Texas man loses home after county official plants no trespassing sign, sells it
41 replies, posted
ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) – Frank Vickers was sitting on his couch watching "Jeopardy!" when he heard a knock at the door one evening in late September. Before he could stand up, a Bastrop County Sheriff’s deputy was standing in his living room.
Vickers said the deputy told him to gather his belongings and get out of the house. The property was sold to a new owner.
Vickers was stunned. He had been renting the home from a friend for 19 years.
“Nothing adds up here,” Vickers said. “I’m an innocent victim sitting in my underwear watching TV when a police officer rips down a curtain over my backdoor — no warning whatsoever, no paperwork, nothing.”
Vickers was stunned again the next morning when he got a voicemail about the property from one of the most powerful elected officials in the county.
At that point, Vickers had no idea the voicemail and home seizure would lead him and his landlord to file a lawsuit alleging the property was taken illegally and a Bastrop County Commissioner had abused his power to benefit his daughter.
Snowden had a sign planted in front of Vickers’ Elgin home, warning him to stay off the property and that it was under new ownership. The sign listed the new owner as “Ortiz.”
Ortiz turned out to be Tracy Ortiz, commissioner Snowden’s daughter. The home had been sold in an auction on the courthouse steps.
Gammon found Lankford had a $20,000 home equity loan on the property, which meant there was an existing lien on the property when Abreo auctioned it off in September. Gammon also found a homestead exemption inside the loan records.
That homestead exemption meant the property couldn’t be auctioned off, Gammon said.
The sheriff’s deed filed on Oct. 1 showed the auction was the result of a civil case in another county between Lankford and Pacheco’s Fencing Company. That case ended in a $6,325 judgment against Lankford for work done on a property she owns in Lee County, which borders Bastrop County on the northeast.
Vickers pursuit for answers ultimately led him to confront Snowden at an October meeting at the county courthouse.
“I was wondering if I could talk to you for one second, please,” Vickers asked Snowden at the public meeting. “I was going to ask you about that sign I have out there in front of my house at 418 Taylor Road.”
“Your house? That’s not your house,” Snowden responded.
Vickers showed Snowden the title search performed weeks after the Sept. 4 auction, which showed no evidence of a sheriff’s sale or any other transfer of ownership on the property. “It was bought by Tracy Ortiz,” Snowden told him.
“Go over and look at how he [Vickers] lives and you can tell how he is. Trash thrown from one end of that place to the other. It will be a major deal," Snowden said. "Whoever buys that house, if I don’t wind up with it, is going to spend $30,000 to $50,000 just to get that house back livable."
KXAN asked Snowden how he could wind up with the home if his daughter bought it for herself.
“If I was to buy it from my daughter, I guess. My daughter is going to rent it. She’s going to use it as a piece of rental property,” Snowden explained. “I shouldn’t have used that word.”
The lawsuit against Ortiz is still pending in Bastrop County's civil court. Dates for hearings have not been set. The latest filing in the case shows Ortiz has not hired an attorney and is representing herself in the case.
Corrupt fucking commissioner should be turned in to paste.
What the fuck
Reading into it more, it sounds like these twats were doing this to get at the landlord and this guy is just a victim of the power play.
What they've done is massively illegal though, conflicting dates, obviously forged documents, abuse of power and so on.
The gov had no right to repo the house but they did it anyway because the guy in charge had shit with the landlord and wanted to steal one of their assets to basically one up them.
Corrupt pile of shit, which likely nothing with come of because small town politics.
ever since Trump became President corruption has just sprung up everywhere and the perpetrators don't even attempt to hide what it is.
It was always there
Nope, not even gonna be frank about it. Someone tried something like this with any of my family members or myself, I'd get a gun loaded and go after them.
Doesn't being frank about it mean being blunt? Which is exactly what you were with your post?
this is the subtle version of his actual plans
Reports show Marvin Heemeyer has been resurrected from the dead, and is now heading to the scene of the story. More at 11.
you could actually not be frank and say something like "he'll have tragic accident that hopefully others learn from" but nope just go ahead and say something incriminating
I don't think having your family members lose something relatively more valuable than their house in a gunfight is the best decision to make but ok
oh hey there texas, still bragging about being better than california? Great way to attract people with corrupt officials and all powerful governments.
Is this before or after you tour the local power grid?
what? Aren't you like 14?
This isnt a texas thing, this is a small town thing
I feel like your posts are going to end up in a court of law as evidence one day.
What, do Stand your ground/ Castle Doctrine laws not apply to county officials or something?
This is actually a very good question. If someone is defending their property through legal means against officials who are elected to respect and uphold said laws, who then oversees the situation to ensure that what is being done is actually legal? Do they need to bring state police in to oversee the affair?
I know this is horrible and everything, and this is fucking cartoonish levels of evil. But at the same time, it's so cartoonish this feels like the setup for a dukes of hazzard episode. Boss Hogg wants the family farm, and the duke boys have to run the deed to the county court before sundown or some shit. It's difficult to imagine someone being both so maliciously corrupt and also so incompetent and small scale. Every part of it, particularly the document which is referenced two months before it's creation and the lack of any other basic paper trail is fucking childlike. It boggles the fucking mind.
Do states even have state police that could go over county lines to arrest county police? This seems like something you'd need to goto federal courts with.
Troopers in most states, Texas has the Rangers? Most states even have a state-level version of the FBI.
Hell even most game wardens can do this.
The idea of a Game Warden arresting a corrupt official just tickles me in the right way. Not to mention that wardens tend to be the more pure in terms of enforcing the law.
So wait this Snowden guy unironically just stole land if I understand correctly?
Oh boy disrespect of private property in America, that's not gonna fly boys
That is absolutely not the case. There are plenty of examples of seriously corrupt game wardens fucking with rural communities. Vermont and New Hampshire have had tons of problems with game wardens over the years.
The second amendment people know what watch-lists are.
t. Second Amendment person
Clearly Joey doesn't.
honestly, the only case I see it necessary to do something like this, is if all legitimate channels have been gone through and failed. if a corrupt official can walk away from a trial like this unscathed and just steal property from people like that, I'm sorry to say that the only solution is probably a bullet.
I'm already on a watchlist.
Of course the county official is in an elected position, what bullshit. If someone in local government tried that here, they’d not only be fired, but probably imprisoned as well. But because it’s America where fucking every position in local government is elected for no good reason, I suppose the only recourse would be impeachment by the state legislature if they can consider it ‘big enough’ fish to fry, or being voted out if voters can even remember this incident by the next election.
The amount of "Muricuh!" in this thread is just staggering!
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