A story of two Pro Se Litigants’ battle against the Court’s prejudice for their very survival
This is an unbelievable story that happens to also be the case of Torres v. Torres and the battle raged by two Pro Se Litigants. Many of you will find the facts of this story very hard to believe. This is a story that will have you wondering just how well you know the family next door, and that fact can be much stranger than fiction. We verified all of the facts in this article, many of them twice, as we questioned their veracity as well.
Memoirs in the Case of Torres v. Torres: Pro Se
The perfect Storm: This story takes place in two countries, three states, starts on the West Coast and continues on the East. This is a story of a family, Donald, James and Jesse (IV) Torres, living in the state of California and Baja California Mexico. It is about Sophie and Mary Torres, living in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where the Torres’ had lived for generations. It is about Jesse E. Torres III, who lived on both coasts, in Falmouth and in Baja.
This story is about the multi-millions of dollars in equity that were never realized, about those who wished to share in the bounty of a company’s public offering. It is about dreams lost when the dot com crash wiped out so many in its path. It is about the difference between criminals who would rather steal and entrepreneurs who would create. It is about a family who, once together, fell apart. It is about greed and the ever-increasing craving for more.
This story is about bad judges. It is about thousands of distraught citizens battling their government, demanding the Impeachment of a known bad Judge. It is about the embarrassment caused the Court by full page advertisements on front pages, about two years of embarrassing exposure in the news. It is, perhaps, about Barnstable Courts waiting over 25 years to finally take their revenge. It is about two amazing Pro Se Plaintiffs who refused to give up.
This is the story of Torres v. Torres.
Triggering the Lawsuit
Background: Just before the dot com crash, it was nearly impossible to hire programmers in the United States. Jesse III had recently completed a project with 160 programmers in India. When he visited his uncle, Donald F. Torres, in Baja Mexico, he had a simple thought: why not hire programmers in Mexico, which is much closer than India, and in the same time zone as the U.S. He also found that there were few or no software companies in Mexico at that time, and yet 10% of Mexico’s population was highly educated. After contacting the Baja North Government, he was put in contact with the Baja North Department of Economic Development. Months of tours and meetings ensued with Universities and Science Centers throughout Baja. With the incentives offered him by the Mexican Government, he bought a home in Mexico in preparation of opening a division there.
The first in a series of mistakes: Jesse III bought a home next to his uncle, Defendant Donald F. Torres. An addition was planned to add an office for work. Even though he knew the son of Donald Torres, James Kimberly Torres, was a convicted drug dealer and had been incarcerated in California, Donald Torres convinced Jesse that ‘Jimmy’ was trying to go straight. He had, in fact, recently passed the state exam and received a California General Contractors License. He asked Jesse to give Jimmy a shot building the office addition. Jesse agreed.
After only a couple of months, Jimmy walked off the job and never returned. The dot com crash came and the dream of opening a company in Mexico was history. Shortly thereafter, Jesse got an offer from a Think Tank that also had a contract with Los Alamos. He was offered a package estimated to be worth $385,000 a year. He talked to his uncle and neighbor, Donald Torres, about it, as well as the money offered him. Another drastic mistake in hindsight.
Extortion Begins: It wasn’t long before James Torres was calling Jesse claiming he owed him money, even though each and every one of his invoices, as required by Mexican law, was accompanied by a signed receipt for payment. Additionally, every invoice had an associated canceled check, all endorsed and deposited by Jimmy. When Jesse refused to give into Jimmy’s extortion, the battle began. That was the last time Donald and Jimmy ever had a conversion with Jesse.
Over the next year, Jimmy’s drinking and drug intake increased, as did his demands for more and more money. What started as a demand for $7000 escalated to $30,000. When he came down to his father’s home in Baja, Jimmy would shout obscenities from his father’s porch at Jesse, who lived two houses down, all while his father laughed and egged him on.
Death Threats: Finally in August, when Baja is abandoned, Jimmy came over to Jesse’s house and threatened him and Jennifer J. Adams, stating that if they weren’t out of Baja in 30 days, his jailhouse buddies, members of Hell’s Angles, would kill them. How real was the threat?
James Kimberly Torres shortly thereafter put a Desert Eagle to his head and took his own life. Do you think it was a serious threat?
Fearing for their lives: They moved from Baja to Big Bear Mountain in California, at an elevation of 7000 feet. The altitude caused a buildup of fluids in Jesse’s lungs, which led to his heart failure, almost killing him. This would not have happened at his sea level home in Baja. Prior to his heart failure, while living in Big Bear, Jesse’s father died.
After Jesse’s heart failure, he needed money to pay the large hospital bills he now had. He returned to Massachusetts in large part to retrieve the $150,000 he had left in his father’s care for just such an emergency. He found that the account Jesse opened had been closed, and all the funds transferred into an account belonging to his mother, Sophie J. Torres.
Family Estate in complete disrepair: Another shock was that his mother had let his father’s family estate fall into total disrepair. Even though Sophie had a long history of wrongfully taking from family, for which she had been sued, (see Getting to Know Sophie J. Torres), Jesse worked to find a way out that benefited both his mother and himself, as he knew that, if repaired, the real estate would be valued at $1.6 million dollars.
Sophie claimed that, because she was carrying large mortgage payments on her primary home, her funds had been severely drained (funds to have reportedly come from the $150,000 Jesse III had entrusted to his father). It was then learned that her grandson, Jesse E. Torres IV (aka Jesse Stockwell, Jesse E. Stockwell), had arranged a forward mortgage for her. Why in the world did a Wharton graduate, one who had apparent experience in the mortgage industry, ever recommend a forward mortgage over a reverse mortgage, to his elderly grandmother? Even worse, the payments on the mortgage he recommended exceeded the entire income of his grandmother. It certainly makes us wonder if he didn’t already have an eye on preserving the equity in the home and on his grandfather’s estate.
A win for all: Jesse III’s plan was to to eliminate the drain caused by Jesse IV’s forward mortgage by getting a reverse mortgage on her primary home, and then to mortgage the waterfront family homestead in order to get it into rent-worthy condition, with a potential income of $10,000 a monthin-season. This solution would have benefited all by producing a significant income for his mother and at the same time, by providing her with a way to repay Jesse III the monies she had taken from the account entrusted to his father.
The color of Greed: Then, while looking through his father’s personal belongings, Jesse III discovered a new Will marked “DRAFT” which took away one half of the properties that had been in the Torres family for generations, and gave it to the adopted daughter. Along with being in the Torres family for generations, this property had been promised to Jesse III as repayment to him for the hundreds of thousands of dollars loaned to his parents when his father had a near-death accident that incapacitated him for years, as well as during numerous times when his parents were deeply in debt from failed business ventures.
Reportedly, Mary Torres (see Getting to Know Mary C. Torres), after her adopted father died and her adopted brother was on the West Coast, took Sophie to an Attorney in order to change her father’s Will. This attorney was hired and paid for by Jesse E. Torres IV (aka Jesse Stockwell, Jesse E. Stockwell). This was done with the full knowledge that the entire estate was to have gone to her adopted brother, Jesse III, in order to repay him, as mentioned above. Did greed play a part in certain family members’ mentality when they felt they weren’t going to profit from the agreement between Jesse III and his mother? This author will let you come to your own conclusion.
Facts regarding Contract #1: As the estate of his father had not yet been probated, Jesse III was going to file against the estate for the monies owed him, as mentioned above. His mother, Sophie J. Torres, after reviewing receipts and her signature on the backs of hundreds of weekly checks, entered into a binding contract with her son to avoid a lawsuit against her late husband’s estate. See contract here. Why did Jesse III feel he needed a contract with his mother? Please see the article, Getting to Know Sophie J. Torres, to answer that question.
Part of the agreement between Jesse III and Sophie was that Jesse III would handle all the details involved in changing the crushing forward mortgage facilitated by his son, Jesse IV, into a reverse mortgage. He would also handle the mortgaging of the family farm in order to restore the homestead, and turn it around from a dilapidated tear-down to a profitable waterfront rental. The reverse mortgage for the primary home was obtained, but Sophie refused to mortgage the family homestead even though she had previously agreed to it. This was in keeping with a long pattern of her stubbornness and bad business sense (see Getting to Know Sophie J. Torres). When faced with almost losing the family homestead due to disrepair, she finally obtained a highly restrictive construction mortgage, against her son’s advise.
Jesse and Jenny personally spent hundreds of hours on both the planning and engineering regarding the restoration of the homestead. Everything was going beautifully until construction had to be stopped when the contractor erroneously took down a wall for which there was no permit. After the contractor was fired, the house was wide open. When Jesse III asked his son, Jesse IV, to repay the $11,000 he loaned him years before and to pay it directly to his grandmother to cover the construction mortgage payments and finish the homestead, he refused. According to the bank’s estimation, the family homestead stood 65% finished.
Facts regarding Contract #2: Additional funds for materials, tools and permits were required and Sophie had no funds. Jesse and Jenny agreed to sell their home in Mexico in a depressed market to cover those costs. If they hadn’t, the inspector said that the homestead would have been condemned. It was agreed by Sophie and Jesse, in a second signed agreement, that a Corporate Real Estate Trust would be formed for all of the homestead properties as well as Sophie’s primary home, which had been given to Jesse III’s father by his Uncle Fred Rose. Jesse III would receive 51% of the outstanding stock, and Sophie the remaining 49%. See contract here.
The last straw: After thousands of dollars, countless hours of work and the family homestead stopped at 65% finished, the lawsuit was filed by the Plaintiffs Pro Se, against Donald F. Torres, Jesse E. Torres IV, with the support of Debtmerica and Sophie J. Torres (the Defendants) by Jennifer J. Adams and Jesse E. Torres III (the Plaintiffs). The Plaintiffs will be filing a motion to add Mary Carmen Torres (Mary C. Torres) as a Defendant, to the complaint. The Plaintiffs are also considering their options in filing an additional Complaint in Federal Court against Jesse Stockwell, Debtmerica and Donald Torres.
The continuing story of the Plaintiffs’ battle: Pro Se: Hanging By A Thread – The Memorandum