Howe homeowner waiting for police chief to pay judgement in civi - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Howe homeowner waiting for police chief to pay judgement in civil fraud case

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HOWE -- A homeowner in Howe won a lawsuit he filed against a police chief in the Dallas area but is still waiting for him to pay up.

Kerry Burns bought the home in 2004. It flooded twice in 2007.

"It was up over your soles, just up to your soles," Burns said. "It was pretty squishy."

Burns took photos by a soggy backdoor and of water covering the garage floor.

"The house flooded through the garage, through the backdoor, through the bedrooms. It was a mess," Burns said.

But the situation would get much messier.

After the flood, Burns says neighbors told him the home had a history of flooding, something he says was never disclosed by its former owner, Carrollton police Chief Rex Redden.

"Apparently, he thought he could get away with this for personal gain and it backfired," Burns said.

Burns filed a civil lawsuit claiming Redden was well aware of the flooding issues and deliberately did not disclose them so the home would sell for more.

During the trial, Burns says neighbors testified on his behalf, saying they witnessed Redden digging a ditch in the backyard. Burns also says Redden installed a drainage system in the backyard in an effort to divert water around the home.

In April 2012, a Dallas county judge found Redden "liable for statutory fraud and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act." He was ordered to pay nearly $150,000.

A year and a half later, Burns hasn't received a dime.

"He makes $136,000 a year, he got a $24,000 pay increase in July. He hasn't paid a dime," Burns said

Redden's attorney, James Harlan, disputes the judge's ruling claiming the home never flooded during the 14 years his client lived there.

In an email, Harlan sent KTEN this statement:

"On August 11, 2004 Chief Redden and his then wife, Donna, listed their residence for sale with Virginia Cook Realty for $88,700.00. The real estate agent completed the requisite disclosure forms, including the Seller's Disclosure Notice. Chief Redden had no input in the Disclosure Notice. However, he and his then wife signed it. The Notice is neither a warranty nor a substitute for an inspection of the property, which Burns refused to have done. The statement in the Notice was "Have there been any previous incidents of flooding or other surface water and attrition into the house, grudge, or accessory buildings of the property?" The box marked "no" was checked.

Apparently, before Chief Redden had moved into the home, there had been some flooding of the property which had been repaired. However, in the 14 years that Chief Redden lived in the premises, it never flooded. In June 2007, when the Burns were living in the premises, over 17 inches of rain fell in Grayson County (average rainfall 3 inches), and a small amount of water seeped into the residence, resulting in getting a small part of the carpet wet. A small amount of water also seeped into the garage and a drum set got wet.

In October 2008, Burns sued the Redden's and Virginia Cook Real Estate. Donna Redden settled in mediation for $5000, and Virginia Cook settled in mediation for $30,000, for a total of $35,000.00. Burns' allege $20,000.00 in damages, which is grossly overstated, actually less than $1,000.00 actual damages. The settlement is 75% MORE than his alleged losses. Yet, Burns refused all settlement offers from Chief Redden.

On May 8, 2012, the Court entered a Civil Final Judgment for $100,815.64, and attorney's fees for $45,392.00, plus court costs. The Burns, through their counsel, have made two post-judgment discovery requests which Chief Redden fully responded.

The City of Howe has increased the size of the culvert next to the property and there has been no other reports of flooding from the Burns, to the best of our knowledge.

Chief Redden does not have adequate funds to currently pay toward the Judgment. When he does, he fully intends to satisfy the outstanding Judgment. The judgment is for 10 years, with interest at the rate of 5% per annum. Chief Redden is in full compliance with the Civil Judgment.

The Burns are making a "mountain out of a molehill." They need to be patient."

Burns said, "It's just a shame. You think you can trust a policeman that's selling you a house and it didn't work out that way."

While his home may never flood again, Burns is still making mortgage payments on a house he says will always be underwater.