Barbara Marshall has been in the limelight since 2011 when ABC, the parent company of ABC11, built the Jubilee House off Langdon Street for its popular "Extreme Makeover Home Edition Show." The big reveal featured a visit by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Soon, a series of reports by the Fayetteville Observer challenged how the Jubilee House was operated, who was living there, and whether Marshall was turning away veterans and misusing funds. The Secretary of
State spokeswoman Liz Proctor said that's what prompted the department's investigation through its Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section.
Last year, the office issued a subpoena for financial and occupancy documents, but Marshall initially refused to hand them over. In a hand-written letter, dated November 2013, Marshall told Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Gary Trawick that she did not want to breach the veterans' privacy.
"A lot of them have been exposed to domestic violence, military sexual assault, military sexual trauma?.and for many of them, the trust is just not there," Marshall said Friday.
That refusal resulted in an arrest during a December 17th court hearing with another Superior Court Judge, Mary Ann Tally. Marshall spent three days in jail, and was released on the promise to cooperate with investigators. On Friday, Proctor said so far, Marshall is cooperating.
Marshall says eighteen veterans currently reside in three facilities she operates through her "Steps and Stages: Disabled Veterans Resource Agency, Inc. non-profit. She said six female veterans currently reside in the Jubilee House, and the organization does not receive vouchers from the Veterans Administration or the state. Marshall says she foots the utility bills. She also denies living in the Jubilee House with her family, a topic that set center stage during 2013 court hearings.
"But that wasn't an option," said Marshall, after describing how the Extreme Team built a unit for her family. "I can't to be a role model for the women. I want to practice what I'm preaching (by being self-sufficient).
When we asked Marshall if she thought she was the target of an unjust investigation, she became visibly uncomfortable and silent, waiting about forty-five before speaking.
"If the reason you're going to jail someone is because you hear they're living in a place they're not living and then you don't take the time to go and verify where the person is living?.and then to put someone through that kind of trauma?..I just don't think that speaks well for us as a state."
Following the on-camera interview, Marshall called to say her reaction was due to digital threats she's received since the state investigation launched. She then forwarded an e-mail from a sender name "VerbalNightmare," who told her there's a special place "in the bowels of hell" for people like her taking advantage of the system.
"That reaction was because I'm scared," Marshall said over the phone.
Marshall said she can't afford to go through any more legal trouble, given health issues, so she is now cooperating with the state, and providing the documents they've requested.