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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Texas Judge Will Toss Crafty Squatter

DALLAS (CN) - A Texas judge will order the eviction of a man who tried to claim ownership of a $400,000 Flower Mound home by paying $16 through adverse possession.

Kenneth Robinson made headlines last summer when he staked his claim on a foreclosed house through loopholes in state law that allow people to claim abandoned property if no owner is on the spot to challenge the claim.

Several adverse possession filings in the region soon followed, filed by copycat squatters. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, squatters claimed more than $8 million in neighboring Tarrant County properties through last December.

Eight of Robinson's followers have reportedly been charged with theft or burglary in Tarrant County because of these actions.

Before Robinson claimed the Flower Mound house with a $16 affidavit of adverse possession, Bank of America had paid more than $400,000 for it at a January foreclosure sale.

Robinson failed to appear at a bench trial before Denton County Justice of the Peace J.W. Hand on Monday.

Unless Robinson pays the $8,900 in de facto rent, Hand plans to end the adverse possession with a final eviction next week.

David Orvand, an attorney for Bank of America, told WFAA-TV that Robinson has six days to appeal, if he pays that $8,900 bond.

Robinson does not face charges in Denton County, but Tarrant County constables continue their investigation.

"Anybody that goes around teaching about this - what we consider to be a crime - in frauding, whether it is a bank or homeowner, it is definitely a concern to us," Constable Clint Burgess told WFAA.

Robinson's former neighbors reportedly plan to throw a party once the eviction process is finalized next week. They claim to have spotted Robinson loading cars and vans on Friday night.

"No one has been real happy with the situation," neighbor Chris Custard told WFAA. "People think it's unfair. You have to have a certain quality of life, you have to have jobs and go to work to be able to afford to live there, and being able to come in for $16 is not really right."

In July, Robinson told WFAA that foreclosure and eviction were a possibility for all adverse-possession claims, but he expected a settlement from the bank for what he called "maintaining the property."

"This is not one of those gambling type things," he told the news station. "It's a decision. Live with. Understand your risks. Deal with it."

Bank of America said it will not pay Robinson for anything.

Follow @davejourno
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