Defending My Legal Right to Blow the Whistle

Summary: 

This is Frank Hui  from Johns Creek , Georgia, USA (Atlanta ). I need your help to raise $50,000 by Dec. 31, 2019.  A local company had filed a $250,000 lawsuit against me for publicly exposing its suspected deception and extortion practiced on myself and my community . Such acts have brought immediate harms to all in my community. In addition, hundreds of thousands in Georgia might have already been harmed and more might be falling victims if not stopped. The owner had publicly boasted his record of "21 years of running XXX, I have never encountered an individual (a.k.a. Frank)". This rich businessman means to silence me for good with his SLAPP lawsuit. By disabling me with financial ruin of mounting legal bills, he could then continue on for another 21 years without challenge from anyone. This is a real life replay of "David v.s. Goliath". Please empower me to defend my right to blow the whistle and defeat him in court. Your individual support is the very stone I need to hit Goliath between his eyes and to end this legal war with a total victory. I'm very encouraged to learn, after hearing my whistle, people from my community is also suing to stop the illegal practices.

What had happened:
A previously unknown entity called RMS (Rental Monitoring Solutions) sent me a letter on 11/7/2018, demanding mandatory disclosure of highly private information of all individuals living in my house, including names, phones, email addresses, relationships, copy of rental/leasing contract, etc., with threat of fine if not responded within 14 days (by 11/21/2018). The fine could be $25/day according to its later emails.

Since my HOA  (Wellington Homeowner Association) had never notified us anything about RMS and the the HOA has no rental control rules that would permit any form of mandatory occupancy auditing, I suspected it to be a scam for the sole purpose of extorting private info. I've posted neighborhood alerts on my HOA Facebook page  & Nextdoor.com , asked my HOA board  about RMS, demanded RMS to provide evidence of authorization, filed complaints with local BBB  and Georgia State Department of Law,  etc.  

On Thanksgiving Eve (11/21/2018),  Mr. Garrett Van de Grift, the RMS owner, sent me an email a lawsuit threat in retaliation.  This threat had been repeated numerous times over the following month.

On 11/28/2018 (3 weeks after the initial RMS 11/7 letter), the president of my HOA BOD   ( Board of Directors ) sent an email to a small number of HOA members (~ 10 out of 800+),  stating that the BOD had indeed hired RMS on 10/18 to conduct a voluntary survey, with no mentioning of "fines" or any hint of "mandatory" nature.  This confirmed my suspicion of RMS's deception & extortion. That is also expected of him, since a mandatory occupancy audit demanded by RMS would have been illegal without first having our HOA rules changed. Such changes can only be accomplished with a 2/3 majority votes from all HOA members, according to Georgia State HOA Laws. My HOA BOD had made 2 prior failed attempts for such changes. A month after RMS was hired, the vast majority of our HOA members were still kept in the dark by then.

On 11/28/2018 (the same day above, but a few hours later), RMS attorney  sent me a "Cease & Desist" letter via email, demanding me to stop publicly expressing my suspicions of the deceptive nature of RMS's business practice and reiterated the lawsuit threat. That is for my actions prior to the BOD's unofficial confirmation of RMS hiring just a few hours earlier. This attorney letter was probably drafted even before the BOD president's email I receive a few hours early.

Large number of paragraphs in that attorney letter are verbatim of BOD president's email, down to every punctuation, with only "FRANK" replaced by "YOU". Is my own HOA BOD actively collaborating with RMS in its lawsuit against me? This could be in violation of the BOD fiduciary duty owed to me and all 800+ HOA members. Their allegiance here shall be mine, not RMS's. But I'm not surprised if this lawsuit turns out to the 2nd bird that one stone Garrett threw at me means to kill. I'm well known in my community for publicly exposing BOD's misconducts, including misinterpreting HOA rules, enforcing illegal HOA rules, etc. As of today, my posts on my own community Facebook page regarding RMS had been completely deleted & I've been banned from any access. The BOD alse refused to fire RMS after repeated requests from my fellow HOA members. RMS is now profiting on ~ $30k/year fees that had never been authorized by the votes of our HOA members, with helps from our own BOD! Community members is suing the BOD for breaking HOA rules.

Turning my American Dream into American Nightmare:
Darin Upton, the RMS president & an attorney in profession, said in his email to Wellington HOA members: "... thanks to everyone who continues to forward us Frank’s emails. It’s not a problem at all, and yes we’re monitoring the social media postings as well." He was referring to my posts on the Wellington Homeowner exclusive private forum. He is spying on my private communications with my fellow HOA members and he dares to publicly acknowledge it! Coincidentally, a BOD member who has long refused the invitation to join the member private forum for over 6 months suddenly requested to join, and the leaks followed soon after.

To a person grown up in Communist China  during its darkest days , that was what the Party  did to us every single day! We were told to spy on our own parents and report to the party any activities that might be considered crossing the party lines. Yes it happened! Hundreds of thousand of families were ruined. I remember my own parents started to whisper, or spoke in dialect  I could not understand, whenever there was something a kid should not hear. Am I living in Hitler's Nazi GermanyStalin's Soviet Union or Mao's China ? Is RMS trying to turn my American Dream into American Nightmare?

It's David v.s. Goliath !
Mr. Garrett Van de Grift, the RMS owner & an attorney in profession, claims to have total annual business revenues of ~$250M  from his wholly owned Red Wizard Groups .  On the other hand, I've been in a long term unemployment situation since 2008. I was forced to start draining my retirement fund since then, for incomes generated from my savings alone fails to cover the bare minimum (due to extremely low interest rate on savings & bad investments). My first retirement check is still a decade away & will not be much more than $1000/month when it finally arrives. I could not even afford to pay my own heath insurance, but fortunately I'm blessed with good health. Mr. Garrett Van de Grift can easily outspend me 1000x over. This is a real life replay of David & Goliath!

My financial challenge is well known to our HOA BOD, after I was forced to disclose years of my tax returns (1040) during one of the illegal rule enforcement hearings. Given the evidence I have on BOD/RMS collaboration against me, I'm not surprised if my weak spot was made known to Garrett.  I've been trying my best to put up a brave face and keep most of my personal friends & relatives in the dark about my financial distress. After 10 years trying, I'm finally left with no alternative today & but plea to you for a helping hand. 

Funding Needs & Objectives:
I've consulted a number of highly experienced local attorneys, who have track record of success in such cases. There will be no quick win and $50,000 is the minimum to get going. That is if my attorney could successfully have the lawsuit dismissed on the first try. If that failed, each additional legal defense step will cost significantly more. The aggregated cost could go beyond $300,000, if I eventually lost the lawsuit after exhausting all legal means. RMS knows it too well, the easiest way to get rid me for good is to ruin of my life with mounting legal costs. 

At this stage, I'm focusing on raising the first stage legal defense fund of $20,000, hoping for a victory on the first try.  Whether you contribute $5 or $500, your voice of support is the very stone I need to hit Goliath between his eyes. 

Thank you all for empowering me to defend my right to blow the whistle in my own America!

Frank Hui
Johns Creek, Georgia, USA
2018-12-26

FAQs

Q.     What happens if the money I donated is no longer needed by this campaign?
A.     If none of the money is needed or used for the stated campaign purpose, refunds will be issued following GoFundMe's refund process.

Q.     Does the Wellington community have rental restriction rules?
A.     No, In the past five years, the Wellington community has twice rejected the HOA Board proposal to pass rental restriction rules. Neither the HOA board nor anyone hired by the board has the authority to interfere with rental activity such as mandatory collection of rental data, mandatory fees, or mandatory fines.

Donations

  • Wei Niu 
    • $20 
    • 8 mos
  • Rachel Chou 
    • $10 
    • 9 mos
  • Jenny Fang 
    • $5 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 9 mos
  • Xi Sun 
    • $5 
    • 9 mos
See all

Fundraising team (2)

Frank Hui 
Organizer
Raised $515 from 12 donations
Duluth, GA
Amanda Hui 
Team member
Raised $40 from 2 donations
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more