NewsNews5 Investigates

Actions

Squatter who sued homeowners wants judge to award him $400k

Civil lawsuit hearing scheduled for Sept. 28
Jack Cole Lawsuit
Posted at 3:16 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 00:27:48-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — News 5 Investigates is following up on a case where a squatter successfully sued a dead woman's family in court---and won.

Earlier this year, we uncovered that Jack Cole, a felon, appears to have won a default judgment by filing fraudulent paperwork with the courts.

COLE_PROFILE

Based on this evidence, a judge has a granted a new hearing where Cole, his alleged process server and notary will answer questions.

The case was initially set for July 10, but has since been rescheduled for Sept. 28.

Background:

In 2017, Wendy Clark, a Colorado Springs homeowner passed away.

Gerry and Wendy
Wendy (L) and her mother, Gerry (R)

For several months, her family fought with the courts to get access to her house and belongings after multiple random people moved in and refused to leave.

During the first quarter of 2018, the courts evicted the ringleader squatter, Jack Cole and all other unidentified people.

The Clark family thought they could finally move on with their lives, but that's not the case.

Fast forward to 2019, Cole files a civil lawsuit against the Clark family. In his lawsuit, he claims his feelings were injured and he lost his social standing.

Miller Judge

El Paso County Judge G. David Miller entered a default judgment in his case because Wendy's sister, Michelle, failed to appear in court.

Michelle claims she had no idea about the lawsuit until she received a default judgment letter in the mail.

Evidence uncovered by News 5 Investigates backs up Michelle's story. It appears she was never served paperwork.

"I opened up that letter to find out there's a default judgment entered against me so at that point everything kind of blew up," she said. "I had to take the rest of the day off from work to find out what was going on."

Cole's apparent scheme to fool the courts:

News 5 uncovered that Cole had a fellow inmate, Roger "Travis" Rickard get a bogus affidavit of service notarized showing the Clark family was handed paperwork for the lawsuit.

A closer look at the document raises serious questions.

For one, Roger T. Rickard, the so-called "process server" could not have hand-delivered the paperwork to the Clark family in October 2019 as he claimed. At that time, records show Rickard was serving time behind bars.

Prisons and jails do not allow inmates to leave and go serve people papers.

Also, the affidavit of service requires an address for where the paperwork is served.

News 5 noticed the address given belongs to the El Paso County Courthouse.

On the day the lawsuit was allegedly served to Michelle Clark, she had no business being at the courthouse. She provided News 5 with records showing she was working at USAA.

"He knows how to work the system," Michelle said. "He got away with everything from my sister's house without even getting a slap on the hand. He knows how to work the system to get what he wants and that's exactly what he's doing right now. He's forging paperwork to win a civil lawsuit against me."

The original judge who ruled in favor of Cole's case is moving forward with a hearing to get to the bottom of what happened.

It's unclear whether Cole or Rickard will face any further consequences if they are found to have filed paperwork to fool the courts.

"This is a waste of taxpayer dollars running this through the courthouse," Michelle said. "It's a waste of everyone's time and it can destroy someone's life. They need to be held accountable and get charges and pay for what they've done."

Previous coverage:

Hearing for squatter case set for July 10

Squatter wins lawsuit against homeowners; Judge grants new hearing in case

Squatter successfully files lawsuit from prison and wins

Squatters evicted after living in dead woman's house