Carrollton police chief owes more than $118,000 in civil fraud case

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 11:42 PM

HOWE, Texas — In a small town in Grayson County, the owners of a small home have a big complaint.

"I'm still at square one. I haven't received a dime," said Kerry Burns.

Burns bought his home in Howe, Texas in 2004 from Rex Redden, who is now the police chief in Carrollton.

In 2007, Burns' home flooded. "It came right up over the deck, under the French door," he said, pointing out the back door he has since replaced.

The water was about as deep as the soles on a shoe, he said, and reached about four to five feet inside the back door. He also said water seeped into two bedrooms and his garage.

"A few days later, another big rain came and it did it again," Burns said.  "This time our neighbors let us know it happened before."

Burns said he spent at least a couple thousand dollars on repairs. And then he decided to take it a step further. 

He filed suit against Redden, claiming the previous owner failed to disclose prior problems with flooding on the property.  The suit went to a bench trial. 

Burns won.

"He committed statutory fraud," Burns said.

In an April 2012 ruling, Judge Gena Slaughter wrote that the court found "Defendant Rex Redden liable for statutory fraud and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act."

Burns settled with Redden's former wife and the realty company that had listed the property.

But Redden's attorney says the final judgment ordered Redden to pay Burns $100,815.64, plus $45,392 in attorney's fees. 

So far, Redden has not yet paid Burns a penny.

"It's time to pay," Burns said.

Redden's attorney, James Harlan, said the chief will pay up —  even though he strongly disagrees with the ruling.

Harlan claimed that when the chief listed his home, his real estate agent completed the disclosure forms, including the Seller's Disclosure Notice. He said Redden signed it, knowing the box marked "no" was checked next to the question, "Have there been any previous incidents of flooding or other surface water and attrition into the house, grudge, or accessory buildings of the property?"

"Apparently, before Chief Redden had moved into the home, there had been some flooding of the property which had been repaired," Harlan said in a written statement.  "In the 14 years that Chief Redden lived in the premises, it never flooded."

Harlan noted that in June 2007, when Burns' home flooded, an almost unprecedented 17 inches of rain fell.  There was widespread flooding across Grayson County.

Chief Redden "fully intends to satisfy the outstanding judgment," Harlan wrote, but said he "does not have adequate funds to currently pay toward the judgment."

Redden makes $136,000 a year as chief of police in Carrollton.

The judgment gives Redden 10 years to pay.  He is charged five percent interest for each year he doesn't.

Harlan ended his statement by saying "The Burns are making a 'mountain out of molehill.'  They need to be patient."

Patience is running thin, said Burns. 

"Nobody should have to put up with that type of non-disclosure — especially from a police officer you think you can trust," he said.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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