Hill County Case


03/21/2018

We are pleased to announce that the POA and Double Diamond have entered a mediated settlement agreement. The specific terms of the agreement are confidential; however, the Board can disclose generally that the agreement addresses dismissal of the Hill County lawsuits and acquisition of the amenities by the POA. There is still work to be done to close on acquiring the amenities. Double Diamond and the POA are working on those items, and the Board will provide further updates at the appropriate time.


01/31/2018

Counsel for the WBPOA informed the Board that Double Diamond has delivered approximately 76 boxes of records to the law offices of Double Diamond’s current attorneys, The Silvera Law Firm.  Supposedly these records have been in the possession of Iron Mountain Storage.

Your Board’s President instructed POA counsel to get the cost of scanning all of the produced documents, after which the Board will approve the expense if advisable. 

Double Diamond also supposedly produced other requested Discovery material.


01/12/2018

This afternoon POA Secretary, Jim Fletcher, picked up a Cashiers Check in the amount of $1,125,000 from Plains Capital Bank. This represents the entire amount being held in a court-ordered disputed account at the bank. Secretary Fletcher then personally delivered the check to our management company's Dallas offices. FirstService Residential will immediately deposit the check into the account of the White Bluff Property Owners Association.


01/12/2018

The Hill County District Judge signed the order on January 9th related to the hearing held in district court on January 2nd.  There were six filings made, and as was reported earlier the judge found in the POA’s favor on all six.  Below is an explanation of what each ruling means.

1. 3rd Motion for Contempt

The Judge has again found that Double Diamond has failed to comply with the discovery order.  The Judge has given Double Diamond another deadline of January 31, 2018 to comply with the discovery order.  If they do not, the Judge has awarded an additional $500 per day fine (on top of the $500 per day under the 2nd Contempt Order) beginning on February 1, 2018.  The Judge has also said that if Double Diamond does not comply by January 31st, on proper motion he may notice a hearing and compel Mike Ward to appear in court to show cause why he should not be held in contempt and subject to imprisonment until the discovery order is satisfied.

The Judge awarded $9,750 as reimbursement of attorney’s fees plus additional fees if Double Diamond unsuccessfully appeals the order.

The Judge has stricken Double Diamond’s pleadings, which makes it much more difficult for Double Diamond to defend against the remaining claims.  It also means that Double Diamond’s counterclaims against the POA for business disparagement, tortious interference, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, promissory estoppel, breach of contract, request for an accounting are dismissed from the case.

Double Diamond is not permitted to conduct any further discovery in the lawsuit.

With respect to claims of the POA that rely on documents or information requested during discovery that have not been produced, Double Diamond is not permitted to oppose those claims and a negative proof inference exists against Double Diamond and in favor of the POA with respect to the claims.  This should make it easier for the POA to prove up its remaining claims at trial.

2. Motion to Strike Pleadings

The effect of this ruling is that Double Diamond’s amended answer and counterclaims were stricken because they were filed after the agreed deadline in the lawsuit.  The effect is the same as above- it makes it much more difficult for Double Diamond to oppose the POA’s claims, and it dismisses Double Diamond’s counterclaims against the POA.

3. Motion to Quash

The POA does not have to incur the expense and time of putting up Board members to be questioned by Double Diamond or in responding to written discovery by gathering documents and such.

4. Motion to Clarify and Sever Second Summary Judgment

The Court has upheld granting the POA the $1,125,000 that Double Diamond moved from the POA bank account in December, 2016.

5. Double Diamond’s Emergency Motion to Clarify and Cross-Motion to Modify

Double Diamond wanted the Court to stop the POA from accessing the $1,125,000 on deposit at Plains Capital Bank until all appeals were final.  The Judge denied this relief.

6. Double Diamond’s Motion to Reconsider order on production of proxies

Double Diamond wanted the Judge to order the POA to turnover un-redacted proxies.  The Judge denied that claim.


Your Board will continue to keep you apprised and knowledgeable about what steps your Board continues to take in the protection of our property owners' interests.


01/03/2018

As was communicated earlier today, yesterday the judge in Hill County District Court heard two motions filed by Double Diamond and four motions filed by the WBPOA.  Late this afternoon we received his rulings.

The two motions filed by Double Diamond were denied.

The four motions filed by the WBPOA were affirmed.

This means that the rulings favored the WBPOA in each issue.

We wanted to get this news to you as soon as possible.  As soon as we have sorted through the details and ramifications we will send out another communication detailing what this means.


01/03/2018

The hearing in Hill County District Court began promptly at 9:00 AM and ended at approximately 5:30 PM.  It was attended by Board members and several WB property owners.

There were six different matters brought before the court.

Double Diamond had filed an emergency motion to clarify the court’s order that had granted the POA’s second Summary Judgment.  In particular, DD was arguing that the $1.125M of POA funds being held in a disputed account should not be released until a final ruling has been made after the appeals process.

Double Diamond had filed a motion for the court to reconsider its order on the production of proxies.  As ordered by the court, the POA had provided DD with redacted proxies.  DD wants un-redacted proxies provided to them.

The POA had filed a third motion for contempt of court for the non-production of court ordered documents.

The POA had filed a motion to “strike” all Double Diamond pleadings based on their not providing court ordered documents within the prescribed time frame.

The POA had filed a motion to quash a request by Double Diamond that a POA corporate representative be required to submit to a deposition and give details regarding almost 200 different items.  The POA contended that this was pure harassment and a result of previous rulings made by the court in the POA’s favor.

The POA had filed a response to Double Diamond’s motion to clarify the court’s order regarding the second Summary Judgment and also modify the second Summary Judgment with regards to the release of the $1.125M.

Arguments were made on all of the above motions, evidence presented and witnesses questioned.  The judge made no rulings and took all motions under advisement.  We expect rulings to be made in the next day or two and will report them to you when they are made available to us.


12/29/2017

The Texas Supreme Court has denied Double Diamond's petition for writ of mandamus. The orders previously issued by the Hill County District Court compelling the production of documents and the contempt of court still stand.

A hearing in Hill County District Court has been set for Tuesday, January 2nd at 9:00 AM. The court will hear the numerous motions made by Double Diamond including their contention of fraudulent proxies in the May, 2017 Annual Meeting.

Your Board will continue to keep you apprised as things develop.


12/29/2017

Last night Double Diamond filed a writ of mandamus with the Texas Supreme Court seeking relief from the lower court's decision on the contempt charge against Double Diamond. The arguments filed are almost the same as were filed with the Waco Court of Appeals.

Mandamus is one of the extraordinary writs by which a higher court can mandate to a lower court. To seek it is an original proceeding, not an appeal. Its form is that it is a lawsuit against a trial judge, an appeals court or a government agency.

Your Board is monitoring this closely and will keep you informed as the situation evolves.


12/26/2017

Hill County District Court had previously ruled that Double Diamond was in contempt of court.  This ruling included a fine of $10,000 and an order to pay attorney’s fees to the POA in the amount of $14,950.  The above were not paid by Double Diamond within the mandated ten days, and an additional fine of $500 per day is accruing.  The court also ruled that if Double Diamond appeals its ruling, the POA will receive an additional $20,000 in attorney’s fees if the appeal is unsuccessful, and if the ruling is appealed to the Texas Supreme Court the POA will receive an additional $20,000 in attorney’s fees if the appeal is unsuccessful.  The POA has subsequently filed a third motion for Contempt of Court.

Late Thursday afternoon (12/21) Double Diamond filed an appeal in the Waco Court of Appeals.  The filing asked the appeals court to “stay” the order from the Hill County District Court while the appeals court considered Double Diamond’s request to overturn the ruling made in District Court. 

Late Friday (12/22) the Waco Court of Appeals DENIED all relief sought by Double Diamond.  Additionally, the appeals court ordered Double Diamond to pay all Court of Appeals court costs.

Counsel for the POA has made demand of Double Diamond for the sum of $48,950, which reflects the following:
$10,000 fine from the District Court
$14,950 attorney’s fees from District Court
$   4,000 accrued daily fines
$20,000 attorney’s fees to which we are arguably entitled for DD’s unsuccessful appeal of the contempt order

The next date of significance is December 29th.  It is on this date that Double Diamond is ordered by the District Court to produce the POA financial records requested by the POA many months ago.


12/18/2017

Your Board was notified today by our attorney that a ruling had been signed by the judge in Hill County District Court in the matter involving the disputed POA funds totaling $1,125,000. The judge ruled in favor of the POA and ordered the funds be released. Double Diamond has filed an objection to the ruling. The POA has contended that Double Diamond improperly transferred funds from the POA bank account when notified that management duties for the association were being transferred away from Double Diamond to FirstService Residential. The court had previously ruled that the $1,125,000 was to be placed in a segregated “disputed” account with no singular access by either party.


12/5/2017

A hearing was held on 12/04/2017 in Hill County District Court beginning at 1:30 PM.  The WBPOA was seeking a Contempt of Court ruling against Double Diamond for failure to comply with the court-ordered production of discovery records inclusive of POA financial records, answers to submitted interrogatories and requests for admission. 

After listening to arguments from counsel for the POA, counsel for Double Diamond, and testimony from Double Diamond’s CFO, the court ruled the following:

Double Diamond was in contempt of Court.

Double Diamond failed to comply with a court order.

Double Diamond was fined $10,000.

Double Diamond was ordered to pay Attorney’s Fees in the amount of $14,950.

The above total of $24,950 must be paid in a Cashiers Check made out to the WBPOA within ten (10) days of the ruling.  If payment is not made as ordered, the fine will continue to accrue at $500 per day until paid.

If Double Diamond appeals the ruling, the court ordered a payment to the WBPOA for Attorney’s Fees incurred.

If an appeal goes to the Texas Supreme Court, the court ordered an additional payment to the WBPOA for Attorney’s Fees incurred.

Double Diamond was ordered to fully comply with the production of all court-ordered discovery items by 12/29/2017.  If Double Diamond does not comply with this order, the court reserved the right to order Mike Ward and General Counsel Jeff Schmidt to appear before the court and explain why compliance was not done and why they should not be held in contempt of court.

Your Board is very pleased with this outcome and will continue in our efforts to bring resolution to the current situation.


11/17/2017

The POA filed a motion for contempt with the Hill County District Court on Tuesday, November 14th.  Double Diamond had been instructed by the court to produce specified financial records no later than close of business on Monday, November 13th.  As of that deadline and as of this date, it has not complied with the court’s ruling. 

In the filing the POA is asking that Double Diamond be held in contempt of court, that it be fined the maximum of $500 per day and pay all POA attorney’s fees associated with the contempt filing and potential hearing.  Our counsel has requested an expedited hearing date with the court.


11/16/2017

Regarding the POA’s request for Summary Judgment in our suit seeking release of POA funds being held in a disputed account, the judge has temporarily reserved his ruling.  He granted the POA’s objections to Double Diamond’s Summary Judgment evidence and striking all Double Diamond evidence.  He has given Double Diamond an opportunity to “fix” its evidence, but not give new evidence, before rendering his decision.


11/9/2017

Hearings were held today in Hill County District Court.

The POA was seeking a Summary Judgment ruling that the $1.125M of POA funds being held in a disputed account should be released.  The POA is contending that Double Diamond had previously transferred these funds from a POA account to a Double Diamond account without authorization to do so.  Double Diamond is contending that it was permissible to seize these funds because of an assumed indebtedness.  The seizure of the funds occurred the day on which Double Diamond was informed that the POA was removing Double Diamond as its management company and replacing it with FirstService Residential (FSR).     The court will render its ruling after due consideration of the arguments presented by counsel for both parties.

The POA requested that the court require Double Diamond VP and Double Diamond Utilities President, Randy Gracy, be deposed.  The court ruled that Randy Gracy will be deposed subject to parameters set by the court.


10/31/2017

Your Board attended yesterday’s hearing, in which we petitioned the court to compel the production of financial records of the WBPOA by Double Diamond.  Arguments were made by both counsel for the WBPOA and counsel for Double Diamond.  The hearing ended at approximately 10:15 AM, and the judge indicated that he would review the pleadings and make a ruling later.

His ruling was rendered late that afternoon and compels Double Diamond to produce the requested financial documents as per the judge’s parameters. 


10/24/2017

A hearing is scheduled on October 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM in Hill County District Court in Hillsboro.  The WBPOA is asking the court to release the POA funds being held in a disputed account.  The WBPOA is also asking the court to instruct Double Diamond to release previously requested WBPOA financial records. 


09/17/2017

The judge in the Hill County District Court has rescinded an order requiring a court-ordered, mandatory mediation between the WBPOA and Double Diamond on issues related to current litigation filed in the court. Counsel for the POA will immediately request a hearing date before the court in order to seek resolution on the issues involved. Property Owners will be apprised of the outcome of this hearing as soon as possible.


08/28/2017

The hearing scheduled for Friday, September 1st has been cancelled.

The judge has ordered the parties to the lawsuit, WBPOA and Double Diamond/Mike Ward, to go through another mediation with a mediator of his choice.

We will keep you apprised of any further developments.


08/19/2017

A hearing in Hill County District Court has been scheduled for September 1st.  The purpose of this hearing is for the court to rule on a request by the WBPOA for a Summary Judgment in favor of the release of $1,150,000 of POA funds being held in a “disputed account.”

Double Diamond was notified on December 2, 2016 that the POA had signed a contract with FirstService Residential to take over the management responsibilities from Double Diamond.  On that same date Double Diamond withdrew the above amount from the POA account without authorization and placed it in a Double Diamond account.  Previous rulings from the court have forced Double Diamond to deposit the disputed funds in a separate account with protective measures for the POA.

Your Board through our legal counsel has made repeated requests to Double Diamond for financial information to validate their position on several issues inclusive of the above. Double Diamond has been non-responsive, and the POA is asking for the release of the funds and a directive to Double Diamond to provide the requested financial information.

Your Directors will be in attendance at the hearing, and we will report the results to you as soon as the judge has ruled.


04/18/2017

Even though you have already received an email from Double Diamond/Mike Ward about the Summary Judgment ruling from the District Court in Hill County, I feel compelled to inform you of what the ruling actually said.  The Judge granted a Summary Judgment in favor of the White Bluff Property Owners Association on three issues, only one of which was the catalyst for a typical Mike Ward knee-jerk reaction.

The ruling means the following:

  1. The POA is not OBLIGATED to maintain the two golf courses.  (Please note the word, OBLIGATED)
  2. The Mike Ward, unilaterally dictated 6th Amendment is revoked.
  3. Because the declarant (Mike Ward) did not reserve special, unilateral developer rights, no such rights exist.

04/12/2017

The scheduled hearing for Summary Judgment in our lawsuit against Double Diamond was held this morning in the Hill County District Court.  The hearing lasted almost three hours and included detailed arguments regarding the three issues in the lawsuit-

            The POA was asking for direction from the Court as to whether we are OBLIGATED to pay for maintenance of the golf courses.

            The POA was asking the Court to rescind the 6th Amendment to the Declaration, enacted unilaterally by Mike Ward.

            The POA was asking the Court to confirm the fact that the Developer, Mike Ward, had not properly established his authority as Declarant and had abused this with unilateral decisions affecting White Bluff property owners.

The judge asked several direct and penetrating questions to both counsel for the POA and counsel for Double Diamond.  He was also presented significant case law, primarily from POA counsel.  The judge advised both parties that he would take all arguments into consideration and render a decision once he had reviewed the significant volume of material presented.

All members of the POA Board were present for the hearing.  We held an extensive, post-hearing discussion afterwards and are quite confident of the absolute validity of the positions taken by the POA and the direction we are taking in our overall plan.


01/26/2017

The original pleadings were amended to ask the court to rule on requiring Double Diamond to meet the demands of the POA that
               POA funds controlled by Double Diamond be released to the POA
               POA property owner database information be released to the POA
               POA maintenance fees billings information be released to the POA

A court hearing was scheduled for 01/25/2017 in Hill County.  An agreement inclusive of an Agreed Order was reached on 01/24/2017.  In the agreement and Agreed Order Double Diamond agreed to release the above items to the POA.

The POA will ask the court for a hearing to address and rule on the original two issues put forth in the lawsuit.

Next Meeting

Date Jul 20, 2019
Time* 9:30
Place Conference Center
 
* Board Meeting followed by Town Hall Meeting
 
Agenda

Contact the POA

We're here to help.

Phone 254-694-
9276(WBPO)
Email admin@
whitebluff.com
Location 20022 Misty Valley Circle
Snail Mail WBPOA
P.O. Box 37
Whitney, TX 76692

Water & Sewer

Contact Double Diamond Utilities at 254-694-6484 for issues related to Water & Sewer.

  White Bluff POA