GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Greensboro pastor and businessman is accused of racking up tens of thousands of dollars on someone else's credit card. Anthony Knotts appeared in court Monday after failing to show up on two separate occasions, according to court documents.
His case centers on a decade-old and sizeable debt that Ed Cobbler and his wife Pat said he owes. This case is not related to his recent arrest surrounding his restaurant Seafood Destiny and some bad checks Knotts is accused of writing.
Knotts was scheduled to appear in court earlier this year in the Cobbler case, but when he failed to show, the judge ordered that he be arrested and placed in jail.
"He kept running the (credit card) balance up and running the balance up, and it got very high," Ed Cobbler said.
The Cobblers said they let Reverend Knotts use a credit card of theirs back in 2011. At the time, they were members of his church - The Embassy Church. The Cobblers said they trusted him.
"We became very close to our pastor. He was like one of our best friends," Ed said.
Court paperwork outlines a friendship gone bad. Knotts is accused of racking up around $50,000 in unpaid credit card charges - a number that is now more than $100,000 with late fees and interest.
"I said, 'Listen, Anthony, I forgive you but I'm not forgetting the debt. You owe the money. But as far as my heart - I forgive you,'" Ed said.
The Cobblers said they have been trying to collect the money for 10 years. Ed said Knotts wrote them a couple of checks to pay off part of the charges, but the checks were bad. He said Knotts has paid back some of the charges but not nearly enough, skipping out on two previous requests to appear - turning a friendship into a court case.
In court paperwork obtained by News 2, the Cobblers also claim they invested $10,000 in a business venture that Knotts agreed to pay back.
"It just breaks my heart as to the way it's all come to this. It should have never been. It didn’t have to be, but he chose it to be this way," Pat said.
Last week, Knotts penned a letter acknowledging some personal missteps and vowing to be a better version of himself. Knotts also apologized to the Cobblers, his family, his restaurant family, and himself.
"He is an honorable man, he is a person that is not trying to distance himself from any mistakes he's made, he's trying to accept any mistakes he's made and move forward," Knotts' attorney Jason Keith said.
The proceedings Monday in court are referred to as a debtor’s exam and allow the attorney for the Cobblers to understand more about Knotts' finances. Several members of Knotts family and some friends were in court, so were the Cobblers.
While the Knotts family declined to speak, the Cobblers talked briefly about a man they once considered a friend.
"It's been devastating, frustrating, very disappointing," Ed Cobbler said. "He was our pastor. We trusted him. We loved him."
Keith would not comment about the relationship between Knotts and the Cobblers right now. He also declined to speak much about the upcoming case involving his client's restaurant and allegations of bad checks being written to the seafood supplier. He did speak about the apology letter and his client's desire to move past this.
"He's doing the right thing," Keith said. "He's accepting responsibility for his part - whatever that may be - and he's asking the people that support him to forgive him and to support him as he tries to transition past the situation."
Knotts, who is the owner of Seafood Destiny, is also accused of writing bad checks to the company that supplies food to his restaurant; Performance Food Group is seeking more than $28,000 in money owed. Knotts is scheduled to be back in court for this matter later this month.