[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com who lives in District 13. His opinions are his own.]

It’s only been a few days since I broke the story of former Dallas mayor Laura Miller’s candidacy for city council District 13, and the whirlwind of sound bites has already begun. Multiple news outlets have reported variations on Miller’s bite of being a “mellow” 60-year-old in an attempt to distance herself from her combative days as mayor. Any news outlet covering Miller’s campaign will quickly see that for the political lie it is. Ignoring Miller’s combative attacks on council member Jennifer Gates, how “mellow” is it to join Twitter for the express purpose of calling out Gates in six tweets that now seem to have been scrubbed? But as you’ll see below, Twitter never forgets.

(Editor’s note: Miller did not delete her Tweets, they were all replies to Gates, which we documented in this December 2018 story. In the interest of transparency, we’re linking to it now, and indicating our error with a mark through).

Ignoring campaign rhetoric japes, Miller is unabashedly running for city council because of zoning – specifically, two zoning cases that haven’t made it to plan commission yet. This myopathy pigeonholes her as a one-trick-pony candidate in a district and city that requires more.

Equally telling is a seeming lack of research by Dallas news outlets. WFAA identified Miller supporter Steve Dawson as a “resident.” Dawson lives in University Park and can’t vote for her. His family owns a small apartment complex behind the Pink Wall. As regular readers know, seemingly to keep competition out, Dawson fought the Pink Wall’s Laurel development at Miller’s side and continues to fight area progress. In the WFAA story, Dawson claims Miller has wide support in District 13. If that were true, why didn’t she offer up a “reference” who actually lives in the district?

In Miller’s announcement, she names former Sen. John Carona and former city council members Donna Blumer, Mitchell Rasansky, and Sid Stahl as supporters. Given their admitted ignorance of the zoning issues in the district, I wonder if their support is little more than the toll of friendship.

That a city district with many needs is reduced to a single issue in a single area should be troubling to residents living outside the Preston Center orbit. To get very specific, anyone who is untouched by St. Michael and All Angel’s proposed development of Frederick Square and the redevelopment of Planned Development District 15 (PD-15) within the Pink Wall should be very wary of Miller’s desire to do much for you.

For those involved with these two zoning cases, Miller may wind up being a paper tiger.

(more…)

West Plano Squatters

Photos: WFAA/Plano Police Department

Maybe we need to get over this whole “possession is 9/10ths of the law,” mentality, because some folks are taking it way too far.

In another case of a home on the market getting some unexpected tenants, Jack Brewer, 74, and his wife were arrested at the home of Jeff and Melissa Nunn after trying to assume ownership of the home, claiming it was abandoned and using a rule that hasn’t worked so well in the past.

Jack BrewerAccording to the story from WFAA, the Brewers had binders full of sensitive personal documents from the Nunns, including their recently filed divorce decree, which, by the way, was why the Kings Ridge home was vacant (not abandoned) in the first place. They had even gone so far as to tape a notice on the window of the home claiming it was abandoned and that they were taking possession. But when neighbors noticed strange folks moving into the Nunns’ home, they reported them. Smart neighbors!

Police are puzzled though, considering the amount of information the Brewers had. Could this be a bigger plot to seize homes? All this happened while the Nunns were readying their home for the market, which leaves me wondering — how do you protect a vacant home on the market from squatters and thieves?

I’m thinking a good security system is a start, as well as keeping your neighbors in the loop. Agents, how would you prevent this from happening?

Notice From Brewer

Candy and her crack legal team from Friedman and Feiger: Jason Friedman and James Bell

 Our embattled Candy has been on blog-lite these past few days, thanks to the Maloufs’ attempts to chill her free speech down at Dallas County Court at Law No. 3 in Malouf vs. Mary Candace Evans, Byron Harris and WFAA-TV and Laura Wilson.

Now that Candy and WFAA agreed to a temporary injunction wherein they cannot step foot on the Maloufs’ property, the parties are not scheduled back in court until September, when the trial is set to begin.

Several Dallas media outlets have been covering the temporary injunction hearings over the last few days. Claire St. Amant, managing editor of Culturemap Dallas, was down there for at least two days and we think she did the best overall reporting of facts. Anna Merlan of the Dallas Observer gets the prize for her description of Mrs. (“Lady”) Malouf and her husband: “Dr. Malouf is a tall, beaky man, who looked both weary and pissed off …” However, we think she missed the entire point of star attorney James Bell’s cross-examination, most likely because she wasn’t in the courtroom over the past few days.

In any case, both reporters missed the best line of the day: Dr. Malouf, a millionaire who owns a 30,000 square foot home on Strait Lane and a couple of private jets, claims he has suffered from the collective reporting on his backyard waterpark, saying he cannot get a job or rent office space because of it.

WFAA-TV last week reported that a University Park woman –well, WFAA called her a socialite — was arrested for peddling graphic child porn on her computer. Sick.

According to Channel 8, agents raided Erika Perdue’s $1.5 million University Park home and seized computers filled with child pornography. If it’s the home I think it is, the home on Villanova is valued on DCAD at $1,444,000 and is titled only in the name of Perdue’s spouse, Dallas attorney Mark Douglas Perdue.

It’s very troubling to me that Perdue lives right across the street from a park. Where kiddos play.

Seems like this was a sting op: the FBI had undercover agents access Perdue’s computer files through an illegal child porn site.  Perdue was allegedly sharing child porn unknowingly with agents — you would just never think a woman could be capable of this, would you, if, of course, she is guilty of the charges.

The US Attorney’s office says: “Perdue knowingly mailed, transported and shipped interstate commerce by any means, including by computer, visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

I’m sorry, this is so sick. Now I’m wondering if this will affect the property values of any homes on the market nearby if, of course, she is found guilty.

Question: do you check for sex offenders before you buy a home? Here is an interesting piece about one unfortunate young man who is on the list, from a mistake he made when he was 12. He’s been paying for it ever since.

 

2205 Waterford FM

Could Texas law net someone a $300,000 house for filing a $16 fee on line?  Maybe. Kenneth Robinson told WFAA-TV he moved into the house at 2205 Waterford Drive on June 17 because it had the perfect storm: the home was abandoned for foreclosure, then the mortgage company that owned it went out of business. After researching a Texas law called “adverse possession” Robinson moved in. It’s not a normal process, he admitted to WFAA-TV, but a process that is not known to many people.

Say what?

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, which was abandoned due to a foreclosure. Now he is claiming ownership.

He allowed WFAA reporters inside: the house is virtually empty, with just a few pieces of furniture. Oh and Robinson has not yet turned on utilities, at least as of the report so there is no running water or electricity.

(Wonder how he’s flushing toilets?)

The neighbors on this pretty little street took note when he moved in without the usual sale or, I guess, moving van.

“What paperwork is it and how is it legally binding if he doesn’t legally own the house?” said Leigh Lowrie, a neighboring resident. “He just squats there.”

Lowrie says the house was in foreclosure for more than a year and the owners  walked. Then, the mortgage company went out of business. Neighbors are naturally peeved that this guy may net a home scot-free.

Robinson claims Texas law gives him exclusive negotiating rights with the original owner because he has set up camp in the home. If the owner wants him out, he would have to first pay off his mortgage debt and the bank would have to file a “complicated lawsuit.” An underwater, likley bankrupt ex-homeowner is probaby not going to do that. Robinson says the law says if he stays in the house, after three years he can ask the court for the title.

When neighbors complained about Robinson’s takeover to law enforcement, they were informed that it was a civil matter and they were unable to intervene.

I called one title attorney on this case who did not wish to comment on the record. But he told me he seriously doubted that Robinson will get ownership of this home, but he may get a free place to live for several months. The owner of the home will be whoever acquires the assets of  the defunct mortgage company, but that company will have to re-group and take legal action against Robinson. And that could take months.

But hey, if my source is wrong, and Ronbinson nets himself a $300,000 home for $15, I’m grabbing my sleeping bag and heading to the courthouse!

What do you think?