Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Friday, January 5, 2001

ATTORNEY GENERAL WINS JUDGMENT ON ILLEGAL COLONIA DEVELOPMENT

State fines Starr County businessman for breaking laws requiring utility access

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn won a $64,500 judgment today against a Starr County businessman who broke laws governing the development of residential subdivisions in border colonias.

Attorney General Cornyn sued Eloy Vera, and his company, Vera Enterprises, Inc., for violating the state's "build it or bond it" requirements for sewage and water service, a cornerstone of laws designed to prevent the sprawl of border colonias.

State law requires developers to provide public utilities, such as water, sewer, drainage, and streets, that meet certain state requirements.

"I will take swift and sure action to enforce laws that prevent the development of substandard communities along the border that do not meet minimum state requirements for water and sewer services," Attorney General Cornyn said. "The hardworking men and women whose dreams are built on lots in these subdivisions deserve no less."

In late 1999 and early 2000, the defendants developed an 81-lot subdivision called Midway Subdivision and sold 47 lots without installing sewage facilities or posting the required financial assurance that the facilities would be installed at a future date. The defendants also failed to construct proper drainage facilities in the subdivision.

The final judgment, signed today by 345th State District Judge F. Scott McCown, orders the payment of $47,000 in civil penalties and $17,500 in attorney's fees. The defendants must also build new drainage facilities in the subdivision and prepare a new plat. The judgment also contains a permanent injunction against future violations of state subdivision laws.

The defendants complied with a temporary injunction last spring in which they posted the required bonds and agreed to stop selling lots.

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