Attention Homeowners: You Are Not Ben Matlock
I like to keep up with homeowners who like to play Ben Matlock. So over Labor Day weekend, I discovered a series of “Notary Certificate of Protest and Judgement In Estoppel” filed with National Republic Registry in Texas which is a for-profit registry service (imagine a poor man’s MERS) demanding John Stumpf and Richard Kovacevich from Wells Fargo, R.K. Arnold, the former CEO of MERSCorp. and Ellen Coon, Donald King, David Trott of the law firm of Trott & Trott pay Richard Dalpe in suburban Detroit a total of $32,081,854.50.
I like to keep abreast of the things Do-It-Yourself Lawyers file with the court and on public record because Pro-Se litigants tend to set a bad precedent because of their ignorance of the law. Richard Weber, the Notary who filed these documents spelled two words wrong in the title of the document and that intrigued me. So I had my title researcher, Suzie Baker comb through the database at the Wayne County Register of Deeds to see what we could find on Mr. Dalpe and his situation.
On July 22, 2003, Mr and Dalpe closed on what appears to be a standard 30 year fixed rate mortgage for $120,448.00 with E*Trade Mortgage with MERS acting as their nominee.
Ellen Coon from the Michigan based foreclosure mill, Trott & Trott who was acting as a Vice President of MERS assigned this mortgage from MERS to Wells Fargo in December of 2007.
Trott & Trott then immediately began advertising the foreclosure as required under Michigan law. They advertised the Sheriff’s Sale in the Detroit Legal News. A publication owned by David Trott of Trott & Trott on December 14, 2007, one day after the assignment was allegedly signed. The Sheriff’s Sale was scheduled for January 16, 2008. However, prior to the Sheriff’s Sale, Trott & Trott adjourned the sale until October, 29, 2008.
On June 29, 2010, Mr. Dalpe filed a document titled, “Affidavit of Being Creditor, of the Non-Abandonment of Property At 15903 Beech Daly Rd., Redford, Michigan 48239 and of Peaceful Possession of Said Property By Affiant” with the Wayne County Register of Deeds in which he swears before pretty much everyone except for the Hindu God, Vishnu, the following is true:
On August 16, 2010, Mr. Dalpe records another affidavit which includes what appears to be a “Qualified Written Request” and “Right to Cancel” notice that he mailed to Wells Fargo, MERS, E*Trade, and then Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans in August of 2009 after his redemption period ended on his “Deed of Trust” Last time I checked, Michigan was not a Deed of Trust state.
Before all of you send me hate-mail for picking on some poor homeowner, I’m not. I’m using him as an example of why foreclosure defense is not a Do-It-Yourself Project. This is not something you learn by watching Bob Villa, from a home improvement show on HGTV or from the internet.
If you want to be taken seriously as a Pro Se litigant, you need to buy both a Webster’s Dictionary and a Black’s Law Dictionary (Amazon has them on sale for $40.00). They come in handy when you decide to create your own legal sounding documents like Mr. Dalpe did.
It also helps to cite the correct statute. In his, “Notary Certificate of Protest and Judgement In Estoppel” he cites something called the Michigan Foreclosure Statute-Mortgage of Foreclosure By Advertisement MCL 600.3024. Aside from spelling both Judgment and Estoppel incorrectly in the title of his filing, he cites a statute that doesn’t exist. The statute he is referring to is called the Revised Judicature Act Of 1961, MCL 600.3204.
Mr. Dalpe is an example of homeowners who believe they don’t need to spend the money to hire a professional to help them because all the information they need is free on the internet. What homeowners don’t understand is that 95% of the information on the internet is crap when it comes to foreclosure defense and mortgage lending. Most foreclosure blogs are written by homeowners who have gone to a 4 hour mortgage seminar and now think they are an expert, lawyers who jumped on the foreclosure bandwagon to save their practice or people looking to make a quick buck by passing around a lot of conspiracy theories. The common denominator with all these people is that none of these people have a mortgage or finance background. Most Pro Se litigants piece together their knowledge from unrelated websites and then fill in rest from that they read on conspiracy websites.
The homeowner then takes this information and tries to play Amateur Lawyer by filing crazy documents with their County Clerk or Register of Deeds like Mr. Dalpe did.
As you can guess I’m not a big fan of Pro Se Litigants. Pro Se litigants like most Americans live in a fantasy world.
There are two reasons why homeowners attempt to represent themselves. The first is ego. They think that because they grew up watching L.A. Law or Matlock, they can practice law and believe all a lawyer is going to is rip them by doing what they could do themselves.
The second reason is they can’t afford an attorney. This type shows how entitled Americans think they are and one that annoys me to no end. This type of Pro Se litigant begs me to ask the question of the homeowner and I do, “If you haven’t made a monthly mortgage payment of $1000 for over a year and can’t afford a lawyer, what are you doing with your money?”
Usually, the second group of people believes they are entitled to a house and somehow believe that it’s the bank’s fault that the husband lost his job. They believe home ownership in America is a birthright because of some crackpot theory they read on the internet. For the record, home ownership in this country is a privilege, not a birthright.
The Dalpes actually had a good argument for foreclosure fraud and would have probably been able to keep their home except they decided to play amateur lawyer and listened to people who didn’t know what they were doing. Now their case is FUBARed and any chance they had to retain or reclaim the house has been extinguished.