Update: Not only did Bank of America win in court today, they paid $7,330.04 in property taxes on this house 12/14/11.
It looks like Kenneth Robinson will NOT be getting a house for $16 after all. This morning, in the tiny metropolis of Roanoke, Texas, at Justice of the Peace Precint #4, JP J. W. Hand ruled in favor of Bank of America, the lender who apparently acquired the note on the abandoned house from Accredited Home Lending, who held the original mortgage. It was that financial failure glitch that gave Robinson the chance to live scot-free — or for $16 — for more than six months in a beautiful Flower Mound neighborhood not too far from the sprawling million dollar estates of Argyle. Robinson was given until Feb. 13 to move, but he is now out of the house. The swimming pool is back to green. Neighbors say he started moving out last Thursday at about 11:20 p.m. and had a van in front of the house this weekend. (And my stalking turned up an empty house Saturday night.) In a phone interview with reporters, Robinson said he was gone and leaving behind a futon and a TV — the futon, he said, belongs to someone else anyhow. (Neighbors say a lot of people have been staying at the house.) He has moved on and is not saying where he has moved. If he wants to appeal the case, he must put up an $8900 bond, which he says he will not do. And a check with Denton County shows Robinson also did not pay the property taxes on 2205 Waterford which were due January 31. He also did not pay the annual $300ish HOA dues.
“The media put me here in this, ” he said on the phone, “But I didn’t run away from it. I don’t run.”
He says two reporters did a fair job at reporting his story — The Dallas Observer was one. He was distressed with news reports from Channels 4 and 8. Robinson did not show up for the hearing.
I spoke to two neighbors, Chris Custard and Terry Roberts, who both own homes in Waterford Park Estates. Terry is just down the street and has a beautiful, well-manicured red brick home with a glossed Pavestone driveway. Chris is on the Waterford Park HOA board was one of the first neighbors who approached Robinson last summer, asking him politely he says to leave. Instead, Robinson called the police on the neighbors. The police were very nice about it, but told the neighbors it was a civil issue.Initially police took Robinson’s key, but returned it after doing some research. If the neighbors tresspassed, THEY would be getting citations, police told them. I asked the neighbors how he got in since Robinson had several different versions of how he got the key. One was that he found it in the bushes. Another was that he called a locksmith to change the locks. But the neighbors think he broke in, somehow, though they cannot prove it.
“We were talking about buying the house, a group of us neighbors, and we walked all around it trying to get in, every window was closed, every door locked, ” says Custard. This was before last June when Robinson moved in.
Another subject neighbors say has not been touched by the media: how did Robinson live in the house intially with no utilities? Roberts said the last owner, William Ferguson, had obtained a no-down payment loan on the home to begin with, so when he walked, he lost nothing.
Neighbors were distressed over media attempts to turn this into a race situation because Robinson happens to be black. Turns out the neighbors who first alerted Custard and the HOA to Robinson’s move-in, the neighbors directly east, are black. As are the neighbors across the street.
” I don’t care if it was my brother,” says Chris Custard, ” it’s not right that someone can come in here and get for almost nothing what we’ve all worked and paid for.”
The neighbors think Denton County and the Denton County DA’s office needs to handle squatters more like they do in Tarrant County, where at least eight individuals have been arrested for trying the same scheme, some of them “students” of Kenneth Robinson.