Twenty-three days ago, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner read a letter to a packed town hall meeting at the Kingwood Community Center. The letter was from a lawyer named J. Carey Gray. Mr. Gray laid out a timetable for accelerating completion of the detention ponds on the troubled Perry Homes’ development, Woodridge Village, just north of Elm Grove. The first deliverable: completing the S2 pond in 30-45 days – even though it was already largely completed.
As of early this week, contractors have performed no new excavation work on the site since early August. See pictures below.
One Piece of Equipment Moves Closer to S2 Pond
Dirt Continues to Flow From Construction Site
Construction has slowed to a virtual standstill for three months. Between that time and the time the photos below were taken, we had Imelda and a 2.12-inch rain on October 29.
On the 29th, yet more mud washed out of the development into the City’s storm drains, despite the City’s Cease and Desist Letter.
Of course, flooding, not sediment is the real issue in Elm Grove. However, sediment can block storm drains and contribute to flooding. That’s why the City has an ordinance prohibiting discharges of sediment into the City’s sewer system. It’s one area where the City has real leverage with the Perry gang. That’s why so much emphasis has been placed on sediment in this controversy.
City Inspectors Visit Site
Thursday and again Friday, City inspectors checked the construction site for discharges. We dodged a huge bullet Thursday. Parts of Houston received five inches of rain. But the Lake Houston Area received less than one inch.
Denials, Finger Pointing, Objections on Legal Front
Webster and Spurlock, lawyers for hundreds of Elm Grove flood victims, have brought another defendant into the suit. It is Texasite LLC of Montgomery, Texas. Legal filings do not describe exactly what the new defendant did on site. The company has no web site that I can find. Even the Texas Secretary of State can’t shed much light on the matter; the company’s Certificate of Formation simply says it is organized to “conduct lawful business.”
- Denies they harmed anyone
- Asserts that plaintiffs caused their own injuries through negligence
- Asserts that third parties caused the damage. Those third parties include God.
In other legal news, Webster and Spurlock filed a notice of intent to take a deposition by written questions from LJA Engineering. The list of information they seek is two pages long.
PSWA and Figure Four Partners, two Perry Homes subsidiaries being sued, objected to items #2 and #3 on the list. They included “letters, emails, and other correspondence/communications between LJA Engineering & Surveying” and the defendants “with regard to the Woodridge Village Development.” The defendants argued in their objection that the request was overly broad because it didn’t limit the time period or subject matter. So sayeth Counselor J. Carey Gray, who wrote the overly vague letter to the City of Houston re: completion of the detention ponds. According to documents on file with the Harris County District Clerk, the judge has not yet ruled on Perry’s objection to production of the evidence.
Delays Also Continue on Construction of More Detention
I flew over the Woodridge Village construction site on Monday, 11/4 and saw no evidence of construction activity, despite the assurances made by Counselor Gray. The images below show the lack of activity from several different angles.
I’m Shocked, Shocked I Tell You
So what are we to make of the continued lack of construction activity? To paraphrase the exchange between Strasser and Renault in the movie Casablanca, I am shocked – SHOCKED – Perry would promise the Mayor of Houston that it would accelerate construction of new detention ponds and then not do it.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/9/2019, with photos an updates from Jeff Miller.
802 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 50 Days since Imelda
The thoughts expressed in this post represent my opinions on matters of public policy and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.