Hey Kenneth Robinson, the folks of Flower Mound might soon be shining your boots. The more this story gets around — the story of the man who tried to get a home by adverse possession for $16, the better Flower Mound sounds: the latest description I’ve heard is “ritzy”. Now Flower Mound is a great little community out there near Argyle, Barton and and Lewsiville, but I have never heard it described as “ritzy”. Have you? All of which has me thinking: maybe home squatters are good for property values? They not only keep up vacant ghost homes and provide good ju ju, they give an erstwhile quiet community pizzazz.

Which reminds me: I want to find a beach home that is vacant and in-between foreclosures where I can squat for a few weeks.  If Robinson could get six months, how much do you want to bet I can get six days?

Waterford's backyard pool is as green as pea soup

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.

Sign on 2205 Waterford's back fence

Update: I’m stalking the Squatter. Saturday night I drove up to Flower Mound to see if there were any lights in the house at 2205 Waterford (really nice ‘hood, Robinson’s house is one home in from a major street) and there were none on. Snooped in the mailbox — no mail. Quiet as a church mouse save for the “No Tresspassing” sign Robinson plunked on the gate to the back-yard. Monday morning is his hearing. Thing he’ll show?

$1530.99 big ones is the property tax bill for 2205 Waterford Drive, due January 31, less if Mr. Robinson elects to take a homestead deduction. I am driving to Denton Monday morning to find out if he paid these taxes on time, also to see if Kenneth Robinson shows up in court at 9:00 a.m for his eviction hearing. Meantime, it looks like the “real” owner of the home has been located: William P. Ferguson is living in an apartment in Houston.

We think Kenneth Robinson might be looking for a new home after next Monday, so we are dedicating today’s Tuesday Two Hundred to him. In case he wants to stay in Flower Mound, but move just a little south, here’s what we found: 2892 square feet on a landcaped lot with trees, hardwood floors, soft paint colors, plantation shutters, tall ceilings and lots of natural light. Four bedrooms, three and a half baths and formals plus gameroom. The kitchen has an island and walk-in pantry, a see-through gas logged fireplace (which by law, I think all homes should have) to the family room. Pretty master with walk-in closet and patio access plus dream spa bath with jetted tub and separate shower. There’s a game room up on the second story and the attic has floored storage for extra space. What is not to like about this house? Built in 1993 it has a brand spanking new roof. Great yard, prize-winning schools. Mr. Robinson might be upset there is no pool, like he has in “his” house, but then I’ll wager he’s getting mighty sick of taking care of that pool about now. This is what I love about our market: $280,000.

You’ve got to give him credit: Kenneth Robinson has had almost nine months of free rent in a nice $330,000 Flower Mound home. But now, as most real estate experts predicted, that free lease may be running out. He’s heading to court next week for an eviction hearing in Denton county, where the courts may well boot him out of his free house for good.

Kenneth Robinson moved into 2205 Waterford Drive in Flower Mound on June 17 because the home was abandoned for foreclosure. His stroke of luck was that the mortgage company that owned it went out of business. After researching a Texas law called “adverse possession” Robinson moved in. Robinson claims he filled out an online form and then filed it at the Denton County courthouse for $16. This gives him rights to the house, he claims, since it was abandoned due to a foreclosure. I am still not sure how he actually obtained keys to the house.

The owner of the home, a William P. Ferguson, moved out of the house. The home was built in 1997 and has a swimming pool. Ferguson bought the 3910 square foot home in 2004 for $276,000 ish. The home is now valued at $328,000. Ferguson appears to have had a mortgage of $332,000. Which means he is underwater. The home was listed for $340,000 (reduced from $355,000) by KW agent Holly Hiller.

The mortgagor was San Diego-based Accredited Home Lenders, who went into bankruptcy May 1, 2009. The news that Robinson snagged a $330,000 home for $16 set off a flurry of squattings in Tarrant County. Robinson himself even gave a speech at SMU Law School and started charging to instruct others to follow his platform. Most of his “followers” were arrested or evicted.

As experts predicted, the final owner of the mortgage has surfaced.  Bank of America says it now owns the property in question and is asking for Robinson to be evicted. The bank says it took ownership through foreclosure on January 3, 2012. BofA says it asked Robinson to leave, but he did not vacate the property. A court hearing on Monday in Denton County will likely determine Robinson’s future living arrangements. If he fails to appear, he will forfeit his claim to the house.