John David Boggs
John David Boggs

Citing $20,000 worth of unpaid advertising bills, The Courier-Journal is suing a controversial pastor and local roofer who made national headlines last year when his drone was shot down by a neighbor in Bullitt County. However, the newspaper’s attorneys have been unable to locate the defendant to serve him with a summons.

John David Boggs made his latest entry into notoriety when his drone was shot down by a neighbor who was concerned it was spying on his teenage daughter. In January, Boggs filed a federal lawsuit against that neighbor for the $1,800 drone — a case that could have policy implications nationally for private drone usage.

In the late 2000s, The Courier-Journal wrote a series of articles about Boggs’ demise as the pastor of the rapidly growing New Vision Ministry Center in Okolona. The series exposed many lawsuits and penalties imposed against Boggs and his many roofing companies in states across the South and Midwest, where he was accused of being an unscrupulous “storm chaser” — acquiring roofing companies in communities that had just suffered a weather disaster, collecting millions of dollars worth of work there, and then splitting town once people complained about shoddy work.

Boggs’ membership in the Louisville chapter of the Better Business Bureau was revoked due to customer complaints, and after declaring bankruptcy and a debt of nearly $6 million — including nearly $2 million owed to the IRS and the state of Kentucky — the church removed him as pastor in 2010. Later that year, New Vision declared bankruptcy with $1.8 million in debt.

The Courier-Journal filed the lawsuit against Boggs in August of 2014, claiming he owed nearly $20,000 in unpaid bills for advertisements for his Affordable Roofing company in 2012. The newspaper’s attorneys and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office have made repeated failed attempts to serve Boggs with a civil summons over the past 18 months, as both of his business addresses on Preston Highway in Louisville were vacant. A December 2015 filing in the case by the newspaper’s attorney states Boggs may have relocated to Columbia, S.C.

The website for Boggs’ roofing company claims it is “Louisville’s premier roofing company proudly serving Louisville, Shepherdsville, Hillview, Mt Washington, Jeffersontown, Elizabethtown, Shively, Valley Station.” Insider Louisville called Affordable Roofing’s number and spoke to a woman who asked if we wanted a roofing estimate, and confirmed that Boggs was the owner of the company.

Boggs is not listed as an officer of any company currently registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State. Affordable Roofing has a listing with the BBB of Louisville, Western Kentucky & Southern Indiana, receiving an A- rating despite two customer complaints submitted in 2013 and 2014.

Asked if they are aware of Boggs resuming his roofing business in the area, Bruce Gadansky — vice president of operations for the local BBB — said “we haven’t heard much on Mr. Boggs over the past year. I’ve contacted the attorney general’s office to determine if they know anything more. I’m also digging around to see if I can uncover any tracks that lead back to John David.”

The Courier-Journal’s attorney did not return voicemails seeking information about their lawsuit. Boggs is represented by Frost Brown Todd in his drone lawsuit, and James Mackler in the firm’s Nashville office told IL he would speak on behalf of his client in that case, and he did not know about the C-J lawsuit. Mackler had no comment about Boggs relocating to South Carolina.

Over the past two years, Boggs has performed sermons at churches in Louisville and Bullitt County, with a “Vision 2.0 – with David Boggs and People like you” Facebook page posting videos with religious messages.

Vision 2.0 Promo from David Boggs on Vimeo.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]