Published Monday, February 13, 2012
By Alex McRae
The Newnan Times-Herald
Mayo Royal, who once served as executor of the estate of Coweta native Edgar Hollis, pleaded guilty in Coweta Superior Court Monday morning on eight counts, including seven counts of theft by taking and one count of false swearing.
He was sentenced by Judge Jack Kirby on the first count of theft by taking to five years in prison, five years of probation, and to make restitution of $200,000. The other six counts of theft by taking were merged, and he was ordered by Kirby to serve 10 years probation on the one count of false swearing, with the sentence to run consecutively after other sentences.
As part of the arranged plea deal, Royal will serve the five years probation first while he makes the restitution of $200,000 to the Hollis Estate.
In 2009 Coweta County Superior Court Judge William F. Lee ruled in a judgement against Royal in a related civil case that was partially upheld and partially overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2010. Lee’s decision involved the contested multi-million dollar Edgar Hollis estate, of which Royal served originally as the executor.
In January 2009, Fred Blackwell, the trustee of a testamentary trust that was listed as a beneficiary of the last will and testament of Hollis, filed a civil action action in which he sought an accounting of the Hollis estate, the removal of Royal as executor, and damages resulting from Royal’s purported breach of his fiduciary duty.
Following Royal’s resignation in May 2009 from the post he had held since August 2006, the Probate Court of Coweta County appointed local attorney Robert Hancock as temporary administrator of the Hollis estate, and, in December 2009, the trial court granted the estate’s motion to intervene.
In July 2010, Judge Lee granted Blackwell’s and Hancock’s motions for summary judgment.
In originally granting the motions in favor of Blackwell and Hancock, the Coweta County Superior Court found that Royal had breached repeatedly the fiduciary duty he owed the estate and that those breaches supported an award of damages to Blackwell and the Hollis Estate and a forfeiture of any compensation paid to Royal as executor.