Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Judge sues foreclosure defendant who filed $2.4 million “criminal complaint” against him

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Last year, Judge Thomas Minkoff issued an order that a house owned by Leslie and Martin Armstrong be auctioned at a foreclosure sale.

That order sparked a legal saga that saw Mrs. Armstrong filing a “criminal complaint” against Minkoff, his legal staff, Wells Fargo and its attorney that alleges they deprived her of her constitutional rights. Mrs. Armstrong alleges that they civil value of the 242 counts in her complaint add up to $2.4 million that she’s owed. Minkoff is a civil court judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit for Pasco and Pinellas Counties.

In the latest chapter, Minkoff, who is represented by sAttorney General Pam Bondi’s office, filed suit Friday alleging that the criminal complaint is full of false representations. He’s asking the court have them expunged from the record and that an injunction be issued preventing Mrs. Armstrong from filing any more “false documents.”

Neither Minkoff nor Mrs. Armstrong could be reached for comment. But the court documents tell the story.

According to Minkoff’s complaint:

After he ordered Mrs. Armstrong’s Clearwater home be sold because she had failed to pay Wells Fargo, she twice declared bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court dismissed her first case because she had failed to file required information. The second bankruptcy judge gave Minkoff permission to file his case against Mrs. Armstrong.

Not only did Mrs. Armstrong declare bankruptcy, she also filed the “criminal complaints” against Minkoff and the others. In the criminal complaints she alleged, among other things, that she was denied her Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendment constitutional rights. She said she was denied due process and the right to face her accuser.

In the complaints, Mrs. Armstrong alleged that she refused to be sworn in at the original foreclosure hearing “because I wanted some questions answered first.” She further alleged that Minkoff sent witnesses out of the court room because “he did not want the witnesses to see or hear all the criminality occurring in the court room. Judge Minkoff conspired with Wells Fargo Bank NA and the trespassing attorneys to steal my property.”

Minkoff calls these filings “false documents” and says they are “false, fraudulent and fictitious documents that have no basis or foundation in fact or law.” He alleges that the make it appear that he owes $2.4 million to Mrs. Armstrong and that this gives a “false appearance that Judge Minkoff entered into a security, debt, loan or contingent liabilities” with Mrs. Armstrong.

“The false documents have adversely affected or will adversely affect Judge Minkoff’s credit and actual or potential interests in real or personal property because of the false appearance of a secured debt or an outstanding lien against him,” the lawsuit reads.

Minkoff asks that the documents be expunged, and Mrs. Armstrong be prohibited from filing any other false documents. He also wants her to pay damages and for the court to levy a civil fine of $2,500 against her for every document determined to be false. He’s also asking for attorneys’ fees.

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