Weatherford Democrat

January 21, 2014

Sudden eviction

Disabled man battling brain disease knew he had to move, but said he wasn’t prepared when he was forcibly evicted from his home Tuesday morning


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH

PARKER COUNTY – Confined to a wheelchair and dressed in a tattered robe, pajamas and socks, a 65-year-old veteran with a degenerative brain disease sat outside Tuesday among his furnishings and possessions after being evicted from the home he lived in the past five years.

Slow to talk – but not to think – and sometimes hard to understand, Stephen Kimbrell said an ongoing dispute with the owner and property manager of the brick quadplex on Sunburst Court, over a parking dispute, resulted in his receiving 30 minutes notice of eviction and the sheriff’s office and a group of workers moving his belongings into the front yard before changing the locks.

Kimbrell was given until Wednesday morning to remove his possessions or risk having the owner and manager dispose of them.

He said the issue started last April over his wanting to have his wife’s car closer to their residence. Kimbrell, who has suffered the last 14 years from progressive cerebellar degeneration, a brain disease that affects his mobility, ability to talk or even hold a cup of coffee, says he wanted his wife’s car, a Ford Mustang, closer to the house. He said though he walked two years ago with use of a cane, the disease has robbed him of the use of his legs.

Property Manager Scott Richardson, of Turn Key Real Estate in Azle, reportedly told Kimbrell since he already had one car at the residence and using the one assigned parking space by the front door, that was not possible. Kimbrell brought the issue before Housing and Urban Development in October but he said they were not able to look at the case until November. HUD and Texas Workforce Commission officials have gone back and forth with the case since then, during which time Kimbrell says he continued to pay his rent in good faith, and says money or his ability to pay rent is not an issue.

Kimbrell, who said he had been looking for another place to live, said he was told last week that an agreement between the parties had been hammered out and he had until March 19 to leave the residence and that his lease would not be renewed. Kimbrell said he has received no help from the property owner, a company known as Tex Plex LLC in Valencia, Calif., which told him they prefer to let the property manager handle the problem.

Kimbrell received a phone call at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday that the property manager did not agree to a March 19 agreement and that he had 30 minutes to vacate the residence. A hearing took place Dec. 19.

“Around 10 a.m. a bunch of guys came to empty out the place,” Kimbrell said. “A (Parker County) sheriff’s deputy said if my stuff wasn’t off the lawn by (Wednesday morning), they would come and remove it and the property manager could do whatever he wanted with it.”

Kimbrell, who lives on disability after 20 years with Burlington Northern, says he has nowhere to turn. The Boston native says his family is unable to help him. He said his wife has reportedly left him over the incident and eviction.

Since he only spent two years in the Army in Germany and wasn’t disabled due to his time in the military, he says he can’t receive benefits from the military.

“She has a hotel somewhere in town, but won’t tell me where it is,” Kimbrell said. “Right now, though, I’m trying to find a place for my stuff and a truck to haul it away and a hotel.”

Because of his wife’s absence, Kimbrell says a hotel becomes a bit of a problem as if he were to fall, which he admits he has done, he would need assistance getting back into his wheelchair. He’s hoping if he can’t find a place to stay, one of his neighbors would take him in temporarily.

Calls and e-mails to Richardson and to Tex Plex were not returned.