The Rodolphus Allen Family Private Trust (RAFPT) is a property trust, operating in Ireland, whose purpose is to take over properties at risk of bank repossession. It was set up by Charlie Allen, a Kilkenny based landscape gardener. Active recruitment for the trust has so far largely been concentrated in the East and South of Ireland in 2013.
Supporters/members of RAFPT have stated that up to 2,000 people throughout Ireland have paid money at marketing events to 'sign up' to this 'trust' in order to prevent the repossession of properties. Supporters of the trust claim that it exploits a loophole in mortgage documents, and other paperwork, that allows them to put assets beyond the reach of banks. The trust has yet to have a success in saving a property, and has been labelled as 'legal nonsense' in the High Court. The trust seems to hold certain qualities that could be identified as belonging to organisations better known as the Freeman on the land.
The first mention of the 'trust' in the media was in July 2013 when the Irish Examiner reported that a number of indebted individuals had been pledging certain assets to this trust. The only individual named as an associate at that time was Bill Cullen, a prominent business and media personality in Ireland. Conor Ryan, the journalist who broke the story, stated that the 'trust' had attracted 600 members since late 2012, mainly through group meetings in Cork.
The trust became the subject of further headlines during the repossession of Kennycourt Stud Farm in Brannockstown, County Kildare, Ireland. The farm was due to be sold by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, after its owner's inability to pay an outstanding loan of €814,000. A member/supporter of the trust stated that the 'owner', Eugene McDermott, had signed over his property to the trust and was now a "tenant" of the trust. 150 people who were mainly scheme members and some local supporters took possession of the property on 31 August 2013. They claimed that as McDermott was a tenant of the trust, IBRC had no right to repossess the property.
The legal status of the group has been called into question by a number of legal experts, financial advisers and politicians. Karl Deeter, a financial analyst with Irish Mortgage Brokers and Advisors, after attending a presentation given by the group on 9 August 2013, said that he would be advising his clients to avoid the group. He stated: "the big concern, and the first thing on my list is that they won't disclose how it works - the bit where the banks can't go after you and they 'remove the debt'". He also criticized the lack of legal training of the individuals giving the presentation.
In an article entitled "Let the Bullshit Begin: The Document behind the Kilkenny trust", Deeter examined a trust document used by the group, dismissing it as a "copy and paste job", noting the "lack of reference to any particular law (many documents with a legal foundation state the referenced legislation on them), and diminished powers of the trustee".
Bill Holohan, a solicitor, stated the trust was "unlikely to work" in preventing repossession, claiming the trust document to be a "glorious mix of some American-style language, with some European-style language. To be honest, it smacks of a cut-and-paste job from a combination of sources". There was no mention of how to take property out of the trust in the document.
The Irish Examiner wrote that "despite its growing popularity, there is no general understanding of how the trust can trump commitments borrowers have made in their loan agreements".
A meeting between RAFPT and Senator Thomas Byrne was ended abruptly by the Trust associates after Byrne revealed that he was associated with New Beginning, a group providing legal representation to people facing repossession of family homes". Byrne questioned the legitimacy of RAFPT and criticized the trust because its supporters refused to divulge to him the details of the legal loophole which they claim to exploit. Charlie Allen has said that he would not reveal how the trust would protect members of the trust from banks, saying "those who needed to know knew".
On 5 September 2013, the trust's Notary public, Dermot Conway, severed ties with the trust. Conway was a specialist in Maritime law. The affiliation with a notary public allowed an official third party to verify and record people’s actions when they signed deeds that placed properties into the trust. The Irish Examiner reported that trust documents claimed an affiliation with the Universal Community Trusts, a group linked with the Freeman movement.