(OP-ED) — The author of this post posits these comments based on his own observations and none of this should be construed to be legal advice. For the record, the definition of “insanity” is … doing the same thing for the next 10 years you did the last 10 years expecting different results.
Who would have ever thought that me breaking my foot would steer me down a path of moral concern, that is, America’s foreclosure crisis based on phony documents?
The Beginning of Insanity
It all began in mid-2007, when, quite by accident, I was surfing the county clerk’s website looking for details on my Texas property and discovered repetitive references to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter “MERS”). I had no idea who MERS was until I started doing further research into this entity only to discover this electronic database had been around since at least 1999. It didn’t even occur to me that MERS was a brainchild of the banks because at that time, there wasn’t much information out there because the lawsuits that have made the annals of American history were not made manifest yet.
I also had no idea that MERS and the banks were working hand in hand to further their “case wins” in courts by posturing MERS as some sort of legitimate “party” that had the right to foreclose on property. I only discovered this in 2009 after I started doing serious research into security instruments and all of the accompanying documents that littered the land records across America in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008 and the previous redux of securitization, which finally reared its ugly head in a way that most Americans could understand. It was at that time I started to develop what would later become the Chain of Title Assessment (COTA). How the documents interrelated to each other became more important than the actual information contained within each document because a pattern of behavior became obvious which was worth doing more research on. That pattern of behavior was recorded assignments being placed within the land records just prior to a foreclosure being commenced on any given piece of property in America.
By mid-2010, I had a specific pattern identified and was able to develop a COTA checklist based on that pattern of misbehavior. The pattern was not just a making of the law firm or the trustees attempting to enforce security instruments. It became obvious later on in the game that the law firms and trustees actually were doing the bidding of the mortgage loan servicers; however, that realization did not come until AFTER Clouded Titles had been published (in December of 2010). It was not until mid-2012 that things began to surface that would lead me straight to identifying who was behind all of the chicanery that enveloped all 3,041 of our nation’s real property records. At that point in time, I had already established a working relationship with several Texas Clerks and had lectured to their Clerks’ School, sponsored by the V.G. Young Institute for County Government. Williamson County Clerk Nancy Rister and Williamson County government were the first to attack MERS and the servicers and third-party document mills head-on in a land record audit, which was formally released in January of 2013.
Judging by MERS’s reaction to the audit, I knew we were onto something. MERS went out of its way to try to debunk the 179 pages of damning assertions that the mortgage loan servicers and their third-party document mills were the ones behind all of the false and misrepresentative statements we would soon come to identify in the hundreds of COTAs I would being conducting since Clouded Titles was released. Reporters kept telling me that MERS claimed it did nothing wrong and my reply was, “Then why is everybody suing them?”
A Big Mistake
The chain of title assessment (COTA) has been referenced as a “chain of title analysis”; however, through whatever name you want to give it, the research that goes into a COTA makes it a report, an investigative piece if you will. By the time that the mortgage loan servicers agreed with 49 states Attorneys’ General to stop production on fraudulent documents, word had spread not only to the legal community but also the public at large, that this chicanery was widespread. Foreclosure victims became outraged at the thought of being defrauded through the illicit use of the land records. It was at about that time that the COTA hit the courts. Reliance on a COTA in a court of law or of equity is a huge mistake as many have discovered. Proof of that will be made manifest in this post. By the time homeowners and their attorneys ran screaming into court about the “fraud” in the documents, MERS and the banks had already set case precedent that the contents of the documents could not be challenged because the borrowers were not “third party beneficiaries” to the assignments and therefore had no right to challenge. In my opinion, this lame excuse of not benefitting from the assignment was a ploy to gain favor with the courts, whose judges went along with the argument because the homeowners’ attorneys had no comeback to the argument. The big mistake however, was the misuse of the COTA and the laziness of homeowners’ counsel to conduct proper discovery.
Many litigants ran into court with their research and attempted to use it as “evidence” to prove their theories that they were defrauded by and through the use of “fraudulent documents” recorded in the public records. Once such case involving this posts’s author manifested itself in Texas on November 25, 2013, in the same year that the Williamson County Real Property Records Audit was released. See the case below and pay attention to the references on Page 4, where this author’s name is mentioned:
Quoting my name and my book and making references to it is not PROOF as the Appellant soon learned the hard way.
During the time span from the time this case came out, Clouded Titles had been on the market for three years and had expanded from its 254-page original version to 432 pages (not the Mayday Edition, which is the revised final version). I knew that judges and attorneys were aware of it … and not just because of its consistent use in the courts. By that time, the Circuit Clerk of Osceola County, Florida, Armando Ramirez, was introduced to the book and was encouraged by the public to make contact with the author, which led to the commissioning of another land record investigation, which was conducted roughly 90 days AFTER the mortgage loan servicers vowed in writing never to launder the land records with fraudulent documents again, as shown below:
The author of this post, once this document was made public, was attacked by the media in what appeared to be political retribution against the Clerk of the Circuit Court (Ramirez), who was again elected to his Clerk’s post in a majority vote the following election cycle. However, this time, MERS did not play a role in the politicizing and demonizing of the report, which had an attorney opinion letter attached to it like the Williamson County report did. Instead, the media and foreclosure mill law firms jumped into the fray, slamming the Clerk for spending county money on a report that they maliciously called a “foreclosure audit”. Again, misuse of the COTA. The Report issued to the Clerk was just that … a Report outlining the abuses that continued in his own land records from June 1, 2012 to June 1, 2014, well after the mortgage loan servicers agreed to stop putting false and misrepresentative documents in the land records, where they still appear to be continuing on through today!
The Bigger Mistake
What’s even worse is that a lot of wannabe “investigators” who claimed that their research was solid proof did not pass muster in other cases. As I will demonstrate in the upcoming Chain Of Title Assessment Workshop, to be held online on the Clouded Titles website starting on February 1, 2020, this author has been pontificating all through the ages that Chain of Title Assessments (COTAs) are NOT EVIDENCE in court, despite the ignorance of litigants and their attorneys. In this workshop, the author will cite a U.S. Supreme Court case that clearly identifies a COTA as research developed from multiple sources and compiled into a report, which this author has constantly maintained is to be used for case development and not as evidence in of itself. But given the desperation of homeowners, along with the mistakes made by these alleged “foreclosure rescue services” that claim the COTA is their Holy Grail in order to make a buck, these assessments are STILL NOT EVIDENCE in court, as the most recent case out of Idaho demonstrates:
Do you see the date on this case? It was just issued the day before this author published this post!
What in the hell are these people thinking? If I have maintained that a 1943 United States Supreme Court ruling by this nation’s highest court mandates that COTAs cannot be relied on as evidence, why are these wannabe investigators and their litigants ignoring it?
Previously, much to my chagrin, I’ve warned attorneys NOT to waive my COTAs around in court. One of them did in a Houston federal court and got screamed at by the judge. This is where the joke about “judges screaming my name and it wasn’t during sex” evolved from. (“Who’s Dave Krieger????!!!!!!!!)
One other attorney in Michigan was forced to let a judge see the COTA (by the judge’s own insistence) because the attorney kept referring to the document while making arguments in court. Once the judge read the document (assumedly during his lunch break), he got an education, even though it was still NOT being offered as evidence, and ordered the parties to settle the case as he stated, “neither one of you are going to like the way I rule on this one!” In the end, the bank got the house back and the homeowners got their money back and then some. This still does not mean that the COTA is evidence unless the material within the COTA is vetted and relied upon by expert witnesses or utilized to craft discovery to go after the underbelly of the other side’s arguments.
I beg of you … please do not continue to misuse these reports. These reports are meant as investigative research and proper discovery must be utilized to vet the research. Simply walking into court and waving these reports around screaming “Fraud This!” and “Fraud That!” will get you nowhere.
To get a real idea of HOW TO do a Chain of Title Assessment (COTA) on your own, where you can get a real education, I am offering the first online COTA Workshop on Saturday, February 1st (2020), in 4, 2-part segments, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Here’s the schedule of the online classes:
Sessions 1 and 2, Saturday, February 1, 2020; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Sessions 3 and 4, Saturday, February 8, 2020; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Sessions 5 and 6, Saturday, February 15, 2020; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Sessions 7 and 8, Saturday, February 22, 2020; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EST)
I have revised the COTA to take the purpose of the workshop out of the “business model mode” and craft it into the “consumer mode” for the purposes of giving you a basic education into the realm of document identification and research. Click the following link to leave your email address in the blank space provided and the Registration Form will be emailed to you. Once you are enrolled in all four sessions, you will be able to access the online workshop presentation (as it will be recorded for future use) on the Clouded Titles website!
The Definition of Insanity Needs to Change in Your World!
I can tell you with a certainty that mine has! In fact, I use COTA research to make money in my real estate investing. Had homeowners going through foreclosure been thinking about Plan B instead of trying to fight the inevitable losing court battle ratios, America might have had better case law than what it has now. With the banks creating as much negative case law against homeowners and as tilted as the system is against borrowers who don’t pay their mortgage payments, it’s time to change your mindset and use the COTA to your advantage. My workshop strategies have now shifted into the realm of COTA use to make money to survive instead of defending your home in a losing battle.