I am the master of my own circumstances

This whole story was emotionally driven and has since been reduced to what the title represents.
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I know, some people aren’t exactly comfortable with knowing certain pieces of private information.  This information, however, I give freely in knowing that today, I stood my ground verses the Michigan Department of Treasury and their desire to unlawfully steal money from me.

I was assessed recently with several notices from the Treasury concerning accounts that were overdue.  I openly confess, I have been slack in paying my student loans back.  They entered into default a long time ago and I’d played ‘boohoo’ games every since in order to avoid paying.  My credit was destroyed by this but I honestly don’t give a rip about credit.  Well, back in January of this year, I was notified that my default loans were about to enter into the hands of the US Department of Justice.  I was unemployed at the time and collecting the paltry sum for unemployment benefits.  Nevertheless, I was forced into paying 155 dollars a month until such time that the Department of Education could be ensured that my accounts were back in good standing again.  This hurt me quite a bit and was just another load laid upon me while I was also trying to live.  Then my cat died in February and I was forced to give away an entire unemployment check to cover the vet bill.  Suckage indeed.

Thankfully and I would have to thank the master of circumstances (one of my names for ‘god’) for the aid, I got a job 2 weeks after my unemployment benefits ran out.  Now I’m making AWESOME money doing something I’m good at in an environment that I am absolutely suited for.  Life is grand!

Enter the curtain of doom once again.  Back in May I received a letter from the MI Dept of Treasury concerning 3 fines levied against me.  One was a private parking fine (not a ticket) for parking my car overnight at a restarant.  The car was a piece of crap and I never got it out of impound, they saved me the trouble of getting it there.  The 80 dollar fee was the towing charge, essentially.  Well, that’s fine and dandy.

The next were the 8000 dollars in student loans that were in default.  Huh?  What? Didn’t I already take care of this?  Yes I did.  So I prepared my dispute letter and sent it back to the MI Dept of Treasury.

Well, then there’s the Driver Responsibility Fee’s.  I wrote about my stand against those back in May when I first got the assessment letters.  That was 1800 dollars I owed for those.  The bottom line with these is they are ‘double jeopardy’ payments.  I looked them up a few days ago and found out that the stand I took in ignorance was absolutely correct and a man was specifically disputing the constitutionality of the law in the MI Supreme Court.  This was only about 3 weeks ago that this was filed.  At the same time, legislation is moving through the MI Congress that will eliminate the ‘law’ from the books effective October 1st, 2007.  When I found all this information I was overjoyed because it gave me the confidence I needed in order to make my stand.

I packed all this information into a formal letter with a signature stating that I disputed the validity of the assessment.  My innocent thoughts would be that I would begin to receive photocopies and whatnot of signatures on documents that tied me to the fines.  I got nothing but a second letter making the same exact claims only this time it showed as FINAL NOTICE.  I sighed deeply because it appeared that the State of Michigan was going to play games with me.  This second notice came in just over a week ago and I have been contemplating what to do.  I considered sending the dispute letter via certified mail but have been mulling the usefulness of that since it’s going to a PO box.

Up until today, I have stewed about this situation.  Today, I grabbed my balls from the shelf and started making phone calls.  Here’s how that went:

First place I called was the Michigan Guarantee Agency.  They handle student loans.  I talked to a guy there who stated that the system showed that they no longer hold the loans for collection.  He also told me that those loans went to the Michigan Treasury but that at this moment, the MI Treasury doesn’t even have them now.  ‘They’re in limbo’ he said.  This was very interesting news.  I started to think that perhaps the collection agency responsible for collecting for the state had them.  That was my next phone call to the agency that originally sent me the notice with all the assements.  (I called the guarantee agency first with the hopes of having the default loans simply moved to the company I’m already paying for my student loans)  My first statement was that I wanted to discuss the issue with the student loans that were listed.  She looked through her database and said that those assessments were no longer active and had been ‘zeroed out’ of the system.  Huh?!  That’s kinda neat.  She stated that I only owed the State 1880 dollars which were the 6 DRFees and the 80 dollar impound fine.  That’s friggin awesome!  Something happened to my student loans, I’m not sure but I just looked at the bill I get from the other student loan place that’s actually getting my money, they show I owe them 18000 dollars when I swear I owed them 11000.  So, I THINK that before I even had the idea of moving my debts to DCS (the current student loan collection agency) it was already happening.  Man, that’s pretty awesome.  Makes that whole 10000 dollar assessment a lot easier to deal with.  The state can garnish the 1800 dollars if they want, I have it to spare now.

The lady tried to push these drfees on me once she showed the student loans were not an issue anymore.  It was here where I took my stand.  She tried to use the typical bullying tactics about, ‘breaking the law and paying fee’s’ and all that mumbo jumbo but then I stated simply that I was disputing those fees officially and if I had to do so, I would file for an injunction to stop any attempts at collection.  I explained to her the double jeopardy that this ‘law’ causes and that I was standing by my 5th amendment rights as such. I also told her about the 2 events currently happening concerning the DRFees.  At that point she gave me the address where I needed to send my official dispute concerning these fees and that put an end to that part.  Then all that was left was 80 bucks for that impound fee.  I grabbed my check book and paid it.  However the issue goes with the DRFee’s I still count myself the winner when all is said and done.  I managed to whittle down a 10000 dollar bill to hopefully 80 bucks.

This is good fortune indeed.  Master of Circumstances is all I can say.  That’s why I have a belief in a ‘something’.

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~ by aeroslin on August 3, 2007.

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