NPR to spotlight political moneyman Bob Perry
By Wayne Slater
Read and post your comments
Bob and Jane Cull -- the retirement-age couple in a 10-year legal battle with Houston homebuilder Bob Perry -- will have their story in the national spotlight this weekend. NPR's "Weekend Edition" will report Saturday morning on the Culls' uphill fight against the billionaire, who's the biggest financial contributor to politicians in Texas. On Sunday morning, NPR will report on the creation of a state agency sought by Perry that has effectively served to protect builders from homeowners with defective houses.
The Mansfield couple says the house Perry Homes built for them is full of problems but Perry won't fix it. They won an $800,000 arbitration award. Perry refused to pay it and the case has bounced a decade through the courts.
The battle has come to symbolize the disadvantage that an average homeowner faces in going up against a builder with deep pockets -- especially one as politically well-connected as Bob Perry. The Houston homebuilder is Gov. Rick Perry's (no relation) biggest campaign donor, and the governor was instrumental in creating the state agency that Perry wanted. The homebuilder has contributed money to much of the Legislature and to every member of the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor last year -- overturning the arbitration award and a string of court rulings and directing the Culls to start all over. Bob Perry spokesman Anthony Holm says the homebuilder is defending his legal rights.
We told their story here and here. Meanwhile, the House Business and Industry Committee is mulling over whether to make the state housing agency more friendly to consumers. As our Marcus Funk pointed out earlier this week, Bob Perry has given campaign money to 10 of the 11 members of the committee -- totaling more than a third of a million dollars.