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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Foreclosure on our Birmingham home of 25 years produced surplus funds that belong to us, so how did they wind up with Rob Riley's crony Liberty Duke?


Liberty Duke
Given her relationship with Alabama GOP thug Rob Riley, lobbyist Liberty Duke probably could have a variety of descriptive terms affixed to her name. We recently discovered that "thief" appears to be one of them.

We're not talking about an in-your-face "street crime" sort of stealing. This is what we'll call a civil form of thievery, conducted in the white-collar environment. The result is the same as a street stick-up: A certain sum of money belonged to my wife, Carol, and me -- and Liberty Duke took it, apparently with the help of several banking/legal types.

All of this suggests two defamation lawsuits filed against me in fall 2013 -- one by Rob Riley, the other by Luther Strange minion and mistress Jessica Medeiros Garrison -- are connected to a my five-month stay in the "Shelby County Sheraton" (jail) and the foreclosure on our home of 25 years in Birmingham.

The civil theft involves surplus proceeds from what we believe was a wrongful foreclosure on our home in Alabama, on April 29, 2014. That's the event that caused us to wind up in Springfield, Missouri, where the Greene County Sheriff conducted an unlawful eviction at our apartment, with an assault rifle pointed at my forehead and a deputy breaking Carol's left arm so severely that it required trauma surgery for repair.

How could someone essentially steal funds from a foreclosure and place them with Liberty Duke, who was a co-plaintiff in the Rob Riley lawsuit and seemingly had nothing to do with the action on our home? That takes some explaining, but the key is that our foreclosure was outside the norm -- probably more outside the norm than even we realize.

In a standard foreclosure, the mortgage holder -- a financial institution of some sort -- buys the house, and the purchase price equals the outstanding debt on the house. In our research, we've found a number of articles on the Web quoting a mortgage veteran saying something like this: "I've been in the business for 35 years, and I've never seen a foreclosed property sell for more than the outstanding debt, and I've only seen a handful sold to someone other than the bank." (The price can be for less than the outstanding debt, which creates an unpleasant set of problems for the homeowner, but that didn't apply to us, so we will leave those issues off the table.)

Back to the thoughts of our imaginary mortgage professional, who would have had quite the experience at our foreclosure. The buyer was not the bank, Chase Mortgage; it was a house-flipping outfit, with roots in Tuscaloosa and an office on Birmingham's Southside, called Spartan Value Investors. (Roughly two weeks after we were out of the house, Spartan sold it to another house-flipping outfit, JAG Investment Strategies. JAG obtained a loan from Nowlin and Associates of Birmingham and apparently used that to remodel the house and get it on the market pronto, where a couple named Preston and Angela Crider bought it.)

Here's how things took a left turn with our foreclosure: In the days leading to the sale on the Shelby County Courthouse steps, we contacted Robert Wermuth, of the Huntsville law firm Stephens Millirons, which was ramrodding the proceedings. We wanted to know the outstanding debt on the property, and Wermuth sent us a document stating it was roughly $66,000. That includes a bunch of "fees" that mortgage holders and their lawyers love to tack onto such documents, so the real balance probably was somewhere in the $55,000 to $60,000 range. Regardless, we were having to deal with the higher figure. If we had been able to come up with $66,000, we would still be in our house.

We're not sure what happened on the day of the sale, but the property wound up selling for $74,359, which is more than $8,000 over the outstanding debt. (See foreclosure deed at the end of this post.) Our house was in a fairly desirable area, and it was in pretty good shape considering the financial duress we had been under for years, due to loss of our jobs at UAB and Infinity Insurance, respectively. Did two or more parties get into a bidding war, driving up the price? Did some other unusual circumstance cause a sale unlike any our imaginary mortgage pro above had ever seen?

CEO Clayton Mobley, at Spartan Value Investors'
HQ on Birmingham's Southside
(From al.com)
One of many unsolved mysteries surrounding the foreclosure on our home is this: Why did Spartan Value Investors sell the property to JAG Investment Strategies for $98,500, and why did they do it so quickly? (See related documents at the end of this post.) It seems Spartan was in it to secure the sale and then intimidate us into leaving -- including unlawfully shutting off our water and having other utilities put in their name, so they could threaten to have the power, etc. also turned off. It seems JAG's role was to spruce up the property and sell it ASAP, even though Spartan, on its Web site, touts its ability to do those things. Why were two house-flipping companies involved, when it seems one could have handled the job?

This much is not a mystery: The surplus funds derived from the sale, somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000, represented our remaining equity in the property. And by law, they belonged to us.

So, how did they wind up going to Liberty Duke, and how did that violate Alabama law? We will address those questions in an upcoming post.

(To be continued)




21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a federal watchdog agency that might be interested. You should file a complaint with them. It seems if the property was sold for more than the claim you should have received the excess. According to your comment, that did not happen. Is that a violation of federal law? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau handles these complaints and it is very easy to file such a complaint with them.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for a good suggestion, @8:58. We intend to pursue every avenue to get the funds to the rightful owners --us.

Anonymous said...

How could Liberty Duke wind up with funds from YOUR foreclosure? Hard to see how that can happen?

legalschnauzer said...

It can't happen, under the law, @10:01, but we live in a lawless society these days -- in Alabama, Missouri, and I'm sure many other states. I submit that legal corruption is one of the biggest threats to our democracy, but neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump mentioned it in debate the other night. I doubt they will mention it, and Obama essentially has helped cover up all the sleaze from the Dubya years.

Back to your question, I think it happened with help. Someone helped Liberty Duke wind up with our money.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, someone had you beaten up, arrested, and thrown in jail; had your wife beaten up and her arm broken, and now they are stealing your money? Who in the hell did you piss off? How in the hell do they get away with this stuff? What else are they going to try? You would have my support, man, if you decided to seek second amendment remedies. This is nuts.

legalschnauzer said...

I pissed off the legal fraternity and the judicial tribe. You aren't supposed to report the truth about those corrupt entities.

Anonymous said...

Can you cite the law on this? I believe the funds probably belong to Ms. Duke.

Shaheed AbdulAzeez said...

@11.03, How could Duke be entitle to anything if her name is not on the Deed. And if its not on the Deed, how did it get there. Your name has to be on the Deed to get paid.Rob and company are most likely behind this dastardly operation. Only money and power could have done this. This scenario is so outside the "Norm". A Title Search can clear up the confusion with a paper trail. Mr.Shuler has to file a compliant as suggested by 8:58. The foreclosure was too quick. In most states a foreclosure can take over a year or more. Also, in most states, a Chapter 13 would have stayed the foreclosure, giving the owner the chance to sell the property themselves.

legalschnauzer said...

Shaheed:

The claim is that Duke was a "junior lienholder" based on an unlawful award of attorney fees against me in the Riley/Duke case. But the law is very clear that surplus funds from a foreclosure belong to the mortgagor (Carol and me), and Duke has no right to them. This is a standard Rob Riley operation, where the written law means absolutely nothing. I still have no idea why the guy went to law school when he has no respect for the law and apparently doesn't even use it in his "practice." I will provide details on actual law in post tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an expert on this topic, but it sounds close to criminal theft to me. I think you might be too kind, Mr. Schnauzer, in referring to it as "civil." Somebody in the chain of command had to know what the law is on this.

Shaheed AbdulAzeez said...

You are right Mr. Shuler the money belongs to you. The Escrow company or the Lawyer in charge of the closing should have notified you. If they could not contact you, the money should have gone to the State Treasury. Duke had nothing invested in the property. Thus, Duke is the red flag indicating fraud.

Anonymous said...

Did Liberty Duke record a lien on the property related to the attorney fees owed her (by court order?). She could also, ther self or her through her attorneys, garnish proceeds from the sale.

I know you have taken the position that there was no law permitting an award of attorneys fees against you, but that probably doesn't app,y in your case.

legalschnauzer said...

@5:03 -- I don't know if Duke recorded a lien or not, although I think someone is claiming she did. If you think she was due funds from the sale or could garnish proceeds from the sale, I think your knowledge of the law is lacking. Can you cite any law that supports either of those outcomes? The proceeds never went to us, as the law requires, so she could not garnish them. And no "attorney fees" were due her (or Riley) because they can't be awarded against a pro se litigant. I owed them zero.

For the record, I haven't "taken the position" that no law permits award of attorney fees against me (a pro se litigant), that's what the law says, and I cited it in a post a few days ago. Why do you think the law probably doesn't apply in my case? Please give us a citation to chew on. Or do you just not support the rule of law, as seems to be the case with many others in Alabama, Missouri, and other states?

legalschnauzer said...

Shaheed:

I agree that Duke is a big red flag, and she clearly did not do this on her own. Someone, probably Rob Riley, helped her.

Here's my question: Why would Rob Riley help Liberty Duke? She claimed they had never been alone in the same room together. So why would Rob Riley, or someone connected to him, have enough riding on things to make sure she got a substantial sum of money?

I've got more coming in at least two followup posts, so I hope that shines additional light on things.

legalschnauzer said...

Shaheed:

Forgot to mention that the mortgage company was Chase, and Robert Wermuth of Stephens Millirons in Huntsville was lawyer. They had a duty to make sure the funds were disbursed lawfully, and they didn't do it. Upcoming posts will make that clear.

Sniffles said...

Troll at @5:03! Film at 11!

Anonymous said...

What has the number of people in a room got to do with muff diving?

legalschnauzer said...

Darned good question, 8:02. And since when have you been able to do it only in a "room." You can do it in a car, a truck, a tent, in a tree, on a beach . . . the list goes on. Plus, you can also lie on an affidavit when it appears you never will be held accountable for it.

Anonymous said...

Roger, after all this time having gone by, myself liken to so many others having wondered so many times, what is required for justice not to be itself a victim of malpractice, enduring continuous malfeasances of such, for whose only, and sole purposes are for the undermining of the very individual's equal rights, protections, and due processes foundations guarded over by our nation's constitution. Having said this, what your problem has been, problem is Roger; that's been all so obvious apparently all these times, that you could not see the forest for the trees...............YOU SHOULD HAVE CALLED HIILIARY, FOR HER TO TELLLLLLL BILLLLLLLLL THAT HE BEST BE GETTING HIS ASS OUT ON SOME TARMAC SOMEWHERE AND HAVING A SITDOWN WITH LORRRETTTAAA AND HAVE HER MOVE COMEY FORTHWITH THAT THESE REPUBLICIANS BE IMMEDIATELY ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH INCITING PERSONAL JUDICIAL CHAOS.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for both a funny and insightful comment, @4:19. It's funny because . . . well, you have a funny style (and I mean that as a compliment). It's insightful because you cut to the truth -- our U.S. Dept. of Justice has allowed corruption to simmer around the nation. The Bush DOJ actively advanced the cause of corruption, while Obama simply has turned a blind eye to it.

My only quibble with you would be that, as of now, Hillary and Bill Clinton have no authority on the matters you note. (I don't know that Bill Clinton ever will have such authority unless someone appoints him attorney general -- if that can even be done.) If Hillary is elected, she will have the authority to appoint an AG with real teeth, but I don't look for her to do that. To me knowledge, she hasn't said a word during campaign about legal/judicial corruption.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Roger, I have to take exception to your response, ",as of now, Hillary and Bill have no authority"....... Even when such an isolated occasion ever should arise that their decades of accumulated absolute powers at their command cannot be obviously dictated recklessly exhibited; in lieu of same result of restriction deepen felt the stings of their implied powers used as replacement. Case in point, late yesterday, surfacing Hillary's attorney testifying before the FBI that she had no knowledge of Hillary's personal server until left state department, yet exposed before congress, a email from over 3 years prior to leaving state her own personal attorney writing Bill's confidant wanting to know if their server was up; in response advising that they were all on the same server. ROGER, MAYBE WHY ALL THESE PEOPLE COMEY GIVING THEM THE IMMUNITY.................YOU KNOW, HILL'S AND BILL'S IMPLIED POWERRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSSSSS. It has been what's happening to you and Carol, and so many others throughout our nation, that the people just do not trust heir government's officials..................and as for these CLINTONS, they are held to a lower and different bar of accountability and responsibility. I most humbly and respectfully disagree with you on these two..........and what really gets me upset is the one-eyed jack political hypocrisy that Hilliary, Bill, and Obama has openly presned themselves to be when involving the illegal and unlawful fraudulent imprisonment of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman; State of Alabama Democrats should not only be publicly ashamed, but publicly apologize to the Siegelman family for sitting on their lazy asses and babbling about oughta do this and that when not having done nothing..................I don't remember seeing/hearing about any 100, 1000, 10,000, 50,000, or 1,000,000 Alabamians marching together on Obama's house for a sit down with fried chicken suppers. WE'RE NUMBER ONE, WE'RE NUMBER ONE.....SAYS HARVARD LAW SCHOOL STUDY INVOLVING JUDICIAL CORRUPTIONS AHEAD OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY. PLAY IT AGAIN SAM...WHILE THEY SPOONFEED US SOMEMORE OF THAT GOOD OLE 'SHIT ON THE SHINGLE' [MILITARY FOR WHITE GRAVY W/BEEF ON DRY TOAST]