SE Texas Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

Woman says city trying to demolish landmark

By Annie Cosby | Jan 14, 2015

A Harris County woman is suing over claims the city of Port Arthur is attempting to unlawfully demolish her family's home, deemed a historical landmark by the city.

Candace Ann Grimm, as next friend of her mother, Louvenia Teller Gipson, filed a lawsuit Sept. 24 in Jefferson County District Court against the city of Port Arthur.

According to the complaint, Gipson is owner of a residence on Broadway Street in Sabine Pass known as the Captain Olson-Teller Home, which was built in the 1800s and was designated a historical landmark by the defendant in 2000. Grimm says the home served as her mother's primary residence until 2008, and in 2009, Gipson signed a statutory durable power of attorney conferring property rights to Grimm.

The complaint states the property needs cosmetic repair but is structurally sound, and the money and care undertaken by the family and their church to restore the home after Hurricane Rita was even the subject of a local new station report in 2007. Despite all this, Grimm says, on Sept. 15, she received a notice of the city's resolution to demolish the property stating she had 10 days to remove all personal belongings from the home. According to the lawsuit, Grimm did not receive any notices due to their being sent to a P.O. box, and only learned of the resolution through her brother and, despite family members visiting the property frequently, no notices were found there either.

The defendant is accused of inverse condemnation and unjust taking and violating procedural due process and substantive due process, as no public hearing was held and necessary notices were not received, leaving the plaintiff no room to appeal the decision.

Grimm seeks a temporary restraining order and injunction to halt the demolition, plus attorney fees, interest and costs of court.

She is represented by attorney F. William Mahley of Strasburger and Price in Houston.

Jefferson County District Court case number: B-196144


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