Estate Sale: SMU Takes on Highland Park

Buying the prestigious Pollard Simons Preston Road estate wasn’t the simplest of deals for former Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Clements. The 7.65-acre estate, which backs up to Turtle Creek just south of Beverly Drive, was owned not only by Sharon Simons Moss but also by SMU and the Town of Highland Park. After some weeks of negotiations, Clements finally bought the home in April for more than a million dollars.

Sharon Simons Moss claimed half of the Simons house under Texas community property law. If she hadn’t done so, the Pollard Simons will directed that the entire Preston Road estate be given to the Town of Highland Park for a youth center. If Highland Park were to be unable to develop the house into a youth center, then the house was to be left to SMU.

SMU took the position that since Sharon Simons Moss elected to keep her half of the house, and consequently Highland Park couldn’t turn it into a youth center, SMU should take full title to Highland Park’s half of the house. Highland Park didn’t see it that way. Eventually a settlement was reached in which Highland Park and SMU shared in the sales proceeds.

Highland Park and SMU are being very hush-hush about the negotiated settlement, but a little calculating suggests what the terms are. Highland Park expects to receive approximately $156,000 of the reported $l-to-$l.l million sales price. That means Highland Park will receive 15 percent of the proceeds, SMU 35 percent and Sharon Simons Moss 50 percent, or about $525,000. The million dollars is being held in escrow until an Atlanta lawsuit is settled, one filed against Omega-Alpha, as a result of the company’s collapse several years ago. Simons was a director of Omega-Alpha.

The Simons deal is the second such sale in a year of one of the five prestigious Preston Road estates between Beverly and Armstrong. Last spring oilman Ed Cox bought the Rose Lloyd estate at Beverly and Preston and is still remodeling the house and grounds. The other three estates are owned by the John R. Black family, Trammell Crow and the L.R. Strickland family. The five estates are probably best known for their backyards, which fur-nish spectacular spring viewing for thousands of people who walk or drive down Lakeside Drive and look across Turtle Creek at the homes’ fabulous flower gardens.

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