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Civil theft trial set for Colorado Springs ice cream shop owner accused of stealing business

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - A civil trial date is now set for a Colorado Springs gym and ice cream shop owner accused of theft and opening up businesses despite unpaid judgments against him.

Forsham Williams Jr. walked into the El Paso County Courthouse on Thursday and refused to answer KRDO13 Investigates’ questions about why he hasn’t paid a $443,809 judgment to the former owner of an ice cream shop he bought.

KRDO13 Investigates introduced the public to Williams in December 2022 when he owned North Academy Fitness in Colorado Springs. Customers of North Academy Fitness sent us bank statements showing their accounts being charged after the gym closed.

At the time, Williams had recently purchased the Blue Mountain Creamery, an ice cream shop in the University Village shopping center in Colorado Springs. The owner he bought it from, Michael Van Schooneveld, says Williams remitted a down payment of $65,000 that June, but from that day forward he never received another dime from Williams.

In 2022, Van Schooneveld filed a lawsuit against Williams and his LLC, "Williams Family Enterprises." He asserted that he was out over $100,000 after Williams broke a signed contract to buy the ice cream store.

Later that year, El Paso County Judge Gregory Werner ordered Williams’s LLC to pay triple damages, over $443,000, to Van Schooneveld. However, there was no judgment entered against Williams himself, because, in an August court hearing, Williams said he didn’t have any available assets to pay the judgment and he was planning on filing for bankruptcy.

In court Thursday, the judge revealed Williams still hasn’t filed for bankruptcy, eight months after he said he was going to. Williams told the judge he is in the process of doing so.

“I’m still working on the process of it,” Williams said. “From my understanding, I’m still paying the attorney that is representing me. I also still have to file taxes, so I have to do a few other things. There are some steps in bankruptcy court that require me to do and comply with before I can file for bankruptcy.”

Van Schooneveld said Williams is just stalling.

“His technique so far has just been to make excuses, blow past stuff,” Van Schooneveld said. “If anyone calls him or contacts him, he says, ‘Oh, that's not me. I don't know what that's about.’ He just thinks, if you keep kicking the can down the road, maybe people will stop following you.”

After Williams said he was filing for bankruptcy and didn’t have any assets to pay the $443,000 judgment, Van Schooneveld and his attorneys filed new court documents alleging Williams opened a new ice cream business in Monument around that same time, called The Creamery.

“It's emotionally upsetting,” Van Schooneveld said. “It's like seeing someone steal your car and then just watching them driving around in front of you.”

According to state business records, The Creamery was opened under the same LLC used to purchase the Blue Mountain Creamery, something Van Schooneveld and his attorneys claim is an attempt to skirt accountability by transferring all available assets and liability from the previous business to the new one.

The attorneys are now asking Judge Werner to rule that Williams opened this new business under fraudulent pretenses and attempted to transfer the assets to avoid liability for paying the debt. Due to the judgment, Van Schooneveld and his attorney can find out where the assets went and if they were used to start another business with fraudulent intent.

In court Thursday, Williams denied those allegations, which he will have to prove in a jury trial the judge set for October.

“The question,” Van Schooneveld said, “is how far can he get away with these sorts of things?”

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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