Home seller cites housing authority, alleging defamation

By Carol Ostrow | May 4, 2015

A Washington, D.C., resident filed a lawsuit against a Texas housing authority for alleged libel in 2014.

Robyn G. Edwards of Washington, D.C., filed a complaint against the Housing Authority of Texarkana, Texas (HATT) and its employee Vicki Nelson, also of Texarkana, in U.S. District Court of Southeast Texas on April 27, claiming specific defamation of character in November 2014.

According to court documents, the plaintiff formerly worked for HATT, at 1611 N. Robison Road in Texarkana. Edwards allegedly contacted the defendant on Nov. 5, 2014, in order to obtain housing information for a client named Shaddonna Miles.

Edwards disclosed to the defendant that she was planning to sell her own house to the client, according to the lawsuit, with the intention of seeing if her client could qualify for a mortgage by taking advantage of HATT’s down-payment and closing-cost assistance.

The complaint states that Nelson explained that participants in the HATT program are required to purchase properties in the agency’s specific areas, and asked the plaintiff what the selling price was. Edwards approximated the property’s value at about $100,000.

Subsequently, the plaintiff claims, Nelson met with Miles, attributed false statements to Edwards, and made slanderous assertions about Edwards and her house value. The lawsuit states that the defendant’s allegations cast doubt on the plaintiff’s character and adversely affect her professional life.

Edwards filed the complaint on her own behalf, stating that she had previously had a problematic experience with an attorney to whom she paid a $2,500 retainer and subsequently “disappeared.”

Citing damage to her reputation and character, the plaintiff seeks compensation in the form of $1 million from the defendants.

U.S. District Court of Southeast Texas case no. 5:15-cv-00036-JRG-CMC

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