Tuesday, July 30, 2013

More from Citizen for Freedom from Fidelity Fraudsters

Hello Ann,

 Thank you for getting back to me.  Yes, this really is an amazing unraveling of epic proportion that we find ourselves embroiled in.  For me personally, it has brought an entirely new meaning to how did I get here and why?  

The actions of the Fidelity executives appear to represent a shift of an epoch that is hell bent on the destruction of right relationship through the means of unabated greed and mis-aligned power.  

I believe that we must "stay calm and carry on" and not give up!     The actions that are taking place have such far reaching implications for future generations of the entire species.  The executive board members and leadership associated with Fidelity seemingly are in the business of "Human Capital Resources”.   That is a frightening reality if they succeed.  

Obviously, the great lengths the company has gone to intimidate and mutilate the fabric of trust and honor would indicate that Fidelity National Financial has fallen into the belief that they are "too big to fail."  However, that particular strategy has already been used on the people many times and it always ends the same, civilization after civilization.       

I replied to your blog posted on the July 4, 2013 as Citizen for Freedom from the Fidelity Fraudsters

If you would like to exchange ideas and methods to move forward please let me know.  I am currently in discussion with several firms on next steps for not only on my personal case, but also for a much larger venue.  

I sincerely appreciate your time and consideration.  

And another unhappy customer of Fidelity National Title

Sent: ‎July‎ ‎30‎, ‎2013 ‎5‎:‎08‎ ‎AM
To: annzollinger@gmail.com
Subject: Lawyers title and FNF

Dear Ann,

I have been in a situation with Lawyers Title/FNF regarding an easement issue since 2009.  I appreciate the information and explanation of your experience.  I have not been able to successful locate email addresses for William Foley and the other FNF board members and executives.   However, at this point that has not prevented me from getting their attention.  It just would be helpful to cc them on correspondence.  

If you would like to know more about the details of my issue, I would be more than happy to exchange my process to date.  If you could direct me to the outlets where email addresses are available that would be most helpful. 

Currently, I am in process of aligning myself with a large firm (I have had several types of representation throughout the process, most couldn't handle the "heat").  However, it appears that I will be moving in the direction of compensatory and punitive damages for legal malpractice, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty involving a conflict of interest in a real estate transaction in the near future. 

I realize that you have settled with FNF so my process may be of no interest to you.  However, thank you for blogging about your experience and especially for opening the portal to let the light in on the practices of greed that invade the very essence of balance and right relationship for all our relations.


Hi -
Thank you so much for contacting me.  You are not the first person to contact me through my blog and yes, I was forced to settle with Fidelity due to threats and finances and could not continue on with the fight although I felt that there was definitely evidence sent in the documents that they finally provided at the eleventh hour that demonstrated their position on doing everything possible to value my claim at $0.  As you have read my blog - you have an idea of the ordeal I went through.
But with that said I will do everything I possibly can to assist you in process and if you and your attorneys feel that some of the documentation I have will be beneficial to you - I will be happy to provide it.  Please let me know what you need and I will be there.
I do not have email addresses for William Foley, et al.  I mailed hard copies of those letters not expecting a response - more as what happened to me was exactly the opposite of Mr. Foley’s stated creed.  I did surprisingly receive a response from David Saag who is the Chief Legal Counsel Western Region who I am copying on this email.  I am not sure if he covers Michigan or not.
If nothing else I will be there for moral support.  Good luck !!!  And make sure you have on your asbestos suit to take the heat - and trust me - it is going to get really nasty.  From my experience the Claims Counsels are not there to help and represent you - they are there to protect Fidelity’s bottom line.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Will I put the matter with Fidelity National Title to rest?? Hell no!!!

My response to the letter from David Saag, SVP/Chief Claims Counsel - Western Region, Fidelity National Title Group:
Dear Mr. Saag,
Well to be candid I am very disappointed.  My letter to Mr. Foley and Mr. Quirk were merely an expression of my disappointment with Fidelity National Title and I never expected to get an offer from someone to actually answer my questions.  I was for the first time in years of dealing with Fidelity thrilled to receive your response.

 I did involuntarily (depending on how you define this word) agree to release Fidelity from all financial obligations in agreement for a payment I have still not received but this was due to comments (I felt threats) made by Mr. McNeeley, your attorney, and information from my own attorney on the potential costs of proceeding with the lawsuit.  I have since then heard from individuals who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits against your company and I was definitely after the huge loss I suffered from my claim not in a position to continue the fight.

As a licensed architect and real estate broker at the time of purchase, I found in the claims process I was clueless as to how title insurance worked – and even now having spent countless hours researching it – I still do not understand really how Fidelity National Title Insurance pays claims.  And I consider myself better educated in the field and above average intelligence.  I have heard from many individuals who were even less equipped than I was to file a claim.

 One of my greatest disappoints in not being able to continue with the lawsuit was not being able to find out what really happened.  What happened and why it happened that a claim opened on my behalf by one of your own title officers for the loss of a mile long easement to an estate property overlooking the prestigious Napa Valley could be valued at $0 is still a mystery to me – and I am surprised that you do not find this a little odd too.

 I do understand that from Fidelity National Title’s viewpoint my claim and lawsuit are fully resolved.  And I do understand that Fidelity National Title has no further duty nor obligation in this matter.  But please rest assured that even with the finality of your response I will not put this matter to rest.

I am dedicating myself to researching how title insurance works and how it protects (or does not protect) the consumer.  I have now heard from many individuals who have had similar experiences with Fidelity National Title and am learning a lot – and hopefully will be able to help these individuals and others in the future.  I did learn that it is extremely difficult to file a lawsuit against a company like yours as it is very difficult to resolve a claim.  You are correct you won – I lost.  And I guess you could easily – and politely – describe me as disgruntled.  Personally I am certain that a few choicer words have been used behind closed doors!!


 Ann Zollinger

Disappointing answer from David Saag, SVP/Chief Claims Counsel Fidelity National Title


Thursday, July 4, 2013

First Questions to David Saag, SVP/Chief Claims Counsel, Fidelity National Title

Dear Mr. Saag,


First of all let me thank you again in advance for your kind offer to answer all of my questions.  For the sake of clarity I have framed them in red type.


Needless to say it is impossible to readily explain now five years of agony, frustration and unhappiness dealing with your claims department on a claim that your own company filed on my behalf.  After four years, three claims offices and six claims officers I finally filed a lawsuit.  I discovered though that an individual is in no position to fight a corporation such as yours.  I have now heard from individuals who have spent $50,000, $250,000 and $300,000 in lawsuits against Fidelity National Title.  I settled the suit to pay the legal fees and compensate my attorney for his time as after the devastating loss of the marketability of my property – I was not financially able to continue with the lawsuit.


I also discovered that although well educated in the area of real estate (was a licensed architect and real estate broker at the time of purchase), I was remarkably ignorant and naïve in how title and escrow service relate to title insurance and also how title insurance works (or in my case does not in my opinion.)


Having only two days before the Settlement Conference to pour through thousands of pages of documents provided weeks late by Fidelity (most of which was just multiple copies of my own emails) I was truly puzzled by the lack of information provided.


So my first question, as both an architect and a real estate broker I keep extensive notes and phone logs and email records of all conversations and interactions with my clients.  There were no phone calls, only one or two log sheets and a handful of emails between your employees provided in the disclosure documents.  I was taught, also, that this is a normal standard of care.  Don’t your employees (claims counsels) keep phone logs and transaction notes?  And if not, how do they possibly keep track of what is happening with the various claims??


There were none of the research nor meeting notes from the original Title Officer Lee Grice nor Craig Donner who opened the claim on my behalf.  Don’t your claims counsel have access to these critical files?


I finally put some of the pieces of the puzzle together and formed this list of events for the Settlement Conference:


Chronological Order of Events

·          1998 Hamilton Vose subdivided off this property and sold it to Arnie Kresch.  At that time the Grant Deed from Napa Land Title Co. lists only Parcel One (the property) and Parcel Two (our Parcel Six – the easement thru Chateau Potelle).  This Grant Deed was provided

·         2002 -2004 AND HERE IS THE MISTAKE.  When we purchased the property from the Kresch kids after Arnie Kresch’s death Fidelity added in Parcels Two thru Five to both the prelim and the Grant Deed on the purchase and subsequent re-finance.  I understand that the reason they were not valid was because they were not the sellers’ to convey.  How did this happen?

·         2002 I met with the title officer in Napa prior to purchasing the property and received the map and recorded documents on all of the easements leading me to believe that there was this second deeded easement from Mt. Veeder.  As the Prelim is an offer to insure, how does Fidelity National Title Insurance Company have no record of the Prelim nor the research done to produce it?

From www.fntic.com (Fidelity National Title Insurance Company) website under “Steps in the Title Process”:

Initial Request for Title Insurance
An order for title insurance is opened with a title officer who produces the initial response promptly within 24 to 48 hours. A preliminary report can be issued with the minimum of information; without even identifying the buyer or the terms of the sale. It shows the record title as it presently exists and is only an offer to provide insurance. To order a preliminary report contact your local Fidelity National Title representative or office.

On-Site Searching and Examining
Your title officer performs three searches: Property, Name, and Tax searches. From that information, a preliminary report is created. Our on-site customer service center expedites the process of obtaining hard copies of recorded documents. Imaging helps to expedite searches with the ability to obtain documents online.

Technical Review
The skill and expertise of our title officer is the key to providing you with a useful, accurate title report. Once the report is issued the review begins by making a technical analysis of the documents of record. An interpretive view of all recorded matters is made to evaluate their impact on the title to the property. Among the questions the examiner asks are: Would any of the recorded matters prevent the buyer from using the property for its intended purpose? Can antiquated leases be eliminated from the policy per a review of the current leases?

This states “expedites the process of obtaining hard copies of recorded documents” and “an interpretive view of all recorded maters is made to evaluate their impact on the title,” etc.  So what happened to the file of these documents that was created when the property was purchased and again when it was refinanced?


·         June 2008  When I went to sell the property I (obviously) thought there was a valid easement which is the reason I contacted Doreen Ho, a neighbor who owned the servient property, which started the entire claim.  Fax to Debbie Shelton

Did any of the Claims Counsels contact Ms. Ho to see if she would sell her easement?

·         October 2008  Craig Donner of Fidelity National Title determines the easements are not valid as they were not the sellers to convey and opens the claim on my behalf.  “Our insured is now putting the property on the market and wants to advertise that she has an additional access being the insured easement.  I know we need to forward to claims department, but escrow wants to know what she should advise her customer.  I think we should be up front and let her know the facts and that it will be handled by the claims department.”   Email re: telling Zollinger and Confidential Claim Report to General Counsel

·         October 29, 2008 Claim assigned to Dennis Lucey, Walnut Creek.   Email to Craig Donner

“Since she ‘s trying to sell the property, and needs the claim resolved first, (and we apparently have a long professional history with her) I’m going to be sure to keep this on, or near, the front burner.”  Conversation was he was going to attempt to get the easements back.

So what happened to Craig Donner and did he attempt to get the easements back??  It seemed logical to keep the claim in Walnut Creek so why was it transferred to Chicago?

·         November 13, 2008 Claim re-assigned to Adam Pinchuck, Chicago

·         November 18, 2008 Initial Fact and Claims Analysis “However, since these easements were included as insured parcels in Schedule A, we have provided coverage to our insured.”

·         December 30, 2009 Mr. Pinchuck “determined” “coverage is appropriate…..”

After this Adam Pinchuck seemed to disappear – what happened to him and the claim?

·         January 26, 2009 Zollinger reaches Dennis Lucey who tells her she has been re-assigned to Robert Kelly in Omaha.  (Kelly told Zollinger in a phone conversation he was swamped from the closing of the Chicago Office closing and asked for the names of local appraisers.)

I provided the list of local appraisers, what happened to that list?

Instead I was told that Jim Gibson of Boise Idaho would be doing the appraisal as he was on Fidelity National Title’s list of “approved appraisers.”  How does an appraiser get on that list?

·         February 23, 2009 Email from Jim Gibson to Owen Girard, “Thank you for taking the time with me this morning.  As I indicated, I have been, and continue to perform Diminution In Value (DIV) appraisals for Fidelity National-Chicago Title, covering numerous states, including:…….  I work with a small team of appraisers who have experience in DIV projects.  We have offices scattered across the county, providing local market knowledge.”

What office do they have in the Napa Valley “providing local market knowledge?”  What did Mr. Girard to qualify Mr. Gibson to do this appraisal?  Where is Mr. Girard’s phone record of this conversation?  How did he get involved in this in the first place?

·         March 5, 2009 Email from Jim Gibson to Robert Kelly, “We will take care of this project.  It’s very similar to a DIV project I did in Aspen/Snowmass CO last fall.  A key issue for this type of project is not to over look the “Cost to Cure” for the noted defect in title.  If the estimated Cost to Cure is less than the difference of the “Before and After Value”, the Cost to Cure is considered to be the appropriate measure of damages.  In terms of this project, we have valued numerous commercial vineyards within the Napa/Sonoma market over the past few years.”

How is this project in the Napa Valley similar to one in Snowmass/Aspen?

So as he first did a “cost to cure” it can be assumed that this value was less than the DIV, correct?

·         May 1, 2009 Jim Gibson completes his appraisal determining that perfecting the prescriptive easement to Cavedale Road in Sonoma County can be substituted for perfecting the easement to Mount Veeder Road in Napa County and valued the “Cost to Cure” at $13,500.

How can there be a “cost to cure” value to a different road in a different county??  And that no one else thought this was odd but me?

·         Zollinger refutes the appraisal.

I presented a tome of information refuting everything from Mr. Gibson’s market analysis was not of the area my property was in (American Canyon rather than Oakville) to most of his comparable properties were not even on his Market Area Map.  Has anyone in the Claim’s Department even read this?  Or compare the information provided to Mr. Gibson’s appraisal and observe that he really was not familiar with the market area?

·         June 15, 2009 Email Robert Kelly to John Hilvka and Gary Colemere, “I’ll call Ann and advise her that I’m waiting for Mr. Gibson to provide a written response to his review of the information Ann submitted in an attempt to increase the loss amount indicated in his original DIV report.  I really need to discuss options 1 & 2 with you because Ann is asking me if we have acted on either of these options. (Note #1 is regaining Parcels 2 – 5, #2 obtaining another easement (not thru a winery) to Mt. Veeder Road.)  See June 26, 2009 comment.

·         June 25, 2009 Jim Gibson responds with more false and misleading information

Did the Claims Counsel read my response to this letter?

·         June 26, 2009 Policy Payment Approval Report

“After investigating this issue extensively with Gary Colemere out of the Napa County office it appears that Parcels 2 – 5 may run with Parcel 1 after all.”

“Legal Arguments:  Once the Company indicates to the Insured that the Property does not include Parcels 2 – 5 and as a result, this is a covered loss, and the insured relies on our statement and does not market the property as having a secondary easement access through parcels 2 – 5, can the company now say 6 months later that there is no loss, the property is as insured.”

This was perhaps my most interesting discovery.  Apparently for the first time due to my query on June 15, 2009 another study was done and it was discovered that the easements were valid.

So the easements were valid the entire time and I was never told?  And if so, then why was not attempt made by Fidelity to defend my right to the easements? And is this saying that although Fidelity agreed that they were not valid and opened a claim on my behalf, now that they discovered a year later that they were valid but I had loss the marketability of the property because of the false statement that there was no liability?

·         June 30, 2009  Email from Steven Johnson to Robert Kelly, “We should provide our best explanation of the basis for the tendered claim payment, pointing out that it looks like there is a valid easement, that there are exceptions to the easement, and that we have diligently responded to requests in handling the claim.”  Who is Steven Johnson?  And how did they respond diligently to requests in handling the claim?

·         July 10, 2009 Robert Kelly writes, “Based on your request of 5/27209, our Company in good faith reviewed Parcel……  Based on this information the interest in the land is as described in Schedule A of the Policy.”  Then he excepts the coverage under Schedule B but states that in good faith the Company treated this matter as a covered loss.  Then, “so if the Historical Easements provide another access to the Property it would be the third access easement to the Property.”  I did not get from his letter that there was a valid easement. Nor did my attorney.  We thought that he was saying that the easements were excepted but further in the policy is states unless they are recorded in the public records and if you recall I was given the public records by the original title officer.

Are you confused yet?

·         Zollinger files claim with DOI

·         August 18, 2009 letter from Jeff Hansen (replacing Robert Kelly).  Why was Jeff Hansen replacing Robert Kelly?

·         September 23, 2009 Brief by Jeff Hansen, “On 9/23/09 sent the following email to appraiser Jim Gibson of PGP after discovering bob Kelly had instructed Jim to appraise base on “cost to cure”, i.e. of obtaining alternative easement, as opposed to straight DIV.  “Talked to Todd Moody about this on 09/22/09 and also talked to Todd about fact that it’s come to light that Zollinger recently lost the property in foreclosure (Bank of America now owns).  Todd and I decided that due to DOI complaint, we should go ahead and get DIV appraisal, which will likely be lower than what Bob already paid Zollinger based on “cost to cure” appraisal.  Todd suggested if Zollinger complains about lower appraisal, we can then raise the issue of the foreclosure.” 

First, did Jeff Hansen not understand also that the easements are valid?  Isn’t he again treating it still as a valid loss?

Gibson stated clearly in his first communication that “If the estimated Cost to Cure is less than the difference of the “Before and After Value”, the Cost to Cure is considered to be the appropriate measure of damages.”

So as he chose to use the “cost to cure” (granted perfecting a prescriptive easement to a different road in a different county that the original lost easements) isn’t is understood that this was the lesser value?  And if so, why would Mr. Hansen predetermine that it is likely to be lower?  And who is Todd Moody and why would he suggest that I would complain about lower appraisal when the new appraisal had not even been requested?  How did he know it would be lower?

·         November 9, 2009 Hansen writes, “In your letter of September 27, 2009, you made reference to the extensive sales data you had submitted on six other properties.  Rest assured, all of that data you submitted was sent to the appraiser and I told the appraiser to analyze it as part of the new appraisal and to make sure and address it in the appraisal report.” 

So why was this not done?

·         November 19, 2009 Jeff Hansen sent an almost identical appraisal without any analysis of the submitted data only now DIV is $0.

Do you not find that the loss of a mile long easement through residential property leaving only an entrance through a commercial property to an 80 acre single family residential property with sweeping views of the infamous Napa is worth nothing?

·         November 21, 2009 Zollinger complains.

Are you surprised?

·         December 16, 2009 Jeff Hansen writes, “The PGP Valuation Inc. report concludes the diminution in value is zero.”  “Additionally, your coverage under the above –referenced policy of title insurance terminated because, due to foreclosure, you ceased to be the record owner of the property”.

As the property was unmarketable at the value of the loan I did let it go back to the bank.  The difference between the comparable properties with the easement at the time is was listed for sale with the lost easement was approximately $675,000.

Was the reason I was shuffled from Claims Office to Claims Office and Claims Officer to Claims Officer with months of no communication (this can be verified by the Sonoma County Manager John Hilvka and the reason I went to the Department of Insurance) so that Fidelity would no longer be liable as I would no longer be the owner of the property?

By the way, why was there no record of the communication with the Department of Insurance in the documents sent?

·         July 26, 2010 Jennifer Reeves writes, “If you would like to provide us with an appraisal from a certified appraiser we would be more than willing to review it.”

I did prepare a rather extensive (and more accurate) market report than what Mr. Gibson provided.  Has anyone read it?

I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to answer all of these questions.  I believe that getting these answers will not only help me understand what happened with this claim and why but will also help me and my readers understand how title insurance works and how we should ”Rely On Fidelity National Title To Protect Your Investment”. This is again from www.fntic.com.  But at the bottom of the page copyrighted in 2010 is the statement: “The statements made on this web page and any page that follows within the Fidelity National Title website are not intended, and shall not be construed to expressly or impliedly issue or deliver any form of written guaranty, affirmation, indemnification, or certification of any fact, insurance coverage or conclusion of law.”  So my final question for today, does this mean that since 2010 we should not rely on Fidelity National Title to protect are investments – but we should have prior to that date?  This is a little confusing.  I pulled quotes off the website and sent them to various claims officers and I do not remember this disclaimer.  Is this new?

Thank you again for your assistance. 

Ann Zollinger


$300,000 and Still Battling with Fidelity National Title

I have had more people contacting me with more problems with their title reports - and the thing, for example, here that I do not understand.  I thought that it was Fidelity's job to represent their clients in title issues with the other parties in items like undisclosed easements.  I have not had a chance to speak to this individual yet as I was out of town on business so I do not know the entire story.  But he is not the first person to spend multiple thousands of dollars in trying to protect his property rights.  I know that I could have continued on with my fight but I could not afford to do so with the tremendous loss I experienced over the loss of my easement and the loss of marketability of my property.  And as with this individual - I would not have purchased my property with an accurate title report.
Hi Ann, I have been reading your Blog.
I to am having serious issue with Fidelity. In 2009 we learned of an Easement that was not included on our Title Report. 4 years later and to a cost of about 300,000 we have lost and now are in Arbitration with Fidelity as they never disclosed this Easement. As such we would not have purchased our home.
Anyway I would love to talk with you just to compare notes etc..
Please let me know if that might be ok.
Warm regards,