NPR Blows Whistle on Bob Perry After Mansfield Couple Loses $800k Award

NPR’s most recent Weekend Edition featured a story about Bob and Jane Cull, a couple from Mansfield tangled in litigation with Bob Perry of Houston-based Perry Homes (the politically minded among you probably recognize Perry as one of the top donors for Republican causes–Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, among other things). The Culls claim Perry built them a shoddy home that couldn’t pass inspection, and several years ago the couple won $800,000 in damages. Perry was ordered to retake ownership of the house. In an appeal last year, the Texas Supreme Court sided with Perry and the Culls lost their $800,000 award. Here’s the issue NPR brought to light: Perry has donated more than $21 million to Republican candidates over the last three years, nine of whom are on the Texas Supreme Court. Read it here.

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Comments

16 responses to “NPR Blows Whistle on Bob Perry After Mansfield Couple Loses $800k Award”

  1. matt says:

    While I enjoy a good conspiracy as much as the next guy, especially when presented in a wonderfully narrow blog post, there are some things you excluded whilst creating “The Insider: Tract Home edition”.

    The opinion was 5 to 4; not exactly a 9-0 railroading. While I have not made myself an expert on arbitration law (or all the facts of this case) in the last 5 minutes, that is the issue at hand–Whether the trial court erred in sending the matter to arbitration. And as Willette wrote in his part concur/part dissent:

    “Trial courts do not have carte blanche “to send any case to arbitration no matter what has occurred in court,”[4] but I cannot conclude that this trial court acted “without reference to any guiding rules or principles”[5] in ruling that Perry Homes fell short of building a trial-court record that showed prejudice. This is admittedly a close call, and the Court makes the best possible case for going the other way.”

    The short version of that is: this is a procedural issue and, surface appearances aside, not the conspiracy so desperately pined for by bloggers/journalists.

  2. JS says:

    And I am not sure that NPR was “blowing the whistle” when your friends at the DMN have published at least a couple of articles on the very same issue.

  3. blake says:

    Perry Homes has a long and distinguished history of this sort of thing:

    http://www.houstonpress.com/2005-02-24/news/the-dead-zone/

  4. Sharon Sykes says:

    Wouldn’ it be nice to have NPR ever expose a Democrat?

  5. Daniel says:

    Perry Homes look slapped together. My eye is by no means discriminating, but the townhomes they’ve built in North Oak Lawn and Uptown are conspicuously the shoddiest in their respective neighborhoods — they look like a strong wind might blow them down.

    Again, no expert here. But I disapprovingly took note of the Perry Homes brand way back in the late 90s.

  6. Dallasite says:

    It’s called the Fallacy of Composition. Just because two things happen doesn’t mean that they are related or that there is a cause/effect relationship. It’s a basic tenet of critical thinking.

    The NPR piece didn’t once mention or describe the legal basis for the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling. They didn’t propose that there were legal flaws in the ruling. They didn’t show a shred of evidence that there was a relationship between this ruling and the campaign donations. In fact, from reading that piece, you’d think that the Texas Supreme Court just pulled something from their posteriors and said “bingo, you lose!” (don’t get me wrong, it would be awesome if they did).

    The case isn’t even over yet. The TSC sent it back to the lower court to retry with instructions.

    NPR showed shoddy, yellow journalism at its finest. It was the equivalent of looking at an erupting volcano and blaming it on an angry god.

  7. Long Memory says:

    When I saw that it was a 5-4 decision, I was suspicious that the judges had gotten together and figured out that Big Bob had $21 million invested in them, but if they went unanimous for him it would look bad. So, my conspiratory heart thinks, they decided who would vote for, who against, and just how to craft a 5-4 verdict. Then again: These are Texas judges, so that couldn’t happen. Could it?

  8. Neither party says:

    NPR….start with George Soros to show me you are serious about conflict of interest

  9. Chris says:

    its obvious that the Cull’s have a defective house. So it should be obvious that Perry buys the house back. It doesn’t take a decade of court rooms to figure that out.

  10. Fallacy of Composition, could we apply that theory to the poorly built Perry homes?

  11. Sharon Sykes says:

    Give me a Freaking Break,

    Wouldn’t it be great if your tax dollars paid for Fox News like mine pay for NPR?

  12. mediawonk says:

    Sharon:

    Contrary to that oft-repeated claim, very few of your tax dollars go towards NPR. Direct from the source: “About 2% of NPR’s funding comes from bidding on government grants and programs, chiefly the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the remainder comes from member station dues, foundation grants, and corporate underwriting.”

  13. Drew says:

    I am a former Perry towhome owner from my days living in Houston. They could ASPIRE to be shoddy.

    1. 9 major water leaks in my townhome in 60 days of moving, 1 of which was in the common wall shared with my next door neighbor. Another came from the floor pan in my shower which caused a waterfall to come out of my dining room light fixture on the floor below.
    2. Sheetrock “artwork”, complete with Spanish subtitles. Let’s just say that during the construction phase, one of the drywallers had a rather disgusting mind and some creative sketching. I made him tear out the sheetrock and replace it rather than paint over it.
    3. Customer (dis)Service. Try contacting Perry to have issues such as #1 and #2 above resolved. Nothing. If you get a response, they’ll refuse to correct warranty repairs – until you threaten legal action against them.

    So, for those of you who haven’t had the displeasure of owning one of Big Bob’s trailer park townhomes, be thankful. And yes, they ARE even more shoddy than they look.

  14. Drew says:

    @blake, thanks for linking the article. I read it after my post above.

    I, too, lived at Sutton Square. What was not mentioned in the article was how Perry was forbidden from ever developing the (still) empty lot in the middle of Sutton Square and why Perry was forced by the courts to offer to repurchase a row of townhomes on the east side of that vacant lot?

    Why? It was the site of a former dry cleaning factory and the land is toxic and not suitable for building.

    Definitely would urge folks to do their math before signing a contract with any building, particularly Bob Perry.

  15. Don in Austin says:

    @blake’s link/Drew:

    I wonder what the environmental site assessment for that property revealed, if anything. Or was it even performed? Something like a former dry cleaner is really easy to determine from property records.

  16. Drew says:

    @Don, something was amiss because one side of a city block had already been built with townhomes before such information was “discovered” yet the vacant block was never built upon.

    Call me a cynic, but I just don’t think that kind of mistake gets made in a situation like this when all is on the up and up. And let’s face it, we have more than ample proof that Perry Homes doesn’t operate in an honest and true fashion.