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The Battle Begins...

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I really apologize for the length of this post, but after more than 3 wks of dead silence since I sent the IA DOT the following letter, they have responded by demanding, formally, that I PERSONALLY drive to my local DMV and surrender my Title, registration, and license plate. :) I have absolutely no intention of doing so.

Upon receipt today of their letter, I was pleased to discover the local sheriff's dept., the DMV, and the county attorney's office encouraging me to fight this unreasonable injustice. The deputy was seriously pissed! (I am attempting to file criminal charges of vehicle fraud and theft against IDiOT and the involved individual cast of clowns.) They are checking to see if I can, and agree that if so, I should.

A civil action seeking damages (actual and punitive) will be filed regardless. If any of my fellow TT members would like to join the fun, please send your comments to:

Christopher.Leeman@DOT.STATE.IA.US and/or


copy me as well at: rathfamily@mindspring.com

Here is my letter to them from March 18:


Here's a Chilling Headline:


So says the Iowa Department of Transportation to unsuspecting citizens: (truth)

The State of Iowa requires all residents to title their vehicle(s) in Iowa. A Title to a Motor Vehicle is one of the most valuable and important documents most citizens possess. Motor vehicles represent a major investment. A vehicle title is a negotiable asset. It can be used to secure loans, transfer ownership, obtain licensing, and is usually required to purchase insurance ( which Iowa law also requires ) as well as provide (another) means for the state to collect taxes. The law provides serious penalties for alterations and untrue statements. Your vehicle is not even YOURS without a clear title. In these respects, IT is what you paid your money for, not the machine. You are required to place your good faith and your substantial investment solely in this State-issued document. Among other things it certifies WHAT the vehicle is ( make, model, type, weight, color, and USE: its recognized and authorized purpose) and its history/origin. Each state sets its own requirements for vehicle titling procedures.

If a thief-in-the-night steals your vehicle, you are definitely seriously damaged and they go to jail (hopefully). If you have adequate insurance, much of your financial loss can be recovered. If the title is lost or stolen or destroyed, there are replacement remedies available through the State. You and your lien holders are protected.

What do you do when the State itself steals your vehicle title and you (and all previous owners) are, by their own admission, TOTALLY innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever? When they tell you THEY have arbitrarily reversed themselves on a determination they made 2 years and 2 owners ago. The Certificate of Tile you placed your faith and investment in is dishonored and you now don’t even legally own a vehicle but rather a very expensive lawn ornament. Have a nice day. Let us know if we can be of further assistance, the government is here to help…( thanks for paying for "our mistake" sucker?). I doubt the insurance policy covers that! Yet for all intents and purposes for which you purchased it, your vehicle is just as gone!

Think about that: A THIEF would do less harm than the State to its own law-abiding citizen!!!!

Oh well, hey, what’s $6,000 when you have 2 kids and a mortgage and are still suffering from the most devastating financial year of your life. When you may really need the liquid value of your remaining assets. ( I wonder how many IDOT officials got laid off within the past year? ). How much is an untitled vehicle worth compared to the titled one you purchased when times were better? How can you even legally sell it? Who would want it? How do you defend your property from a government agency that:

Can’t or won’t, cite the SPECIFIC statute ( state or federal ) they think that they themselves are/were in violation of and are punishing innocent citizens to ‘correct’, but insist that its "some federal law" and that most other states are in violation of it. Besides, we have the authority. ( and don’t need a reason?)

Knows there is no history of violations or complaints regarding this vehicle or its operator.

Defines "due process" as ‘a notification which you will receive’ and, if you wish, a hearing which THEY conduct and adjudicate.

Tells you that you are not the only citizen they are doing this to, but refuse to give you any information regarding their other victims thus preventing you from marshalling your forces.

Keeps this whole thing very quiet. ( They kicked the WRONG sleeping dog here, though!!!)

Admits it is a vehicle they themselves safety inspected and certified as compliant.. They don’t care how compliant it is. This is an administrative action, not a safety issue.

Admits the vehicle meets emissions standards and that is not an issue, either.

Acknowledges the fact that they title and license many such vehicles and so does virtually every state.

Must honor lawfully licensed vehicles exactly like this one from " outlaw states" and are thus enforcing nothing with this action. ( but their butts are covered and to hell with innocent citizens ?)

"While sympathetic, their hands are tied. It’s a legislative thing. It’s the feds. Orders from the boss. Happy to forward your comments, but am very busy and can’t devote a lot of time to this…"



To Whom It May Concern:

The preceeding is the first page of a new web site I am creating. It is also the editorial and letter I intend to distribute directly to all pertinent legislators, news agencies, activist organizations, etc. IF reason, logic, and justice do not prevail in this matter soon. I am NOT a title number. I will NOT "surrender" my valuable assets in any way, shape, or form when I am guilty of NO infraction. If you are TRULY committed to making this mistake to cover-up an imagined one, and absolutely must have my vehicle's title, I suggest you do it in a legal and socially acceptable manner (the way I did it) and BUY it. Especially since you insist it was your error. I am a reasonable man. I, too, am busy with my life.

To prove how reasonable I am, I have spent every off-duty moment for the last 16 days researching this matter and would like to share some information that I hope will convince you that NO mistake was made when this vehicle's title was issued, a matter I had nothing to do with and which doesn't even concern me. I purchased a state-certified, titled, street-legal, reconstructed vehicle in good faith in you and the original owner/builder. He has sent me a signed affidavit regarding his following of IDOT's instructions and procedures to the letter: before, during, and after his reconstruction project. He did nothing wrong unless you count his expectation that the DOT knew their own policies and requirements and could be trusted. He is a 62 year old citizen who is also very upset with IDOT right now. He knows I would not have purchased a non-street-legal vehicle and feels himself betrayed by the State of Iowa. Why should he ever trust a State agency again? The MSO, frame number and other nonsense you reference in your verbal communication do not exist on or for this vehicle. It carried then and carries still a bonafide, certified Iowa Title to Reconstructed Vehicle and an IA VIN and an Iowa plate.

If any of this is untrue for any reason, then I have been defrauded BY the State. You have a binding, good-faith, state mandated contract with me that certifies the vehicle bona-fide. That contract is the title. I have done nothing to violate that contract. If you feel the vehicle is non-compliant in respect to functioning required equipment, pull it over the next time you see it on the road and issue a citation. That is law enforcement. I will either fix the problem and pay the fine or the matter will be resolved in a Court of Law. I hope my position is perfectly clear in this matter. As the preceding statement of my understanding of this matter indicates, yours is not.

Convince me why I should not transfer ALL of my vehicle titles to another state in view of your actions. I would be a fool not to! The State would be guilty of entrapment if it tried to enforce its residency registration/titling law on me if you continue to pursue this matter in this manner. Your vehicle titles and vehicle inspections will be proven by YOU to be invalid and worthless,(a fact many professional drivers, like myself, will no doubt be quite interested to hear). A lady in another state's DMV was even concerned with this revelation when I related this matter while inquiring of that particular state's policies. Did she dare honor any Iowa titles? Bad paper is frowned upon no matter who issues it, but a state government agency is all the worse. All Iowa titles become suspect. Your unprovoked attack upon my assets is totally separate from any MSO nonsense, policy changes, interpretations etc. That is a different battle to be fought in a different forum if I so choose to join that fight. This is self-defense and you leave me no choice. If you invalidate/revoke/sieze my vehicle or its documentation or prevent my lawful use of it on the street, I will lodge a criminal complaint for fraud and will seek damages, both actual and punitive. I will also take your abuse of power, funding and trust directly to the citizens who are even now embroiled in bitter opposition to the 0.08 alcohol limit tied to your funding.

You will also be in violation of "the federal law" that (I can only surmise) is the statute or code you have referred to so vaguely in conversations with me and with my attorney:

Title 49 USC, Subtitle VI, Part A, Chapter 301, subchapter II, Sec. 30112


(:D Nonapplication. - This section does not apply to -

(2) a person -

(A) establishing that the person had no reason to know, despite exercising reasonable care, that a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment does not comply with applicable motor vehicle safety standards prescribed under this chapter; ...

YOU, the Iowa Department of Transportation, INSPECTED AND CERTIFIED IT!! NONE of my other vehicles has ever been so inspected and certified (and they are legal). This vehicle's street-legal certification was 'above and beyond question' to a man who lives under the iron fist of the DOT every minute of every day of his life, on duty and off.



If you actually read the entire chapter 301, and I have, you will see the truth in the attached letter from an expert in this area, Mr. Alan Roach of Baja Designs: (please see attachments). These attachments are FYI only (I promised to try to help you in this matter and I meant it). I have, quite literally, amassed hundreds of pages of information and evidence in this subject area from around the world, this nation, and this state. This is a tiny sample. As I stated, it is not my task here to take on the enormous inertia of a "too busy for its own citizens" government, though the pursuit of better government has become a mission unto itself.

You may decide to use forceful measures to enforce your policy change. I truly hope not. Few people are as keenly aware of the IDOT's enormous unilateral power and willingness to use it while enjoying 'exemption' from observance of Constitutional Rights as a professional driver is. The vehicle and all of its documentation is out of your jurisdiction for the duration, so please knock/don't kick if you come to my door,so as not to frighten my children. If you think my actions and words are strong, put yourself in this citizen's shoes and consider that it is REaction to a blind-side attack from people I am supposed to teach my young boys to trust...

I do appreciate that you wish to do the right thing. Certainly, in this matter, how you do it is just as important as what you do and why.


Scott Rath

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Hi Chaindrive!

Intersting post, governments are... interesting sometimes and darnright a nuisance when they screw up (wich happens now and then) because they will NEVER admit to anyting done wrong!

I did not get it all when I read Your mails, what vehicle are we talking about? your WR? and the beef is that they have issued this scoot with all papers and declared it legally Yours and now have changed their minds? is that it?

Well, anyhow I wish You the best of luck and I REALLY hope that You can squish and embarrass them - that is what they deserve.

Spring is here, I think I will get of work early and go for some laps at the local MX track. :)


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Fredrik, you hit it right on the head. It is my WR. The only reasonable response to their demand would have to end with "...and the horse you rode in on!", and that's what the registered-letter response I'm sending says!

They have never acknowledged my 1st letter or cited the specific error (resulting in the violation of a specific statute) they suddenly decided THEY made long before I ever paid my hard earned money for it, but expect ME to pay for "their mistake".

I deal with the DOT on a daily basis. They aren't the sharpest crayons in the box... :)

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That is why they are not working for a living - to do that one needs some recourses from the gen-pool :) .


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