Never Mind the Lawsuit; Montrose Management District Still Marking Its Territory

Montrose Management District marker, W. Dallas at Montrose

Montrose Management District marker, W. Dallas at MontroseThe Montrose Management District reports that the first of its shiny new neighborhood marker signs went up over the weekend at Montrose Blvd. and Dallas St., despite the recent movement in the ongoing lawsuit between the organization and the group of property owners petitioning to dissolve it. The case, which was filed in 2012, is still open, though the judge recently filed a handful of findings and judgment documents stating that not all of the signatures that went into forming the district were valid, and that the agency must pay back the $6.5 million it’s collected since then. The district has said it has no plans to do that any time soon, and intends to keep on keepin’ on until any appeals wrap up, which could be years from now.

The signage is part of the sundry prettification projects the district has planned for the neighborhood, which include redoing the colored lighting on the bridges over US 59 — thanks to a funding assist from the city, TxDOT, and the Houston Galveston Area Council:


Montrose Management District US 59 bridge relighting rendering Montrose Management District US 59 bridge relighting rendering

Above are the renderings of what that relighting is expected to look like. The district says the painting needed on the bridges wrapped up last month.

Images: Montrose Management District

Sightings on W. Dallas

16 Comment

  • If you’re going to continue to follow this dispute, and I think you should, you might upload a copy of Halbach’s decision, so that your broader readership might understand the slim reed upon which the “findings” of the court are based. Opinions will certainly differ, but there is more than enough legal ambiguity in the record to generate appellate action.

  • I really like the new lighting on the Montrose bridges …. one of the things that makes this part of Houston special. I just hope they hold up better than the originals.

  • The Petitions signed to dissolve the District were not ambiguous.

    Everyone should disregard the 79% of commercial property owners who signed a Petition to dissolve the District?

    900 or so property owners against the District / Only 23 actual property owner signed for the District to be established.

    The District was established / started Taxing 1000 commercial property owners with less than 25 commercial property owners as per State Law– the Judge saws no dispute on this matter.

    In the meantime, MILLIONS collected in taxes were paid in fees to Hawes Hill and for legal.

    How does a Million dollars in cross- over bridge lighting over US 59, help commercial property owners or businesses in the District?

    Frivolous monthly MMD spending without competitive bid.

    MMD and most of the other TIRZ – Management Districts are an “insiders delight”.

    Taxation without representation.

    Hopefully a Judge will FREEZE or place ALL future property tax money in an escrow account until litigation resolved.

    If resolved in litigants favor, Hold the MMD / and MMD Board members personally responsible for repayment of ALL tax money collected.

    Hopefully the District / Directors will have to PAY BACK ALL the tax money ……….

  • Can I get the help of 24 other people on Swamplot to help me create a Houston and Greater outlying areas management district that covers Houston and 50 miles in every direction? Gotta start raking in that sweet cash.

  • Dag’s on point. Everyone needs a tax profit center.

    Regarding the MMD markers:
    I’ve heard the MMD paid $580,000 for 14 “markers”. This project has taken ONLY 4 yrs under current management / and the all knowing MMD Board.

    No one knows how much the final cost will be, MMD has no land to put them on or how much will be electricity bill will be?

    MMD got only one procurement bid on the inexpensive markers……….how many bids would a Private Entity get? One? Nope. Not if it was your money.

    Only a Lottery Winner or a Tax District on “free” money wants a single bid.

    Will these marker signs bring any of the commercial property owners even a Dollar in new business?

    How many of the current 1000 or so commercial property owners being taxed would have approved a 1/2 million dollar+, 14 sign deal?

    Not any of the 79% of the owners who signed the Petition to Dissolve MMD for sure.

    Is this beautification or a Taxing Authority (Animal) simply marking its territory.

    How sweet it is, to be one of the inside friends, of the ruling Montrose Management District with its one bid procurements.

    Why do you think every City Councilman wants a District — “I’ve got to get me one of these!”

  • I’m sure we have not heard the last of this situation. What we need on Swamplot is for commenters to declare their association with the warring parties. I have a definite sense that individuals associated with the management company and its posse are commenting along “tempest in a teapot” lines, as if the whole thing is no big deal, without disclosing that they are players on the management district side. I have no dog whatsoever in the fight, but it would certainly assist in evaluating the bona fides of the commenters if each had to declare his or her connection with the litigating parties.

    Can we do that on this one? What do you think, Diaspora? Does that pinch you at all?

  • As I said, opinions will certainly differ. If we had the trial court’s “findings” we could understand this is not about the petition to dissolve the district, but about its formation and whether the signing entities were “subject to” the assessment when several were not assessed until a few years after the formation and were mixed commercial/residential entities. If you want to climb the soapbox built by James Otis you should speak from a base of knowledge rather than mere speculation.

  • If anyone thinks they can dissolve a government intity with taxing powers by filing a lawsuit, your probably on the wrong planet. Remember we have a president-elect who lost the popular election by MILLIONS of votes yet still will take office. Civics 101 the U.S.A. is a republic not a democracy, therefore the government doesn’t need or in this case, wants your opinion. Besides the area needs some sort of organized development arm. All management districts aren’t bad, Midtown, Uptown, Greenspoint, Energy Corridor have down wonders. With that being said, obvisously there should be oversite. But instead of filing lawsuits and waisting time and money on a bias legal system, why not just organize and put in new leadership? Oh the trials and tests of the bougie.

  • The MMD and the other TIRZ’s are legalized con games. Hopefully the plaintiffs eventually . The whole scam reeks of corruption and cronyism . I sold my former commercial property because of the d-bags. Hopefully the MMD will implode. And quit ripping off property owners. I HATE the MMD . Hear that annise Parker – her wife: Kathy Hubbard, Claude Wynn?

  • I have no association with the management district or the lawyers involved in this action. I have, as you say “no dog in this fight”. That this may require you to assess an argument on its merits rather than discount an opinion purely on the basis of an association, or as you say after “evaluating the bona fides”, is all for the good.

    With that in mind, I attach Halbach’s findings:

  • If you dig into the “Improvement Districts” you will find a cottage industry that pales in comparison to the Clinton Foundation. The management company has millions invested and reaps millions from all over on the improvement districts. Keep digging and looking. Might also look at the individuals involved and the campaign donation that “own” a number of the members of the Legislature!

  • Seems clear to me MMD violated state law Just like Uptown TIRZ violated state law It was or is a blighted area Texas Constitution says that is one of the criteria

  • I own no property in MMD but pay property taxes wanting Equity/Transparency for all property owners.

    I’m against 80% of the existing TIRZ’s – Management Districts since the sole purpose is to “beautify their specific areas” by either adding taxes to a District or making sure COH tax dollars stay in their particular area.

    There is no Equity for the entire COH on CIP projects. The rich get richer. There is no Transparency or Voter approval in the actual spending of Bond Dollars on area’s specific CIP projects.

    CIP Projects needs to be the business of the COH / Mayor / Council providing Equity to all areas under COH procurement guidelines.

    The Uptown District’s $300 million dollar bus guide way project is a prime example of what’s wrong. The bus guide ways are not a transportation project for UD / and METRO. Its a street re-construction project adding utilities for UD developers. It’s not a transportation project.

    So called ‘future ridership” claims by UD / and METRO are self serving paid for reports. Traffic Engineering issues created by the UD bus guide ways were thrown under the bus by COH Public Works.

    TIRZ’s were created for “blighted areas” within the COH. Like everything else, a few area’s “seized” on the original thought sensing a “go around” to benefit a few.

    Going back to MMD. When you see one firm, lobby for, organize the District creating for themselves $30K a month in management fees by getting only 23 property owners to sign on — something is very wrong with current Law.

    At the end of the day, “Predator’s” needs to be eliminated.

    The Petitions are proof enough rightful tax payer’s are unhappy. These petitions will find their way into the dissolution legal process.

    New State Law with 50.01% of actual taxpayers, to create a District is needed.

    Not one “management business” now handling 10 or so Management Districts, with one City council person placing property owners in their District, in harm’s way of self serving, hand chosen board members.

    What happened in MMD was predatory (very self serving) in the dark of night, in a back room. Enough.

    I understand only Four Total (4) voters approved one million twenty five Million in UD bonds in 1992 ($125 million) — is this Rightful Voter approval on 125 million dollars in bonds? This is part of the money being used today, to reconstruct UD – METRO’s bus guide ways, as well as paying $250.00 psf for right of way.

    The big picture is Turner wants to LIFT the Revenue Cap. If Voters approve, tax on all our property will go up either thru an increased Tax Rate or Appraisal Value or Both.

    Its time to face the issue of non blighted TIRZ’s and all Management District taxes.

    Lord knows, Turner is avoiding the correct decision to end the current COH defined benefit pension plans. Turner’s Pension solution is a “highway” to a future Bankruptcy Proceeding for the COH.

    Houston will soon face a substantial increase in water/sewer costs for everyone. HISD has crumbled.

    City Council is basically worthless in Houston’s strong Mayoral system. One person rules. It’s Turner’s turn.

    A big majority of our current Council / Mayor want one thing: More tax revenue instead of tough decisions on drilling down on costs.

    The next COH next CIP budget will be very telling. Our Mayor is down to praying.

    MMD is the tip of the iceberg regarding lack of transparency / Equity in Houston’s tax system. Real Policing (security) needs to come from the City of Houston –not a District / TIRZ’s. Houston needs more police yet the tax dollars are stuck in the wrong places.

    Political donations are at all time highs.

    Big Picture: At the end of the day, all these Property Taxes, future tax increases with a horrible Public School System will make the flight from Houston to suburbs accelerate.

    MMD needs to go. Hopefully Voters will not agree to removal of current Revenue Cap in FY 2017. A real pension solution instead of Turner’s folly.

    Elimination of all non blighted area TIRZ’s is also needed. Let the COH recapture all the tax dollars in any way it can from the Political Hacks running their own fiefdoms..

  • Has there ever been a certified audit of how the taxpayers’ monies have been spent? If so, the audit should be posted publicly.

  • ALL Management Districts TAX without representation. But since politicians help form the monsters and run interference ( yes Ellen Cohen I’m calling you out ) .. the only way to stop these monsters IS to file legal action in court.

  • I have been paying New forced taxes for years. My hair salon has been at Dunlavy and westheimer for 34 years, they have shown us nothing for our money. The Montrise Scamagagement is more like it.