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Luscombe Farms - Anna, Texas
Landowner - Wichita County
I live in Wichita Falls, Texas, and recently went thru a condemnation of my house by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) for the relocation of a state highway. My house was built in the new highway’s right-of-way, and land in front and behind my house was being taken by TXDOT for the highway. TXDOT offered me $1,000 to take some land, but nothing was offered for my land and house built in the highway right-of-way. I could not afford to hire an attorney and could not find an attorney to represent me until the right of way agent gave me the name of an attorney in Austin who agreed to represent me on a contingency.
While the highway was being constructed I had to live thru the dirt, debris and trash of the highway construction. My house also flooded due to the change in water drainage caused by the construction. Even so, I could not leave because I would give up any relocation fees and other rights if I did.
I did finally settle with TXDOT, and they agreed to pay for my house and the land under it, but I couldn't get all of the proceeds because I was obligated to pay the attorney fees. Ultimately, I had to take less house because I could not get a loan to pay him, and I could not afford to pay him unless I received money from the condemnation of my house.
This whole process was very stressful and took a toll on both my mental and physical health, and I did not deserve to be treated this way. I was left with few options, as I could not accept the $1,000 offer and live in a house in the middle of a highway. The whole process needs to be more fair and transparent.
Landowner - Fort Bend County
Three years ago, a pipeline company claiming eminent domain installed a pipeline through my property. Perhaps 75% of the way through the process, I had to pay $5,000 for an appraisal, which was extremely hard to obtain because of secrecy. In summary, the pipeline's initial offer was 33% of the appraisal, their second offer was only verbal and 47% of the appraisal, their final offer was 14% of the appraisal. Yes, final offer was lower than any prior offer! After paying my attorney to negotiate, which was after many meetings, phone calls, a deposition, photographs, and letters, I ended up with 50% of the appraised value in my pocket, 6 months after the pipeline installation was complete.