The $58 Million Perry Home

Homebuilder Bob Perry, who’s spent a lot of money and energy during his 42-year career trying to get laws passed that prohibit large jury awards, got a big one levied against him earlier this week: a Fort Worth jury ordered his Houston-based company, Perry Homes, to pay $51 million to a couple in Mansfield, Texas, who bought a Perry Home in 1996 and have been trying to get Perry Homes to fix all the problems with it ever since.

Outside of Texas homebuilding circles, Perry is well known as the chief financial backer of the 2004 “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” PR campaign directed against presidential candidate John Kerry. He’s also well known to members of the Texas Supreme Court — because he’s contributed substantially to the election campaigns of every justice who sits on it.

Those same justices may have thought they were helping Perry in 2007, when they overturned a “binding arbitration” award that required the homebuilder to pay $800,000 to the Culls — and sent the case back to district court. But that decision only set the stage for Monday’s much larger jury award.

How much of the $58 million awarded them ($7 million in actual damages and $44 million in punitive damages, plus another $7 million from the Warranty Underwriters Insurance Company) will the Culls see?


None — if Perry Homes can help it. The company will likely appeal the verdict — who knows? maybe . . . all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court.

A few Houston news outlets more accustomed to publishing or broadcasting ads for Perry Homes and other homebuilders than reporting on the occasional homebuyer lawsuit have run a brief Associated Press item that features complaints about the verdict from Perry Homes spokesman Anthony Holm. In that story, Holm claims that the Culls refused an offer from Perry Homes to buy back the house at full price.

But you’ll need to read Wayne Slater’s report in the Dallas Morning News to hear a response from the Culls’ attorney, Van Shaw: that the couple would have lost $100,000 if they had accepted. More from Slater:

The Culls say they have had to live in a house with a broken foundation, cracked walls, windows that won’t open and joists that move.

Jane Cull said she worries when the grandchildren come over to play. The case has cost the couple their savings and their health, she said. Bob Cull, who is 72, sat through the trial in a wheelchair.

During the trial, the Culls’ lawyers argued that the structure continues to shift and move. Attorneys for Perry countered by arguing that the Culls were overstating the problems.

11 Comment

  • How much will they see? Zero. Bob Perry bought the Republican Party in Texas a long time ago and that includes the judiciary and the Texas Supreme Court rejected an arbitrated amount of $800,000. You think those same justices are going to allow an awarded amount of $58 million?

    Buyer beware.

  • Perry’s contributions to the campaigns of the sitting justices total $21M. You would of thought that $0.8M on top of that wouldn’t have been enough for him to worry about.

  • Perry’s contributions to the campaigns of the sitting justices total $21M.

    Mind boggling. But of course Bob Perry is just a good citizen supporting the most qualified candidates to protect the public interest.

  • Perry is a scumbag. I would never buy a Perry home, even in resale. The product is crap, the designs are laughable, and the profits support right wing fanaticism.

  • I suspect some of the right-wing buyers turned left-wing after dealing with him.

  • All I can say is DITTO to the comments above.

    And to think, the US Supreme Court needed to “loosen” the rules to allow more $$$ into the campaigns.

    I always laugh when I see some Prius with an Obama sticker pulling into their Perry Home.

  • Ironically, all of the lawsuit-limiting legislation passed at the request of the home-building industry makes Texas one of the few states where a pre-existing home is a more secure investment than a new home.

    When the market begins to reflect this, which it will eventually, new home builders will regret it.

  • Unfortunately this legal ordeal will probably remain in court hell for a long time, sad but true. I don’t know that the buyers will ever get anything. Giveaway on my site coming right up!

    Art by Karena

  • I have a close friend who was a big backer of tort reform – until his home builder actually laughed in his face when he said he’d take them to court over an electrical problem. The home builder even acknowleged the problem – but he knew that “tort reform” meant that you simply no longer have any right to due process.

    Can’t wait to see how this improves health care.

  • Matt-


    Wanna bet?

    Perry will settle – and it will be for “undisclosed” millions. (less than 5 million, IMO).

    I dislike that outfit, and would LOVE to see it go to the Texas Supreme Court. The nasty publicity – win or lose – for Perry would be just perfect, and a “win” might hurt more than a “loss” because it will shine a brighter light on Perry’s judicial, executive and legislative “purchases”.

    Don’t settle, you arrogant SOBs!

  • Why did the Houston media outlets only offer the Perry spokesperson’s reactions to the District Court verdict?

    If you own a Perry (like thousands of Houstonians) isn’t this highly relevant information?

    So our “liberal” media goes arch-conservative when advertisers are involved?

    Embarrassing that Dallas is all over this
    and Houston doesn’t. “Crime” of omission.