Fort Worth sued for knocking down home in error

05/27/2014 4:38 PM

05/27/2014 10:02 PM

A man is suing the city of Fort Worth for $50,000, claiming his house was knocked down in error.

Jorge Rodriguez filed the lawsuit Tuesday in district court saying he received a “partially illegible letter” stating that the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission had issued a certificate of appropriateness to demolish the structure at 1223 Bessie St. on May 31, 2013.

Rodriguez went to the city and spoke with an employee for “clarification to the partially unreadable” letter on May 6, according to the lawsuit. Timothy Brown, attorney for Rodriguez, said he would have to check the dates, since the lawsuit as written states Rodriguez spoke with the city before he received the letter. He would not otherwise comment on the case.

That employee told Rodriguez that a clerical error led to the permit’s issuance and reportedly said the house would not be demolished, according to the lawsuit. Rodriguez said he discovered the house was destroyed along with its contents on June 29, 2013.

Bill Begley, city spokesman, said city officials would not comment on the case because it is pending litigation.

Isaac Rodriguez, Jorge Rodriguez’s son, spoke for his father because the older man is not fluent in English. “This is what my dad is saying, is I don’t how someone can make such a big mistake,” Isaac Rodriguez said.

Isaac Rodriguez said his father was planning to renovate and flip the house, and had construction supplies inside.

In April, the city settled a lawsuit with David and Valerie Underwood for mistakenly destroying their 1,300-square-foot house in the 9700 block of Watercress Drive.

The settlement also led to a comprehensive rewrite of the city’s policies after the city learned that the same city-hired contractor also incorrectly torn down one of two homes on the same lot at 1308 Lagonda Ave. on the north side. The contractor had a work order to raze just one of the homes.

The city agreed to pay the Underwoods $62,500. The contractor, Garrett Demolition, will pay $15,000, and the contractor’s insurance company will pay $25,000.

This report includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

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