Banks battle it out over property title

By Kelly Holleran | Jun 14, 2012


A bank claims it owns a property while another bank is fighting to gain proceeds from the title.

Community Bank of Texas filed a lawsuit June 1 in Jefferson County District Court against Wells Fargo Bank.

In its complaint, Community Bank alleges Wells Fargo is claiming it is owed proceeds from a property that actually belongs to Community Bank.

Community Bank acquired the property after it lent money to Randy Jarrell, who owned Beaty Insurance Agency. In 2009, Jarrell decided to sell the property to Ian Garrett, according to the complaint.

In order to complete the sale, Jarrell had to contact Community Bank to obtain permission, the suit states. However, Community Bank originally rejected the sale agreement due to ambiguities in the contract, the complaint says.

Ultimately, the bank claims it did approve the contract. Under the terms of the agreement, Garrett paid Jarrell, who in turn paid the bank, according to the complaint.

Garrett timely made his payments until January 2011, the suit states. As a result, Jarrell could not pay Community Bank and declared bankruptcy, the suit states.

Following Jarrell's bankruptcy, Community Bank filed court documents requesting the ability to foreclose on the property, the complaint says. It was granted permission from all involved parties and claims it now holds both the original note and ownership of the property.

Wells Fargo has since interceded, saying it held a first lien security interest in the property and is entitled to a portion of the proceeds generated from payments toward the property, according to the complaint.

Wells Fargo filed a claim in relation to its supposed stake in the property, but the claim was dismissed, the suit states. Still, Wells Fargo continues to push Community Bank for payments, the complaint says.

Community Bank seeks a declaration that it is the sole owner of the note, that it is entitled to all proceeds generated from the note and that Wells Fargo does not hold an interest in the note. It also seeks its attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

James E. Wimberley of McPherson, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley, Steele and Chatelain in Port Arthur will be representing it.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D192-523

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