This blog post is primarily about the specific contents of the "Third Amended Complaint" in the civil suit filed by John Foster and his wife Melony Michaels over the theft of Foster's identity to commit mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N. and another property, even more specifically the "cast of characters" in the lawsuit.
There is a considerable backstory leading to the Third Amended Complaint.
Part One, learning there's moore than meets the eye with Jerry Moore.
Part Two, a tale of two court trials.
Part Three, a strange bounce of the legal ping-pong ball, Moore's in the civil suit, no wait he's out, no wait he's back in again.
This brings us to the specific contents of the Third Amended Complaint.
Crack Open Your Lawyers Professional Responsibility Books, Students
The first thing I notice about the "Third Amended Complaint" is one name has dropped off the list of defendants. Slumlord Keith Reitman is not named on the revised list of defendants in the Third Amended Complaint. This sends me racing to the MNCIS online court records to look up the case and discover...
...at some point before his name disappeared as a defendant, Keith Reitman hired legal counsel.
Yes, the same lawyer who represented Jerry Moore in this lawsuit and got him (temporarily) dropped from the lawsuit. While Moore was out of the lawsuit, she represented Reitman. Now Reitman's not in the lawsuit, but there's no mention of Reitman in the judge's orders about which defendants stay in, which stay out, no mention of Reitman in the judge's careful chronological summary.
What does THIS smell like?
It's well known Reitman isn't adverse to a monetary settlement to avoid a trial. This blog recently reported on the fact Reitman settled a "child falls from a window" lawsuit, click here. All the same, I don't have "smoking gun" public proof Reitman settled.
This bears more investigation.
However, there's another interesting angle to Clark's representation of Reitman. Keep in mind she also represented Moore. As two defendants in the same case, and with Reitman telling the world Moore got $5,000 for a "consulting fee" to set up the deal, click here, it's clear Moore and Reitman have differing interests when it comes to this civil suit. HOWEVER, Moore was apparently out of the lawsuit when Clark took on representing Reitman. You, I, or Clark could make an argument with a straight face that "there's no conflict of interest in her representation of Moore, and then Reitman." MOORE WAS OUT OF THE LAWSUIT WHEN SHE TOOK ON REPRESENTING REITMAN.
But now, and not completely unexpectedly, Moore is back in the lawsuit. (Clark of all people knows Moore was "dismissed without prejudice." It may slip the Judge's mind, but it should never slip CLARK'S mind) Now Moore is back in the lawsuit and Reitman is out.
The question, and this will determine at least 25 percent of your final grade in this year's law school exam for Lawyers Professional Responsibility, is what are the legal ethical issues inherent in continued representation of Reitman and/or Moore as pertains to THIS CASE?
Of course (spoiler alert!) perhaps this blogger can make the lawyer's professional responsibility issues even MORE murky and complicated, since I'm now in possession of at least a major portion of the statement Keith Reitman gave to authorities investigating the "1564 Hillside Ave. N." case, and he discusses Jerry Moore's role. (That is to say, Moore's role ACCORDING TO REITMAN, who is a slippery and self-interested creature himself) Yes, I will be writing about this "Reitman statement to authorities" in the near future.
So consider how murky are the legal ethical issues, here.
It's potentially in Reitman's interest to blame Moore instead of himself, isn't it?
But, on the other hand, isn't it in Moore's interest to say, "That Keith Reitman, he's no babe in the woods when it comes to selling property, don't let him fool you!"
Reitman is out of the lawsuit and seems safe. But Moore's still in it.
So can Jill Clark represent Jerry Moore in the "1564 Hillside Ave. N." civil suit now that Moore's back in the suit? Or does her representation of Keith Reitman in the meantime (and Reitman's interests, including his strong interest in his REPUTATION) still linger?
In my humble opinion, a SMART lawyer would have long ago said, "Sorry, Mr. Reitman, your interests are different than Jerry Moore's. I can't represent clients with even a POTENTIAL conflict of interest. Yes, Moore's out of the lawsuit but he's only 'dismissed without prejudice.' Oh, sure, it's a long shot that he'd be back in the suit, but what if he were? And I'd be representing you? Mister Reitman, how would it look? I'm sorry. Let me give you the names of some lawyers who are my friends. Oh, wait, I guess I can't actually help you that way, either."
Oh, but we all know Clark's not a SMART lawyer. Clark will tell you that herself. Clark will tell you she's a BRILLIANT lawyer, click here for MPR article.
In any case, Keith Reitman isn't in the lawsuit following Clark's representation. Let's look at the poor SOBs who are still in it.
(I am printing the allegations of the complaint but keep in mind, always, these are merely ALLEGATIONS)
Larry "Maximum" Maxwell, Now Doing Time
1.) Larry Maxwell is an individual and resident of Minnesota, who at all relevant times resided at 2309 River Pointe Circle, Minneapolis, MN, 55411.
(JNS notes: that address is in the nice condos on the river bluffs. A sweet life if you can afford it. Or if you can afford it with somebody else's money)
Maxwell was the purported territorial franchise owner of and held a Minnesota realtor license through Reality (sic) Executive Advantage Plus Group (REAPG), where he worked as a real estate agent. Maxwell at times shared an office with First USA Title.
Maxwell currently resides at MCF St. Cloud (...)
(Lawsuit mentions his convictions on 18 counts) (Lawsuit mentions that, at all relevant times, Maxwell was already on probation for Aiding and Abetting False Information relative to a real estate related crime)
Larry Maxwell is represented by Bradford William Colbert, a "certified student attorney" who works with Legal Assistance To Minnesota Prisoners. How the mighty have fallen from the day when Maxwell was represented by Larry Reed who, when fined for contempt by the Honorable Regina Chu, whipped out a hundred dollar bill like he was paying a bar tab. In Mexico.
The Imposter Foster, Now Residing In A Cell In Iowa
Jerome KingRussel (...) resided at 7431 Able Street NE in Fridley, MN. KingRussell currently resides at Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility, (in the Iowa town of the same name) following his felony conviction of two counts of identity theft in Hennepin County District Court and a conviction for using Foster's stolen identity in Iowa.
(JNS says: it's my understanding KingRussell was running loose after the Maxwell trial because he'd flipped and his freedom, with a stiff sentence hanging over his head, was part of the deal. But KingRussell couldn't stay out of jail. Word is the thing in Iowa somehow involved a casino, but I don't have the details)
REAPG Reaps What It Sows
3.) Realty (JNS says: note correct spelling) Executives Advantage Plus Group ("REAPG") is an assumed name, for the name holders of Staten and Cox, with its principal place of business at (Maxwell's home address). REAPG (...) hired and retained Maxwell, a convicted felon, gave Maxwell control of the business, drafted, reviewed, or allowed false documents to be utilized within Maxwell's course of business transactions at and on behalf of REAPG, with the knowledge or willful ignorance that Foster's identity had been stolen and documents falsified. REAPG was charged and convicted of 18 counts of felonies.
(JNS notes: It's my understanding that the way it worked, there was no separate "trial" for REAPG, a corporate entity, but rather whatever Maxwell was guilty of, REAPG was legally guilty of. A small distinction in criminal court--what are we going to do? Incarcerate the corporate charter?--but huge when it comes to eventual civil liability. And what do we have here? The inevitable civil trial. Now the tortious birds come home to roost in the chicken coop of liability)
Wife Also Sued
4.) Vicki Cox-Maxwell, the wife of Larry Maxwell, is also sued.
Side note, from a previous blog post, click here. According to Cox-Maxwell's statement to Glen Miller, police investigator, Cox-Maxwell had "one main client, Jerry McAfee. McAfee has her look for investment properties. He pays cash, buys foreclosed properties and rehabs..."
Things That Make You Go Hmmmm
5.) Halisi Edwards-Staten, in a most interesting way, had her last known Minnesota address at the same residence as Larry Maxwell. She was a partner of REAPG and "individually and as primary broker for REAPG has admitted she failed to supervise Maxwell. She voluntarily withdrew her Minnesota broker's license and is prohibited from, generally, having interest in any real estate business in the State of Minnesota. Her last known address is 6964 Harbor Town Way, Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Zillow estimates the value of this house at slightly over $80,000 and notes it has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms. However, in 2004 the home sold for $167,500. (Things that make you go hmmmm)
Billed Repairs "Never Started Or Completed"
6.) Gill Construction is a Minnesota corporation with a registered address on Hennepin Avenue, which ten seconds of digging reveals is just a UPS store, presumably with mailboxes. This entity was, however, a licensed residential building contractor (license # BC394716).
"Upon (Plaintiff's) information and belief, Bobby Gill is the company's chief executive officer."
Gill submitted an invoice of $24,810 for repairs and/or improvements to 1564 Hillside Ave. N., and according to the lawsuit there were no repairs and/or improvements either started or completed. For those readers who NEED this context, check out these exclusive photos of the house, click here, plus these photos, click here, which show BIG MASSES OF FUNGUS GROWING FROM THE TOP OF A DOORWAY.
All the same, Gill construction got a disbursement of $24,810 following the sale of 1564 Hillside Ave. N., where the crackhead Jerome KingRussell pretended to be John Foster.
An Inflated Appraisal
7.) Robert Anderson was a Minnesota licensed real estate appraiser that resided at 207 Heritage Circle South, in Burnsville, MN. Anderson was the owner and seller of a property located at 8900 12th Ave. S. in Bloomington.
(This is the OTHER property involved in the lawsuit, though admittedly this blog tends to concentrate on issues surrounding the "1564" property in North Minneapolis)
Anderson completed an inflated appraisal on his 12th Avenue property and had Martindale Appraisers sign it.
(Anderson, who is similar to Moore in that whole "he's in, he's out, he's back in again" aspect of the lawsuit, is represented by Robert Brian Bauer, according to MNCIS info)
Here, Sign This Inflated Appraisal
8.) Michael Martindale Appraisals was a Minnesota licensed real estate appraisal company whose principal place of business was 2300 Randy Avenue, White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Its licensure was revoked out of interest for the public by the Department of Commerce for allowing Anderson to appraise his own house while Martindale signed as though he had appraised the home, with full knowledge that he did not appraise the home and it was improper to allow Anderson to appraise his own property.
I Better Throw "Allegedly" In A Couple More Times
9.) Jerry Moore a/k/a Gerald Moore and conducting business as J.L. Moore Consulting was at all relevant times a resident of Minnesota, allegedly. Moore introduced Maxwell and Reitman (the seller of 1564 Hillside) prepared or caused to be prepared a $5,000 invoice for windows for the Hillside property and received a disbursement of $5,000 following the closing of the Hillside property with full knowledge that he did not purchase or install windows at the Hillside property, allegedly, allegedly, allegedly.
(Thus ends the allegation in the civil complaint)
I should note that Moore was questioned on the stand about this during the Johnny Northside defamation trial, currently on appeal. At some point in the foreseeable future I will have the transcript of the trial and readers will be able to see, word for word, what Moore had to say about this.
For now I will tell you Jerry coughed up the name of somebody he said was also (what is the right word?) INVOLVED in his J. L. Moore consulting entity:
I actually instructed my lawyer to HAVE JERRY SPELL THE NAME and he did, P-I-G-O-T.
It would be fair to say that during the trial Jerry claimed not to know where, exactly, Laura Pigot was.
Keith Reitman has told his own version of Moore's alleged "involvement" right here on this blog, click here, but further details will be coming in the near future. I now have a copy of the transcript of Reitman's statement to investigating authorities. Stay tuned.
10.) James Lang was, upon information and belief was at all times a resident of the State of Florida that held an unrecorded property interest in 1564 Hillside Ave. N., that a Peter W. Lang acted as an "intermediary" for (Peter) Lang for a 1031 IRS property exchange. Lang unjustly received $56,291.77 from the sale of the "over inflated appraised Hillside property.
(To be clear for readers who haven't had the opportunity to follow this scandal for YEARS, the home was sold by Keith Reitman, but it wasn't completely owned by Reitman. The "Langs" purportedly had an interest in the property. Reitman's years of dealings with James Lang are a matter of record and are documented to a great degree on this blog post, click here)
Knew Or Should Have Known
11.) Centennial Mortgage and Funding, Inc was a domestic corporation with a principal place of business at 5001 American Blvd. West, Suite 1000, Bloomington, MN and acted in the capacity of a mortgage company. Centennial failed to exercise due diligence in reviewing the documents presented for the mortgage transaction including but not limited to noticing the appraisals were incomplete and/or inflated, that the commissions being paid to REAPG were excessive, that second mortgages or unidentified owners were being paid, and that the signatures of the purported buyer were inconsistent.
Centennial knew or should have known that KingRussell was using a fake ID, and knew or should have known with due diligence that the signatures did not match and as a result should have stopped the closing.
Centennial is currently an inactive domestic corporation. Centennial consented to the cease and desist order of the Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce to stop all new mortgage loan origination or servicing activities in Minnesota on March 28, 2008. This business was "administratively terminated" on January 7, 2009.
It should be noted, however, there is probably an insurance policy that covers actions that took place during the time of the fraud. Arguably, here is where the deepest pocket lies and, conveniently, metric butt tons of (apparent) liability. Incredibly, Centennial isn't even represented by an attorney, according to current data on MNCIS.
The Christmas Card From Hell
12.) Trent Bowman is an individual and resident of Minnesota residing at 8633 Edinbrook Crossing, Minneapolis, MN, 55443, and at all relevant times worked as a loan officer for Centennial Mortgage and Funding, Inc. Bowman failed to exercise due diligence in reviewing the documents presented for the mortgage transaction. (See number 11, above, about the various ways the transaction was fouled up and Trent Bowman should have noticed, allegedly.
Bowman played a huge but accidental role in the amateur investigation undertaken by Melony Michaels when he sent the "Christmas card from hell" to Melony and John, which made it clear Centennial Mortgage was somehow involved.
Bowman does not appear to be represented at the present time. This blogger suspects Bowman will simply act out a sequel to his actions in the Larry Maxwell criminal trial and give up information and testimony as needed, emphasizing his own "little fish" role, even though Bowman (if you met him) is a fairly beefy fellow.
Maxwell Case Was The End For New Beginnings, Owned by Janie Coates
13.) New Beginnings Closing Services, LLC was a Minnesota limited liability company that provided closing and notary services for residential mortgages, with its principal place of business at 8723 North Brook Circle, Brooklyn Park, MN.
New Beginnings is currently an inactive limited liability company that was administratively terminated on January 7, 2008.
Oh, that Larry Maxwell, he left a trial of destruction in his wake, didn't he?
14.) Janie Coates is a resident of Minnesota who owned and worked for New Beginnings Closing services and worked for First USA Title at relevant times. Coates doesn't have an attorney and neither does the wreckage of New Beginnings. You can expect Coates to play the same kind of "very talkative and cooperative little fish" role that Bowman will probably play.
First USA Title, LLC, Another Piece of Maxwell Trial Wreckage
15.) First USA Title, LLC was a Minnesota limited liability company with its principal place of business at 4535 Hodgson Road, Suite 100, Shoreview, MN and 3300 County Road 10, Suite 220, Brooklyn Center, MN. First USA provided closing services and/or hired Janie Coates individually or as New Beginnings to provide closing and/or notary services for the two properties involved in the fraud by Larry Maxwell.
The lawsuit says, "Upon information and belief, First USA Title is no longer in business after filing a notice of dissolution on August 30, 2010." However, information on the Minnesota Secretary of State website shows the company to be "in good standing." I am not able to account for this discrepancy.
David Lee Nahan is listed as the counsel for the company on the MNCIS system. He is ALSO listed as the manager of the business.
This rounds out our "cast of characters" in the lawsuit. What these characters supposedly did, the chronological story of the fraud which is at issue in the Civil Suit, this will be told in Part Five.