Local business claims CPD is holding company property ‘without cause.’

A local business has filed legal action alleging the Chipley Police Department (CPD) is holding company property “without cause.”

Godfrey Environmental Contracts, LLC, an environmental rock laying company owned and operated by Tyler Porter, is seeking the return of a 2005 International dump truck valued at approximately $27,500 that Porter had previously reported stolen.

Named as defendants in the writ of replevin are the City of Chipley and Michael Hooks, a former Godfrey Environmental Contracts employee.

The complaint, filed Tuesday in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Court, alleges Hooks took the dump truck, removed the open title from the vehicle, and fraudulently applied for and obtained a new title in his name.

The filing included exhibits submitted to by Porter to CPD, including a May 2, 2022 bill of sale, a copy of the open title; a bank deposit from the former owner, and an affidavit signed by the former owner stating Porter was “the only purchaser of the property” and that he “only dealt with Tyler M. Porter regarding the sale of the property.”

“The defendant may have a title to the property, but it was procured by fraud,” states the complaint, filed by attorney Mark D. Davis of the Santa Rosa based Clark Partington law firm on the plaintiff’s behalf.

Hooks acknowledges he took the open title and put the truck in his name but states it was to gain compensation for having allegedly given Porter $14,000 toward the purchase of the truck. He further stated he gave Porter a deadline to repay him and advised he would be taking the truck if that deadline was not met, a promise he says he simply made good on.

“I haven’t been in any trouble since 1995, and my motto is not stealing from nobody or taking anybody’s money,” said Hooks. “The truth will come out, but at the end of the day, I want my money.”

Godfrey Environmental and Porter adamantly deny they have ever received any funds or any other kind of compensation from Hooks as “Hooks was an employee of Godfrey Environmental, nor can he provide any proof that a loan was made.”

The City of Chipley declined to comment on the filing; however, CPD confirmed there is an open investigation relating to the dump truck.

The case is currently assigned to Judge Lucas Taylor.

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