Protecting Oak Hill

AUSTIN, Texas – A major traffic project in southwest Austin hit a roadblock just one month after breaking ground. A federal judge has stopped TxDOT from removing trees for the Oak Hill Parkway Project.

Neighbors in the area are hoping to protect their native trees.

“It’s a big sigh of relief because we were distraught,” Oak Hill Neighbor, Carol Cespedes said.

CCHOA Elections

Bill Gammon sets the record straight.

Thank you Bill Gammon. Your hard work gave the residents of Circle C the oportunity to run the CCHOA for the first time ever. Let it be known, that the first legal elections took place in 2004, 16 years after the CCHOA began. If you look for any ballots or proxies dated before 2004, you will not find them.



Someone else wrote me privately and asked me the same thing. Those who heard the statements from Jim O’Reilly have been led to believe that I caused needless delay and resultant expense in getting the lawsuit settled. The facts, however, refute this nonsense and are not in dispute.

1. Just days before filing suit I spoke to him and to Ken Rigsbee at a public forum and told them that they were breaking the law and ignoring our own governing documents. I was told ”It’s a judgment call.” Very bad judgment.

2. A few days after filing suit I received a letter from Gray & Becker, the attorneys for the Board, announcing their appearance in the case. My immediate response, in a letter which was later sent to hundreds of CCHOA homeowners, was to offer to begin settlement talks immediately in an effort to avoid taking the dispute to court and eliminate the costs of litigation. The Board refused.

3. Throughout the course of the litigation I maintained my offer to meet with and attempt to settle the issues. The Board refused.

4. The mediation which finally ended the litigation was conducted at MY insistence. The Board actually had their attorneys file a motion to AVOID mediation of the lawsuit. I had to file a response to compel them to do what I had been asking for all along. Their motion and my response are on file at the courthouse. You can look them up.

5. There was a period during the fall of last year when Gray & Becker tried, unsuccessfully, to contact me. I was involved at the time in litigation of three different trials set back-to-back on the Travis County jury docket. Afterwards, I contacted Rick Gray, explained the circumstances and offered my apology for not getting back to him sooner. He explained to me that his clients were finally ready to take the case to trial and that he was trying to coordinate the setting with me. The delay (which was not months long) resulted in NO additional expense and cost the homeowners NOTHING.

6. On the subject of expense, I paid for all of the expenses which were incurred in my effort to make the Board abide by our governing documents and obey Texas law. This amounted to thousands of dollars for which I was entitled to be reimbursed had the case actually gone to trial. I did not even require the Board to pay me back what I actually spent.

7. In addition, had the case gone to trial, I would have been entitled to receive my attorney’s fees from the Board. By the time the Board set the case for trial I had already enjoined their scheme to conduct an illegal election and had successfully enforced our covenants against the Board’s actions regarding access to documents, publication of voting lists, and the counting of votes at elections. In short, I had already prevailed and was entitled to attorney’s fees. When we arrived at the mediation I provided them with the pleadings which I had filed earlier. In that document, which is part of the record at the courthouse, I finally did seek my attorney’s fees as well as damages against individual members of the Board for self-dealing and violations of the Board’s fiduciary duty to the homeowners. I informed them that should they not settle the case I was now prepared to make them pay not only my expenses, but now my attorney’s fees and the damages allowable under Texas law as well. They settled.

8. What did I get in return? Their agreement to allow the homeowners to vote on the bylaw amendments and decide for themselves how they wanted their association run. I gave up my rights to over $100,000 in my own fees and expenses. It’s all part of the record. You can look it up.

It does not surprise me in the least that Jim O’Reilly waited until he saw me leave the last meeting before he made the remarks about me that he did.

-By Bill Gammon

Circle C Homeowners Association

(Circle) C You in Court!

State District Judge Lora Livingston will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that could ultimately alter the way the Circle C Homeowners Association does business. Or, it could be business as usual for the tightly controlled and largely secretive CCHOA board of directors, which oversees a $1 million budget drawn from homeowners’ membership fees. Austin lawyer and Circle C resident Bill Gammon last week got a temporary restraining order against the CCHOA, which effectively put the kibosh on the board’s March 26 election proceedings. Gammon said the board –Jim O’Reilly, Steve Bartlett, and Ken Rigsbee — finagled the association rules to prevent Carl Kernodle, another resident, from running against Bartlett. A board member since the association’s 1988 inception, Bartlett was up for re-election — but it wasn’t the slam-dunk that the board had grown accustomed to over the years. Gammon’s hunch is that the board arbitrarily changed the election rules to ensure Bartlett’s place on the board.

Circle C

A Revolt Brews Among the Circle C Masses

New residents at Circle C Ranch question the control Gary Bradley’s allies still have over the homeowners’ association.

Bastrop Homeowner

Man loses home after Bastrop Co. leader plants ‘no trespassing’ sign

ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) – Frank Vickers was sitting on his couch watching “Jeopardy!” when he heard a knock at the door one evening in late September. Before he could stand up, a Bastrop County Sheriff’s deputy was standing in his living room.

Vickers said the deputy told him to gather his belongings and get out of the house. The property was sold to a new owner.

Vickers was stunned. He had been renting the home from a friend for 19 years.

“Nothing adds up here,” Vickers said. “I’m an innocent victim sitting in my underwear watching TV when a police officer rips down a curtain over my backdoor — no warning whatsoever, no paperwork, nothing.”

Vickers was stunned again the next morning when he got a voicemail about the property from one of the most powerful elected officials in the county.

Man loses home after Bastrop Co. leader plants ‘no trespassing’ sign

Random Justice: A Case Study

By E. Jason Billick

I just finished reading an article shared by Bill Davis, a member of the Central Texas Foreclosure Defense Group. The paper is by Gary Neustadter of Santa Clara University Law School, called “Randomly Distributed Trial Court Justice: A Case Study and Siren from the Consumer Bankruptcy World.”

The article presents an empirical study of a debtor presenting identical claims in multiple courts across the country. The reader is left with a good understanding of just how arbitrary our court system, a/k/a/ the “puzzle palace”, truly is.

House Bill 2067 – Avoiding Statute of Limitations Issues

By: E. Jason Billick


The Texas Legislature recently passed House Bill 2067, which is effective immediately and will be codified as 16.038 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. This bill addresses the statute of limitations for recovery of real property once a borrower’s underlying note becomes due.

The Texas Supreme Court has made it clear that if a series of notes or obligations or a note or obligation payable in installments is secured by a lien on real property, limitations does not begin to run until the maturity date of the last note, obligation, or installment. Limitations may run sooner if the mortgagee exercises its option to accelerate the loan once a borrower has defaulted.

The latter situation is what we’ve become accustomed to seeing with some of our clients’ loans. The “lender”, usually the entity exercising said option, has been able to avoid the limitations issue if it’s able to prove the acceleration has been abandoned either through an agreement of the parties or through some other action of one or both parties.

House Bill 2067 allows the lender to abandon the acceleration through a notice of rescission. This has been an approved form of abandonment in the past, but now the Texas Legislature has made it clear as to how lenders may accomplish said abandonment.