SEABROOK, Texas – A local businessman thought he had found the perfect home in Seabrook, but the land it sits on has a notorious history and he’s now stuck in a disclosure dispute.
Nir Golan was packed and ready to move out of his home and into a quiet and serene seaside community in Seabrook. He said his realtor had found him a great leasing price at a home in the area.
"He dropped the price, and it was such a good price that I couldn't say no," Golan said.
But he soon discovered the beautiful neighborhood had a disturbing and bloody past because it sits where the Todville Mansion once stood.
"A lot of people say there's shadows of children," Golan said."People say that they wouldn't come to my house as a guest."
In 1984, millionaire Bill List built a mansion on the site. List used to pick up young teenage boys and house them in exchange for sexual favors. One night, the teenagers rebelled and shot and killed List.
Years ago the home was completely torn down and the property was turned into a subdivision. Golan's realtor neglected to mention any of the history.
"I said let me tell you something. If you paid me money, I would not move there. It's against my religion. You cannot force me to move there," Golan said.
The new property sits right along the ocean and now the debate is whether or not that murder took place on that land. For Mr. Golan, the exact location does not matter. His realtor, he said, admitted to there being a murder, but not within the confines of the new home.
"There was a murder, but the murder wasn't in this house. It was on the property. And I'm trying to explain to him to me it doesn’t matter. A property is your front yard, your backyard," said Golan.
A neighbor and former HOA president said everyone knows the story of the "Murder Mansion."
"It was 30 years ago. I mean it didn’t bother me to the point, I mean, I was gonna buy the old murder mansion and redevelop it. So you know people die all the time," Larry Neu said.
KHOU asked a legal expert if such a history should have been disclosed.
"That law in Texas is clear. There is not a duty to disclose in most circumstances. And on the issue of religion, there is no duty of the seller to be a mind reader and guess the religious objections a renter could have," Gerald Treece, a professor at the South Texas College of Law, said.
For Golan, it's a definite deal breaker.
The homeowner has agreed to terminate the lease but will not return the deposit, saying he had no obligation to disclose the information about the Todville mansion. Golan tells KHOU he is planning to sue to get his money back.
KHOU reached out to the homeowner, the realtor and their respective attorneys and none wished to comment on camera.