Saturday, March 21, 2020

"Stakeholders" Over Residents, Part 411

My Facebook feed is usually an endless scroll of coyote and bobcat sightings ("Bring your pets inside!"), loose dogs ("Does anyone recognize this cutie?"), strange sounds ("Was that a gunshot?), traffic enforcement ("A black SUV just ran a stop sign!"), and, especially recently, shopping advice ("Does anyone know where to find toilet paper?").

But today was different. It's a personal appeal that shows that in a time of uncontrolled pandemic, daily life struggles go on. In this case, a tenant's fight with a landlord. This might be a warning sign of a larger issue in Richardson. Main Street in historic downtown is being repaved by the city, in part a gift to a major private redevelopment there scheduled to break ground this summer (Gateway to Core Richardson).
"Richardson lacks a walkable district where people can spend hours and be entertained," said Manasseh Durkin, president of Durkin Properties, one of several private partners in the effort to revitalize Main. "Our hope is that the Core District fills that void."
You know what "revitalization" has usually meant elsewhere. The people there already have to go. They have to make way for progress. That brings us to today's story from two blocks east of the renewal, where the evictions are apparently underway, by hook or by crook.

Janine Marwill Torma

I have a concern based on personal experience and quite a bit of research. I moved to Richardson in 1980. Have owned homes and rented. Most recently, for past 8 years, I rented a unit at 411 E Polk. Owner has changed 3x, currently owned by Manasseh Durkin of Durkin Properties. Mr Durkin lives in Richardson. Property started to go to hell 6 mos after he bought it (rats, less yard work, charging to store untagged, non running vehicles.) Much more, but essentially complaints started going to city code enforcement. Long story short: they are crooks, businessmen who dont follow the law. Business men who are behind the dvelopment at Main and 75. I am trying hard to be objective, as so many personal texts, posts from Durkin are worthy of note. They filed eviction on me late last year. I contacted city code enforcement who did a fantastic job citing them. They failed to show in court and Judge Seider dismissed it. Not long after, I came home to my door open, a stranger bagging my belongings. The maintenance man had just left with my furniture. Fair Housing, RPD referred me to orgs for legal assistance. It was a burglary due to the fact they worked without filing legal procedures. Filing criminal and civil charges. To know that these men are the slumlords who are behind Greenway Develop downtown makes me sick. I grew up with a few of these people. I have done my due diligence. Mayor and city council have been contacted. To be run out of my hometown due to harrassment and illegal breakins is sad. Just putting it out there. Manasseh Durkin still accepts payment for storing cars downtown.

Source: Facebook.

This story raises more questions than it answers. There's always another side, right? I don't pretend to have the answers. But my suspicions are raised. There's enough in this complaint to believe something is rotten in this "revitalization." I've long complained that the City of Richardson values developers over homeowners and renters, so-called "stakeholders" over residents (see "A Tale of Two Cities" from 2010). I suspect this could be a case in point.


Janine said...

Mark, thank you.

Unknown said...

Mark, just as your blog post states, there are two sides to every story. We have been in contact with Janine about her alleged concerns to have a more complete discussion. Please note, we are not operating without legal grounds as your article indicates. Now is an extremely hard time for everyone in our community and we are focusing on helping and supporting those who have been impacted.

Janine said...

The above comment is from Manasseh Durkin. We did talk today. He removed himself from any responsibilities.