Handling Condemnation with Class, Know-how, and Grit
The Allred Condemnation Part I:
Northeast of Wichita Falls, Texas lies a 1200-acre ranch, belonging to Dick Allred. Mr. Allred displays the epitomy of what it means to be a true steward of the land. As most stewards of land, they are deeply passionate about the legacy they leave to future generations. So one can image the weight felt by Mr. Allred when he was presented with a letter of condemnation from ONCOR Electric Delivery Company, LLC. They informed Mr. Allred of their intent to put power lines across his ranch. He was faced with the choice to accept their offer or, they would sue!
The last thing a landowner wants to see is a letter with the word ‘condemnation’ in it, and really doesn’t want to see one with the threat of a lawsuit. However, these letters are a part of the harsh reality coming with the benefits of public or private utilities, so as a landowner, you need to be prepared if you receive one. The first thing to remember is don’t panic. The utility involved is trying to intimidate you into accepting their offer without contest; don’t be stampeded. Read the letter thoroughly, understand what the utility is after, and start seeking an eminent domain attorney as soon as possible.
Mr. Allred initially tried dealing with the process, but it quickly cornered him into a bureaucratic nightmare. ONCOR kept changing the proposed route across his land and seemed determined to put the lines down the middle of the creek flowing through his ranch. That’s right, down the middle of the creek! Mr. Allred’s stomach turned. He knew the creek was an environmentally fragile area; disruption of the vegetation surrounding the watercourse results in severe erosion of the banks, and eventually would lead to the death of the creek. Mr. Allred persisted and ONCOR eventually stopped returning his calls.
With communication at a standstill, Mr. Allred decided he needed someone to help. He started attending condemnation hearings, to determine what was involved, and he began searching for an attorney to take ONCOR on at their own game. Most of the attorneys Mr. Allred consulted with seemed ill-equipped to contend with this type of situation, and he was unimpressed with the attorneys he saw at the condemnation hearings as well. That is until he came across Braun & Gresham’s own Patrick Reznik.
Stay tuned for The Allred Condemnation Part I to learn about how Braun & Gresham was able to protect Mr. Allred’s land and negotiate compensation FOUR TIMES the original offer amount!