Some people and big-money institutions live by a different set of rules and laws from the rest of us. Take the case of Reliant Bank v. Bush in Williamson County and now again before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
By Byron Bush / ABetterTennessee.com
ANY decision heard by a court of law can be justified or upheld if the “facts” which are considered to make the decision are “limited” to ONLY those “material facts” which support one side. But Tennessee law says that “The court of appeals… shall independently consider and find ALL material facts in the record” [T.C.A. § 27-1-113].
Neither the Williamson County Chancery Court, nor the Nashville Court of Appeals has upheld their sworn duty. Instead, Officers-of-the-Court have covered-up and ignored critical and incriminating evidence of FRAUD by Reliant Bank. Their deception has now resulted in “FRAUD UPON THE COURT”.
In 2007, Byron and Kelly Bush took out a loan with Reliant Bank to develop a commercial property they had purchased two-years prior. Dr. Bush, a Nashville dentist and former 1994 U.S. Senate candidate, had sold Bush Dental Care in 2005 and purchased the the property.
Reliant Bank prepared a non-recourse multi-purpose note and security agreement with the Bushes, meaning “all they could lose was the property.” The NOTE in ITEM #19 stated, “If this Loan is secured by real estate, a default and your remedies for default will be determined by the terms of any separate document creating the security agreement… and not contrary to the terms of the separate security document, by this loan.”
For some reason, Judge James G. Martin of Williamson County left this out of his 30-page opinion. This ITEM #19 was followed by the third party agreement prepared for Dr. Bush to sign which read, “If the borrower defaults, my [Dr. Bush’s] interest in the secured property may be used to satisfy the Borrower’s debt.” Judge Martin determined this to be “ambiguous” and then re-interpreted the NOTE to mean the EXACT OPPOSITE.
The Bushes defaulted 5 years later in 2012 after the 2008 downturn, interest-rate doubling by Reliant and broken-promises to finance the construction of a Microtel Hotel.
Instead of the Bushes “debt” being “satisfied” as had been agreed, Reliant Bank bought the property themselves for 54 cents on the dollar, using an appraisal based on a down-zoning of the property, contrary to FDIC appraisal guidelines. This greatly reduced the property’s value. Reliant then took the Bushes to court in 2014 to recover a deficiency judgment including attorney fees approaching a million dollars.
At trial in 2014, Sr. vice president for Reliant Rick Belote testified under oath that he had found this non-recourse agreement in 2010 but determined that it was a “mistake.” He later told his superiors but “never told the Bushes” and “wouldn’t have told them even if they had asked”. He also informed the court that he “made it a point to ensure that the third party agreement was not executed on that 2011 [Renewal] document “by alteration and concealment of a “known mistake in a contract.” That’s like selling your home without telling the buyers there are termites.
That’s FRAUD as legally defined.
Even DeVan Ard, Reliant’s president testified he “would have wanted to be notified about that” because he “considered it a material change” in their document. It seems reasonable then that the Bushes would also want to know that their “remedy for default” prepared by Reliant would NO longer “satisfy the borrower’s debt” but would instead result in a deficiency judgment near $1 million.
But NOT ONE of these incriminating “material facts” were mentioned by the Trial or Appellate Courts; who concealed these facts that matter from their “Finding of Facts” in the same way Reliant Bank hid and concealed their fraudulent behavior for 4 years. The “remedy for default” defined in ITEM #19 of the NOTE was instead swept under the rug to justify the ruling and opinion.
Therefore, the record of case law does not reveal the “whole truth” for future review.
Mr. Belote also testified that “This is the only time I’ve ever seen it used” concerning the non-recourse third party agreement. But others have come forward since this case with the exact same agreement executed. But again, this “material fact” was not mentioned by either the chancery or appellate Court. WHY?
Even though Reliant’s “alleged-mistake” was the central theme of the trial, Williamson County trial judge James G. Martin never mentioned this “alleged-mistake” or any of the other incriminating testimony of Reliant Bank officers in 30-pages of his ruling. He held the Bushes accountable for Reliant Bank’s “alleged-mistake.” This is contrary to multiple Tennessee statutes and rules of civil and appellate procedure. It’s wrong!
The Bushes lost their home as have others and have exhausted their savings and retirement defending against a bank that does not honor an agreement they made to “satisfy the borrower’s debt.” Reliant Bank has the land… they now want more!
So next time you’re in court, just tell the judge it’s all a big “mistake.” But don’t expect to get off the hook unless you are a BIG BANK! Fortunately, the Tennessee Supreme Court has another opportunity to reverse this injustice for the protection of ALL Tennesseans.
Dr. Byron Bush can be reached at 615-293-3645. firstname.lastname@example.org