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Date Posted: 22:21:55 12/05/07 Wed
Author: Judson Witham
Subject: CROOKED DEVELOPERS & BANKING COLLAPSE

Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2007 18:53:11 -0800 (PST)

From: "judson witham"

Subject: Crooked Developers & Banking Collapse

To: Hapa1234@aol.com

CC: "Bobby Harmon" , "David Farmer" , "Michael Dowling" , "James Cribley" , "Lawrence Goya" , "Pension Benefit Guaranty Association" , "Robert Bruce Graham" , "Nathan Aipa" , "Michael Mukasey" , "Curtis Ching" , "Steven Guttman" , "Hugh Jones" , "Linda Lingle" , "James B Nicholson" , "Excutive Office for U.S. Trustees" , "David A. Ezra" , "Kevin S.C. Chang" , "Barry M. Kurren" , "Sue Beitia" , "Office of Inspector General US Dept of Justice" , "Colbert Matsumoto" , "George Will" , "Ruth Ann Becker" , "Hawaii Chapter Nature Conservancy" , "Haunani Apoliona" , "Michael Marsh" , "Leroy Colombe"

Some of the subdivisions have plats recorded with the county as required by state law. Others - about 600 - are unrecorded or "red flag" subdivisions that do not meet county road and drainage standards and have no plats, or plans, filed.

Crooked Developers & Banking Collapse

Paper: HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Date: MON 06/22/1987
Section: 1
Page: 10
Edition: 2 STAR

Resident's crusading `fans fire'/Subdivision's critic outlines difficulties

By CATHY GORDON, Staff

Kneeling beside a large pothole, Pinewood Village resident Judson Witham recites statutes from the state property code as if they were treasured passages from a favorite poem.

"I about know them by heart," Witham proclaims, measuring the pothole's depth with a fallen twig. "I've made it my duty. I want to warn people about the Pinewood Villages of the world."

Around the Montgomery County courthouse, Witham's name is synonymous with the problem-plagued subdivision he lives in.

It started six years ago with his myriad of complaints to developers and county officials about the unrecorded east county subdivision's drainage and roads.

Five years later, the 30-year-old disabled construction worker who refers to Pinewood Village as "The Tiger Mosquito Ranch" was sitting in a jail cell, accused of threatening to kill Vice President George Bush and an assistant Montgomery County attorney over his subdivision woes.

"It was character assassination," bellowed Witham, who claims he never threatened to kill Bush or the assistant Montgomery County attorney, Marc Winberry.

"I got angry at Mr. Winberry. Very, very angry. But I don't think I threatened to kill him. I said something like `This just got personal and I'd like to rip your head off your shoulders."' Witham said Winberry laughed at him during the telephone conversation, a claim the attorney denies.

"The last thing I wanted to do was do anything to contribute to his highly agitated state," Winberry said.

Prosecutors said they dropped the third-degree felony charge of retaliation on condition that Witham "go forth and sin no more."

As for the allegation that he threatened Bush, Witham said he was nervous and angry when he called Houston's FBI office at 3 a.m. one night in November 1985 after his family was harassed by unknown motorists in a jeep.

"I started telling the FBI person about the problems out here and said if the vice president was being unfairly subjected to what my family and others in this county have been subjected to in Pinewood Village, they'd be all over it. They misunderstood me. I asked `What would you do if I threatened to kill the vice president of the United States?' Next thing I know, they're coming to get me."

The federal charge against Witham was also dropped on condition that he undergo mental analysis.

Witham says he underwent a mental evaluation at Houston's St. Joseph's Hospital. "They wanted to see what made me tick. The psychiatric evaluation showed that all areas of my life were in normal parameters, except for the situation with Pinewood Village."
Witham said he invested $50,000 building a two-story home on land that cost him $27,000. "It's appraised at zero," he said. "I couldn't sell this subtropical swamp if I wanted to."
He has lawsuits against the subdivision's former financier, Western Bank on Westheimer; one against the county, its commissioners and county attorney; and another against American Title Insurance Co. whose licensed agent, the now defunct Eagle Title Co., issued title opinions on the land.

Witham accuses the county of turning its head from developers who skirted county subdivision regulations, a claim that has put him at odds with several Montgomery County office holders.

"Montgomery County has had years to enforce those regulations, but the good old boys sat back in their boots and straw hats and said `OK, let's be easy on this one. He's a good old boy like the rest of us,"' Witham claimed. "I've done what I've had to to get my point across."

During a 1986 session of Commissioners Court, Witham plopped a jar of water in front of commissioners, challenging them to a "not so refreshing drink fresh from a Pinewood Village tap."

He exhibits pictures of potholes in Pinewood Village, their widths and lengths duly noted.
"He definitely fans the fire. He keeps it going day and night," said the subdivision's developer Donald Clesson. He added that he doesn't always appreciate the manner in which Witham draws attention to the subdivision.

County officials agree.

"I feel sorry for his situation, but he goes about things the wrong way. He wants to blame everything on the county and that's not where the fault lies," said a county official, who requested anonymity.

Counters Witham: "I've had a hell of an education and made my mistakes. But my only motivation is putting a stop to Pinewood Villages. I don't think it's right for anyone to be defrauded, especially in the purchase of a family home. That's the sanctity of the family. It's like people stealing candy from babies."

Paper: HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Date: SUN 06/21/1987
Section: 1
Page: 1
Edition: 2 STAR

POTHOLES & PROMISES/Montgomery County's crumbling subdivisions/ Homeowners handle property woes

By CATHY GORDON, Staff

Polish immigrant Steve Szladewski's ruddy complexion grows redder as he rattles off the sales pitch that led him to buy property in the Shepard's Landing subdivision in Montgomery County.

Former astronaut Alan Shepard, the subdivision's developer with former Houston Mayor Louie Welch, was to be his next-door neighbor, a salesman bragged. Szladewski's land, though bordering the San Jacinto River, was unlikely to flood. And the horseshoe-shaped road winding through the subdivision would be paved.

"Alan Shepard didn't move next door. A guy from New Jersey bought that lot," said Szladewski, a small, gray-bearded man who struggles with his English.

The road also failed to materialize, and on one occasion, Szladewski anchored his tiny clapboard house to two large oak trees to save it from being swept away by the rain-swollen river.

"In Poland, I learn people in America help each other. But in America, I learn sometimes they say things so you buy."

Szladewski is not alone. Shepard's Landing, developed in Montgomery County's real estate boom of the late 1960s through early 1980s, is one of hundreds of problem-plagued subdivisions that have come back to haunt the county and its residents during the bust.
They are speckled throughout the county's dense pine forests, the legacy of a ripe economy gone sour. In many instances, they are the handiwork of unscrupulous developers who skirted the county's rules to make a fast buck.

Some developers, however, say the county is to blame for encouraging development without spelling out or enforcing any restrictions.

Some of the subdivisions have plats recorded with the county as required by state law. Others - about 600 - are unrecorded or "red flag" subdivisions that do not meet county road and drainage standards and have no plats, or plans, filed.

All of them hold disgruntled, heartbroken homeowners with similar stories:

When Mike and Pam Jordan purchased five acres of land in The Wilderness subdivision off FM 1488 for $21,000, they were told there would be no problem in getting basic services such as electricity to their wooded lot.

"But we found out it really was the wilderness," said Jordan. The only access to their trailer home is a narrow, muddy gas pipeline easement. No electrical easement to his property exists. The couple lived by a gas lantern for several months and had to pay $2,000 to run a wire through the woods and hook up with an electrical line. Their utility bills run double as a result.

In the recorded Park Place mobile home subdivision near Magnolia, the streets are named after those in the popular board game, Monopoly. But the similarity stops there, says resident Pat Wuensche, whose back yard on West Boardwalk is mushy with sewage.
Thirty families have joined the Texas attorney general in suing the developer, claiming he falsely represented that septic tanks would work in the subdivision's soil. Wuensche said she is still waiting for the 24-hour security, recreational facilities and county-standard roads she was promised.

In the Indian Hills subdivision off 2978, Richard and Mary Blunk were shown a developer's plat of the subdivision, reflecting a nice chunk of property on which they later built a home. They later discovered that the subdivision's road cut through an area reflected on the map as their property.

Residents in some problem subdivisions are denied basic services such as mail delivery because of roads that turn into slick obstacle courses at the first rain. School bus drivers refuse to travel them. Fire and ambulance personnel live in fear of the day someone dies because an emergency vehicle cannot clear the mud and potholes. Realtors won't waste their time listing such properties.

Hardly a Commissioners Court session goes by where residents don't plead for help from the county.

The county has decided to go to the courts.

"In the past, I think developers thought `what's the county going to do? They don't have the stuff to come after me,"' said County Engineer Don Blanton. "I think they realize the county means business now."

Last year, the county hired attorney Nelda Radabaugh to address the problem and force developers to comply with the subdivision requirements. She has sent numerous warning letters to developers asking them to upgrade their roads and drainage systems and has filed a lawsuit against one developer, S. E. Rutledge, of the Southern Pines subdivision off FM 1314.

In the past, county officials bowed to public pressure, maintaining the substandard roads to please constituents and gain votes.

But a downturned economy, tighter road and bridge budgets and a need to properly address what's become a monumental problem has all but precluded that practice, say county officials.

Radabaugh said most developers the county has contacted are cooperative. "But some of them are bankrupt, gone to Timbuktu, Kansas, hiding.

"We don't base our investigation on which residents are screaming the loudest. It has to be on which subdivisions are the worst. It's not easy explaining to someone `Yes, your subdivision is bad. But you're number 400 on the list."'

Jack and Ernestine Daniel, residents of the Southern Pines development, hope the county's efforts will pay off.

They joke that they own lakefront property. The subdivision has no drainage ditches. When it rains, the water puddles up in chug holes, some nearly as wide as the road itself. Water moccasins sunbathe on the road after the water recedes.

Mrs. Daniel has named the subdivision's narrow, dirt roads herself: Rub Board Road, Slip 'N Slide Drive and Dip 'N Dive Drive.

"It about says it all."

To hammer her point home, she sent notices to the developers, inviting them to "The super slide and roller coaster ride in Southern Pines." The letter continues "bring your bulldozer, dump truck, backhoe or grade as the pot holes and mud holes are at least three to four feet deep. Use of an ordinary car will destroy your tires, shocks and springs and put bruises on your skull." A postscript reads, "The next invitation will not be as cordial."

"Our children have been embarrassed to bring friends home," Mrs. Daniel said. "The head coach at Sam Houston State came out here once to talk to our son. He said he never had to come down such deplorable roads in his life to recruit a boy."

Polish immigrant Szladewski hopes the county's efforts will benefit him as well.
His property in the unrecorded Shepard's Landing subdivision off FM 2854 is not only in the flood plain, it's in the river bed. County officials have told him his home would have to be built 21 feet off the ground to be above the 100-year flood plain.

Shepard, Welch and businessman Jack Coogan initiated the project. A now-defunct Conroe real estate brokerage company sold the lots.

The county filed misdemeanor charges against the three investors in 1980, claiming the subdivision was falsely represented as county approved. The investor's attorney, Dan McCrary, said the charges were without merit and were dropped on condition that certain things be upgraded at the development. None were.

McCrary said purchasers in Shepard's Landing signed letters acknowledging the land was in the flood plain.

"This is nothing my clients have escaped from unscathed," he said. "They're still paying for this flood plain property."

Szladewski, with the help of a neighbor, keeps the lone road in the development graded. But land that he paid $4,000 an acre for has been appraised at $500.

He said he relied on the word of a salesman "and got taken. They told me it was recorded subdivision. They promise to fix the roads. They say they build a nice entrance to subdivision, something beautiful. We have nothing."

Szladewski said he figured the subdivision would be well maintained when he was told Shepard would be his neighbor. "And Louie Welch, they say he build on lot 11 or 12.
"In Poland, I learn nobody cheats in America because everybody helps each other. If one person's house burns, neighbors build another. That was America in my mind."

In the Park Place subdivision off Dobbin Huffsmith Road, residents are hoping Attorney General Jim Mattox's lawsuit against the developer will stop an odor the development on hot, humid days.

Mattox visited the recorded subdivision in 1984, declaring it unlivable. He then sued developer C.L. Conner, alleging he misrepresented that septic systems would work in the subdivision's soil.

Residents want the developer to install a central sewage system or buy them out.
"When the wind blows just right, the smell can knock you over. It's like living in a cesspool," said resident Ralph Schafer, who chose the mobile home subdivision as his retirement home four years ago. He paid $10,000 for his lot.

"I wouldn't have paid that much if it weren't for all the amenities promised. They advertised this place like your favorite vacation resort. My wife and I used to like Las Vegas, but boy, this is no where close. My wife is even ashamed to have friends over to dinner because of the smell."

Schafer and other residents say they were promised 24-hour security and recreational facilities that never materialized.

Conner claims the soil is suitable for septic tanks but several residents had systems improperly installed. He denies misrepresenting the development, and said he sued his contractor for not completing road shoulders.

Park Place civic association president Wuensche said residents suing over the septic systems have proof they were inspected by the county.

She is convinced a lingering kidney infection was caused by the problem with septic overflow.

"Our drinking water is well water and if the sewage is seeping into the ground, it would be in our water," she said. "I had a $3,000 water-filter system put in and have had no problem since.

"The sad thing about situations like this is you've got so much money invested and you're just stuck."

Joe and Judy Patterson, residents of The Wilderness subdivision southwest of Conroe, can sympathize.

They purchased 18 acres last year and were not told by salesmen that the development could be under water in a few years, the potential site for the Lake Creek reservoir.
"It's not so much the things they did tell us, it's the things they didn't," said Mrs. Patterson. "We were misled on a lot of things."

The couple was told that the dirt roads would be graded by nearby oil company workers.
"And that's not true," said Patterson who has repaired the suspension on his new truck twice within a year because of the rugged roads.

"We'd like to sell," he said. "But where are you going to find another fool like us?"


Paper: HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Date: MON 09/21/1987
Section: Business
Page: 1
Edition: 2 STAR

Report: Developers owned almost all troubled S&Ls

United Press International

DALLAS - Real estate developers who bought their way into the troubled savings and loan industry in the early 1980s owned virtually all of the most deeply insolvent thrifts in Texas, it was reported Sunday.
An investigation showed real estate development entrepreneurs either own or owned 20 of the 24 most financially troubled savings and loans in Texas and that most of the remaining four went broke by copying the aggressive strategies of the developers-turned-thrift owners, the Dallas Times Herald said in a copyright story.
Most of the 24 institutions, which lost money at the rate of $8.94 million a day in the first quarter of 1987, are now in ruin.
They have lost all the money invested by their owners and $3.8 billion of depositors' money that had to be replaced in part with emergency loans from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.
Reports from the Federal Home Loan Bank, which has advanced at least $2.4 billion to the ailing thrifts, indicate the Texas 24 have been forced to repossess $2.7 billion worth of property from delinquent borrowers.
Seven of the institutions have been declared insolvent. All are under the strict supervision - if not outright control - of federal and state regulators.
Thrift experts place the two dozen institutions at the heart of an epidemic of risky lending and outright fraud that virtually bankrupted the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp.
The Texas thrift crisis required Congress to pump $10.8 billion into the agency that insures S&L deposits up to $100,000. More than half of the FSLIC bailout funds will be used in Texas, where the agency expects to pay $6 billion and spend five years cleaning up failed S&Ls.
During the height of the Texas economic boom, one developer-thrift planned to open a branch office on the moon, another loaned $3 million to buy the Rolls-Royce fleet of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and a third funded a real estate project that called for a private overpass spanning the 10-lane LBJ Freeway in Dallas. A fourth thrift operated a chain of barbecue stands, the newspaper said.
"Developers got us where we are in the savings and loan business through greed and a failure of ethics," said Paul Hardy, a principal with Commercial Banc Group, based in Dallas, which specializes in resolving troubled real estate projects.
"They bought S&Ls with the idea of becoming real estate giants by using depositors' money and taking advantage of inflation," Hardy said.
Don R. Dixon, accused of looting Vernon Savings and Loan Association, said thrifts were taking advantage of powers granted by the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 to get an ownership stake in their borrowers' projects.
Dixon told the Times Herald that builders turned around and acquired thrifts to assure themselves of financing and to tap into the profits of lenders.
Dixon, Vernon's former owner, is named in a $350 million lawsuit filed by the FSLIC that accuses him and six other Vernon officers of plundering the S&L. Vernon Savings was declared insolvent in March, when it was $616 million in the red.
Dixon blamed federal regulators for Vernon's failure.
The Federal Home Loan Bank began examining Vernon in summer 1985. In April 1986 it barred the S&L from renewing customer loans, almost all of which Dixon said were about to be renewed.
"I'm not a guy who flew into town to rape the savings and loan business," Dixon said. "The regulators in Washington decided that entrepreneurs are bad and said: `We'll sink the ships to kill the captains."'

Hapa1234@aol.com wrote:
Chron.com | News, search and shopping from the Houston Chronicle

ALOHA COUNSELOR....

SUB: "PROJECT FOR A NEW AMERICAN CENTURY" {PNAC} FOUNDED BY JOHN BOLTON AND ELIOTT ABRAMS {}KEN STARR?} IN COLLUSION WITH THE AMERICAN ISRAELI PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE {AIPAC} FOR CASINO JACK ABRAMOFF AND NORM "SILVERADO" BROWNSTEIN {IRAN - CONTRA ATTORNEY}:

IF THE DEVELOPERS OWNED MOST OF THE DEFUNK SAVINGS AND LOANS INDUSTRY BACK IN THE 1980S UNDER THE REAGAN - BUSH {41} ERA WITH THE FORMER SEC CHAIR AND CIA {WILLIAM CASEY, ET AL}, WHY WASN'T NEIL BUSH AND NORM BROWNSTEIN {AIPAC} EVER INDICATED OR CHARGED SINCE THEY HAVE BECAME A PART OF THE "VICHEY" SHADOW GOVERNMENT FOR YEARS WITH NO ACCOUNTABLITY. ABRAMOFF WAS SNARED WITH THE MOB LINKED FLORIDA SUN CRUZ CASINO WHILE BROWNSTEIN'S FORMER EMPLOYEE AND THE FORMER DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR'S GALE NORTON POLITICAL ORGANIZATION, WITH HER CONVICTED DEPUTY, STEPHEN GRILES BOTH DISAPPEARED INTO A HUGE POLITICAL COVER UP IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC WITH DISMISSED U.S. ATTORNEY FREDERICK BLACK......A POLITICAL PATTERN LATER FOR GONZO-GATE AND ROVE WITH FUTURE U.S. ATTORNEY'S NOT TOWING THE POLITICAL LINE FOR COVER UPS OR GOP AGENDAS FROM WASHINGTON DC.

little gray fox with the catbird seat {harmon}

Ck out:

http://www.kycbs.net/BrokenTrust.htm
http://www.kycbs.net/Developers.htm
http://www.kycbs.net/MaunawiliValley.htm

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