by Sharon Rondeau

(Oct. 5, 2021) — On September 17, 2021, retired Nashville-area dentist Dr. Byron Bush and his wife, Kelly Diane Bush, filed a Second Amended Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, stemming from their unsuccessful eight-year litigation in state court aimed at reversing a sizable judgment stemming from a 2007 commercial-property loan issued by Reliant Bank of Brentwood, TN.

Reliant is a subsidiary of Reliant Bancorp, Inc., which in July announced a merger with United Community Banks, Inc.  The same press release states that DeVan Ard, Jr., a defendant in the Bushes’ action, “founded Reliant Bank in 2006” and that its current assets are “$3.1 billion.”

In June, the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to take up the Bushes’ case following their unsuccessful appeals of the judgment imposed, prompting them to file their “Complaint for Independent Action” in federal court.  

The court had requested two amendments, the second of which has just been accepted by the court; Judge Eli Richardson is presiding.

As they have for the last six plus years, the Bushes are proceeding pro se.   Had they been represented by legal counsel; their attorney fees alone would be near the half-million-dollar mark, an amount most people cannot afford.  Pro se has its own challenges that most people cannot overcome or which they may find intimidating; it may also be a factor in this case since judges frequently do not take pro se, i.e., self-represented litigants seriously, skew decisions in favor of their legal peers and count on the pro se parties to quit.  However, Dr. Bush told The Post & Email, he and his wife are not giving up.

The Bushes’ filing was made under USC 42, Title 1983, “Deprivation of Rights,” several other federal statutes and the Fourteenth Amendment.  It names eight defendants, three of whom are Tennessee state judges.  “While many state and federal laws have been broken by an FDIC bank and their officers during the course of this nine-year litigation process,” the Bushes wrote on page 2, “it is clearly the violations of state officials ‘pretending to act in the performance of… official duties’ which now provides the clear basis for federal review with a ‘colorable claim arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States.’”

The Bushes claim that seven state laws were also violated “to avoid dealing with any ‘type of fraud’ concerning the enforcement of contracts” (p. 5).  That fraud, the Bushes claim, has been not only “ignored,” but perpetrated by the judges themselves.  “The fraud committed by the bank could not have been completed without the fraud upon the court, under “color of law” by the judges who “pretermitted,” i.e., intentionally left out issues and material facts,” Dr. Bush said.  “If those facts had been included, the outcome would have been different and in our favor.”

As The Post & Email reported in June, a “Third Party Agreement” Dr. Bush signed at the loan’s origination on November 30, 2007 states:

I own the Property described in the Security section of this Note and Security Agreement and I agreed to give you a security interest in that Property. 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. By signing, I agree to the terms of this Note and Security Agreement and acknowledge receipt of a complete copy of this Loan.

Upon renewal of the loan in January 2010, Dr. Bush told The Post & Email, he was about to sign an identical Third Party Agreement but was told by the loan officer, “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.”

The fact of the bank’s admission of a “mistake” not revealed to the Bushes as they continued to make payments has been omitted from the opinions of three Tennessee judges and defendants in the case, all of whom ruled against the Bushes: James G. Martin III, Steven Stafford and Frank G. Clement. 

In July 2012, as the economic downturn intensified, Dr. Bush ceased making payments on the loan, as lenders for his plan to construct a hotel and retail establishments did not follow through on their initial interest in providing financing.

In early December 2012, Reliant Bank foreclosed on the property, and the Bushes believed their dealings with the bank were concluded.  To their surprise several months later, Reliant sued the Bushes for what it claimed was the difference between the property appraisal, completed within 30 days of the bank’s repossession, and the amount the Bushes owed on the loan at the time of foreclosure.

That difference, with attorneys’ fees, interest and penalties, now totals approximately $1 million, Dr. Bush told us.

On page 15 of a 352-page court transcript from August 2015, then-Reliant Bank Vice President Rick Belote testified that the bank made “a mistake” when it had Dr. Bush sign the “Third Party Agreement.”

On pp. 240-241 of the same transcript, Belote is noted to have testified that the bank attempted to correct its “mistake” in subsequent loan renewals without notifying the Bushes of the initial error.  That fact has been omitted from the opinions of three Tennessee judges and defendants in the case, all of whom ruled against the Bushes: James G. Martin III, Steven Stafford and Frank G. Clement. 

On that point, Dr. Bush told us: 

This agreement, “to satisfy the Borrower’s debt [upon] default,” is the source of dispute.  The bank claims it is a “mistake… the bank’s mistake… that they knew about from 2010 to 2013-14… but didn’t tell the Bushes… and wouldn’t have told the Bushes even if they had asked… and even made it a point to ensure that the security agreement was not renewed on the 2011 renewal NOTE.”  We contend that the NOTE which was prepared by Reliant Bank is an accurate reflection of our discussion and agreement made with the bank president.

The bank is attempting to hold us financially liable for what only Reliant Bank says is Reliant Bank’s mistake.  The bank has also benefited by seizure and subsequent sale of the property while we have forfeited the property. If the bank truly thought that the agreement was a mistake, but did not inform us of this, then they knew of a “false statement” they had made upon which we would suffer financial loss while the bank would profit; and yet they did not disclose, but instead concealed and altered documents.  That fulfills the five elements of fraud.  The judges heard this testimony and yet have not included ANY of these admissions by bank officers within their opinions and rulings which has allowed the fraud to continue and deceived the court; hence fraud upon the court.  This is defined as corruption of the judicial machinery itself.

This is made even clearer by the last sentence of the last OPINION by the Tennessee Appellate Court written by Judge Steven Stafford stating, “All other issues not addressed have been pretermitted.”  To “pretermit” means to intentionally leave-out, so restating it would read, “All other issues not addressed have been intentionally left-out.”  The court went a step further to defend their action in a Petition to Rehear by stating, “Pretermitting issues [intentionally leaving-out] is a long-standing practice in Tennessee Court.”  But if that is so, it is a license to pick and choose evidence, which is not part of a judge’s role and does not protect a citizen’s right to fair and balanced due process.

Additionally, the court showed no concern for the possibility that fraud might have occurred by stating, “Appellants are not entitled to relief regardless of the type of fraud alleged.”  So “regardless” of who did it, how they did it, how much they got away with, etc., the “type of fraud alleged” is not important, which flies in the face of a fundamental legal precept that “Fraud vitiates [destroys, undoes] contracts, court orders and court opinions.”

The bank did not err when it had him sign the November 30, 2007 Security Agreement, Dr. Bush said.  “The false allegation that it was a ‘mistake’ was repeated several times during the 2013 Depositions and 2014 Trial,” he told us in June.  “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. The agreement was that it was a non-recourse loan.”

As a result, the Bushes claim, “Plaintiffs have sustained not only the loss of the subject Property of StarPointe, but considerable collateral and prolonged economic and emotional injuries and damages in an amount to be proven at trial” (p. 12), requesting a jury trial and judgment in their favor of $49 million (p. 13).

“Can they really turn a blind eye to Judge Steven Stafford’s admission that, intentionally leaving out — pretermitting issues is a long-standing practice in Tennessee Courts’… and that it doesn’t matter, ‘regardless of the type of fraud alleged’? Is there no relief available?” Dr. Bush wrote in a recent email.  “If they can, our system of justice in America is forever broken and destroyed.”

As noted on the last page of the complaint in the form of a sworn affidavit, the Bushes believe “criminal violations” have occurred in their case.  “Unless prosecutors are willing to go after powerful judges, private citizens cannot prosecute criminal statutes,” Dr. Bush said.  “The U.S. Attorney and the FBI have now been notified with a SWORN AFFIDAVIT alleging the violations of several criminal statutes that carry sentences of violations ‘under color of law’ of up to 30 years.”

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  1. The legal system ceased to be a justice system a long time ago, at least back to the 1960s when technicalities became the main tactic to prevent criminal activity from being punished. America is all but lost given the current state of legal and political corruption, and the critical lack of a moral compass!!!!!!!!!! Satanic evil rules the nation today!!!!!!!!!!