Comment of the Day: Wilshire Village Town Meeting

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WILSHIRE VILLAGE TOWN MEETING “Residents met with an official of the City of Houston Police Department last night at a “town meeting” regarding the fate of Wilshire Village. They were informed that in the next 2 days the city will post orange notices for residents to vacate. They will follow up no later than the first week in March to remove personal items and toss them “on the side of the road, off the property”. Matt Dillick also reportedly has a request to a district judge to have anyone still on the property next week “removed” as well. Considering the age of those who were told they didn’t have to leave by Jay Cohen and now have 4 days to get out, I hope the authorities won’t feel the need to pull a Robbie Tolan on any of them.” [Hellsing, commenting on Comment of the Day: Wilshire Village Plan]

22 Comment

  • Jay Cohen shouldn’t have told them anything if he has not say in the matter. He most likely gave them a false sense of security.

  • Maybe Jay Cohen did have a say in the matter, and Dillick did an end-run by calling the fire department out. Certainly Dillick comes off as greedy and uncaring. I would certainly never buy a townhouse he developed–anyone who can go through so much trouble to throw old people on the street seems like the kind of person who would likewise cut corners in the building process. This being Texas, buyer beware.

  • If these residents were people in their 20s that made ok money but lived here because it was cheap, would the reaction be different?

    The reality regardless of the fire dept and pending orange notices, the owner has every right to do with this property as he please.

    I ask again: If these weren’t elderly people, would there be the same outrage?

    Because the situation of more upwardly mobile renters getting thrown out because of redevelopment happens all the time. If someone makes an emotional plea for non-elderly, does that make the game change? Where is the consistency?

  • Aren’t there some younger residents who live there because it’s cheap? It’s naive to think that the age of some of the residents and the clumsy way that this has been handled are not pertinent to the discussion. I don’t have any illusions that even if this property were to be carefully and appropriately rehabilitated that the residents wouldn’t have to move out for that to happen or that the rents wouldn’t have to rise fairly substantially.

    Still, I think the tenants, regardless of their ages, deserved clear notification of the change in ownership and much longer notice about their eviction. The supposed fact that most tenants knew this day would come “someday” is not nearly enough.

  • i’m one of those in the middle of this crisis/mess. when we first got the eviction notice from Dilick, Cohen was telling residents “don’t move, they’re just trying to scare you out. they’ve done this before”. being here 20 years and seeing the track record of the above named, i took no chances. i packed everything i own and started putting it into storage and started looking for a new place. it ain’t easy.
    and the saddest of all, some of the elderly actually thought their messiah Cohen was telling the truth. how can you explain to an 80+ year old person that in 2009, MONEY, PROPERTY & POWER is the new trend. google Matt Dilick and look at his overwhelming power of ‘taking over old apartments is the new market’ comments.
    i don’t hate these guys, it’s called “doing business”. but this isn’t the same USA it was in 1950. seems compassion, care and respect went out the door with the Studebaker.
    city assistance? social help? take a number and get in line. the process is long and overwhelming. and can’t be done in 2 days.
    farewell Wilshire Village. those apartments have a lot of fun, secrets, love and pride going down with the wrecking ball.

  • Yes, elderly people should be treated differently from young, able-bodied people. I can’t believe I even have to say it. Elderly people on fixed incomes are likelier to be infirm and/or disabled. They are also likelier to physically weaker (which when you move is a big deal if you are doing any of the work yourself). Maybe these folks all have a lot of extra money to hire movers and put downpayments on new apartments within the next 4 days–but I doubt it, or why would they be living at Wilshire Village in the first place? Unlike a poor 20-something, it is probably harder for an elderly person to “couch surf” in this kind of situation. If they have adult children who happen to live in Houston (and I sincerely hope they do), they may be able to get help there.

    Yes, I know legally the property owner has the right to do what he wants. There are a few rights for renters (as well there should be), but not many in Texas.

    How is that relevant? Assuming Dillick is within his legal rights, so fucking what? Legal is not the same thing as decent or humane or ethical. Dillick seems to be a world-class scumbag. That he is a scumbag who is apparently operating within the letter of the law doesn’t excuse him from his duty to God and his fellow man to be a decent human being.

  • That’s not the owner’s burden. Nor I would argue society’s. The reason government is crap is because it’s not a true service of government. It’s is the family’s and friends’ burden.

    The fact these people still live here tells me they have some independence and were able to survive on there own with possibly some friends, family, or local charity support. These are the groups that should help them.

    Just as in before Hurricane Ike, fellow neighbors and I went to homes of known elderly in the neighborhood to ensure they were prepared or needed to get out of their house. It was friends and families that did this effectively. Hurricane Ike was impartial entity moving in it’s own path.

    The developer is in the same situation. A developer can’t make their decisions hoping never to step on someone’s toes. It’s bound to happen and you will also look bad. Also, it doesn’t make the developer evil to evict these people. Were are all the people that are truly worried? None are posting on this board. They rant about how wrong it is, but I don’t see them truly helping. Why aren’t you good intentioned people posting how bad it is actually acting in the way to help? Some community you guys are.

  • Did my call to the City help? Don’t know – no one showed up to speak to anyone until last night. My part in assistance to one of the residents is a personal matter. I have contacted Homeless Pets Placement League and obtained a reference to assist those who may have to leave quickly with no preparations for their pets. If you have any other suggestions, please share them.

    And Hurricane Ike didn’t have a Jay Cohen prancing about saying disaster was NOT going to hit. Bit of a difference.

  • kjb434: “A developer can’t make their decisions hoping never to step on someone’s toes. It’s bound to happen and you will also look bad. Also, it doesn’t make the developer evil to evict these people.”

    But he could help–maybe he could have given them more time, communicated better. He did the minimum required by law.

    “Were are all the people that are truly worried? None are posting on this board. They rant about how wrong it is, but I don’t see them truly helping. Why aren’t you good intentioned people posting how bad it is actually acting in the way to help? Some community you guys are.”

    Screw you, asshole. You don’t know what any one of us is doing when we are away from the keyboard.

  • Hellsing, I will care for a dog or two if you need a quick place.

  • RWB,

    Did I touch a nerve? Can’t make a real answer so just call me an asshole?

    Emme is an example of what I’m talking about making a real difference. Actually offering help.

    I don’t have extra room in my home with two room mates and little storage. I don’t even have a truck or vehicle that can carry much. I’ve moved people before I barely knew in college because there parents couldn’t make it to help.

    Time is not something even the developer can control. Maybe he is working on a financing plan with the bank for re-development. The bank doesn’t really get flexible with time. It could be out of the developer’s hands. We simple don’t know much beyond that. Maybe the developer is selling the property and the close date set by the buyer and bank are coming soon?

    There are groups or churches that can help and often to in this situation.

  • This is for kjb434; how many of these elderly are you taking in?

  • If Dillick owns the place, why hasn’t he identified himself as the owner and given us some sort of notice? Why is a COH rep telling the tenants not to pay rent? Stinky, stinky, stinky! In my opinion Dicklick is a scumbag. Regards George Pitner (tenant for 20 years).

  • KJB, even you have to admit this has been poorly handled by Dilick and Cohen. Dilick starts off by sending out invalid (at least questionable) eviction notices. Cohen tells people to stay put. If Dilick had the right to evict he should have done so within legal processes. Instead he goes the sleazy route of calling the fire department. This is all Fertitta style. Fertitta wanted to buy a home that a family had had as a dream vacation home well before Fertitta absconded with Kemah. They declined all his offers so he builds a rollercoaster in their backyard. That is nastily vindictive. Don’t quote me laws and regulations, it is just wrong.

    Meaning no disrespect, I encourage you to find the location of your heart and try to find a way to live somewhere between it and your brain. Satisfaction can be found through your brain but true joy is found in your heart.

  • Can anyone say with an educated guess approximately how many people still live in Wilshire Village and how many are elderly or infirmed?

  • So where is the mayor? I thought he usually steppped in at the last minute to help the tenants in this city. Or does it depend on who the developer is who wants the property?

    More than likely the mayor is who called out the fire marshall. Protecting the developer instead of the tenants.

    This has Bill White all over it.

  • kjb, as you glide into your sunset years, may you be surrounded by friends, family, neighbors, and a big pile of cash that will provide you support and assistance in any times of need. And may bad luck, uncontrollable circumstances, powerful a-holes exercising their rights, and general injustice fall disproportionately upon you, as you will effortlessly take it all in stride with your “can-do” attitude and the support of your extensive personal network.

  • Matt,

    You may be right. Bill White has show a propensity to not like elderly or disabled people. Remember when he tried kicking all the residents out of that placed on W. Dallas near Shepherd?


    Way to elevate the discussion by wishing bad will on others. High class all around.


    A company owns the property and Dilick did identify himself in the original letter.

    I’ve taken in my 86-year old grandmother 5 years ago when she couldn’t live alone anymore. She passed way two months later.

    So I see with some, the common thread of thought is that if you disagree you attack versus bringing a well though argument to the discussion.

    I do agree with EMME that the process to day hasn’t been clean. I would venture to say the Cohen stepping in messed things up. If the letter was left alone, the residents may not have been misguided thinking they can stay.

  • “So I see with some, the common thread of thought is that if you disagree you attack versus bringing a well though argument to the discussion.”

    I will venture to say that you are the one who attacked first, when you wrote “Were are all the people that are truly worried? None are posting on this board. They rant about how wrong it is, but I don’t see them truly helping. Why aren’t you good intentioned people posting how bad it is actually acting in the way to help? Some community you guys are.” You insulted a bunch of people you know nothing about. Sorry if that made some of us angry.

  • From the look of the condition of these apartments I think the owners have been doing a diservice to the residents by not kicking them out sooner. I wouldn’t even let my dog live in that place.

    It looks like we finally have a slumlord who is doing the right thing and tearing down some crappy apartments.

  • EMME, you’re a doll. I don’t live there; just have personal connections to the place.

    If anyone just thinks we’re a bunch of big Blue Meanies picking on this poor widdle ickle developer, let’s review a few Fun Facts:

    Dilick purchased the property in 2002. He was aware that prople still lived in Wilshire Village as the rent checks continued to come in. He/Flat Stone II Ltd./Alabama & Dunlavy Ltd. was not only a developer at that point but a property owner and a landlord. kjb434 is absolutely right – Wilshire Village is Dilick’s property, and here’s where the circus music gets cued.

    Jay Cohen continued to ACT in the capacity of property manager/landlord/owner for the next SEVEN years. It is highly unlikely that Dilick had no idea this was going on.

    Texas law considers a principal to be vicariously liable for the torts of agents committed in the course and scope of their employment. Was Jay Cohen actually employed as the Wilshire Village property manager or do we have a case of ostensible (“for all appearances”) agency? If Dilick ALLOWED him to walk, talk and act like one, then a reasonable person could legitimately assume that such was the case.

    Jay Cohen made the statement to more than one resident, acting in the capacity of someone with the authority to do so, that they would not have to leave the property as stated in the eviction notice. Texas recognizes oral agreements as binding with 4 exceptions that must be in writing, but lease extension is not one of them. Implied authority is further conveyed by Cohen being cc’d on the notice.

    Looks like Lucy has some ‘splainin to do, hmmm?

    Now, a good way out of this would be for Dilick or a representative with legitimate capacity to act on his behalf to show up today or tomorrow, apologize for the confusion and give the remaining residents another two weeks or so, plus follow up with the city to make sure that relocation assistance WILL be provided. April is six full months after Ike. Many people rented basic living space for six months while their homes were being repaired – I know of two at my firm. Chances are good that signs will start going up as these renters give notice. Would a few more weeks really kill a project that will take a couple of years to complete in a market for which there is not much demand for it anyway?

    Then again, Dilick and Cohen can just roll the dice and hope that a generous attorney with a fondness for old folks more skilled than their attorneys doesn’t get wind of this. Can’t say – I’m not either of them, for which I find numerous reasons to be profoundly grateful.

  • I was told by a tenant that the dates on the original notice don’t add up to 30 days, so it would seem if this is correct that tenants could stay for now. Also, the “Fire Dept.” notices had a phone number that had been disconnected; after the notices were removed by tenants, handwritten versions went back up; this seems to be harassment rather than official notices. I’m not quite sure what the police department has to do with this—seems out of their jurisdiction. Hope they have more time…