Article Courtesy of The Tampa
By Susan Taylor Martin
May 27, 2016
Five years ago, attorney Constantine "Chuck"
Kalogianis got in trouble with the Florida Bar for not doing enough for
Now he faces allegations that he did too much — altering documents in at
least five Pasco County mortgage foreclosure cases in which he
represented the delinquent borrowers.
The claims of
evidence tampering are laid out in an unusual 258-page
motion filed in Pasco Circuit Court last week by a
company seeking to foreclose on one of Kalogianis'
Written in dramatic Perry Mason style, the motion
eliminates what it calls "other suspects'' and says
Kalogianis was the only one with the means and motive to
alter records and make it appear that the companies
starting the foreclosure actions didn't have legal
standing to do so.
The goal, the motion says, was to make it impossible to
foreclose on Kalogianis' clients. In one case, a judge
initially ruled in his favor and ordered a bank to pay
him $170,000 in legal fees.
"There is nothing wrong with wanting to win a case,''
says the motion by Bayview Loan Servicing, which handles
loans for Bank of America and other major lenders.
"There is something terribly wrong with repeatedly
tampering with and defacing evidence entrusted to the
Clerk of Court in order to do so."
well-known Pasco lawyer and former congressional
candidate, said Thursday that he does not generally
comment on pending litigation. But in the case that
prompted the motion, he said, the bank lacked the
original document it needed to foreclose and was trying
to "turn the tables'' on him rather than lose the case.
"It is the
plaintiff's own improper conduct … that should be
reviewed,'' he said.
Lawyer Chuck Kalogianis is accused in several
During the foreclosure crisis, in which millions of homeowners defaulted
on their mortgages, it was the banks that often were accused of filing
fraudulent, inaccurate or incomplete documents in their zeal to
foreclose. The cases involving Kalogianis apparently are the first in
which a lawyer representing borrowers has been accused of altering
"I've never heard of that,'' said Matthew Weidner, a St. Petersburg
lawyer who has defended hundreds of homeowners. But, he added, "defense
attorneys have been fighting (against) forged and faked documents from
the beginning of this crisis and our claims largely have been ignored.''
The allegations against Kalogianis center on promissory notes, the
document in which a borrower promises to repay the lender. Promissory
notes often change hands as mortgages are sold and resold. Many lenders
went out of business after the housing crash. Because it was not always
clear whom a borrower owed, law firms and title firms often stamped
promissory notes with a "blank endorsement'' — whoever endorsed, or
signed, the promissory note would be legally entitled to foreclose and
collect any money due.
"It's like a blank check,'' Weidner said.
In cases defended by Kalogianis, the companies seeking to foreclose said
they filed promissory notes with blank endorsements. But at some point,
the motion says, the notes in four of the cases were altered to show
they had been endorsed by "Bank of New York, as trustee.''
In the fifth case, a blank endorsement was altered to show Wells Fargo
had signed it, the motion says.
One company, BAC, lost its case against a Kalogianis client in 2014 when
Kalogianis argued at trial that only Bank of New York could foreclose
because it was the one that had endorsed the promissory note. (The case
has since been reopened.)
While acknowledging there are "no videos, no confessions, DNA or
fingerprint evidence'' as to who allegedly changed the promissory notes,
the motion says that "the potential perpetrators … become more and more
limited as opportunity and motive are examined.''
Of those with access to the original notes, judges and court clerks
"have no dog in the fight'' and could be eliminated, the motion says.
Lawyers for the companies trying to foreclose could be ruled out because
they would have been "sabotaging their own cases.'' And Bank of New York
had no motive because it had "absolutely nothing to do'' with the loans
"This process of elimination could leave only defendants' counsel'' —
Kalogianis, the motion says. It seeks a final judgment of foreclosure
and attorneys fees in its case against one of Kalogianis' clients,
Both he and another client, Panagiotis Bouziotis, called the Tampa Bay
Times Thursday to praise Kalogianis and accuse the other side of
committing fraud in their cases.
"He's one of the most hard-working and diligent attorneys I've ever
worked with,'' said Bouziotis, who has been in foreclosure since 2009.
"If not for his efforts, we would have lost our house.''
In 2011, the Florida Bar publicly reprimanded Kalogianis for
professional misconduct and ordered him to attend ethics school for
violating several Bar rules. It found he did not keep in touch with
clients, including one who said he refused to return a $9,000 retainer
even though he had done little work on her civil case. (An arbitrator
later awarded her a $6,000 refund.)
The Bar also said Kalogianis had failed to properly supervise a
non-lawyer assistant, who offered legal advice to clients and steered
them to businesses in which the assistant had a financial interest.
Last November, the Bar filed a complaint against Kalogianis stemming
from a 2007 business transaction in which a client agreed to loan him
$227,644 to be secured by mortgages on Kalogianis' then-homestead as
well as on two lots in the Williamsburg subdivision he was developing in
New Port Richey.
At the time, the complaint says, Kalogianis did not disclose his
financial "distress'', including that he had taken out mortgages
totaling more than $2 million that eventually would go into default. He
also failed to disclose that there were unsatisfied liens at the time
against a 9,000-square-foot home he was building for himself in
In his response, Kalogianis acknowledged that one of the client's
mortgages was wiped out in a foreclosure action but he denied any
wrongdoing in his dealings with her. He said she had never filed a civil
action against him and instead was "seeking to have the Florida Bar act
as her debt collection agency at no expense to her.'' The complaint is
pending before the Florida Supreme Court.
Kalogianis, a founder of the West Pasco Democratic Club, unsuccessfully
ran for the U.S. House in 2002. He gained national attention when it was
learned he had worked as a stripper while in law school.