Montrose District Appealing Judge’s Order To Return $6.6 Million It Collected from Local Businesses

MONTROSE DISTRICT APPEALING JUDGE’S ORDER TO RETURN $6.6 MILLION IT COLLECTED FROM LOCAL BUSINESSES The new judge now in charge of the 5-year-old lawsuit against the 6-year-old Montrose Management District earlier this week affirmed the decision announced by his predecessor late last year — that the taxes the group imposed on the West Montrose Management District were not validly assessed, and that all $6.6 million should be returned to its payers — and parceled off a dispute about attorneys’ fees into a separate case. The final judgment clears the way for the district to appeal the ruling in state court, which it did yesterday. “The district stands by its position that it is operating within its legal charter granted by the State of Texas,” a statement put out by the organization reads. “No refunds for assessments collected in the West Montrose Management District (the only portion of the district under dispute in this legal action) will be made, pending the outcome of the current appeal.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Montrose Management District

14 Comment

  • Those signs are pretty sterile. Montrose was booming before this management district. This is just Annise taking her golden goose with her out of office. She wants to latch on and parasite off of the prosperity of Montrose. Here’s an idea: Get a J-O-B. Stop being a sponge.

  • What drives me nuts is after the first ruling saying these guys were not legit, I stopped paying (on properties that don’t escrow for taxes) and told my lenders (that do escrow for taxes as if I’m a child) to NOT pay the MMD.

    So the lender didn’t pay. Then they were served a ‘scary’ little form letter saying “pay or else’ and they folded like a cheap suit and paid — with my money — against my objection.

    What are the chances I get that money back? The MMD has already squandered it all (much of it on legal bills to fight the 80% of owners they’re formed to serve that didn’t want them to exist). Oh I wish I could sue my bank for paying a bogus assessment on my behalf when I told them not to.

  • Yeah, reading their statement again just makes me sick. They can appeal and appeal and appeal. They have unlimited funds to do so. They take from the property owners, and then use that money to pay themselves the legal fees to fight the property owners (who have to also pay other attorneys to fight them).

    straight out disgusting and despicable. Everyone on the MMD board should be ashamed of themselves. What swamplot should do is a big story on who these people are. They should resign out of disgust. GO AWAY NO ONE WANTS YOU!

  • Today’s Public Hearing was a typical MMD farce. It was a Public Hearing approved by the Board to receive public comments from assessed property owners for the Board’s purpose of considering whether or not to extend the MMD for another 15 years.

    All of the cowardly Directors chose to hide under a rock today instead of attend the Public Hearing they approved. Even the ever visible David Hawes was nowhere to be found. Their lack of attendance was easily noted by everyone in attendance. Shameful!!

    The importance of Judge Moore’s ruling is that it is a Final Judgment dated October 31, 2017and that it prohibits the West Montrose Management District from spending any of the assessments that have been collected but not yet spent, or from spending any assessments that the WMMD receives after the date of the signing of this Final Judgment. The WMMD is further ordered to refrain from attempting to collect further assessments, or from issuing further assessments to the extent they derive, in part or whole, from the purported legal authority of the 2011 Assessment Petition.

    In layman’s terms, it means they have no authority to spend any of the WMMD property owners assessments from October 31, 2017 onwards. If they do, they will be in contempt of Judge Moore’s Final Judgment. The attorney for the plaintiff in this lawsuit, Andy Taylor, put the Board on notice and stated it on the record.

    Yes, the MMD has the right to appeal this Final Judgment, but most importantly it does not stay the injunction. Even though the MMD appealed the decision they are still prohibited from spending any of the collected assessments, etc. while the appeal is pending. This is very important and raises the question of how they were able to conduct today’s Public Hearing if they can’t spend any of the WMMD’s collected assessments? Who is paying the MMD’s attorney for his time today? Who is paying off duty HPD for their time today? etc.

    The MMD’s attorney read a statement from the MMD Board at the Public Hearing. In an effort to put a wet blanket on property owners enthusiasm, he read that the appeal will be in the 14th Court of Appeals and the MMD has been successful in that court twice before. This was a less than truthful statement. The 14th Court of Appeals previously heard the 2011 Assessment Petition argument and ruled in our favor, deciding that there was a ‘fact’ issue and sent it back to the Trial Court for trial. Judge Moore’s October 31, 2017 Final Judgment is the conclusion of that trial.

    In another bizarre interaction, the MMD’s attorney would not answer a direct question from a property owner’s attorney whether or not a new batch of 25 signed Assessment Petitions where collected and would be presented. He squirmed every which way not to answer the question. It was embarrassing and shameful. Unfortunately for him, the Executive Director was put under a pointed cross examination and was confronted with telling the truth or perjuring himself. He chose the truth and admitted the MMD has collected another 25 signed Assessment Petitions that they plan on presenting at a future date. This admission reflected poorly on the MMD’s attorney.

    So let’s recap the current state of affairs. The Board of the MMD is in possession of signed petitions from just over 80% of assessed property owners demanding they dissolve, to which they have thumbed their noses. In addition, they are now in possession of Judge Moore’s October 31, 2017 Final Judgment voiding their 2011 Assessment Petition, prohibiting them from spending or collecting assessments and ordering them to reimburse the $6.5 mil to those who paid them, etc.

    In the face of all the public opposition from assessed property owners, signed petitions from 80% of assessed property owners and now a Final Judgment, the MMD Board think nothing of gathering another 25 signed petitions to extend the MMD for another 15 years. Just for reference, the 80% signed petitions to dissolve the MMD represent approximately 850 individually signed petitions. Heaven help us all when the sneakiness of 25 petitions signors can prevail over the will of 850 petition signors.

    The audacity and arrogance of the MMD Board of Directors knows no boundaries.

  • Of course they will appeal, they’re lawyers! The signs are terrible from a graphic designers point of view. Why have a Montrose District sign with an arrow pointing down? It looks like a failure! Pretty basic. BTW Commenter7 The Montrose Management District has nothing to do with Annise. It was approved by the State Legislature six years ago, and it is administered by Hawes, Hill, Calderon LLP.

  • I bet they are just breaking the judge’s order. Out of curiosity, how much is the assessment each month or yearly for an average property like a restaurant strip center or small apartment?

  • Welcome to the H, it’s a developers paradise… y’all have fun now ya hear?!

    Seriously though, it is very shameful and makes me bow my head in disgust and be embarrassed to be a Montrosian. I want the old Trose (1989-Westheimer Street Fest) back!

    These ‘board of directors’ don’t represent us.

  • Is it true that Montrose will not receive any TRIZ money of the MMD is dissolved ? A MMD rep told me this.

  • No, in answer to the last comment, the Montrose TIRZ was formed in the back rooms of City Hall just before exMayor Parker left office. Just as she did on the Montrose District, she placed her wife/girlfriend on the Board. Her wife/girlfriend never rotated off the District board. Guess it gives her something to do. The TIRZ funds come from our property tax dollars that normally would go to the City for projects. The District taxes commercial land owners and business owners, thus the injunction on spending ANY money after October 31, 2017 is a BIG Deal. The Mayor controls both special districts as the budgets have to be approved, as well as every Board member. No one gets on a board without political connections. Thus, you end up with political boards who are deaf to the tax payers and arrogant in hiding behind the big law firms that protect them.

  • @Commenter7 Those signs are not just sterile, half of them don’t work properly. The word ‘sterile’ is generic… I prefer to tell friends those signs look like ‘shit’, and ‘Is it the best they can do?’!

  • @ Tree Lady
    I took a look at the current Board of Directors list on their website (side note: 5 of 15 spots are vacant) and I don’t see Ms. Hubbard (Mayor Parker’s wife’s name) listed on it. So, your information may be a bit stale.
    I don’t live in this TIRZ or have any economic interest in it yet I think this whole saga stinks. If a taxation authority lacks the assent of the people, then it should cease to exist graciously.

  • Actually I think the signs look quite attractive, but they should be a bit larger as they tend to blend into the streetscape except when placed in medians. Of course it is an ongoing project but a few more. perhaps a t every major intersection withing the district, would be better. As for working or not, that can be fixed as there is always an issue after initial installation. Chill.

    Perhaps the people who are complaining might want to share THEIR designs on this … lets see what you consider better.

  • “Why have a Montrose District sign with an arrow pointing down? It looks like a failure! Pretty basic. ”


    I’m not sure about that. The signs don’t look to be an arrow, it looks like a chevron in the Art Deco style.

  • Hey Tree Lady, get your facts straight! Otherwise, you’re just barking up on the wrong tree