Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sunny Sheu - Was He murdered Because He Had Information About Judge Joseph Golia?

I knew Sunny. Not well, but he and I corresponded many times about his case, and we ironically met for the last time at a cocktail party for our new Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman.

I have posted his story on this blog and on my website,
Sunny Sheu, Judicial Reform Activist, Dies A Few Months After Saying He Was Pursued By Judge Joseph Golia in Queens Supreme Court

In my article is the video that Sunny did just 3 days before he died/was killed (The police dept evidently cremated his body before an investigation took place)

Sunny desperately wanted an investigation of the Judge Joseph Golia, and considered Schneiderman a step in the right direction. Instead, we are investigating the death of Sunny Sheu.

See a summary here.

Activist Dead Weeks After Posting Video About His Fears
Black Star News

Part One of a Series

Since his death last summer, associates of Sun Ming Sheu, an activist fighting alleged judicial corruption in New York, remain convinced that he was murdered and that police aren't investigating his death because of a coverup.

They point to the alleged kidnapping and death threats by New York Police Department (NYPD) officers Sheu reported to the FBI, the highly suspicious circumstances of Sheu’s injury, the contradictions in the official reports of his death, and most conspicuously, the lack of any investigation by law enforcement, even after the manner of Sheu’s death was ruled "undetermined" by the Medical Examiner, making an investigation legally mandatory.

They also cite a motive- the silencing of Sheu three days after he declared that he had discovered proof of felonies by a New York State Supreme Court Judge.

Perhaps the most ominous evidence of foul play, the associates say, is the video Sunny Sheu made weeks before his death - now posted on Youtube - in which he predicts his own murder and names the parties he feels will be responsible; parties including a sitting State Supreme Court Judge and two detectives of the Queens District Attorney office whom he had claimed "kidnapped" and threatened him months prior.

Sheu’s associates also question why NYPD officers removed Sheu's body from the Queens hospital, at 5 AM, hours after his death, and transferred it to the Medical Examiner, who was provided with a letter stating that "no criminality" was involved, all without even a cursory investigation.

At the same time, the precinct involved in the removal, the 109, insisted that Sheu had suffered "no head trauma", a position contradicted by the Medical Examiner, who concluded that Sheu died of "blunt force trauma to the head with skull fractures and brain injuries".

Darkening the story further is the improper treatment of Mr. Sheu’s body by the New York Queens Hospital and their false statements regarding his injuries. (The role of the New York Hospital of Queens in the disposition of Sheu’s body will be elucidated in part two of this series.)

Add the epilogue of the NYPD's refusal to release relevant documents requested by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)- and all the components of a deeply disturbing mystery are in place.

Whatever the direct cause of Sunny Sheu’s tragic death, this is a story of grave national concern; it demonstrates from beginning to end the systemic failure of our government to protect the rights, and even the life, of a resident of the United States who had been threatened by government officials.

I first met Sun Ming "Sunny" Sheu, an immigrant from Taiwan, when he asked me to write a story about his ten-year struggle with corruption at every level of New York government. Mr. Sheu was a small, wiry man, with a mischievous sense of humor who could express fierce outrage one moment and chuckle at the absurdity of it all the next. Though his English was rudimentary, he radiated intelligence, and humble self-assurance. He felt that fighting for one’s rights was a patriotic duty, a privilege of living in America that was to some degree its own reward.

Sheu’s problem centered around his residential property, a simple two story house in Flushing, which he said had been wrongfully wrested from him by a mortgage company with the aide of a judge, Joseph Golia of State Supreme Court in Queens. He claimed Golia was "corrupt" and had consistently ruled against him and in favor of the bank, to wrongfully ensure that he never recovered his property.
Judge Joseph Golia

Judge Golia, through his law clerk Mitchell Kaufmann, today declined to comment or to be interviewed for this report. "The judge will not sit for an interview with you," Kaufmann said, adding that Judge Golia also would not respond even if the questions were submitted in writing and by email message.

Sheu’s story of his struggle with Judge Golia was so compelling that The Black Star News covered it in depth, in a three-part series entitled "Junk Justice", which ran beginning in July 2009. The articles, which provide a detailed account of Sheu’s struggle with mortgage fraud and alleged court corruption can be found online. What follows is a condensed and cursory version of the pertinent events.

The Background Story

Sheu's ordeal began over 10 years ago when a bank representative knocked on his door and said he was there to inspect the house for its new owner. The problem was that Sheu had never sold the house. It turns out that someone had forged critical documents and used them to illegally sell the property.

Sheu alerted all relevant authorities; including the police, the bank that held the mortgage, and the title insurer of the property. Eventually the parties involved in forging the documents were prosecuted, pleaded guilty to forgery, and went to jail.

Sheu hoped that with all the evidence in his favor, the matter would be quickly resolved--it was actually only the beginning of his nightmare.

But Centex Home Equity, the bank that held the original mortgage, acted as if the fraudulent sale had been legitimate, ignoring all the documentation submitted by Sheu regarding the fraud, including the police report he'd filed.

Centex filed a lawsuit on December 12, 2001, against Sheu in State Supreme Court, in Queens County. The bank wanted a default judgment on the property and foreclosure, claiming that the “new owners” were delinquent on mortgage payments. In reality, of course, there was never any legal “new owner”.

The Centex case against Sheu went before Judge Golia, in Queens County. Sheu said he was stunned when Judge Golia also ignored the obvious fact that the “sale” had been fraudulent, which would obviate the claim against him. Instead of immediately restoring Sheu’s rightful ownership, he said, Golia allowed the lawsuit to proceed, eventually leading to the foreclosure of Shue’s home.

Worse yet, the judge let the case drag out for 10 years, with numerous postponements, in essence milking Sheu of all his resources. At some point, Sheu could no longer afford attorney fees and he had to represent himself.

Clearly, simple discovery— examination of documents by the court- would have proven the fraud in the alleged property sale, but Golia never allowed this fundamental judicial procedure to take place, despite Sheu's numerous appeals, he said.

For 10 grueling years, Sheu said, he was consistently denied the opportunity to present evidentiary documentation proving that the fraud had taken place and that Centex had no right to foreclose on his home.

Sheu's home was first foreclosed on January 28, 2005 and Centex "bought" the property for $1,000 from Amy Cheng, a pseudonymous fraudster involved in the fictitious sale. "How can you buy property from someone who does not exist?” Sheu had asked me, when I first started writing about his case.

Sheu also wrote Centex executive, Gerry King and New York State Chief Administrative Judge --now Chief Judge-- Jonathan Lippman, complaining about Judge Golia's conduct and accusing the judge of “discrimination” and “bias.”

Sheu demanded that Golia recuse himself from the case; the judge refused.

Sheu was persistent, writing to numerous elected public officials and filing an appeal against the foreclosure. Aware that he had notified various elected officials about what he claimed were the "biased" rulings, Sheu said, Judge Golia eventually reversed his own earlier decision and the initial foreclosure was rescinded, records showed.

Still, the judge refused to restore ownership of the property to Sheu.

Golia was so adamant to deprive him of justice, Sheu contended, that he came up with a remarkable decision. Golia now ruled that even though Sheu's home had been illegally sold years earlier, since Centex had already paid off the mortgage, the bank now owned the property under a doctrine known as "Equitable Subrogation."

"How can equitable subrogation apply to stolen property?” Sheu said, in an interview with The Black Star News, referring to the fraudulent sale. "This means if I have a lot of money, like Centex, I can pay off anybody's mortgage anywhere without their permission and then take possession of their home and kick them out?"

Sheu continued to spar with Judge Golia. Finally, early in 2010, his property was foreclosed on again, this time conclusively.

Alleged Intimidation and Retribution against Sheu

As Sheu realized that he could not expect a fair disposition of the case by Golia, he advised the judge that he would expose the judicial charade to the media.

Shortly thereafter, Sheu reported, he was contacted by Jason Garlick, an Assistant District Attorney at the Queens County DA’s office who had prosecuted the fraud case against the people who illegally "sold" Sheu's property. Sheu told me that Garlick urged him not to contact the media. "How could he have known my plans," to contact the media? asked Shue, “Only Judge Golia could have informed him".

Then, Sheu said, on January 14th, 2009, when he emerged from the Queens court house after filing papers in connection with his case, he was met by two detectives from the Queens County District Attorney’s office, he said. According to Sheu, the men “showed their guns and badges”, forced him into an unmarked car and drove him to the DA's office, where they entered through a back door. There, said Sheu, in a locked room, the officers berated, intimidated and threatened him, accusing him of harassing Judge Golia. He claimed one officer pounded on a desk and told him repeatedly that the house he was fighting for didn't belong to him.

Sheu also reported that the Detectives warned that if he went to the press or authorities, "you live in a dangerous neighborhood with gangs, and anything could happen to you". Understandably, Sheu took this as a direct threat against his life.

Sheu says that he was released after two hours, badly shaken and frightened for his life.

When contacted by this newspaper when the series of article about Sheu's case ran beginning in July, 2009, a spokesperson from the Queens DA's office, Kevin Ryan, confirmed that Sheu had indeed been taken by two detectives from the D.A.'s office on the date in question, and that he had been "cooperative and willingly agreed" to accompany them, which Shue denied. Ryan never divulged the names of the detectives and the party who ordered the detention; he also didn't respond to a question about whether Judge Golia had filed a report about Sheu.

This time, Sheu became so concerned for his safety that he contacted FBI agent Rachel Rojas of the New York Bureau, who started monitoring the case, and Sheu also had a personal meeting with Rojas,accompanied by several of his associates.

Sheu followed up the meeting with a letter to Rojas, detailing the threats against his life and asking for witness protection.

In her responding letter, Rojas simply told Sheu to "be careful", an admonition Sheu found to be small comfort. When contacted by this newspaper, while Sheu was still alive, agent Rojas declined to comment; she also did not respond to a phone message from The Black Star News after Sheu's death.

With this tepid response from the FBI, Sheu said he realized that he was basically on his own. Sheu, a man of considerable education and discernment, wondered if Golia’s alleged blatant disregard of law in his own case indicated a more general propensity for alleged corruption. Could he find evidence of other alleged improprieties by Golia?

Sheu Investigates Judge Golia

With this in mind, Sheu set out to investigate the personal financial disclosure filings of the Judge Golia, which are public records, available by request from the Office of Court Administration’s (OCA) Ethics Committee. These filings detail the financial assets of all public officials, as a means of curtailing potential conflicts of interest.

Sheu searched the internet for documentation of Golia’s real estate holdings, hoping to find concealed assets that had not been declared on his financial disclosure form. If he could prove financial impropriety by Golia, Sheu reasoned, perhaps he could get Golia removed from the bench and finally receive a fair hearing for his case from another judge.

Sheu, who was a computer expert, searched the internet for evidence of properties he concluded were owned by Golia. Armed with a list of these properties, Sheu then went to the OCA Ethics Department to obtain Golia’s financial disclosure forms.

According to Sheu, he discovered major discrepancies between Golia’s actual properties and the ones declared on his financial disclosure forms, including a million dollar beach house on Breezy Point on Long Island, which was described in a local magazine as belonging to the judge, and which is publicly listed as being owned by the Golia family.

On November 29, 2009, Sheu alerted Janice Howard, the director of the OCA Ethics Department, of these apparent discrepancies.

Sheu’s complaint included the following allegations, that Judge Golia:

“..Failed to disclose fully his liabilities for 2002/2003/2004/2005/2006/2008, in that he:

- failed to disclose a mortgage held by HSBC under his wife “Roslaie Grecco” against the property

- failed to disclose a mortgage held by HSBC of “Joseph Golia and Rosalie Golia

- failed to disclose “Rosalie Grecco” employment/ income/ property

- failed to disclose “Hampton West” beach House (Breezy Point)

- interest conflict, own Flushing Bank stock (Flushing Financial Corp) and using connections” to get $750,000.000 in lower rate and mortgage more than the property market value, as NYC Dept. of Finance record, 2007 property market about $220,000.00.”

This Newspaper could not get Judge Golia to address these allegations that Sheu submitted to OCA since he declined to be interviewed.

Yet Janice Howard, director of the OCA Ethics Department, did ask for an amended financial disclosure statement from Golia.

By law, the amended disclosure form is the final opportunity for a public official to “come clean” about any errors or omissions on their original disclosure. The amended form is required to be submitted within two weeks of notice, but Sheu had to wait three months to receive the document from the judge.

Golia’s Amended Financial Form

Finally, on June 23rd, 2010, Sheu was personally handed the amended disclosure form by Janice Howard at the Ethics Committee office. Sheu discovered that even the amended disclosure form still neglected to mention the beach house as well any of the other properties Sheu believed were owned by Golia.

The only asset Golia included on the amended disclosure form that had not been cited on the original was a “vacant lot” in Queens that Golia claimed was worth less than $1,000, and therefore did not require reporting.

When Sheu received the amended form at the Ethics Committee office, he was accompanied by two associates, one of whom recorded Sheu’s reaction to reading the amended form. On the recording, Sheu can be heard exclaiming "Now I’ve got him!...I’ve got enough evidence to put Golia in Jail."

Three days later, Sunny Sheu was dead. His associates don't believe it was a coincidence.

Sheu’s futile efforts to protect his life

The most terrifying aspect of Sunny Sheu’s ordeal is that for two years after he was allegedly threatened by the detectives from the Queens D.A.'s office, he could not find a government official or agency willing or able to investigate these alleged threats, or to offer him protection.

Sheu, an optimistic and philosophical man, often compared the United States with his original home in communist China. He told his associates and others that while in China whistleblowers were usually killed or imprisoned, he was certain that in the United States of America those pursuing justice would ultimately prevail.

With this philosophy, Sheu was confident that if his story were known by the press and authorities, no one would dare harm him. That is why he came to The Black Star News, which covered his story in depth.

On numerous occasions, in the presence of colleagues at this newspaper, I urged him to always be accompanied by a friend if he could and to inform associates of his movements. "Even when you go out to the corner store to buy a can of soda, go with a friend," I told him. Still, I optimistically believed that no harm could befall him after this newspaper had publicized his case widely.

After reporting Golia’s alleged ommissions on the financial disclosure forms to the OCA, Sheu attempted with new urgency to alert all appropriate individuals and agencies to his plight.

Among those he contacted directly were: State Senator John Sampson; State Senator Eric Adams; Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; The Senate Judicial Ethics Committee; Presiding Judge Jonathan Lippman; Administrative Judge Anne Pfau; The Office of Court Administration Ethics Committee; The FBI; The Department of Justice; The Queens DA; the NYPD; the CCRB, and; then Governor David Paterson, among others.

Sheu said none of these individuals or agencies lifted a finger to help protect or defend him, or to investigate his allegations.

Finding government agencies and officials maddeningly unresponsive, Sheu again turned to the press. Apart from The Black Star News, no news organization would report or look into his claims of governmental threats against his life. Part two of this series will discuss the details of how some of these media outlets, including a major television station, declined to report the story.

Sheu’s video foretelling his death

It was on April 9, 2010, that Sheu recorded his video statement, which was later posted on YouTube. In the two-minute video, Sheu expresses his fear for his life as a result of his investigation into Judge Golia's personal finances.

"I have filed a complaint to the FBI and the New York State Unified Court Disciplinary Committee about Judge Golia[‘s] [falsification of] his financial disclosure statement," Sheu, who spoke halting English, says.

"And I have submit[ed] evidence to the FBI. Recently [the] FBI returned [to] me cop[ies] of evidence that I sent to the FBI and today, April 9, [the] Unified Court Disciplinary Committee director Janice Howard called and [said] that judge Joseph Golia already amend[ed] his financial disclosure statement, which means my evidence is true."

Sheu’s concluding statement is chilling: "I make this video for my safety….If anything wrong goes to me it should come from Judge Golia and his people [sic].."

Little did he know that he had less than three months to live.

Note: The next installment will include a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding Sheu's death and The Black Star News' futile attempts to get relevant information from law enforcement including through FOIA

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

"Junk Justice"

Part One Of A Series

The man has been fighting a foreclosure for nearly 10 years.

Sun-Ming Sheu was eating Chinese noodle soup one day nine years ago when he heard a knock on the door of his Queens house.

When Sheu stepped out, he found an agent from Tower Insurance who told him that he was there to inspect the house for its new owner. "I almost choked on my soup," Sheu recalled in an interview with The Black Star News.

Sheu says he had never sold his house.

Earlier, he had worked with Manhattan-based mortgage brokers to refinance the house, which was under the name of his brother, Ming Chien Hsu. It turns out that the mortgage broker, Yek-Yun Chiu (a.k.a. Roman Chiu) and other accomplices, had forged his brother Hsu's signature on a power of attorney and applied for a mortgage loan with Centex Home Equity.

The forged power of attorney was signed and dated February 11, 2000; Sheu's brother, Hsu, was later able to prove that he was actually in Taiwan on that date and could not have signed the document.

Sheu immediately reported the fraud to the police and obtained a complaint report #7167, on June 19, 2000, from the 109 precinct, in Queens. Sheu also reported the matter to the Queens County District Attorney's office and to the Manhattan D.A., since the fraudsters worked in Manhattan.

On June 19, 2000, Sheu faxed a copy of the police complaint he had filed, to Ed Folland, a Centex official, and B. Osterman, director of collection, at Centex, alerting them to the fraud. Sheu also spoke with both officials by phone. “Folland said he would investigate,” Sheu said.

Sheu also faxed a copy of the police complaint on the same date to Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, which provided title insurance for the May 23, 2000 closing. He also reported the fraudulent mortgage loan to Midwest Finance, which was the agent for Chase Bank of Texas, the original mortgage lender to his brother, Hsu.

Sheu said he warned Centex to recover its money, since the mortgage had been fraudulently obtained. He said he was confident things would soon be resolved once Old Republic issued him with a claim #43391, after he had written a letter to the New York Department of Insurance, complaining about the fraudulent conveyance.

The letter from Old Republic with the claim number, reviewed by The Black Star, is dated October 5, 2004, and was signed by Felice K. Shapiro, then Vice President, New York State Counsel. The claim was assigned to Timothy McLeron, then the New York State Claims counsel for Old Republic.

Rather than deal with his claim, Sheu says, Centex and Old Republic decided to pretend as if the May 23, 2000 closing was not fraudulent, even though he provided both companies with documentation.

Instead, Centex later filed a lawsuit to foreclose on the property, Sheu says. “It was like a thief suing the victim. They conspired to steal my property," Sheu claims.

Nine years later, Sheu has been foreclosed on his property by Old Republic, which substituted for Centex as plaintiff, in 2008.

Separately, officials at both Centex and Old Republic did not return phone calls and e-mail messages from The Black Star seeking comment.

A lawyer for Old Republic, Matthew Dollinger, did not respond to an e-mail message with detailed questions. A spokesman for the New York State Department of Insurance did not return a phone message and e-mail message by publication time. Similarly, a spokesman for the New York State Attorney General did not respond by publication time.

At the fraudulent closing, on May 23, 2000, two associates of the broker, Yek-Yun Chiu, participated in the scam, Sheu says. Amy Cheng, whose real name is Jin Rong Wang, acted as the “buyer” of the property. She carried multiple identifications, and used the fake one, "Amy Cheng" for the closing. Her boyfriend Jing Gao, acted as the “seller.”

The pair was later busted by police and pleaded guilty on forgery charges.

Jin Rong Wang, the supposed buyer, did not even make the required $30,000 down payment on the property, Sheu says. Yet the deal was okayed by Centex’s lawyer, Brooklyn-based attorney Jakov J. Bohensky, Sheu says.

Bohensky’s name appears on the federally-required HUD-1 document certifying that the $30,000 downpayment was made; although his signature is not on the form.

The Black Star News has also reviewed photocopies of what purports to be checks made out by Bohensky in connection with the transaction. One check, purportedly made out to Ming Chien Hsu, Sheu’s brother, is for $4,112.60; Sheu says it was also a fake check since his brother was not selling the property, and, in any case, was not even in the country and never received the check.

Another check, purportedly for $1,000 was to Jeffrey Ruan, who was supposed to have been Jing Gao’s, the “seller’s” lawyer.

A copy of what purports to be a money order for $1,000, one of several payments towards the purchase of the house, made out to Sheu’s brother, Hsu, by Amy Cheng, is drawn from Abacus Federal Savings Bank, in Chinatown. Canal Street is mispelled “Cannal Street.”

In an interview Ruan told The Black Star News that when Sheu later told him about the forgery, he wrote to Old Republic urging that the company not transfer the title pending resolution of the alleged forgery.

"What I cannot understand is how Centex's lawyer at the closing went along with this scam," Sheu says, in the interview. “He must have known it was fraudulent as the detectives said.”

Bohensky did not return a phone message from The Black Star News seeking comment.

The Black Star News spoke with one of the New York Police detectives who looked into Sheu's allegations in 2000. He said he was able to confirm that it was a forged power of attorney and that Sheu's brother, Hsu, was not in the country and could not have signed it in front of the notary public. He said bank records also showed that some purported deposits were actually never made.

Sheu also blames Midwest Finance, the agent for Chase Bank of Texas, his brother's mortgage holder, for not returning the money to Centex after he notified the company of the 2000 forgery. Contacted by The Black Star News, a Midwest official confirmed that Sheu's mortgage had been paid off; he wouldn't provide additional information.

Even after the May 23, 2000 fraudulent “closing” Sheu says, he wasn't too worried initially because he believed once he had reported the fraud to police and the DA, things would eventually be sorted out.

"It was the court system that later betrayed me," says the immigrant from Taiwan." Is this the American way?"

Acting as if the May 23, 2000 closing had been authentic, on January 10, 2001, Centex’s title insurer, Old Republic, recorded the property's deed and mortgage with the New York City Register, in Queens County. Old Republic listed Sheu’s brother, Ming Chien Hsu, as the first “party” and Jing Gao, the phony "seller" at the May 23, 2000 "closing" as the second “party.”

"This was knowingly criminal," Sheu claims.

Then on December 12, 2001, Centex filed a lawsuit against Sheu and his brother Hsu in State Supreme Court, in Queens County, seeking a default judgment on the property, arguing that Amy Cheng was not making payment on the mortgage, even though Cheng was the fictitious name of the buyer at the fraudulent May 23, 2000 closing.

So, in addition to Sheu and Hsu, Centex listed as co-defendants, the very individuals that had victimized the brothers: Jin Rong Wang (a.k.a. Amy Cheng); her boyfriend Jing Gao; and the broker who presided over the fraudulent May 23, 2000 "closing," Yek-Yun Chiu. Non of the fraudsters ever appeared in court.

The case was assigned to Justice Joseph Golia in State Supreme Court in Queens.

"My nightmare was just beginning," Sheu now recalls. “It was like the thief suing the victim of the crime.”
Sheu says had Judge Golia granted him due process, including disclosure, he would have quickly exposed the fraud perpetrated against him and had the case would have been thrown out.

Instead, Judge Golia granted summary judgment in favor of Centex and foreclosed on the property on July 21, 2004, records show.

Sheu continued to complain to Centex. A September 23, 2004 letter to Sheu's brother, Hsu, by Gerry King, a customer relations officer at the company acknowledges receiving “numerous faxed letters and copies of various documents” from Sheu but adds that “it was the decision of the court that insufficient evidence to prove fraud was provided and the Supreme Court of the State of New York issued a judgment of foreclosure...”

“There was no deposition; no discovery; so how could I present evidence to show fraud?” Sheu says, in the interview with The Black Star.

Sheu says even though Centex knew its May 23, 2000 originated mortgage was fraudulent, it was now using the Court system to legitimize the transaction.

The foreclosure sale was on January 28, 2005. “Centex bought the property for $1,000 from Amy Cheng, the fraudster,” Sheu says. “That was not even her real name. How can you buy property from someone who does not exist?”

A week after Centex “bought” the property, on February 2, 2005, both Jin Rong Wang (a.k.a. Amy Cheng) and Jing Gao, who had never appeared in court on the Centex case, were arrested based on the criminal forgery complaint filed by Sheu in 2000.

Sheu sent a fax to Centex’s Gerry King about the development and also informed Judge Golia. Sheu says he was appalled so he also wrote a letter to New York State Chief Administrative Judge, Jonathan Lippman, complaining about how his brother's property had been "stolen." He accused Golia of “bias” and “discrimination.”

Sheu says on February 3, 2005, Jason Garlick, an Assistant District Attorney at the Queens County DA’s office, who had prosecuted Jin Rong Wang (a.k.a Amy Cheng) and Jing Gao, called him and asked him not to contact media about his case. “Judge Golia must have called the DA’s office because I told him I was going to media,” Sheu says.

Judge Golia ordered a hearing for April, which was later moved to May 18 and 19, 2005.

The order was signed by Judge Golia on March 17, 2005 and stamped with the Queens county clerk’s seal on March 23, 2005. Sheu says when he’d last checked court records on March 24, 2005, there was no such entry or copy of such an order.

In fact, Sheu says, the only order he found in the records at the time, signed by Judge Golia on March 17, 2005, and stamped with the Queens county clerk’s seal on March 23, 2005, was a denial of Sheu’s and his brother, Hsu’s motion for Judge Golia to recuse himself.

After the May hearing, it was not until nearly a year later, on April 12, 2006, that Judge Golia returned with a ruling on the case.

Judge Golia again denied the defendants’ motion that he recuse himself; the judge cancelled the fraudulent deed of May 23, 2000 between Ming Chien Hsu and Jin Rong Wang (a.k.a Amy Cheng); he cancelled the foreclosure order filed on July 21, 2004; and, he cancelled and vacated the foreclosure sale of January 28, 2005.

Judge Golia, however, did not restore Ming Chien Hsu’s (Sheu’s brother) original 15-years $226,500 mortgage with SMI Mortgage (SMI had later assigned the mortgage to Chase Bank of Texas).

"This violated my right as a crime victim to be restored to original status," Sheu says, reading from papers he had pulled from research.

That wasn’t all.

Judge Golia awarded Summary Judgment in favor of Centex to foreclose an equitable mortgage, under the doctrine of Equitable Subrogation against the premises: he ruled that Centex had paid off the original mortgage.

"How can equitable subrogation apply to stolen property?” Sheu asks. "This means if I have a lot of money, like Centex, I can pay off anybody's mortgage anywhere without their permission and then take possession of their home and kick them out," Sheu noted, sarcastically.

Judge Golia did not return phone calls seeking comment and also didn’t respond to an e-mail message. In a phone interview, Mitchell Kaufman, Judge Golia’s law secretary claimed Sheu’s information about the fraud would not have made a difference in the case “if Centex did not know at the time” of the May 23, 2000 closing that it was based on the forged power of attorney. “Apparently Mr. Sheu is either unwilling or unable to accept the judgment of equitable subrogation.”

Sheu retorts: “Centex knew it was a fraudulent transaction. It was represented by an attorney—Bohensky and the fraudulent transaction was endorsed by Joseph Bigman, Old Republic's title agent. In any case Old Republic issued me a claim number and they still did nothing except to foreclose.”

Asked what if Centex did know, or came to know that the May 23, 2000 closing was fraudulent Kaufman said, of Sheu: “He may have a tort claim against Centex.”

Judge Golia appointed Martin Evans as referee charged with computing the amount owed to Centex by Sheu. Evans entered a judgment amount of $465,433.29 in favor of Centex.

Golia also ruled that Centex could move for a judgment of foreclosure and sale, with costs, disbursements and any additional allowance as allowed by law.

Separately, Dollinger, Gonski & Grossman, the law firm representing Centex (now representing Old Republic, since it substituted as the plaintiff), managed to get a satisfaction of mortgage document from Chase Bank of Texas, even though the mortgage was in the name of Mr. Sheu’s brother, Hsu.

Sheu said when he called Midwest, Craig K. Olson, a Vice President, told him that a lawyer from Dollinger had informed Midwest that the firm represented Sheu and his brother, Hsu.

Judge Golia issued a judgment of foreclosure sale on April 7, 2009. The foreclosure sale occurred on May 15, 2009.

On May 27, Sheu appeared before Judge Golia with Stephen Katz, an attorney, and Judge Golia denied Sheu’s motion to vacate the order for foreclosure and sale.

In his motion, Sheu said Old Republic was foreclosing on a loan “obtained by fraud and by forgery of a power of attorney,” to which Judge Golia wrote: “This assertion is intentionally misleading and disingenuous at best.”

"It is the truth," Sheu says. "It is nothing but the whole truth."

In the almost decade he's been fighting for the property, Sheu has learned a few things about the law. He pulls out information he’s researched and reads, "Part 100 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts Governing Judicial conduct. Section 100.3. Disqualification. A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or the judge has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding."

In June 2009, Sheu met twice with a criminal investigator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District for a total of about four hours and discussed his case and submitted documentation. “We cannot confirm or deny that we are investigating this case,” the investigator told The Black Star News, when contacted by phone.

"These seem to be issues for the Appellate Division as I am not in position, nor am I qualified, to say whether or not a Judge's

decision was 'proper' or not nor am in a position to say what rule of law should have been used to decide a particular case," David Bookstaver, Communications Director for the New York State Unified Court System Office of Court Administration told The Black Star News.

Desperate, on June 23, 2009, Sheu again filed an order to show cause for a temporary restraining order to halt any further action even though the sale had already occurred.

He demanded that detectives Keith Ng and Kin Lee, now both retired, who both had investigated the fraudulent May 23, 2000 closing, be permitted to testify.

Judge Bernice D. Siegal, stayed any additional proceedings with respect to sale of the property, with a return hearing date of July 8, 2009.

At the July 8, hearing, Judge Golia set another hearing date for July 15, 2009, at which time Sheu was to produce cancelled checks for all payments he had made over the last nine years on the property, for taxes; insurance payments; and, utilities.

This reporter attended the July 15, 2009, hearing and observed the clearly acrimonious relationship between Judge Golia and Sheu. The Judge Golia kept shouting at Sheu, who was unable to produce receipts; Sheu on the other hand kept shouting at the judge about the May 23, 2000 fraudulent conveyance he insisted was at the root of his predicament.

“This is junk justice,” Sheu said, as he walked out of the court. "Nobody is above the law, except Judge Golia."

No comments:

Post a Comment