Seafood Destiny restaurant owner and pastor appear in court
Seafood Destiny restaurant owner and pastor appear in court

The Cobblers met Anthony Knotts ten years ago. Court documents describe a friendship and trusting relationship gone wrong.

GREENSBORO, NC — A Greensboro pastor and businessman is accused of hoarding tens of thousands of dollars on someone else’s credit card. Anthony Knotts appeared in court on Monday after failing to appear twice, according to court documents.

His case centers on a large, decade-old debt that Ed Cobbler and his wife Pat said he owed. This case is unrelated to his recent arrest around his restaurant Seafood Destiny and bad checks that Knotts is accused of writing.

Knotts was due to appear in court earlier this year in the Cobbler case, but when he failed to show up, the judge ordered his arrest and jail.

“It kept going up the balance (on the credit card) and going up the balance, and it got really high,” Ed Cobbler said.

The Shoemakers said they let Reverend Knotts use their credit card 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 documents describe a friendship gone sour. Knotts is accused of racking up around $50,000 in unpaid credit card charges — a number that now tops $100,000 with late fees and interest.

“I said, ‘Look, Anthony, I forgive you but I don’t forget the debt. You owe money. But as far as my heart is concerned, I forgive you,'” Ed said.

The cobblers said they had been trying to collect the money for 10 years. Ed said Knotts wrote them a few checks to pay some of the fees, but the checks were bad. He said Knotts paid off some of the charges, but not enough, skipping two previous requests to appear – turning a friendship into a court case.

In court documents obtained by News 2, the cobblers also claim to have invested $10,000 in a business venture which Knotts agreed to repay.

“It breaks my heart how this all happened. It never should have been. It shouldn’t have been, but he chose it to be so,” Pat said.

Last week, Knotts penned a letter acknowledging some personal missteps and promising to be a better version of himself. Knotts also apologized to the cobblers, his family, his restaurant family and to himself.

“He’s an honorable man, he’s a person who doesn’t try to distance himself from the mistakes he’s made, he tries to accept all the mistakes he’s made and move on. “said Knotts’ attorney, Jason Keith.

Monday’s court proceeding is called a debtor’s review and allows the shoemakers’ attorney to learn more about Knotts’ finances. Several members of the Knotts family and a few friends were in court, as were the shoemakers.

While the Knotts family declined to speak, the shoemakers did briefly talk 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 on the relationship between Knotts and the Cobblers at this time. He also declined to talk much about the upcoming case involving his client’s restaurant and the allegations of bad checks written to the seafood supplier. He spoke about the apology letter and his client’s desire to d ‘to go beyond.

“He does the right thing,” Keith said. “He accepts responsibility on his part – whatever it is – and he asks the people who support him to forgive him and support him as he tries to get through the situation.”

Knotts, who owns Seafood Destiny, is also accused of writing bad checks to the company that supplies food to his restaurant; Performance Food Group is seeking over $28,000 in money owed. Knotts is expected to be back in court on that matter later this month.

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