J. Moss Says Child Support Case Is Hurting His Reputation
PONTIAC — As his wife watched, a popular gospel music artist sang the blues in court Thursday, saying a child support case over an out-of-wedlock son has hurt his reputation and ability to earn money.
In a generally civil but occasionally tense hearing, James Moss — better known as singer, songwriter and producer J. Moss — fought efforts by Lakisha Hughes, 28, of Douglasville, Ga., to increase child support by $230 a week from $1,028 a month to care for her child, Christion, while she’s at school or work. Moss defaulted in October in a paternity case and has been making the payments.
But the Bloomfield Township man said he’s been hurt by Web comments and a Detroit News report about the case.
“This has caused a credibility problem,” said Moss, during the two-hour hearing that his wife of 12 years, Melody, attended. They have two children together.
“This has negatively impacted my salary.”
Hughes, a college student, countered that she only wants Moss to face his responsibilities.
“I don’t get any joy out of coming here and wouldn’t do anything to affect your income,” Hughes said during the hearing before Oakland County Friend of the Court Referee Lorie Savin.
“All I want is for Mr. Moss to be a father … he didn’t acknowledge his son on Christmas or any other day, yet he calls himself a minister and a gospel artist. We all make mistakes … but I think he should be a father.”
There were tense exchanges, such as when Savin was informed of MySpace computer entries in which Moss had been referred to as a “deadbeat,” and Hughes countered that someone used a vulgar term when referring to her.
Moss discounted estimates by Hughes in court filings that he earned $50,000 a month. More accurate figures were not discussed Thursday, and when Hughes asked whether Moss demands $10,000 an appearance, he said: “It depends on the situation. From free on up … a storefront church can’t afford the same as a mega-church.”
The boy, who will be 2 in March, was in a nearby hallway with Hughes’ mother during the hearing.
Moss’s attorney alleged Hughes hid personal loans given to her by her family from the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office when they estimated support to be paid by Moss.
Hughes said she is a full-time student in Georgia and has gone back to work as a sales representative and Web site builder — on a contractual basis only — with Faith Video On Demand, which sets up Internet services for groups and businesses. Savin said she would consider all requests, including a motion by Moss’ attorney to dismiss and issue a decision within three weeks.
DNA tests confirmed paternity last year, and when Moss failed to respond to court filings in October, Oakland Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews signed a judgment ordering monthly support until the boy turns 18.
Court documents reveal Hughes has a teenage daughter and is divorced. Hughes and Moss never lived together, and in court filings Hughes alleged Moss offered to pay abortion expenses but never provided any of the medical care.
Moss, son of gospel star Bill Moss Sr., records and produces recordings under PAJAM Music. He has recorded several albums and has been a co-writer or produced for others, including Karen Clark-Sheard, Hezekiah Walker, N’SYNC, Michelle Williams, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Dru Hill and Boyz II Men. He has been nominated for a Grammy several times.
Mike Martindale / The Detroit News
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