Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos – Uninformed Victim or Extortionist Ringleader?

I believe that it is the responsibility of public institutions, such as Department of Education, to identify and resolve problems instead of creating and prolonging them. This is especially true when the problems are serious by nature, such as usage of extortion, document fabrication, involuntary servitude, bullying and harassment. In the case that is being addressed here these problems, which have been documented on StopExtortion.org, seem to be rooted in the Department of Education's operating culture.

I also believe that it is the responsibility of the person who is in charge of the institution to organize workflows so, that the problems are being addressed and resolved.

At this point it is unclear, to what degree the current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is familiar with the problems that are being addressed here. Obviously, Secretary of Education does not have to be informed about every problem, but people who can address and resolve the problems within the Department of Education should be informed about them. If people who could resolve the problems are not being informed about them, organizationally they and other people in charge are being victimized as a result.

However, if people who could resolve the problems are being informed about them and choose to ignore or prolong the problems, then they should be held accountable for doing so.

As this case continues, these topics will have to be addressed over and over again.

Below is an open letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that addresses relevant topics.

  • The letter published below was delivered to:
  • The office of the Honorable Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education, USPS Delivery Confirmation EL778983028US

The Honorable Betsy DeVos

Secretary of Education

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue S.W.

Washington, DC 20202

Dear Secretary DeVos:

Thank you for the response dated 06/09/2017 that your assistant sent on your behalf. Please note that this is an open letter that I will publish on the Internet, on StopExtortion.org and may also publish on other websites.

I will describe below some rather serious problems that are rooted in the Department of Education's operating culture. I will also recommend a solution to the case that is addressed here. So, you will have to make a choice: you can continue to use the previously applied approaches that are clearly dysfunctional, or you can choose a better alternative.

  • Secretary DeVos, do you know that people who respond on your behalf make you seem like a ringleader who supports usage of extortion, document fabrication, involuntary servitude, bullying and harassment when doing so serves the business interest of the Department of Education?
  • Further, in the response dated 06/09/2017 your assistant, who responded on your behalf, stated that I can sue the Department of Education in federal district court. Does this represent the kind of constructive problem solving that you personally advocate?
  • Of course, the Department of Education can drag lawsuits over the years and can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process on legal aid. The Department of Education spends taxpayer money and so, that all the participants on the Department's side get paid in the process. I would have to spend similar amounts of my money and substantial amounts of my time in the process. So, suing the Department of Education can bankrupt me.
  • I understand, that this may seem like a good solution to the Department of Education employees who made the recommendation, but it is not a constructive solution for me.
  • Further, do you know that the Department of Education's Freedom of Information (FOIA) Service Center employees are knowingly and systematically avoiding producing accurate and relevant FOIA request related information, apparently because it is in the interests of the Department of Education to do so?
  • As the leader of the Department of Education, do you personally advocate having strong motivational forces in place for the Department of Education employees not to comply with the Freedom of Information Act when that suits the interests of the Department of Education?

Case Background

Secretary DeVos, I came to the U.S. in 1989 as a political refugee from the Soviet Union. I attended state owned Rhode Island College between 1990 and 1996 as an honors student. As a student I filled in and signed financial aid applications which are approximately half a page long and end with a short section that is labeled Promissory Note. Below this section is the only place on the application for a signature and that is where I signed my financial aid applications as a student. Based on these financial aid applications I received Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, Pell Grant and work-study financial aid that covered my college attending costs.

My signing the financial aid applications below the section that is labeled Promissory Note does not in any way make me a borrower. A bank actually lending money to me and my accepting the loan would make me a borrower. In that case, the relevant documents and records would demonstrate that lending and borrowing transactions took place.

The Department of Education insists that I also borrowed $46,354.00 as student loans from Fleet National Bank. This alleged loan principal is about 20 times higher than was the cost of the relevant average annual tuition and is completely unrealistic. I did not live on campus, which potentially could have increased the cost of attending college. Further, as far as I know, as a student I did not qualify for bank loans because I was in the U.S. on a temporary visa when I first attended college, and then on Green Card until graduation, without any credit history, co-signer or collateral. Initially I did not have any work experience and work history either. While I was a student my income was extremely low and did not support borrowing from a bank tens of thousands of dollars.

No credible explanation has been provided on where the allegedly borrowed money went to or how it was allegedly used. No lending and borrowing documents exist that would demonstrate that the alleged lending and borrowing transactions actually took place in reality. No records or documents exist that would demonstrate that I actually received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly, as tuition support. Further, no documents exist that meet the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory note debt instruments.

Secretary DeVos, banks are not Santa Claus assistants who drop money to people in big bags. If the alleged lending and borrowing transactions would have taken place in reality, then the relevant documents would exist as well.

Here's what is known about this case.

We do know that a guaranty agency created student loan related records and documents after I graduated from college in 1996.

We also know that in 2008, which is 12 years after I graduated from college, the Department of Education created internal records based on the guaranty agency records. Based on the available information I have to conclude that in 2008 the Department of Education created consumer lending records without existence of actual consumer lending transactions and corresponding actual consumer lending documents. Neither Congress nor any other institution has ever authorized the Department of Education to operate this way.

Subsequently, the Department of Education started using these internal records as if these records were based on actual, real life lending and borrowing transactions. Of course, when I requested debt validation in 2011 after a collection agency contacted me, then the Department of Education's case quickly fell apart.

The Department of Education has had over 5 years to work on this case and has dragged me along. As of today, I have not received any documents that demonstrate that the alleged student loan lending and borrowing transactions actually took place, that I actually received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly as tuition support, and that the corresponding legally binding valid debt instruments exist.

Accordingly, I have to conclude that no alleged bank loans exist and no alleged debt obligation exists either. However, the Department of Education has refused to close this case and jointly with its business partners has continued to make monetary demands and threats. Therefore, I must continue to work on this case.

Documented Evidence

For us to have a student loan dispute, student loans must exist in the first place. That is not the case here. Thus, this is not a student loan dispute. This is an internal record making, usage and enforcement dispute that has escalated into other areas and will continue to escalate for as long, as the case is kept open.

Throughout this dispute, the Department of Education has failed to validate that its record making processes are backed by real life transactions, and that it has the authority to use unvalidated internal records for forcing an individual to work endlessly on a case that is intended to benefit the Department of Education financially and its employees professionally.

Because the Department of Education employees have been unable to prevail in the dispute by using legitimate means, people at this institution have been using other methods. StopExtortion.org contains relevant evidence that has been documented on the Internet over the years.

  • (1) Extortion. Collecting actual legitimate student loans is not extortion. Creating consumer lending records without existence of the actual consumer lending transactions and documents and then making monetary demands by using fabricated documents, involuntary servitude, harassment, abuse of power and bullying is extortion.
  • These are the actions that the Department of Education employees have been engaging in, using their nationwide debt collectors network in the process.
  • (2) Document fabrication. The Department of Education has been trying to peddle partial copies of my financial aid applications as legally binding promissory notes. Obviously, financial aid applications and legally binding promissory notes are different documents.
  • Further, in 2012 the Department of Education employees sent me what they claimed to be copies of my original Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statements. However, it turned out that these statements were generated in 2012 by entering my current information into a computer system in 2012 – more than 15 years after I graduated from college. In addition, the statements contained a wrong address and wrong bank’s name. Thus, these documents were literally fraudulently fabricated.
  • Further, on the copies of the Application and Promissory Note financial aid applications that the Department of Education has sent me, there are broken, shadowy rectangles around the Promissory Note portions of the applications. These irregularities and possible alterations call into question the authenticity of these documents.
  • Further, instead of furnishing verifiable copies of the original documents, the Department of Education keeps sending out partial copies of my financial aid application (copies made from copies), together with copies of unidentified documents that could belong to anybody.
  • Further, in December of 2015, that is 4 (four) years after the dispute started, all of the sudden a new set of Indemnification Agreements documents appeared, that apparently were created in 2015, but were backdated to 3/19/2007. The purpose of doing so seems to be to provide the Department of Education a way out from a situation that the Department of Education is unwilling and unable to handle in any other way, so that the guaranty agency can take over the involuntary servitude usage and unvalidated monetary demands making processes.
  • These Indemnification Agreements call for the Department of Education to transfer non-existent assets to the guaranty agency as actual, valid assets. Doing so would be fraud. If the Department of Education transfers any rights to non-existent assets to the guaranty agency, then the Department of Education is liable for having to prove that it did have legitimate assets and corresponding rights to make monetary demands in the first place. If the Department of Education transfers assets and rights that it knows it does not have, the Department of Education is knowingly engaging in fraud. That will make a bad situation even worse.
  • Thus, it seems that the Department of Education and its business partner habitually and purposefully use fabricated documents so that they can support their invalid monetary demands.
  • (3) Involuntary servitude usage. As is described below, through usage of threats and its nationwide debt collectors network, for over 5 (five) years the Department of Education has forced me to work in involuntary servitude conditions on a case that the Department of Education should handle with its own resources and is intended to benefit the Department of Education financially and its employees professionally.
  • (4) Bullying and harassment. Half a year after I started requesting debt validation in December of 2011, from 06/2012 to 08/2013, the Department of Education reported the unvalidated, non-existent student loans to Experian credit bureau, as if these were actual loans in collection. I found out about this in June of 2014. Thereafter, I contacted Experian credit bureau and had the invalid records removed from my credit report.
  • In the letter dated 06/03/2016 the Department of Education employee informed me that the Department of Education had again entered the non-existent, unvalidated loan records into my credit history. However, in reality no records were entered into my credit history. The Department of Education employees simply bullied me, trying to avert me from making debt validation requests that I am entitled to make.
  • Further, since December of 2011 the Department of Education has assigned numerous collection agencies to this case. In each instance, the outcome is the same as before: there is no valid debt or debt obligation.
  • In December of 2011 I received a collection letter from the U.S. Department of Education business partner, FMS Investment Corp. (dba FMS Services, aka Financial Management Systems). I responded on 12/16/2011 and requested debt validation. This dispute continued. However, in September of 2012 I received a letter from James K. Schultz of Sessions, Fishman, Nathan & Israel, L.L.C. law office, advising me that I should no longer contact FMS Investment Corp. directly, but should direct any future communication to James K. Schultz.
  • Thus, this collection agency that had initially demanded outrageous amounts of money from me, ended up hiring a lawyer so that I would not contact them again with debt validation requests.
  • Thereafter the U.S. Department of Education assigned another collection agency to this case, Collection Technology, Inc. (CTI). The outcome was the same as before: there is no valid debt or debt obligation.
  • Thereafter the U.S. Department of Education assigned another collection agency to this case, Collecto, Inc., d/b/a EOS CCA. The outcome was the same as before: there is no valid debt or debt obligation.
  • Thereafter the U.S. Department of Education assigned another collection agency to this case, Immediate Credit Recovery, Inc. The outcome was the same as before: there is no valid debt or debt obligation.
  • Thereafter the U.S. Department of Education assigned another collection agency to this case, Central Research, Inc. The outcome was the same as before: there is no valid debt or debt obligation.
  • Thereafter the U.S. Department of Education assigned another collection agency to this case, Windham Professionals, Inc. The outcome was the same as before: there is no valid debt or debt obligation.
  • Thereafter the U.S. Department of Education assigned another collection agency to this case, Action Financial Services, LLC. The outcome was the same as before: there is no valid debt or debt obligation.
  • Thus, the same processes are knowingly, intentionally and maliciously repeated, over and over again. If this is allowed to continue, we can expect the Department of Education employees to repeat the same actions or to try to find new ways for repeating the same actions, even though it is clear that no valid debt or debt obligation exists.
  • Because the same steps are repeated over and over again, and the conclusion is always that no valid debt or debt obligation exists, the objective of the Department of Education employees actions cannot legitimately be collection of the alleged debt. The objective seems to be to exhaust me, so that I would give up and would pay the perpetrators, even though no bank loans actually exist.
  • (5) Violations of Freedom of Information Act. As is described below, over the years I have submitted numerous Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests. However, the Department of Education FOIA Service Center has never sent me the information and the documents that I actually requested. Thus, I have to conclude that the Department of Education FOIA Service Center purposefully avoids sending me the information and the documents that I request. Understandably, the Department of Education has vested business interests in not complying with the Freedom of Information Act. However, that does not legitimize such actions.

None of these problems have been resolved.

Secretary DeVos, please keep in mind that every time when your assistants respond on your behalf stating incorrectly that all the problem areas have already been addressed and resolved, the response also means that you personally support usage of extortion, document fabrication, involuntary servitude, bullying and harassment when doing so serves the business interest of the Department of Education.

If you want to resolve the problems addressed here, obviously you can do so.

If you support prolonging the problems, then as the leader of the Department of Education you are indeed responsible for the acts addressed here. After you will leave the Department of Education this will become part of your legacy.

Your and Department of Education's Debt Obligation

Secretary DeVos, Department of Education's operations have been purposefully set up so, that the Department of Education forces former students to work on cases that are intended to benefit the Department of Education financially and the Department of Education employees professionally regardless of whether or not any debt obligations exist.

For over 5 years I have been forced to work on the Department of Education debt validation case without compensation, against my will. I have been invoicing the Department of Education along the way and will continue to do so. Enclosed is a copy of the latest invoice. At this point the Department of Education owes me $349,998.07. The accumulated debt that the Department of Education owes me has not been resolved and is due in full.

This is a debt that the Department of Education has created. You inherited this case. However, you are responsible for the policies that the Department of Education implements while you are the Secretary of Education. Accordingly, as this case continues, I am holding you personally responsible for forcing me to work in involuntary servitude conditions for the sake of personal and professional gain of the Department of Education employees and business partners.

The Department of Education employees must validate the monetary demands that they make and should do so completely impartially. Similarly, the Department of Education employees should handle the case with their own resources, within a reasonable pre-determined period of time (for example, 3 months).

Instead, through usage of threats and nationwide debt collectors network, for over 5 (five) years the Department of Education has forced me to work on this case.

The Department of Education employees have been pursuing this case, even though neither Congress nor any other institution has ever authorized the Department of Education to create consumer lending records without existence of documents that show that the relevant lending and borrowing transactions actually took place.

Similarly, the Department of Education employees have been pursuing this case without documents that meet the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory note debt instruments. Because the Department of Education claims that it holds legally binding promissory notes, the Department of Education is in the shoes of the alleged original lender, a commercial entity. In accordance with case law, (citing)

  • as assignees, the Guaranty Agencies and other secondary holders step into the shoes of the lender from whom they have taken the promissory notes and are subject to any defenses that the student/obligee may assert against the assignor/lender. See Jackson v. Culinary School of Washington, 788 F. Supp. 1233, 1248 n.9 (D.D.C. 1992), reversed on other grounds, 27 F.2d 573 (D.C. Cir. 1994), vacated, 515 U.S. 1139, on reconsideration, 59 F.3d 354 (D.C. Cir. 1995).

The above citation is applicable to the time period when the alleged loans were made. Accordingly, the Department of Education is obligated to provide information about the alleged loans, including admitting honestly and openly that no relevant documents exist, when the latter is applicable.

Yet, the Department of Education employees have not provided information that would help to close this case and instead forcefully prolong this case.

Enclosed Freedom of Information (FOIA) Request

Secretary DeVos, I have submitted numerous Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests. However, the Department of Education FOIA Service Center has never sent me the information and the documents that I actually requested. Instead, the Department of Education FOIA Service Center has sent me partial copies of financial aid applications that I filled in between 1990 and 1996, internal documents which seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college in 1996, computer screen snapshots of records that seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college in 1996, copies of my previous correspondence with the Department of Education and other material that is completely irrelevant to the information and documents that I actually requested from the Department of Education FOIA Service Center.

Such actions do not in any way contribute to resolving this case and only prolong it.

In May-August 2017 I submitted again several FOIA requests with similar results. Enclosed is the latest FOIA request that the Department of Education FOIA Service Center received on 8/23/2017 (USPS Delivery Confirmation EL778983031US).

Please ask the FOIA Service Center to process this FOIA request so, that they actually respond to the request. Otherwise, people there will find ways to evade their responsibility to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

Proposed Solution

Secretary DeVos, I have a radical solution to offer.

  • The Department of Education admits that no documents exist that validate that the underlying alleged lending and borrowing transactions took place, that I received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly as tuition support, and that the corresponding legally binding valid debt instruments exist.
  • Accordingly, there is no valid debt obligation either.
  • The Department of Education admits this because it is true and admitting this is the right thing to do.
  • Thereafter we address the aspects that are relevant to closing this case.
  • We will also address the Department of Education's debt obligation to me. If the Department of Education admits that no valid debt obligation exists, then I believe that we can find a solution to the Department of Education's debt obligation as well.

This approach will help to find a constructive solution. If you choose to continue to go down the unconstructive path, you can have one of your assistants again respond with a template letter. I will then be forced to continue to work on this case. In the process I will have to contact other institutions and numerous members of the Congress.

In will also continue to publish this case on the Internet. This process will generate growing amounts of real life case based evidence demonstrating, that the Department of Education is lacking both skills, functionality and integrity that is needed for management of financial services.

However, you can prove with constructive actions that the above is incorrect.

Thomas Eklund

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