, Gallien and Moore.” Judge Tommy Moore, whom Floyd had to go in front of for the theft summons, shares a grandchild with Alexander.
Floyd claims that all of these connections have worked together against her in a court system that she claims has stolen her son and violated her due process rights. The WCP contacted Wu’s attorney, Herron, for comment on the situation, but he never responded.
At the hearing Floyd stated that she wanted Maloan to recuse (remove) himself from the case because she felt her due process rights were violated due to the fact of multiple connections between the parties involved.
Maloan informed Floyd that she needs to obtain an attorney to get that motion filed for recusal as well as a motion to release her marital funds.
On the morning of Jan. 23, a very prominent and credible source contacted the publisher of WCP regarding a lockdown at the Head Start facility in Dresden due to a threat made on Alexander’s life, however no law enforcement agencies were made aware of any such threat or lockdown.
When this reporter contacted the Head Start facility in Dresden, a representative of Head Start answered and, when asked about the lockdown, she asked who was calling and when she was informed it was WCP, she said, “we’re not speaking with you” and hung up. My editor also called to ask about the lockdown and the same representative hung up on her as well.
This is a developing story.