A commenter on the TexAgs online forum is claiming that former Royce Builders vice president Shawn Speer called his supervisors and threatened him with the loss of his job. The fun started about a month ago when another forum participant, who goes by the name Comet*, complained online that workers constructing a house next door to his had been using water from his home without permission, leaving nails on the street and trash around the neighborhood. Comet* didn’t know who was building the home, but 2 days later, after several hours of phone calls, he received a call back from Shawn Speer. Comet*’s record of the conversation will likely be of interest to the many fans of bankrupt Royce Builders:
So I told him what was wrong, and he was extremely nice and will be doing a number of things to make sure that doesn’t happen. Went above what I expected, and I am very satisfied for now. No complaints at all anymore.
He said we’re not trying to hide who we are, I just ran out of signs, so that’s why there was no contact info on the lot.
me: So you’re just going by “Shawn Spears?”
s: Well, I have several companies and mentioned Travis homes as one of them (the only one I didn’t know Royce was working under).
But according to Comet* (or Comet*’s wife, who apparently also posts under the same account), the workers didn’t stop using the water spigot on his property. And then things started to escalate. Comet*’s wife wrote the next day:
The construction workers kept saying they didn’t know what the big deal was and why it was a problem because their hands were dirty and it was real quick?
They kept trying to keep working and the police started screaming at them and said if I had to call 1 more time, all of them are going to jail.
I also called the builder again.
According to Comet*, the workers didn’t return to the jobsite for a few days after that. What happened next is not entirely clear; a few portions of the forum thread are no longer accessible online (Swamplot was able to piece the story together from Google’s incomplete cache). Other forum posters expressed their support for Comet* and suggested various forms of retaliation. The last retrievable post in the thread came from a participant named Ryan the Temp, who posted a two-step plan: “Step 1 – Get this: Step 2 – Pour all over this.” The steps were illustrated with the image of a bottle of deer-repelling wolf urine shown above, along with a second photo of a concrete slab.
The discussion thread in which Ryan the Temp describes his encounter with Speer (an Aggie himself and the son of former Royce Builders president John Speer, also a Texas A&M graduate) is still accessible online. “I exercised some poor judgment in posting a joke that was not taken as one,” Ryan explains, “and I am now paying the consequences since I have chosen to freely give my real name on here in the past.”
According to Ryan, who appears to be a city employee, Speer called senior management in his department and claimed that the wolf-urine post was somehow responsible for some unspecified vandalism at the jobsite. Speer complained that Ryan was “acting as an agent of the City in instructing people to commit criminal activity against him.” (Actually, Ryan never identifies Speer by his first name, though his identity becomes clear from the context.)
After a conference with Ryan about “posting that could lend the appearance of being on the clock” (Ryan claims all but 2 of his forum posts were made from his phone during “discernible lunch or break times or after hours”), Ryan’s managers encouraged him to call Speer himself to discuss the issue of criminal activity.
Ryan claims that Speer was “very non-specific” about whatever vandalism had occurred, but warned him that he would be notifying the Harris County Sheriff. (Ryan reports that the Sheriff’s department “has had no calls for service at the project address in the past several days.”) Ryan continues:
He was explicit in saying he found the thread via Google and that there was so much negative information about him on the internet that he was worried about the thread damaging his reputation and his business. (The thread has since been removed at my request).
Bottom line is this guy tried to shake me down because negative things got said about him on the internet. I was the only one with my real name, so he saw an easy target for a shake down. His mission was to get me in trouble at work and threaten my job because he pissed [off] someone else and they said something about it. He freely admitted he only wanted to talk to my superiors about it.
But the conversation may not have been so one-sided. At some point, Speer apparently suggested Ryan call two people at the Greater Houston Builders Association who would “say all kinds of nice things about him.” Ryan posted last night that he did call one of them. “He didn’t have much of anything to say one way or the other,” he wrote, “but he was surprised to hear about how the guy tried to shake me down over some stupid internet crap.”