Couple alleges church threatened, slandered them in easement dispute

Carol Ostrow Jun. 16, 2015, 8:58am


A La Marque couple is suing a church and city authorities, alleging breach of a contract involving property rights.

William Bunch and Margaret Bunch filed a lawsuit June 12 in Galveston County District Court against: New Hope Bible Church; the city of La Marque; Carol Buttler, city Manager of La Marque; and Les Rumberg, director of public works for La Marque, alleging liability in a dispute dating to October 2013.

According to the grievance, the Bunches own real property in the Freeway Village subdivision adjacent to an easement bordering the New Hope Bible Church, and in October 2013, the plaintiffs and the church entered into an agreement for the church to allow water and sewer lines in exchange for the plaintiffs taking responsibility for the sewer lines to be connected.

The suits says the plaintiffs applied to the city for a permit to install utility lines on the easement but all defendants have refused to grant or respond to the request. Additionally, the complaint states, the church has demanded $20,000 from the Bunches.

The plaintiffs allege the church’s demand is unlawful and that the church has threatened to physically block the installation. They cite breach of contract, slander and trespass.

The Bunches seek: declaratory judgment; a writ of mandamus against the named city personnel; more than $100,000 in compensation; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney fees; expenses; and costs. They are are represented by attorney Mark Stevens of Galveston.

Galveston County District Court case number 15-CV-0596.

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