Saving Bishop Castle

James Bishop – Bishop Castle

In June, 2015, Hanes & Bartels, on behalf of the Bishops, filed a complaint in the District Court in El Paso County against David Merrill, a.k.a. David Van Pelt, seeking, among other things, rescission of the deed signed by the Bishops in February, 2015 that purported to convey the Bishop Castle property in Custer County, Colorado to CASTLE CHURCH-For the Redemption of the office Bishop, an alleged trust in which Mr. Merrill had named himself “first Trustee.”

Mr. Merrill failed to file an answer to the Complaint, as required by the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.  Instead, he filed a 100-page counterclaim against the Bishops claiming $104,720 in damages from the Bishops.  After analyzing the counterclaim, Hanes & Bartels filed a motion for judgment against Merrill.  Before and since that filing, Mr. Merrill filed a number of additional, voluminous pleadings in the court.

On September 25, 2015, the Court issued an Order of Judgment in which the court found that the allegations of the Complaint were true and that the Bishops were entitled to the relief sought in the Complaint, which included the following:

  • CASTLE-CHURCH-For the Redemption of the Office Bishop is is declared not a trust and a non-existent, fictitious entity;
  • David Merrill is enjoined from doing a number of different actions, but in summary is enjoined from having anything to do with Bishop Castle.
  • The alleged trust, CASTLE-CHURCH-For the Redemption of the Office Bishop, is rescinded and has no force or effect as to Bishops or their property.
  • All documents presented or created  by Merrill that allege a trust are rescinded and terminated as to any person or entity.
  • The first Warranty Deed conveying the castle property is declared void and of no effect.
  • The second, Corrective Warranty Deed, conveying the castle property is declared void and of no effect.
  • David Merrill breached his fiduciary duty to Bishops.

The case in El Paso County is closed, although Mr. Merrill does have a right to file an appeal.  The Bishops and the Bishop Castle are now in the same position as they were prior to February, 2015.

Hanes & Bartels wants to thank all who have supported and continue to support the Bishops in their quest to regain Bishop Castle.


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