U.S. Department of Education Freedom of Information Denial Service Center Odyssey Continues, Part 2

Based on my experience that is documented on StopExtortion.org, I can say that the U.S. Department of Education Freedom of Information (FOIA) Service Center is knowingly and systematically avoiding producing accurate and relevant FOIA request related information. It is in the business interests of the Department of Education to do so. Thus, there are obvious 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.

Similarly, as has been documented on StopExtortion.org, the Department of Education employees do not shy away from using extortion, document fabrication, involuntary servitude, bullying and harassment when doing so serves the business interest of the Department of Education.

For the Department of Education this is a systemic problem that arises from the operating culture that has been built into the Department of Education's activities over the years.

At this point it is unclear, to what degree is the current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos familiar with this operating culture and to what degree does she find the relevant actions to be appropriate operating methods. As this case continues, these questions should be explored.

Of course, there are also other questions and topics that are related to this case and should be addressed. As this case vividly illustrates, the Department of Education is lacking both skills, functionality and integrity that is needed for management of financial services. While the members of the Congress and leaders of other governmental institutions are probably already familiar with the relevant problems, they should also be informed about the documented real life evidence that this case provides.

Further, considering the enormous amounts of money that the Department of Education spends, and the dismal results that this institution produces especially in higher education related areas, there certainly is a lot of room for improvement. It is also likely, that improvements will be made when the current operating culture will be replaced with a culture that is based on integrity and in higher education related areas focuses on identifying and serving the needs of traditional students, adult learners and employers. That Department of Education would be very different from the one that we have had so far.

  • The letter published below was delivered to:
  • The U.S. Department of Education FOIA Unit, USPS Delivery Confirmation EL778983031US

ATTN: FOIA Service Center

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20202

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please note that this is an open letter that I will publish on StopExtortion.org and may publish on other websites as well.

I submitted Freedom of Information (FOIA) Request dated 08/07/2017. Together with this FOIA Request I sent a filled in and signed Certification of Identity and Consent form. Further, my FOIA Request explicitly stated that a filled in and signed Certification of Identity and Consent form is included with the FOIA Request.

The Department of Education FOIA Service Center received this FOIA Request on 08/08/2017 (USPS confirmation EL778983045US). In response I received a letter from the FOIA Service Center, dated 08/15/2017, requesting that I will fill in and sign Certification of Identity and Consent form.

Thus, I am submitting a new FOIA Request together with a filled in and signed Certification of Identity and Consent form.

Please note, that if the Department of Education FOIA Service Center once again fails to respond to the FOIA Request with either the requested documents or with statements that the requested documents do not exist, I will contact Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, members of the Congress and other governmental institutions regarding the FOIA Service Center actions. In the process I will also continue to submit FOIA Requests as long, as the FOIA Service Center fails to send either the requested documents or statements about the non-existence of the requested documents.

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.

Regarding the FOIA request, please note that the Department of Education as U.S. governmental institution is obligated to provide information regarding federal financial aid that was provided, such as Pell Grant and work-study financial aid.

Similarly, please note that 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.

Freedom of Information (FOIA) Request

This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552, as amended, and the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 USC 552a, as amended.

Please process the Freedom of Information Act request listed below and furnish copies of the following documents:

  • (ITEM 1) The Department of Education claims that I received bank loans as a student and that I owe money for these bank loans. In order for student loan debt to exist, the relevant lending and borrowing transactions must take place. Accordingly, please send me copies of the signed lending and borrowing transactions documents that demonstrate that one or more banks lent me money as student loans and I borrowed money as student loans from one or more banks while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • (ITEM 2) Please furnish copies of records and documents that demonstrate that I actually received the allegedly borrowed money either directly, or indirectly as tuition support while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • (ITEM 3) The Department of Education claims that it holds legally binding promissory notes regarding my alleged debt. Please furnish copies of the original promissory note documents that meet the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory note debt instruments.
  • Because the Department of Education in the past has been peddling partial copies of student loan applications as legally binding promissory notes, I will list below the UCC requirements set for legally binding promissory notes. Such documents must contain:
  • -- The exact principal amount that has to be paid.
  • -- Specific interest rate.
  • -- Due date, and when and at what frequencies any money has to be paid.
  • -- Document must be an unconditional promise to pay.
  • Accordingly, the copies of the legally binding promissory note debt instrument documents that the FOIA Service Center will send me must meet these requirements. Otherwise I will be forced to hold the FOIA Service Center liable for usage of false documents for the purpose of potential monetary gain.
  • (ITEM 4) Please send me all the information that the U.S. Department of Education has or is able to obtain from the guaranty agency and other relevant sources on my receiving Pell Grant and work-study financial aid while I attended Rhode Island College as an undergraduate student from 1990 to 1996.

For both ITEM 1, ITEM 2 and ITEM 3 please note the following:

  • The Department of Education is making monetary demands and the burden of proof is on the Department of Education. The Department of Education has no legal right whatsoever to demand, that I must prove that I do not owe non-existent loans.
  • Accordingly, DO NOT respond by directing me to school or any other institution for information. I do not have to contact the school for any information. It is the responsibility of the Department of Education to provide the requested documents and information or to state honestly, clearly and explicitly about each requested ITEM that the requested information or documents do not exist.
  • I attended Rhode Island College as an undergraduate student from 1990 to 1996. The Department of Education insists that I received bank loans as undergraduate student but has not been able to validate that these claims are rooted in real life lending and borrowing transactions and that I ever actually received any of the alleged bank loans either directly, or indirectly as tuition support. Instead, the Department of Education has been sending out material that was generated by third parties after I graduated in 1996. This material does not demonstrate that I received any of the alleged bank loans, but this material can be used to confuse the situation. Further, the Department of Education can cling to this material and continue to insist that they did not do anything wrong when they created their internal records without existence of any lending and borrowing transactions and documents, and that these internal records, that were created 12 years after I graduated, are correct.
  • If I actually did receive bank loans that paid for my education, as the Department of Education insists, then the relevant lending and borrowing transactions must have taken place before I graduated in 1996. Therefore, there is no need to send me hand written notes, documents and computer records that were generated after I graduated in 1996 as “proof” on lending and borrowing transactions that allegedly took place before I graduated in 1996.
  • Accordingly, please DO NOT send me any documents or computer records that were generated after 1996 or about which it is not clear (1) who, (2) when and (3) for what purpose generated the original document or the original computer record.
  • As Rhode Island College undergraduate student from 1990 to 1996 I did apply for financial aid. I am not disputing this. Therefore, there is no need to send me partial copies of financial aid applications that I filled in as an undergraduate student between 1990 to 1996. We are not disputing my applying for financial aid. Thus, partial copies of old financial aid applications are completely irrelevant to my FOIA request.
  • The financial aid applications that I filled in and signed are approximately half a page long and end with a short section that is labeled Promissory Note. Below that 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 the cost of my attending Rhode Island College 1990-1996.
  • 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 took place.
  • For each ITEM, for which the requested documents do not exist, please state explicitly that the requested documents do not exist. DO NOT respond with a vague and ambiguous statement such as "no additional documents exist in addition to the ones we already sent you." If you respond with a vague and ambiguous statement, I will have to contact the FOIA Service Center again with a request for clear and specific statements, so that we can finally move this case forward.

Thomas Eklund

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