in Houston, Texas
Lawsuit seeks to overturn Montrose Management District
Monday, Apr 23, 2012, 02:22PM CST
By Steve Miller
gavel

Emboldened by the secession success of some business owners in one Houston improvement district, another group of small business operators has filed a suit against the Montrose Management District, seeking to dissolve the district.

The district levies a tax of 12.5 cents per $100 valuation on business owners and is created legislatively rather than via vote.  It’s an increasingly used practice that in recent years has raised the ire of many of those taxed.

The suit was filed by 1620 Hawthorne Ltd., which records show is registered to Robert Rose, part of an effort called Stop the District. The group previously petitioned unsuccessfully to dissolve the entity.

The suit is filled with sensational terms – check “course of collusive and illegal actions,”  “sham investigation” and “unlawful and illegitimate attempt to avoid dissolution” – and alleges that the petition for dissolution in September was legal and sufficient.

The suit also alleges that the board charged with judging the legal merits of the petition is the board of the district itself, a self-interest that precludes the impartial decision required.

The district has hired the law firm Blank Rome to defend the case.

Business owners in the Five Corners Management District sued that district last year, which resulted in the exclusion of several plaintiff properties. Blank Rome also handled that case for the district.

Both Five Corners and Montrose are managed by Hawes Hill Calderon, a Houston firm that manages at least 10 such districts in the region. The districts are small governments, providing services such as graffiti cleanup and extra policing with taxes collected from the property owners.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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