Mr. Dibert runs a company that provides foreclosure defense litigation support. While I have no idea what EXACTLY they do, I have never used their services, I do not provide an endorsement of their services, I think this post by Mr. Dibert is very interesting because I fell into this same trap with Mr. Garfield's website which took a lot of time to UNLEARN and a lot of help from patient, knowledgeable, senior forum members to fix.
This is not intended to bash Mr. Garfield or his website, just a warning to Pro- Se litigants of the endless hours of research and help from others needed to even begin to defend your home. You CANNOT just cut and paste Internet pleadings.
Always try to find an attorney.
Debunking the Gospel of [Neil] Garfield
Apr 7, 2010 // by Steve Dibert // Mortgage Fraud News, Steve’s Blog // 17 Comments
Since starting MFI-Miami almost 2 years ago, I have received some pretty strange calls from people. I’ve had real estate agents call me who have bought 15 income properties and then try to claim they are victim of Predatory Lending. I’ve had people who have bought investment properties who thought because they watched two episodes of The Apprentice they’re as smart as Donald Trump. I have gotten calls from the conspiracy theorists who think the Obama Administration wants their property so they can build an internment camp on it when the armed UN hovercraft come skimming over the Everglades. These are some of the more interesting calls.
However, the most interesting calls I get are from Pro Se litigants. What are Pro Se litigants? Pro Se litigants are homeowners who represent themselves in court and usually have no training as a lawyer. They are usually people who think they know more than everyone else or have the attitude of “Why should I hire a lawyer when I can do it myself.”
As the saying goes, “An attorney who represents themselves has a fool for a client.” Here’s a case in point. I had a foreclosure client when I started MFI-Miami, who filed an answer to his foreclosure that he copied and pasted off Neil Garfield’s website, Living Lies. My client then tells me he was going file a federal civil RICO case against his lender because his wife’s “forged” signature violated interstate commerce laws which is a RICO predicate. When I asked him who told him he could do that, he claimed he read he could do it on Garfield’s site. I have since received dozens of calls from people asking me for free advice based on what they read by Neil Garfield.
I have received at least 6 calls in the past week from Pro Se litigants claiming that they don’t know what to do because their Florida judge laughs at them for demanding the wet inked copy of their note. This is one of those misconceptions out on the blogosphere that had its origin from the Living Lies site. The misconception is that if the servicer or the Trustee cannot produce the original wet inked note, then they lack legal standing to execute a foreclosure and therefore the debt obligation is now nullified. This is absolutely false. In Florida, the transfer affidavit or note must officially be on record with the county 60 days prior to a servicer or Trustee filing the initial foreclosure complaint. When the attorney files the foreclosure complaint, all they are required to do is attach a copy of the original note.
For those you who don’t know who Neil Garfield is, he is a self-proclaimed Foreclosure Expert who holds seminars across the country for lawyers and Pro-Se litigants helping them fight foreclosures. According to his biography, was an Economist, Accountant and he is a “Chairman Emeritus” of a consortium of financial service companies and claims to be the “ultimate insider” on Wall Street. (Page 4, Garfield Continuum Handbook) Yet, he never mentions which companies he has worked with or the positions he held. The state of Florida also has no license on file for him being an accountant.
If he was a Wall Street “Insider,” he was like Lon Chaney aka The Man of Thousand Faces because friends of mine in the media who cover Wall Street had never heard of him until he started doing seminars. He was a trial attorney in Florida from 1977 until 1993 and by his own admission to me when I attended his seminar in Orlando last May, has not done any litigation work since then.
He preaches that, “homeowners can walk into a foreclosure hearing and walk out owning their house free and clear.” (Page 5, Garfield Continuum Handbook)
He even preaches this on his website and it is over-simplified comments like this that draw people to his website looking for easy answers. Like a late night televangelist, Garfield delivers a lot of what on the surface appears to be easy solutions but in reality are very complex legal arguments. Unfortunately, for the homeowner, foreclosure defense is not easy. It is a lot of painstaking detective work and TILA rescissions happen in only one of out of 50-75 loans.
Neil Garfield’s theories make for great legal debate and table talk for foreclosure defense junkies and conspiracy theorists. However, in reality his theories are impractical for the average homeowner due to the astronomical fees of legal research and litigation that they would require. What Neil Garfield fails to understand or express to his seminar participants is that judges do not like going out on the proverbial limb and therefore will not make precedent making decisions.
In other words, Neil Garfield is great at talking the talk but is a little short on walking the walk. He lacks the practical litigation experience to transform his theories into reality. Even now if you read his blogs, attorneys as well as Pro Se litigants who are frequent contributors phrase their comments as if expressing opinion instead of fact.
Garfield has created a problem in judicial foreclosure states such as Florida. He has unleashed an army of Pro Se litigants who have clogged the courts trying to argue their foreclosure cases using theories they barely understand. They lack not only legal expertise but lending expertise. They are totally unprepared to argue their own cases and fail to learn or obey court procedure. Many of them go in to court trying to argue constitutional law or TILA and find themselves summarily dismissed by a judge. They then write comments on the blogosphere claiming the judicial system is corrupt and that corruption is a result of some mass government conspiracy.
What the Garfield seminars fail to express to these litigants is that foreclosure laws vary from state to state and if you are fortunate enough to live in a judicial state like Florida or New York, judges want to hear state statute not federal statute unless it is relevant to your case.
This also creates another problem for the court system. The problem consists of the homeowners who have been successful in getting their foreclosures postponed. Fed by what they read on Living Lies, these pro se litigants begin having delusions of grandeur and begin believing they are the next Alan Dershowitz or Gerry Spence. They begin dispensing legal advice on the internet. The reality is, it was not the Gospel of Neil Garfield or the Pro Se litigant’s superior linguistic or legal abilities that got the foreclosure postponed but forces beyond the homeowner’s control.
In his 683 page handbook which is riddled with errors, he claims, “Neil has come out of retirement with one purpose in mind – to do all he can to counter the effects of the mortgage meltdown and save the people and the country from the disaster of created by free money using derivative securities that not even experts understood and targeting the least sophisticated members of society.”
This may sound charitable, but don’t believe the hype. At the end of the day, it’s all about the Bejamins. Garfield and his partner Brad Keiser use these seminars to market future consulting work and forensic audits from law firms and Pro Se litigants that attend their conferences.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people making money and I don’t have a problem with the fees Garfield and Kaiser charge their clients, I do have an issue with what they preach and how they manage the expectations of what they preach to the average homeowner. This industry is filled with enough wannabe Elmer Gantrys or messianic types with no practical mortgage industry experience and the last thing it needs is to encourage more unqualified “healers” to come into this business which is what Garfield and Keiser are doing.