Sunday, April 01, 2007

Shades of Kelo Haunt Home for the Mentally Retarded

The Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation signed a 99 year lease on a tract of city owned property in 1963. The Center was to pay $1 per year in rent, in exchange, the Center was to construct buildings and provide services for the mentally retarded. But the local real estate developers, who have Mayor White in their back pockets it would seem, lust after the six acres that sit between West Dallas and Allen Parkway near Shepherd Drive that the Center occupies. So the developers (Stan Creech maybe?) put a bug in the ear of the mayor, who has never seen a revenue stream he didn't like, (through "Friend of Bill" David Mincberg, the special assistant to the Mayor for Multi-Family Housing, I'm sure) to take a really hard look at that 99 year lease because the land is worth $26 million dollars and that it would be a really nice place for a high-rise condo paying LOTS of property taxes to the city, and sure enough, the city found an out. Seems the lease violates the city charter. Of course the city should have noticed that back in 1963, but apparently they didn't. So the city issues an ultimatum, get out or pay an arm a leg in rent. This is a non-profit agency who's entire yearly budget is $11 million.

Mayor White has no heart, all he cares about is keeping the real estate developers in this town happy. Who gives a damn if a bunch of old retarded people will be tossed out on the street? After all, the civility ordinances he passed keep them from bothering the well heeled by sleeping in the streets in THEIR neighborhoods...

UPDATE: Council Candidate Andy Neill also thinks this is a travesty, here is his statement:
Houston City Council’s At-Large position # 3 Candidate Andy Neill is throwing his support behind “The Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation” in their upcoming fight against the City of Houston who is looking to renege on their signed lease and sell the Center’s land to the highest bidder.
From the Houston Chronicle’s story by Reporter Melanie Markley:
"The 99-year lease, signed in 1963 by then-Mayor Lewis Cutrer, is not valid, city lawyers argue, because the city charter limits such agreements to no more than 30 years."
The Center is a private not-for-profit United Way Agency, which has for more than 60 years served children and adults through educational, residential and work training programs. The philosophy of The Center is that every person has value and worth, is entitled to the highest quality of life, and should be treated with dignity.
City Council Candidate Neill is fuming over this situation and is pledging to raise awareness on this effort by the City; by openly challenging the Mayor and other City Council Members if he obtains the At-Large Position #3 seat in the upcoming May 12th Special Election. Neill states:
“This is the type of action that one would expect if they were doing business in a place like Cuba not here in the United States; and especially not here in Houston, TX. The Mayor seems most definitely to have overstepped his bounds not only in a possible legal capacity, but most importantly from a human decency standpoint. This is a morally bankrupt way to generate a new stream of revenue for the City of Houston, and I hope others won’t stand for it either.”
You can read the Chronicle’s story by Melanie Markley in it’s entirety by visiting their website at You can learn more about the “The Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation” by visiting their website at
You can learn more about Candidate Andy Neill’s quest for the City Council At-Large Position # 3 seat at his website at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to Escape the Commitments and outright deceptional fraud of a previous administration is just another travesty stacked on top of the first one.

To enrich one's political friends at the behest of those that cannot help themselves is like kicking a Jack Ass in the rear... you will always get your foot stuck in something that you can't get it out of!

Now do I like the facility where it is? NO. Do I think it should be moved elsewhere? MAYBE.

Now a true winner would just build another facility in another location that would be newer, better and more up to date and trade them the deal to move to the new one. Use the carrot to lead the Donkey instead of kicking the Jack Ass in The rear!

April 02, 2007 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not surprised that all governmental leaders are morally bankrupt. But they do have "deep" pockets.


April 03, 2007 10:14 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

I would think that signing the agreement every year since it ran the 30 year course would imply continuing the agreement without signing a new lease contract.

April 14, 2007 8:20 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Dave, as I understand the situation, the notice that the city was going to default on the agreement came three years ago which came quite a bit after the 30 year anniversary date (1993) so the city was still honoring the lease after the 30 years was up. in fact they honored the lease for 10 years after the 30 years was up. therefore, that is well beyond any statute of limitations and shows that the city fully planned to abide by the lease beyond the 30 year limitation. Also, the city does have the legal right to sign service agreements that are not subject tot he thirty year limitation, and city attorneys from past administrations which were aware of the lease interpreted the lease to in fact be such a service agreement, therefore the 30 year limit did not apply under that interpretation.

April 15, 2007 12:14 PM  

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