U.S. Department of Education Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

Below is a U.S. Department of Education Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It’s one of several requests that I have submitted. In one instance, with a letter dated March 11, 2014, the FOIA Unit already stated that they "were unable to locate any records responsive to your request." Because the Department of Education’s unvalidated monetary demands continued, I had to continue my communication with the Department of Education as well, including the FOIA Unit. So, I asked to specify for each relevant document that it does not exist. Just like I am doing now, I was looking for documents that would demonstrate that the alleged lending and borrowing transactions did actually occur and a legally valid debt obligation exists, or statements that clearly specify that such documents do not exist.

In response, the FOIA Unit sent irrelevant materials, such as partial copies of financial aid applications and copies of my letters to the Department of Education, as if that material would somehow validate that I owe money to the Department of Education.

Instead of providing irrelevant materials, I expect the Department of Education FOIA Unit to disclose honestly all the relevant information that would help to demonstrate that my attendance of a state owned college 20 years ago was paid through means other than bank loans. It is known, that I received Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, Pell Grant and work-study financial aid while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.

Further, for the relevant documents that do not exist, I expect the Department of Education FOIA Unit to admit honestly for each listed alleged bank loan-related item that the relevant documents do not exist. That can help to move this case toward a conclusion, because it demonstrates that there is no valid base for the monetary demands that the Department of Education has been making.

Of course, the Department of Education officials may choose to continue this case by continuing to abuse power. After all, the officials there have known for years that no valid debt exists in this case, yet they have kept the case open, forcing me to work on it. As a result, I have to repeat over and over the facts of this case:

  • I graduated from college in 1996. The Department of Education created its records in 2008 without existence of any lending and borrowing documents 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.
  • Thus, the Department of Education employees created consumer lending records without existence of actual verifiable consumer lending transactions and without existence of the corresponding actual consumer lending documents.
  • After creating consumer lending records without existence of actual verifiable consumer lending transactions and without existence of the corresponding actual consumer lending documents, the Department of Education employees started enforcing their monetary demands as if the demands were based on actual verifiable 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.
  • Further, no documents exist that meet the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory note debt instruments. If actual lending and borrowing transactions would have occurred, legally binding promissory note debt instruments would exist as well. Further, in that case the Department of Education would need to have the original legally binding promissory note debt instruments in its possession, in order to prove ownership of the alleged debt. In reality, the Department of Education employees are trying to peddle partial copies of my financial aid applications as legally binding promissory note debt instruments, even though financial aid applications are different documents and do not meet the requirements set for legally binding promissory note debt instruments.
  • The allegedly borrowed amount’s principal is over 20 times higher than was the cost of tuition of the state owned college that I attended from 1990 to 1996. I did not live on campus. No credible explanation has been provided on where the allegedly borrowed money went to or how it was allegedly used. So, considering the cost of tuition, the allegedly borrowed amounts that the Department of Education entered in its records are completely unrealistic.
  • Because the Department of Education has not been able to prevail in the dispute by using legitimate means, people at this institution have been using other methods, such as document fabrication (creating documents in 2012, using my current address and a different bank’s name than in previous correspondence, and sending these to me as if these were original documents created before 1996), harassment, bullying and abuse of the powers granted to the Department of Education.

In accordance with case law cited below, the Department of Education is obligated to validate its monetary demands. In this case, no legally binding promissory notes exist, but the Department of Education employees insist that the partial copies of financial aid applications also are legally binding promissory note debt instruments. If that is the case, then the Department of Education is a secondary holder of the alleged promissory notes. 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.

So, if the Department of Education wants to keep this case open, that’s what we will do and I will continue to request debt validation while pointing out different aspects that are wrong with this case. I will also continue to file complaints about every collection agency that contacts me and promises to provide debt validation, yet fails to do so. Further, just like I did before, I will contact different institutions and individuals regarding this case. In the process I will keep invoicing the Department of Education for forcing me to work on a case that the Department of Education should handle with its own labor forces.

No law or regulation exists in the U.S. that would require me to work on validating that I do not owe non-existent loans. Instead, the party that is making monetary demands must demonstrate that the demands are valid. The Department of Education has utterly failed at the latter, yet the Department of Education employees have continued to force me to work on this case by abusing the powers granted to the Department of Education.

In the process, the Department of Education’s liabilities continue to increase, while no benefit is produced. Well, the people who may benefit perhaps are the Department of Education’s employees who are being kept employed by doing busywork that produces no value while the taxpayers continue to cover the cost of employing them.

  • The letter published below was delivered to:
  • The U.S. Department of Education FOIA Unit, USPS Delivery Confirmation EL592799177US
  • The office of the Honorable Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education, USPS Delivery Confirmation EL592799185US
  • Rebecca L. Dillon, CEO, Action Financial Services, LLC, USPS Delivery Confirmation EL592799194US

ATTN: FOIA Officer

U.S. Department of Education

Office of the Chief Information Officer

Regulatory Information Management Services

400 Maryland Avenue S.W., PCP 9142

Washington, DC 20202-4700

Dear Sir or Madam,

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 note that this is an open letter that I will publish on the Internet, on StopExtortion.org so that it is accessible to the general public and to other institutions.

I am thereby requesting following information and copies of the following documents:

  • 1) 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 work-study financial aid while I attended Rhode Island College as an undergraduate student from 1990 to 1996.
  • If the relevant information and the relevant documents do not exist please state explicitly that no information exists and no documents exist on my receiving work-study financial aid while I attended Rhode Island College as an undergraduate student from 1990 to 1996.
  • 2) Please send me all the information that the U.S. Department of Education has on my receipt of scholarships and grants, such as Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship and Pell Grant while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • If the relevant information does not exist please state explicitly that no information exists on my receiving any scholarships or grants while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • 3) Please send me the information on the total cost of in-state tuition and fees per school year that was applicable to my attending Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • If the relevant information does not exist please state explicitly that no information exists on the total cost of in-state tuition and fees per school year that was applicable to my attending Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • According to publicly accessible sources the in-state cost of tuition to attend the state owned Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 ranged from $1,703 to $2,838 a year. However, I need to verify the amounts that the U.S. Department of Education has in its records or is able to obtain.
  • 4) 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 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.
  • If the relevant documents do not exist please state explicitly that no documents exist 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.
  • 5) Please send me two-sided (duplex) copies of the original two-sided (duplex) Application and Promissory Note financial aid documents that I signed while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • If the relevant documents do not exist please state explicitly that no original two-sided (duplex) Application and Promissory Note financial aid documents exist that I signed while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • 6) Please send me copies of original Promissory Note documents that meet the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory note debt instruments that I signed while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • If the relevant documents do not exist please state explicitly that no original Promissory Note documents exist that meet the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) requirements for legally binding promissory note debt instruments that I signed while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • For the sake of clarify, I will add the notes below.
  • The partial, front-end copies of the Application and Promissory Note documents that I filled in and the U.S. Department of Education has furnished are financial aid applications. As such, these documents do not contain the following information that is necessary for a document to qualify as a legally binding promissory note:
  • – The exact principal amount that has to be paid. The partial copies of the Application and Promissory Note documents that were furnished to me state that the principal can be the amount printed in the loan application, or less, which then also includes zero ($0.00).
  • – Specific interest rate.
  • – Due date, and when and at what frequencies any money has to be paid.
  • – Further, a promissory note must be an unconditional promise to pay. A signed partial copy of the Application and Promissory Note financial aid document on its own is not an unconditional promise to pay, because the financial aid applicant may not receive any loan at all, or may receive the loan in the future at an unknown point in time, in which case the loan amount will be disclosed to the borrower in the Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statement.
  • That is, the Application and Promissory Note financial aid document does not state with certainty that the financial aid applicant will receive or has received any loan amount at all. If the applicant does not receive any loan amount, then there is no debt or debt obligation.
  • Therefore, the Application and Promissory Note financial aid document on its own qualifies at the most as a conditional promise to pay, dependent on the content of the Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statement and any other documents that the applicant will sign when receiving a loan.
  • Accordingly, if the U.S. Department of Education claims that lending and borrowing transactions occurred, the U.S. Department of Education must furnish relevant signed documents and documents that amount to legally binding promissory note debt instruments and to unconditional promises to pay.
  • 7) Please send me copies of the original Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statements that apply to the bank loans that I allegedly received and were issued while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • If the relevant documents do not exist please state explicitly that no original Notice of Loan Guarantee and Disclosure Statements exist that apply to the bank loans that I allegedly received and were issued while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • 8) Please send me copies of the signed insurance claims that Fleet National Bank in or around 1997 allegedly submitted to Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority against my alleged unpaid student loans.
  • If the relevant documents do not exist please state explicitly that no signed insurance claims exist that Fleet National Bank in or around 1997 submitted to Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority against my alleged unpaid student loans.
  • 9) Please send me copies of the signed documents that demonstrate that Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority actually made one or more payments to Fleet National Bank in or around 1997 as a result of Fleet National Bank allegedly submitting an insurance claim against my alleged unpaid student loans and not some other person’s loans.
  • If the relevant documents do not exist please state explicitly that no signed documents exist that demonstrate that Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority actually made one or more payments to Fleet National Bank in or around 1997 as a result of Fleet National Bank allegedly submitting an insurance claim against my alleged unpaid student loans and not some other person’s loans.

Please note that this request for information is part of an ongoing case that started in December of 2011. In the process, I have requested relevant information and documents from the U.S. Department of Education FOIA Office before. However, the U.S. Department of Education FOIA Office has never sent me the information and the documents that I actually requested. Instead, the U.S. Department of Education FOIA Office has sent me partial copies of financial aid applications, internal documents which seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college, computer screen snapshots of records that seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college, copies of my previous correspondence with the U.S. Department of Education and other material that is completely irrelevant to the information and documents that I actually requested from the U.S. Department of Education FOIA Office.

Such actions do not in any way contribute to resolving this case and only prolong it. Thus, I hope that with your response you will address the actually requested information and documents.

Thomas Eklund

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