“May it please the Court . . .”

Posted September 13th, 2010 by Joe Kaiser

Here’s the link to the audio of the Oral Argument portion of the appeal.

To say that I was nervous doesn’t begin to describe it, and you can be sure I spent the next weekend thinking, “if only I had said . . . ”

But, it’s done and I feel good about the appeal, my performance not withstanding.

And now we wait for the ruling, which in all likelihood comes in the next six to nine months.

Joe


13 Responses to: ““May it please the Court . . .””

  1. Greg responds:
    Posted: September 13th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Is audio available for the whole hearing?
    The mp3 cut off early.

  2. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: September 13th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    All fixed now.

  3. Pat responds:
    Posted: September 14th, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Does the AG office really think that counties normally just mail out the proceeds after the sale? That’s what it sounds like they are trying to portray.

    I would assume that most owners don’t even know that they are entitled to the funds, and never go to collect them so the counties get all of the money.

    What about all of the property owners that you spent countless hours tracking down? Or those owners that didn’t even realize they owned property any more?

    None of these owners would ever see a nickel, but it sure would help the county’s budget problems. I know, i know, I’m beating a dead horse.

    Also, I “loved” how the AG threw in that comment about how you weren’t very helpful during the disclosure process (making it seem like you’re trying to hide something).

  4. Tim Jensen responds:
    Posted: September 14th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Joe,

    I think you did a great job. Do not sell yourself short.

  5. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: September 14th, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Pat,

    It’s an excellent point about the County not just mailing out checks and one I wish I’d made it.

    Are the people whose funds escheated (and we found over three million dollars of escheated funds from thousands of people) better off having “done nothing?”

    Obviously not.

    It’s a blatantly dishonest characterization by the State designed only to mislead the public and the Court.

    As to the discovery demands, the State’s case file for my case is around 100,000 pages, tens of thousands of which I supplied. We gave them every file for every transaction, and they even demanded and received 150 – 170 files from my attorney.

    And that wasn’t good enough? I guess not.

  6. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: September 14th, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks Tim!

    Trying not to be too hard on myself. I did the best I could.

    Appreciate your tireless support.

  7. Pat responds:
    Posted: September 15th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    It’s just so damn frustrating that they are doing this to one of the good guys, when there are plenty of real con artists out there truly cheating people out of everything. Wishing you the best!

  8. MoFanatic responds:
    Posted: September 27th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Joe,

    For what it’s worth, I think you are getting railroaded by an overzealous AG who is using you for an easy notch in his belt. After listening to the oral argument recording, several thoughts come to mind in regards to this whole mess:

    (1) Listening to the comments and tone of the justices I wouldnt be expecting a positive outcome from your appeal. The argument made – that you advertised to “help” the sellers via your postcards and fliers and then obtained a power of attorney and proceeded in a manner that was construed as not being in the seller’s best interest didnt help your cause, and I believe it tainted the remainder of the issues that were raised during the hearing. I dont necessarily agree with that characterization, but I still was left after lstening to the hearing feeling the outcome wasnt going to be a good one. Sorry.

    (2) This whole saga confirms that old saying that “You cant fight City Hall”. Seriously, your insights into the system were nothing short of pure genius. You identified a strategy that worked and you were able to profit from your manipulating of the legal process. Unfortunately, you stepped on the toes of the local establishment by messing with “their” money. Whether you are in the right or not doesnt matter; whether or not their were any complaints against you or not doesnt matter; you pushed their buttons and they decided to make an example of you. You were an easy target for them to put into their “real estate scammer” profile and you lacked the resources to fight the Attorney General of Washington State. There is no way to win when the other side / your opponent makes the rules… or can change the rules… or can spend an unlimited amount of time and resources to win.

    (3) Have you given any consideration to relocating? You have a mind that is able to think creatively and very much outside the box, recognizing opportunities and being able to resolve situations for all parties involved in a win-win manner. Maybe setting up shop in another state and operating somewhat more low-key with more conservative investment strategies might not be a bad idea for you. Maybe a starting over and getting back to basics type of thing?

  9. Warner responds:
    Posted: October 3rd, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Joe,

    Very interesting listening to the arguments. LIke the post above when I first heard the comments and questions from the female judges, I thought you were toast. However, the male judge seems to side with you in asking the prosecutor to explain exactly how the transaction was unfair.

    The statute that provides for owner of records to receive overages appears to go against basic property law where once you bought it you received all rights of ownership. However, the POA that you obtained along with the disclosures I’m not sure is sitting well with the appellate judges although the assignment of overages was perfectly legal. They may think that although you paid the folks in full the POA created some type of “implied” trust and thus at the very least they should have been told how much the overages were which of course defeats the purpose.

    I was literally screaming into my computer when I heard the states argument that somehow you knew all these properties would have overages and thus you had a duty to tell the property owners. That was just utter nonsense and if that were the case every buyer has a duty to tell every seller in every transaction how much is being made.

    You sounded a little nervous (who wouldn’t) but I think you did a fantastic job. I think you have earned a couple of college degrees on this matter and with the knowledge and creativity you already had, you are going to be a force to be reckoned with when you return. Best wishes.

  10. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: October 6th, 2010 at 11:37 am

    The State has done a good job of twisting the truth in an effort to support their ridiculous claims.

    Common sense would tell you that if there are no complaints from 400 transactions over a 10 year period, we’re probably not scamming anyone.

    Common sense would tell you that if everyone was paid in full as agreed, we’re probably not scamming anyone.

    Common sense would tell you that if everyone we rescued is still in their home today, (and that’s somewhere around three dozen families who avoided foreclosure because of our efforts), we’re probably not scamming anyone.

    Common sense would tell you that if we got sued ONE time in 400 transactions (and it had no merit), we’re probably not scamming anyone.

    But there is no common sense here.

    There is only an arrogant Attorney General and his out-of-control Consumer Protection Division hell bent on winning, no matter the facts, the costs, or the damages they create.

    I remain hopeful that in the end the truth will actually matter because clearly, common sense does not.

  11. MoFanatic responds:
    Posted: October 13th, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Joe,

    You are exactly 100% right. But, as I typed earlier:

    Unfortunately, you stepped on the toes of the local establishment by messing with “their” money. Whether you are in the right or not doesnt matter; whether or not their were any complaints against you or not doesnt matter; you pushed their buttons and they decided to make an example of you. You were an easy target for them to put into their “real estate scammer” profile and you lacked the resources to fight the Attorney General of Washington State. There is no way to win when the other side / your opponent makes the rules… or can change the rules… or can spend an unlimited amount of time and resources to win.

    Its crummy, a raw deal, not at all fair, not the way things should be, etc, I agree. But none of that matters. Welcome to the real world – a tough, harsh, and unfair place.

    I’m not stating that to rub salt in the wound, just in hopes that you can recognize you’re getting the short end of the stick, accept it, and move on. Don’t let this destroy you. Then they really do win.

  12. Joe Kaiser responds:
    Posted: October 13th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Agreed, what will be, will be.

    And there’s not a lot I can do but wait, accept it and move on.

    But it’s not easy when it’s you being called the monster, and it’s you who’s reputation is destroyed, and it’s you who people you’ve known for decades look at and wonder about.

    I’ve become good at recognizing contempt in the eyes of people who don’t even know me but have heard the stories. Some days I just want to scream “Seriously, they made the whole thing up!”

    But I don’t. I sit there and I try not to let it bother me, and I am bothered. I’m learning what “repressed rage” is all about and how it can take over your life if you let it. I’m learning how it can cripple you physically and how it manifests in unbelievable and otherwise unexplainable aches and pains.

    And I’m learning about depression and how it affects not just me but everyone around me, particularly my family. And I’m learning to sleep without medication, something I’ve been unable to do for many many months.

    I’m certain good things will come of this. Win or lose, they must. But one thing is for sure. I will never again trust that the State or any other agency in power will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to get whatever it wants.

    It really is just that simple, and that should scare the hell out of you. I know it does me.

    Rob McKenna and Company spent $100k investigating me based on nothing more than their own abject ignorance and their complete lack of understanding of even the most basic of property rights, to say nothing of their ridiculous misinterpretation of RCW 84.64.080 (the WA Counties’ Overage Play Act).

    Rather than admit their error, they spent a million dollars of the public’s funds to cover it up, proving once and for all that absolute power corrupts absolutely . . . and right soon.

  13. Davido responds:
    Posted: October 15th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Dear Joe, Congratulations! You did a masterful job on your oral argument. It was a delight to listen to you defend yourself. There may be things that you’d want to do different if you had the chance to do it again. However, as a first timer you made no obvious mistakes, no interruptions of the Judges, and your points were clear, concise, passionate, and convincing. Well done!

    After the State made its argument about sellers being unaware of overages, you did well to point out that was generally completely untrue. In addition, it seems to me that, even if the sellers were completely ignorant about the possibility for an overage to eventually be generated, the State’s theory of your alleged unfair practice would still fail. Buyer’s should have no duty to inform sellers of overages -because at the time of purchase on these properties, no overages exist. Nor is there any law or contractual arrangement that promises or guarantees an overage will ever be generated.

    The State’s position is apparently that investors have a legal duty to inform sellers of any or all foreseeable and potentially beneficial outcomes.
    Further, the State’s analogy of your work as similar to that of auto dealerships who keep rebates intended for the purchasors of their autos is not appropriate because rebates are a contractual promise. Whereas, the seller of a property in tax foreclosure is never contractually promised there will be an overage. Would that judges were actually wise. Best to you on this appeal and all you do.

    P.S. I really liked the fact that you introduced your wife to the court in your opening. That was an indication to the court of your deepest values. Heidi is to be commended for coming with you. I trust she is proud of you. Well done to your both!
    Finally, I’ve been out of the real estate loop lately –working Alaska’s Arctic Oilfields these days. Thought this blog was done, but on a spur of the moment rechecked only to be surprised and very pleased to see that you undertook an appeal –and handled your own oral argument -masterfully.


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