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History of ATA

By: Paul Rhodes


In 1986, Richard Olson of Blue Chip Realty had the audacity to ask a trustee questions about a pending Trustee Sale of a specific property in Sedona. He wanted to know, among other things, the original principal balance of the note and what the opening bid would be. The trustee cryptically responded by telling Mr. Olson that there was no obligation by law requiring the trustee to provide the information requested. When pressed further, the trustee stonewalled and noted if Mr. Olson did not like the law, he should consider changing the statutes.


And that is exactly what Mr. Olson did.  He hired a lobbyist and put together a Bill to rectify the perceived injustices. In the same year, HB 2365 was introduced in the State House; its provisions would have had a significant, adverse effect on trustee sales and all parties with interest in a Deed of Trust. Amongst other things, it required the Trustee to disclose certain details of information about the property to be sold. Not necessarily a bad thing, however at this time, trustee sales were conducted with total payment due at the time of sale, similar to California and Nevada.


The Bill would have allowed a week or more to pay the final bid. In addition, postponement notifications would have to be mailed to all interested parties and the Notice of Trustee Sale republished with the new sale date and location. There were other intricacies, but over time, those details have blurred. The legislation was supported by the Land Title Association and the Realtors Association. The Bill sailed, unchallenged, through the House.


Terri Kaufman and Pam Brittain, then both of TD Service, were challenged to do something about the Bill. TD Service hired a lobbyist at their expense. Terri and Pam went to a Land Title Legislative Committee meeting to address the issues they had with the legislation. Much of their input was used to modify the Bill that was so close to becoming law. They then, with the assistance of the lobbyist, supported the changes by attending several meetings of the Legislature where committees reviewed the changes.


They were successful on all major fronts and most of the minor ones. It was from that experience that Terri thought that the Trustee’s should have their own professional Association that would prevent future unchallenged incursions into the realm of the trustee.


Terri recruited Pam and Andy Meeks. They began canvassing Trustees for support. A luncheon was held where almost 50 people attended! Ed Ellis, of California Posting and Publishing, was the first luncheon speaker, who spoke fervently of the need for a united legislative lobby and the need to ensure that our legislative leaders understood the impact of the changes that they made in the laws. Pam has always held Ed in great esteem and felt grateful for his impassioned presentation. She felt he was a major catalyst that brought the Association together.


From that point, many people got involved. Diane Drain set up the organization by drafting the Association’s articles and was the first Statutory Agent. Pam thought that Terri should have been President, but Terri declined. Thus, Pam was the first President and Terri was the first Vice-President.
The first convention was held in 1987 at the beautiful Westcourt in the Buttes. Terri and Pam then recruited Steve Vadas. They recall that they almost had to pull the plug on it, because they did not get the response they thought they needed. Pam remembers it wistfully, “That’s one I will never forget because, as founding President, I personally guaranteed the resort a great deal of money, neglecting to tell my husband…”


She needn’t have been concerned. The convention was a complete success! It was held in a carnival format and became the first money maker for the newly formed ATA. The education seminars were so full, it was standing room only. The carnival brought plenty of vendors and many of our California friends.  Kathy Meyers, then of Fidelity Title, was a great sport. She volunteered to be the victim of the dunk tank – and don’t think that people didn’t enjoy being the dunkers…


Since then we have explored many magnificent resorts in the beautiful state of Arizona: Westcourt in the Buttes, Scottsdale Plaza, The Wigwam, Mesa Hilton, Gold Canyon, Sedona Doubletree and Hilton, The Pointe at South Mountain, Prescott Resort, the Tucson Omni, Francisco Grande, Hilton El Conquistador, Radisson Fort McDowell, Tubac Golf Resort, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and the Gila River Wildhorse Pass Resort.


Since that first convention in 1987, the Association has worked hard on both the legislative and educational fronts to constantly elevate the standards and practices of the trust deed industry. The industry has prospered and in turn, so have we.

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