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by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 11, 2021) – “Fake news? What about fake justice? What about judges who break their oath-of-office and give favors to the rich and powerful?  How can we be a Nation of Laws if the judges are corrupt?”

This was one of two political commercials run during the Super Bowl of February 2nd, 2020, kicking off his run for the U.S. Senate in the Tennessee Republican Primary to fight corruption in government by those entrusted to serve.  While he, along with thirteen others did not win, he did create a splash.

Dr. Byron Bush, a Nashville-area dentist, and his wife Kelly have been in and out of court for more than seven years as the result of bank action taken against them stemming from a 2012 property foreclosure. 

As a result of the ongoing legal action and its costs, the Bushes lost their home, Dr. Bush related in a May 5 interview.  “We were told at the time they would come after us for the equity in our home,” he said.

In late April the Bushes filed their fourth application to the Tennessee Supreme Court asking for an “independent action” concerning the trial and appellate courts’ opinions not only favoring Reliant Bank but also, Dr. Bush said, “officers-of-the-court who have ‘covered up’ Reliant’s false admission of an “alleged-mistake” in the security agreement he signed resulting in “fraud upon the court.”  While this and other evidence was revealed during the 2014 trial which revealed “fraud by bank officers,” Dr. Bush said, “none of it was ever acknowledged or addressed within the Opinions of the court as though it never occurred; but it did!”

 “This deceit has now been committed by the judges themselves,” Dr. Bush wrote in an April 13 email to this writer. “Essentially Tennessee’s Appellate Court is now on RECORD in their recent Opinion and Order that it is OK to pretermit (intentionally leave-out) issues and material facts… ‘facts that matter’… even when those are the very facts which have deceived the honorable court… AND… that it does not matter what ‘type of fraud [is] alleged’ or committed, there is no relief to the victim of that fraud… [or worse] any consequence to the perpetrator… officers-of-the-court… judges… giving license for future corruption by those entrusted to serve within our judicial system. Yet both of these statements by the court are in flagrant violation of the legal precept that ‘fraud vitiates (destroys, undoes) contracts, orders and rulings.’”

The Bushes’ three previous petitions to the state’s highest court were not granted a hearing.

In a December 2020 virtual appellate hearing, Dr. Bush, who is now representing himself in the case, testified to a three-judge panel stating, “We are still struggling with ‘What is truth?’  This is our fourth hearing before this court over the last eight years.  This is not a litigation process that we began, but was begun by Reliant Bank against us. In fact, our third appeal, Reliant Bank was the appellant; this is our fourth appeal, and we’re still dealing and trying to get the difference between ‘truth’ and ‘whole truth’….” [sic]

One of those judges, Judge Stafford, presided over another of the Bushes’ previous appellate hearings despite his long-time close acquaintance with Appellate Judge Frank Clement, who is one of two judges the Bushes have cited for “fraud upon the court.” “It would require Judge Stafford to discipline his friend, colleague and peer if the allegations contained within a SWORN AFFIDAVIT are true and which has now again been dismissed,” Dr. Bush said. “This is hardly an unbiased panel who must make life-changing decisions that could affect their friends and peers.”

All three judges appeared unconcerned during the hearing, Dr. Bush commented to The Post & Email, as to his allegations contained “within a SWORN AFFIDAVIT under penalty of perjury of a judicial ‘cover-up’ and of the bank’s lack of candor and fraudulent concealment dating back to 2010 by its own admission. There was not even the slightest curiosity that a bank may have committed fraud, nor that this may have been covered-up by fellow peer judges.”

In late 2007, Dr. Bush met with Reliant Bank president DeVan Ard, who green-lighted a loan for Bush to develop five acres of commercially-zoned property.  With its close proximity to a major airport in a heavily-traveled area, Dr. Bush intended to build a hotel and to later expand the project to include retail establishments, he told The Post & Email.

Those plans, which attracted two developers, fell through after the 2008 real-estate market crash, Bush said, and as the economic downturn deepened, Reliant withdrew its offer to finance the project.

In January 2010, the Bushes signed a renewal of the loan.  “The bank had doubled the interest,” Dr. Bush recalled.  “I signed again as a borrower under the NOTE, but the loan officer stopped me from signing the bank-prepared ‘Security Agreement’ where it said the loan would be satisfied by stating, “Dr. Bush, you don’t need to re-sign there; you’ve already pledged the property; that’s already been done; that’s still in effect.”

Included in the initial Multi-Purpose Note and Security Agreement dated November 30, 2007 was a “third-party agreement” which stated, “I am not personally liable for payment of this debt.  If the borrower defaults, my interest in the secured Property may be used to satisfy the Borrower’s debt…”

“So when I originally signed that in 2007,” Dr. Bush recalled, “I looked up at everybody (there were four or five of us in the room), and I said, ‘It’s good to know the only thing that I can do is lose the property,’ and everybody laughed.” 

Dr. Bush had previously engaged in several discussions with Ard concerning limiting his financial risk to the property alone, based on a higher-than-expected bank appraisal of the commercial property.

“I signed as the borrower and the Security Agreement to “satisfy the Borrower’s debt,” then pushed the documents to Kelly and she signed as borrower,” Dr. Bush said. “Her routine was to sign under my name; so she went to also sign the Security Agreement, and they stopped her and said, ‘Mrs. Bush, you don’t own the property, so you can’t sign there.  Only Dr. Bush owns the property.’” 

Despite the higher interest rate following renewal in 2010, there was still considerable equity in the property, Dr. Bush said, “so we continued to pay on it until a final default in July of 2012.  We defaulted because lending institutions still had cold feet, financing just wasn’t coming back for investments and we were running out of liquidity which was putting our new dental office in jeopardy.  The banks were very fearful.” 

“We received notice that they were going to do a foreclosure in September,” Dr. Bush continued.  “I had been scrambling to hold onto it because of everything I had invested in it.”  Two potential buyers failed to materialize, he said, and ultimately the foreclosure took place. 

“It foreclosed, and Reliant sold it and bought it themselves on December 4, 2012,” Dr. Bush said.  “They were the only ones who showed up for the sale.”

What followed was Reliant’s filing of a civil suit for the difference between the appraised value of the property at the time of foreclosure and the amount Dr. Bush owed on the loan.  “We went through depositions in 2013 and to trial in August 2014,” Dr. Bush said.  “We couldn’t understand why the bank was insisting on coming after us when we had negotiated and signed the bank-prepared Security Agreement to “satisfy the Borrower’s debt.”

While the property had been appraised for almost $2.5 million prior to the real-estate crash and $1,885,000 within 30 days of the foreclosure by an experienced appraiser who Reliant had also previously used less than two years earlier, Reliant commissioned another appraisal, Bush told us, following the foreclosure, this time with a novice whose relative happened to be employed by the bank and whose report stated the land was now worth less than $1 million.  Interestingly, Dr. Bush said, Reliant also listed it for sale following foreclosure for $1,900,000, showing their assessment of what they considered to be the property’s true Fair Market Value.

When a home is foreclosed, normally the bank is obligated to accept the property to satisfy the debt, Dr. Bush explained.  However, with commercial real estate, a remaining judgment can be sought by the lending institution for the difference between the Fair Market Value and the amount owed by the borrower.

Since at least 2019, Dr. Bush has claimed judges have knowingly committed “fraud upon the court” by pretermitting (intentionally leaving-out) issues and material facts, ignoring Reliant’s “false-allegation” and admission that it “made a mistake,” as shown in the transcript, by having him sign the Security Agreement.  “Therefore, court officers are holding the victims of a mistake financially responsible for the perpetrator of the mistake, who also hid that information, thereby committing fraud,” Dr. Bush said.  “In so doing, these court officers have deceived the Honorable Court and become complicit partners with the fraud.”

The Bushes have insisted from the beginning that it was no “mistake” that Dr. Bush was told to sign the Security Agreement, as they had negotiated with the bank president for the Security Agreement.  “Yet nowhere in court Opinions or Rulings have the courts ever acknowledged or addressed this revealing testimony by Reliant Bank officers,” Dr. Bush said.

In August 2019, Dr. Bush launched a U.S. Senate campaign on the platform of “It matters…who represents us in Washington” with an emphasis on “fighting for judicial reform.”

Although unsuccessful in his Senate bid and a previous one from 1994, Dr. Bush said that what began as a dispute with the bank has evolved into an unswerving determination to expose corruption within the judicial system for the benefit of all Tennesseans.  During the campaign and following the two Super Bowl commercials calling out the names of the two judges who withheld evidence, Dr. Bush said numerous people came to him describing their own horror stories of judicial corruption.  “The common theme in every one of the accounts was that the judges (1) Ignored the Law, and (2) Omitted, Left-Out, “Pretermitted” Material Facts,” Dr. Bush said. Several of the complaints were dealing with the same two judges with whom the Bushes had been involved, Dr. Bush recalled.

Depositions in Reliant’s lawsuit against the Bushes began in the fall of 2013.  Also deposed was Ard and another bank officer, Sr. V.P. Rick Belote, who was not employed by Reliant until May 1, 2008, according to his testimony.  When Belote was asked why the bank had Dr. Bush sign the Security Agreement, Dr. Bush said, and the transcript reflects, that Belote responded that it was “a mistake” (p. 15). 

According to Dr. Bush, the “false allegation that it was a ‘mistake’ was repeated several times during the 2013 Depositions and 2014 Trial” as recorded in the transcript.  “They were saying I wasn’t supposed to sign, even though I was directed by them to sign where my name was prepared and printed following discussions with the bank president,” Dr. Bush said.  “They tried to distort and confuse a lot of things.”

Page 222 of the transcript shows Belote stating he did not review the loan until “2010,” after it was considered “distressed.”

On pages 227-233, Belote also testified that his failure to sign the renewal agreement with the Bushes was a second “error” on the part of the bank. 

Quoting various responses provided in hearings and depositions beginning in 2013, Dr. Bush said, “Reliant’s false admissions during the 2014 trial include that their own Loan Note and Security Agreement which the bank ‘prepared’ and ‘directed’ us to sign is ‘contradictory, ambiguous and a mistake…’ not the Bushes mistake… that the bank knew about for 3-4 years…’ but did not tell us while knowing that we would ‘suffer a loss’; along with evidence that the bank had altered their Loan documents for their benefit without our knowledge.  This testimony fulfills the exact 5-element definition of fraud, yet this testimony has consistently been omitted, pretermitted from the Opinion of the court by officers-of-the-court who have now deceived the Honorable Court; thereby committing fraud upon the court.”

The Bushes are now awaiting a decision from the Tennessee Supreme Court regarding whether or not it will hear the matter.  “If not, ‘Fake Justice’ will prevail,” says Dr. Bush, “because the ‘whole truth’ has deceitfully been pretermitted.”

The Post & Email reached out to Belote by email and phone for comment but received no response by press time.

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  1. Charles Van Morgan for You Tennessee Governor Campaign 2022. Your government back to you! In my case I was out doing what the State ask me to do as a State Trooper protecting lives. State officers committed perjery that I can prove. The judges even acknowledge that we disagreed with the sworn under oath testimony of State officers and allowed it to continue ruling in the States favor like they always do in order to get promoted by the State court system. It’s a system of corruption NOT justice. They sat behind desk in safety and lied on me while I was out on the road serving the public in harms way. How much more cowardly can the judges in Tennessee be. I running for Tennessee Governor to protect the public from this dirty government.

  2. Dr. Bush:
    It is truly amazing how this transaction could have been handled so poorly by the bank and the Justices. Hopefully this effort will bring forth the financial justice you and your family deserve.