United States District Court, D. Delaware
Angelo, Sr., Townsend, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
G. Wilcox, Esquire, Whiteford Taylor Preston, LLC,
Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant NVR, Inc.
Thomas Earle, Esquire, Zarwin, Baum, DeVito, Kaplan, Schaer,
Toddy, P.C., Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ronald Angelo, Sr. ("Plaintiff'), filed this action
on April 6, 2018. (D.I. 1). He appears pro se and
has paid the filing fee. Before the Court are several motions
filed by the parties including a motion to amend the
complaint, motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment,
and motions for conflict of interest. (D.I. 5, 7, 9, 10, 14,
22, 26, 29, 31). Briefing is complete.
action concerns property located at 611 Southerness Drive in
Townsend, Delaware, a September 6, 2000 Maintenance
Declaration Odessa National Maintenance Corporation
("Maintenance Declaration") made by Kathryn A.
Copper, Atkinson Farm, Inc., and James R. Atkinson (as the
Legal Owners) and Odessa National Corp. (with all parties
referred to collectively as Declarant) recorded on September
6, 2000 (D.I. 1-1 at 13-22), and a Master Declaration of
Covenants and Restrictions for Odessa National Golf Club and
Residential Community ("DOC"), recorded on August
5, 2005 (D.I. 1 at 4; D.I. 1-1 at 5). The DOC is made by
Odessa National Development Company (as the Developer), and
Fieldsboro Development, LLC; Ravenglass, LLC; Camerton, LLC;
Robino-Wynnfield II, LLC; and D.R. Horton, Inc.-New Jersey
(as the Original Builders),  and the DOC states that Odessa
National Development Company owns the Southerness
sub-community and that Odessa National's intent is to
develop a residential golf course. (Id.).
dated August 21, 2007 between Defendant NVR, Inc.
("NVR") and Rosemary Angelo conveyed property
located at 611 Southerness Drive in Townsend, Delaware, to
Rosemary Angelo. (D.I. 1-1 at 2-3). The August 21, 2007 deed
is subject to August 5, 2005 DOC and the September 6, 2000
Maintenance Declaration. (Id. at 2). The deed
indicates that Odessa National Development Company, LLC
conveyed the property to NVR on May 25, 2007. (Id.
at 2). The Complaint alleges that NVR is the parent company
of Ryan Homes, Inc. that sold the property at issue.
(Id. at 3, 5). It also alleges that Defendant
Commonwealth Land Title Company ("CLT") is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Fidelity National Title Insurance, and
CLT is Plaintiff's title insurance company.
August 9, 2013 opinion letter from the New Castle County
Executive's Office states that the DOC was not executed
in accordance with County law in that it seeks to amend the
original Maintenance Declaration in contravention of the
terms of that instrument and County law and is being used to
improperly extract fees for the maintenance of open space and
common facilities (i.e., the golf course) from the
homeowners, even though they will not receive ownership under
the terms of the instrument. (D.I. 1-1 at 23-31).
October 22, 2013 clarification letter from the County
Executive's Office states that: (1) the DOC contains
covenants and restrictions that constitute private deed
restrictions; (2) courts consider these to be a form of
private contract among homeowners, the declarants, and other
parties that are burdened or benefitted by them; and (3) the
County is not a party to the DOC and has no authority to
enforce its covenants and restrictions that do not implicate
County law. (Id. at 32). The letter was copied to
attorneys for the Golf Course Owner and Declarant and
directed the Declarant to amend the DOC to remove provisions
that allow the Golf Course Owner to collect an assessment for
maintenance of the common facilities, adjacent open space and
golf course assessment areas as defined in the DOC.
(Id. at 32-34).
dated January 20, 2016 conveys the property from Rosemary
Angelo to Rosemary Angelo and Plaintiff as co-trustees under
a revocable trust agreement date November 13, 2015. (D.I.
13-2at 5-7). The January 20, 2016 deed is subject to the DOC
and the Maintenance Declaration. (Id. at 6) A New
Castle County Recorder of Deeds data sheet indicates that on
April 11, 2017, Plaintiff and Rosemary Angelo recorded a deed
to Ronald Angelo, Sr., Trustee, Rosemary Angelo, Trustee, and
the Ronald Angelo, Sr. and Rosemary Angelo Revocable Trust.
(D.I 1-1 at 54.). The Court was not provided the deed, and it
is unclear if it is subject to the DOC and the Maintenance
Declaration or if the deed recorded on April 11, 2017 is the
same deed that was executed on January 20, 2016.
alleges that CLT, as his title insurance company, is liable
"for all recorded documents including documents excluded
except for documents declared void." (Id. at
6). Plaintiff alleges that NVR, as a mortgage company, had a
fiduciary responsibility to insure the deed it transferred to
the buyer (;'.e., Rosemary Angelo) was without error and
in compliance with county, state, and federal law.
(Id. at 8). Plaintiff alleges that at settlement,
Defendants did not inform him of all the violations of the
recorded documents and did not advise him of the excluded
documents from coverage or of invalid record plans and
recorded instruments in his title insurance policy.
(Id. at 5). Plaintiff alleges "with the current
violation of recordation, [his] property cannot be sold with
full disclosure." (Id. at 6). Plaintiff seeks a
full refund of the purchase price plus improvements and
expenses to move or a declaration that the recorded document
is void and for NVR or CLT to return the monies collected at
settlement by NVR charged as a golf course fee, plus
interest. (Id. at 6).
Complaint asserts federal jurisdiction and diversity
jurisdiction. As noted below, it does not appear that there
is any valid federal claim. The prayer for relief seeks a
refund of the property's purchase price - $495, 000- or
$5, 000 plus interest. (D.I. 1 at 6). If the request for
relief does not meet the diversity threshold, an issue that I
do not now decide, then there is no jurisdictional basis for
this matter being in federal court.
Complaint raises: (1) two counts of New Castle County code
violations; one for land use and one for the recorder of
deeds; (2) two violations of state law; one for violating
Title 9 of the Delaware Code and one for bank fraud; and (3)
two violations of federal law; one for recordation and one
for bank fraud. (Id. at 5).
Castle County Code.
Complaint appears to allege violations of Chapter 40 of the
New Castle County Code, Unified Development Code
("UDC"), §§ 40.30.510 and
40.31.130. The Complaint alleges that the Maintenance
Declaration states that any changes or additions must be
approved by the New Castle County Council; that the DOC
sought to expand the original maintenance declaration without
approval as required by USD § 40.31.130.G.; that the DOC
does not conform to the model declaration; as a result, any
maintenance obligations resulting from its execution should
be considered null and void and the homeowners should not be
required to pay any open space maintenance fees resulting
from its execution; and the DOC is recorded illegally and is
void. (Id. at 12-13).
Complaint alleges the DOC is not "duly executed or
recorded" on property located at 611 Southerness Drive,
Townsend, Delaware. (Id. at 4). It is alleged that
the DOC does not meet 9 Del. C. § 9605, because the
document does not have "prepared by" and
"return address" on the first page, which was done
to defraud the residents, and the preparer knew the DOC would
not pass County Council which is why it was not submitted
through proper channels. (Id. at 9-10). The
Complaint alleges that because the DOC did not conform to the
rules of recordation it should not have been accepted by the
Recorder of Deeds. (Id. at 10-11). The Complaint
alleges that as long as the DOC is attached to the deed, the
property cannot be sold and no loans can be made with the
property as collateral. (Id. at 11). Plaintiff
alleges that paragraph 8.7 of the DOC states that the $5, 000
golf course fee is a fee charged to the builder and not the
buyer and fraud was perpetrated by the builder when the fee
was paid by the buyer and collected at
settlement. (Id. at 20).
Complaint alleges that if the property is insured by a United
States government agency then the government is the victim of
fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1021 and the bank was
defrauded in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344.
(Id. at 11). The Complaint alleges that the bank was
defrauded when it loaned money ...