Publicly Recorded



truckInformation Available

Drivers License information, full name, past and last known addresses, physical description, date of birth, etc.  Motor Vehicle registration information provides year, make, model, liens on vehicles, number of vehicles owned.  Obviously, all of this information can be extremely valuable for levying on a debtor’s property.  However, some savvy debtors will not keep that information current or will place assets in other people’s names.   Nonetheless, it may be quite valuable in locating a debtor or debtors’ assets. 

Access to Information

Motor vehicle and drivers license records are maintained and may be accessed (subject to the following restrictions) from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services Division:


Driver and Vehicle Services
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

651-296-6911 (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Restrictions on Access

·       Record Request and Explanation of Intended Use form.

Record requests may be made by applying in person at the Driver and Vehicle Services office in Saint Paul (address above), or by mail. Access to computer records is also provided by remote, private computer connections (i.e., not on the Internet) for businesses that have authorized access. Upon receipt of a Record Request and Explanation of Intended Use form (see‎) the division will determine if the applicant is authorized to receive the requested information.

·       Applicable Law

Permitted uses pursuant to the governing privacy laws that are directly applicable to motor vehicle and drivers license information are contained in THE DRIVERS PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT (18 U.S.C.S. 2721) (“DPPA”) and Minnesota Statutes, Sections 168.346, 171.12 subd 7 , and 171.12 subd. 7a.  Fortunately for debt collectors, there are two exceptions to the privacy laws which apply.  They may be summarized briefly as follows:

You may access and use the information in connection with any proceeding (including arbitration) in any court or government agency, or before any self-regulatory body, including investigation in anticipation of litigation. Must furnish court information or specifics related to potential litigation.


You may access and use the information to verify the accuracy of information about a person who provided the information to you (or to your client) but only if the information is used to recover on a debt against the person or to pursue legal remedies against the person for fraud.

Both exceptions are valid under the Minnesota statute and the DPPA. Both exceptions may be successfully argued to access the information by debt collectors, creditors’ counsel or an individual/corporate entity collecting a debt on its own behalf. However, awareness of abuse of the privilege to access this information has, rightfully, led to tighter controls and more watchful monitoring of the uses of the data. Let’s keep it for all, use it only when legit!

KSTP reporter Kolls claims driver’s license info snooped, files lawsuit


Politics in Minnesota-Mounting data-privacy lawsuits threaten to swamp governments

Anne Marie Rasmusson’s settlement haul now over $1 million




Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation, Publicly Recorded



Information Available

County property records may contain information on the existence, location and value of debtors’ assets. A creditor may also obtain copies of recorded documents through paper documents and microfilm imaging. Commonly found nuggets of information include the owner’s name and mailing address, date deed was recorded, last sale price, tax value, property use, tax amount, mortgage and other secured interests, etc.  Understandably, this can be precious information for a creditor.

Currently, there is not a “one stop” website to obtain this information (Westlaw and Lexis do provide subscription based nationwide computer databases).  Accordingly, searches of public records must be done in each county where a debtor may own real estate.

On-Iine Access to Minnesota County Records

One web site that bills itself as a “portal” or directory, provides nationwide contact information for property records.  The address for the web site is and you just click on the state and you’ll get a full listing of contact information for each state’s county.  There are also links to official state web sites, and those Tax Assessors’ and Recorders’ offices that provide retrieval services of public records over the Internet.  

Most all of Minnesota’s counties are providing Internet access to their property records.  Each county individually designs and provides this service so each county’s website has varying information at varying costs.   Please visit for a comprehensive listing on each county’s contact information.  Of course, you can always just “google” [state name county name] and “property records”.  Which, 9 times out of 10, will point you in the right direction to find a place to refine your search  within easily narrowed confines to get to the records you need.


Discovered on Demand, Legally Educated, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation, Publicly Recorded



Information Available

Businesses are generally required to maintain some records with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office in order to enjoy the legal benefits of being a corporation or for an out-of-state company to lawfully conduct business in Minnesota.  Sole proprietors also commonly file assumed names or “doing business as” information with the Secretary of State’s office.   Secured creditors also file various secured interest documents, which may provide information regarding any liens or other secured interests in a debtors’ property.  As is true for all public record information, business-filing records are only as accurate and up to date as what was provided to the government.  That being said, a great deal of identification, location and ownership information may be obtained from the Secretary of State’s records.  

Access to Business Registration Information 

The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office is located at: 

Minnesota Secretary of State

180 State Office Building

St. Paul, MN 55155 

And may be contacted by the following means for business registration information:

Phone: (651) 296-2803, Toll Free: 1-877-551-6767 Office Hours: 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. 

A simple phone call or visit to their website will obtain information about a registered business.  Information available includes proper entity name, registered addresses for service of process (if provided), persons registered to accept service of process (if provided), business location, type of entity, good standing status, year of formation, filing numbers, etc.  All of this information may provide valuable information in locating debtors and their assets.  It is also helpful for properly effecting post judgment remedies.

Access to Secured Transaction (UCC) and Tax Lien Recordslocked money

UCC filings and tax lien filings may provide a wealth of information about particular debtors’ location and assets.  Those records are maintained by the Secretary of State’s office and are accessible in person, by mail or on the Internet.  All manners of access have a minimal processing fee associated with the documents’ retrieval, photocopying and mailing. 

The Minnesota Central Filing System is a combination of the Secretary of State’s office and 80 individual county satellite offices.  Certified searches and inquiry searches (UCC-11 requests form available at can be requested from any county filing office or the Secretary of State’s office. The results provided are inclusive of all county offices.

In order to do a fully comprehensive search, it is recommended creditors’ counsel does not only rely on what is provided by the State.  A much better practice is for creditors’ or their representatives to conduct their own search of the State’s records.  The main point is to run differing name variations searches on the same company.  Of course, this may be done by driving to the Secretary of State’s office, or via its website for a yearly access fee.


Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, Discovered on Demand, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation, Publicly Recorded, Technically Lawful


I’m going to post some stuff I already have written. It is interesting and topical for this blog; maybe even educational. But it will be recycled (at least for me–that’s the cheating part). The first version was written circa 2003, updated every year or two, with the last revision in 2010.

I know this is highly unusual, but tonight I will post the part called INTRODUCTION and then the next section BUSINESS FILING RECORDS. If I don’t lose all my readers, we can progress from there. I’ll watch the analytics.  Without further ado, here comes the title (the INTRODUCTION is right after that part):


Post Judgment Creditors’ Rights

Uncovering Assets



Information is the oxygen of the modern age.

Ronald Reagan (b. 1911), former U.S. President. (London, June 14, 1989).

A.            INTRODUCTION 

Locating, retrieving and analyzing debtors’ assets is one of the most important aspects of successfully collecting a debt. Finding debtors’ assets can be difficult, time-consuming, expensive and not always fruitful.  But finding debtors’ assets is the first step in successfully collecting a debt.  Since many debtors hide assets or deny the existence of assets, it is generally a wise practice to dig up some information from public records prior to contacting a debtor.  Accordingly, this guide is designed to provide a method that may be utilized to provide a creditor or a creditors’ agent/representative an effective and economical way to find debtors’ assets.

Just like anything else, locating debtors’ assets can be done in a variety of ways, including physically going to governmental record depositories and researching and copying any asset information uncovered.  Some agencies even provide a great deal of information with just a phone call.

Computer assisted public record access and research has greatly expanded in recent years. It may be done via private and governmental pay subscription, computer-based systems. A couple of private service providers are Westlaw ( and Lexis-Nexis ( Both of these providers are expensive, but for any firm collecting numerous debts it is an invaluable resource. 

Governmental Internet websites are rapidly expanding what information they provide. Many of these websites still provide information for free, but it appears there is a definite trend to charge (usually minimally) for access to the information via the Internet.  

The following is not an exhaustive discussion on access and research into Minnesota’s public records. It does discuss a few valuable resources for locating debtors’ assets and how to obtain that information via computer, telephone, mail or the good old “going down to the courthouse.” It is written as a primer for finding public record information.   


More to come.