RALEIGH — A man who lost a block of three Raleigh townhouses to foreclosure late last year has been arrested on a charge of filing a false $3 million lien against the property of the Wake County court clerk who presided over a foreclosure hearing.
Court officials say the lien and a second one that he Sullivan Colin, 36, was trying to file Friday when he was arrested, are part of harassment of court officials by adherents of a "sovereign citizen" movement that denies government authority.
Colin was taken into custody at the Wake County Register of Deeds office Friday afternoon when he went there to file another lien, officials said, and was arrested Friday evening.
Police charged him with two counts of filing a false lien March 26 against the personal property of Nicole Brinkley, a court clerk who had presided over a foreclosure hearing in which Colin lost properties at 3521, 3523 and 3525 Herndon Oaks Way after lawyers for JP Morgan Chase filed a claim last November.
Blair Williams, chief assistant clerk of court in Wake County, said the 147-page lien that Colin filed in March appeared to be similar to a 150-page document he was trying to file when he was arrested.
The lien is the first instance in Wake County, Williams said, of members of a “sovereign citizen” or “sovereign nation” movement filing civil court actions against court officials.
There have been cases in western North Carolina, Williams said.
Police said Colin had said at the foreclosure hearing that he would file the claim.
In an arrest warrant, police charged that Colin “feloniously did present for filing in a public record a false lien against real or personal property of a public employee....”
Colin did it because of Brinkley’s “performance of her duties as a public officer,” the warrant alleges, and did it “knowing or having reason to know that the lien is false or contains a materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation.”
Williams said a lien like the one Colin filed is harmful, even though it is legally groundless, because it has to be cleared from court records, and it clouds the title to property until that is done.
One of the foreclosed properties was sold Jan. 28 and the other two on Feb. 14 to a company called Univision Keystone Alliance of Hempstead, N.Y., according to Wake County online property records.
The company is listed as having an address where business-directory websites say a company called Univision Cornerstone Alliance is located.
The sites list one employee of that company, Nuba Kheper-Ra Ausar.
That is the name under which Raleigh police charge in another arrest warrant that Colin unlawfully got four debit cards and a credit card from Chase.
In an arrest report, police listed Colin’s address as 739 N. 21st St., in Allentown, Pa.
Williams said Colin has used several addresses in different court papers.
Monday, he was being held in the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of a total bail of $500,000.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks extremist movements in the U.S., said members of the sovereigns movement “believe that they – not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials – get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes.”
Adherents, the center said, “are clogging up the courts with indecipherable filings....”