Sometimes The Press can be useful in collecting debts in Dallas.

Braden Power was a defendant in one of our cases.  He is also wealthy and a part owner of a successful real estate company.  We obtained a court order requiring him to turn over his 50% ownership in their company, Power Properties.  After the Judge entered the order the newspapers picked it up pretty quickly.

Here are four articles presented chronologically about the case, two from the Dallas Morning News, one from the Dallas Business Journal and one from a blog run by the Dallas Observer called "Unfair Park".  Note the quote in the last article, he was having "one of the worst days of my life."

That is the secret to debt collection, whether in Texas or elsewhere.  You must work your way to the front and center in the debtor's mind.

From the Dallas Business Journal:

Dallas court orders Power Properties co-owner to sell stake in company

Dallas Business Journal - 2:53 PM CDT Monday, May 7, 2007

A Dallas businessman has been ordered by a Dallas County Court at Law judge to sell his interests in a Dallas real estate company he co-founded to satisfy an arbitration award related to a property in California.

According to the arbitration award, Braden Power, of Power Properties Management Inc. in Dallas, sold a home to a Los Angeles couple for $2.45 million.

Power Properties has purchased, renovated and leased several properties in the Dallas area, including Tuscany Condominiums, a 100-unit complex near Greenville Avenue south of Lovers Lane, Bella Gardens, a 73-unit property off the Dallas North Tollway in University Park, as well as properties near downtown, Deep Ellum, White Rock Lake, Swiss Avenue and the Munger Historic District.

Power did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.

According to the arbitration board's ruling, the couple, Kathia Molina and Fausto Zapata said in a lawsuit that after buying the home from Power in 2004, they left on vacation for a few weeks and returned to a home that was in "shambles," with water coming in through the windows, roof and walls.

The home had served as Power's personal residence. Power had lived in the home for two years and told the couple it had undergone nearly $1 million in upgrades and remodeling, according to the arbitration ruling.

In the arbitration ruling from 2006, Power said the water leakage was the result of several factors, including record rainfall, pre-existing conditions and work done by other workers, which he was not personally aware of.

In May 2006, Power was ordered by the arbitration board to pay more than $452,325. The award included $300,000 the couple spent to repair the house, and more than $70,000 for their living expenses while the house was being repaired.

When Power failed to pay, the couple hired Darrell W. Cook & Associates to domesticate the California judgment in Texas and to collect the judgment. A Dallas County Court at Law judge ruled Friday in the matter, the law firm said in a statement.

According to the ruling, Power was ordered to turn over his interest in Power Properties to the Dallas County Sheriff's office by June 4. He was also ordered to pay $5,000 in attorneys fees to the plaintiff. | 214-706-7106

This is from the somewhat irreverent Dallas Observer:

The Power of King Compels You

Mon May 07, 2007 at 12:13:02 PM

On their Web site, brothers Braden and Craig Power -- the namesakes of 13-year-old Power Properties on Gaston Avenue -- have posted a number of complimentary newspaper stories written about their efforts to restore old Dallas homes and apartment complexes, including, perhaps most famously, their work rehabbing the formerly rundown Lakewood Apartments on Gaston Avenue. Among the pieces is a Dallas Morning News High Profile the two received a few years back, which celebrated their having "built Power Properties into a successful company that stands to generate about $6 million in revenue this year."

This story probably won't make the Web site: Today, it was announced Braden Powers has till June 4 to turn over to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department his interests in the company, which he has to surrender because of a $600,000 arbitration award in California that was enforced last week by Dallas County Judge King Fifer.

According to the release, in 2004 Power sold a $2.45 million home just outside of Los Angeles to Kathia Molina and and her husband, Fausto Zapata. According to court documents, he told them the joint had just been the recipient of a million dollars' worth of "high-end renovations." Turns out, not so much: When the couple came home from a vacation, says the press release, "They discovered that a series of rainstorms had resulted in water coming into their new house through the windows, roof and walls."

Power was ordered to pay $600,000; when he didn't, a judge ruled late last week that Power is to turn over "any and all interest" he owns in the company he co-founded, as well as "any shares of stock owner or held" in his company. He also has to pay Molina $5,000 in attorney's fees.

Power Properties also has a number of apartments outside of Lakewood -- most notably, the Paradiso Condos on Walnut Hill Lane and North Central Expressway. Here's what some locals have to say about that place -- and other Power Properties properties.

Before you go, though, don't miss this highlight from The Dallas Morning News' High Profile on Braden Power. Says the story, his "quirks are legendary among his friends. He can't sleep when the temperature is higher than 68 degrees. He must have exactly four pillows on his bed. He sometimes gets out of the car before it stops. And he routinely goes searching for his keys around his apartment when they are right in his hand." Wait, back up. He sometimes gets out of the car before it stops? That's not a quirk. --Robert Wilonsky

Renovator could lose stake

Braden Power ordered to sell Power Properties share to pay judgment

12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 8, 2007

By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News 
A prominent Dallas apartment and condominium renovator faces a $605,672 judgment that could force him to sell his stake in his property management company, an attorney representing unpaid homeowners said Monday.

Braden Power has been ordered to sell his stake in Power Properties by June 4 in order to cover an arbitration judgment against him. A couple who bought his Los Angeles home brought the legal action, said Darrell Cook of Darrell W. Cook & Associates in Dallas.

Kathia Molina and Fausto Zapata bought a Los Angeles home from Mr. Power in 2004 for $2.45 million. Mr. Power told them he'd invested almost $1 million in upgrades throughout the residence and assured them that the home had a new roof and "was in great shape" according to court documents.

The couple returned from a vacation to find that rainstorms had waterlogged the home and made it a "shambles." Water had seeped through the windows, roof and walls, forcing $300,300 in repairs. The couple also spent $74,300 to replace personal items such as electronic equipment and for living expenses while the house was fixed.

Mr. Power didn't return calls seeking comment Monday. He and brother Craig created Power Properties more than 15 years ago, specializing in renovating apartments in East Dallas and Lakewood. The company owned more than 600 units in 2002, according to the company's Web site. The company offers a rent-to-own option to get tenants into condominium units.

Mr. Power had lived in the Los Angeles home for two years before selling it and blamed record rainfall and pre-existing problems in the house he didn't know about for the water damage. He said the couple didn't do an adequate home inspection before buying.

A California arbitrator ruled against Mr. Power in February 2006, though Mr. Power didn't pay, Mr. Cook said. On Friday, a Dallas County judge ordered Mr. Power to turn over his equity stake in Power Properties so that its sale could pay off the judgment.

"It's pretty unusual," Mr. Cook said of Mr. Power's failure to pay. "Usually we see builders approaching the plaintiff" to settle these kinds of cases before they reach this stage, he said.

Mr. Power's stake in Power Properties may be worth far more than what he owes, Mr. Cook said. "I would think somebody would want a piece of that business," he said.

Mr. Cook expects Mr. Power to appeal the latest effort to persuade him to pay. Meanwhile, he wants court permission to seize a Turtle Creek home of Mr. Power's to satisfy the judgment.

"He's trying to say his assets are shielded by a trust, but we'll see what the judge has to say about that," Mr. Cook said.

From the Dallas Morning News

Renovator explains delay in settlement payment

Power says he first wants to resolve his own suits tied to claim

12:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, May 9, 2007

By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News

Dallas real estate renovator Braden Power said Tuesday that he hadn't paid a California settlement against him because his own lawsuits related to the claim haven't been resolved.

Mr. Power rebutted statements made Monday by attorney Darrell Cook, who represents a couple who bought a Los Angeles home from Mr. Power in 2004. The home took on heavy water damage in a storm and required expensive repairs, and an arbitrator ruled against Mr. Power.

Mr. Cook said Mr. Power has until June 4 to put up equity in his company, Power Properties, to help satisfy the claim after a Dallas County judge ordered that the $605,672 California arbitration settlement could be enforced here.

Mr. Power, who didn't return calls on Monday, said Tuesday that he was having "one of the worst days of my life" after business associates and other real estate developers called him about the story. He disputed that the couple, Kathia Molina and Fausto Zapata, didn't know about problems with the $2.45 million home's roof after a record-breaking rainstorm damaged the home.

"They signed off on a document that said there were problems with the roof," said Mr. Power, who founded Power Properties with his brother. The company has renovated apartment buildings in East Dallas and won praise from civic leaders and residents for improving blighted complexes. Mr. Power's involvement in Power Properties won't change because of the ongoing suit related to the Los Angeles home, he said.

"After selling 450 units, I've never had even one claim against me," Mr. Power said. He's being sued in the California home case because the contractor who did the renovations didn't obtain insurance for the roof. His suits against the insurance company involved in the case and couple are pending, and he will enter settlement talks once those suits have been resolved, he said.

Power Properties had nothing to do with the home.

"While legalities remain an accepted part of the business climate, personal attacks certainly are not," Mr. Power said in a prepared statement. He said in an interview that the couple were trying to get their money faster by publicizing the case.


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