TRCC AN ARRESTING EXPERIENCE
The Pat and Bob Egert Building & TRCC Experience
By Janet Ahmad
Warning Â Filing a Builder Complaint with TRCC and the Better Business Bureau could be more than a bizarre experience
Meet Pat and Bob Egert, law abiding citizens, neither of whom have ever had even a traffic ticket. Building a modest log cabin on their northeast
ranch which Pat inherited seemed like an exciting project and a fun place to enjoy their grandchildren.
Today they find themselves victims of builders Bobby Fines and Vickie Leggett, who defrauded them of $65,000 (plus building materials) and who have friends in a Fannin County [Texas] good ol' boy system. As it turns out, Fines is allegedly related to former sheriff Talmadge Moore. Fines' attorney shared offices several years ago with current District Attorney Richard Glaser, which might begin to explain the EgertsÂ dilemma and why Glaser has so far refused to prosecute Fines for his over-decade-long pattern of walking off construction jobs while keeping clients' money.
Glaser is an ambitious district attorney of
that shows great similarity in his actions to the notorious former
, district attorney Mike Nifong. For sometime now it is rumored that DA Glaser plans to run for judge of the newly established district court (which he campaigned to get.)
On Monday, March 19, 2007 Pat and Bob Egert with grace and dignity that most, given the same circumstances, would find it impossible to muster, testified before the House State Affairs Committee about their ordeal of a four and one-half day misdemeanor trial, and conviction for filing a complaint with the TRCC against their builder. Pat told of the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Setterberg claim of harassment when the Egerts, on the suggestion of the Attorney General's Office, filed a complaint with the TRCC and the Better Business Bureau.
At the conclusion of Pat Egert's testimony she politely asked Chairman Swinford to please sign the paper from her probation officer that allowed them to travel to the State Capitol to speak with lawmakers.
Lesson to be learned
If you find yourself the victim of a builder and the Attorney General suggests you file a complaint with the builder-dominated "Agency Bob Perry Built" (Texas Observer), the TRCC Â consider the risks.
Read the intriguing true
story of Pat and Bob Egert that could rival the old
Â series. A story of greed, the good olÂ boy system and powerÂ
Update: After the trial ended on December 21 2007 this is what has happened to the characters.
- A credible source claimed that he had first-hand information that the IRS, in the past month, confiscated the sawmill owned by Bobby Fines (Cedar Log Homes) and business partner Vicky Leggett.
- Delta County Sheriff Mark Bassham goes to prison after pleading guilty to a federal felony.
- The Fannin County judge who recused himself from the Egert's trial (and who was quoted in the newspaper account) resigned two weeks after the newspaper story on the trial was published.
- Defense Attorney Randy Taylor for the Egerts was indicted for attempted capital murder in an unrelated incident in a neighboring county.
From Sharon Banister the Author of the 3-Part Series:
"I had planned to go to the Egerts' trial to support them. I figured it would last about an hour. Instead, with out-of-state relatives at home for the Christmas holidays, I spent 4 1/2 days sitting in the court room. What I heard and saw changed my previous view of our justice system. A free-lance journalist, I couldn't write fast enough to copy down all the false and misleading statements by the prosecutor. It was quickly obvious this was a hatchet job, especially since the homebuilder admitted under oath to taking their money! Even that admission did not prompt the judge to shut down the court or for the district attorney to prosecute the offender. The Weekly Gazette editor decided to publish my story after reading it. That took great courage in a small town! Sharon Banister"
The Pat and Bob Egert Story
Is There Justice for Homeowners in Fannin County?
The Assistant DA produced a list of Âcrimes and bad actsÂ of which the Egerts allegedly were guilty. One of these Âcrimes or bad actsÂ was that Â... the Defendants threatened to and did falsely report the Complainants to the Texas Residential Construction Commission....Â --the agency that the Attorney GeneralÂs Office recommended the Egerts contact. Without being allowed to produce evidence such as business letters, which showed the professional manner in which they attempted to communicate with Fines and Leggett and would have countered much of LeggettÂs testimony in court, the Egerts were subsequently found guilty of telephone harassment...Fines testified under oath that he had indeed taken Âat least up to $41,000Â of their money. He could not be accurate concerning the amount, he said during the trial, because he kept Âno books or recordsÂ of any kind. Read Article by S.I. Banister
A CitizenÂs Lament - Was justice denied in a Fannin County court?
ÂIn June 2005, after helping construct a subfloor for Pat and Bob EgertÂs new house in Ben Franklin, Bobby Fines, owner of Cedar Log Homes in Ivanhoe, owed me $530 for my work,Â Starkey said. ÂI called his residence and Vicky Leggett, his partner, answered. I said, ÂIÂd like to have my money.ÂÂ...And Starkey was $1500 poorer because of a lawyer he shouldnÂt have needed and was still out the $530 allegedly owed him by Fines. Read Article by S.I. Banister
A Fannin County Trial
With three days left before last Christmas, the Fannin County jury of one man and five women found Bob and Pat Egert of Ben Franklin guilty of Harassment. In 2005, the Egerts had made a series of telephone calls to Bobby Fines and Vickie Leggett of Ivanhoe in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Leggett filed a complaint to the Fannin County SheriffÂs Office. ÂWhen I went to see Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser after receiving notice of a charge against me,Â Pat said, Âhe pulled out his desk drawers, put his feet up on them, and told me that I would not be able to tell my side of the story in court.Â The jury never knew this. GlaserÂs motion, once accepted by the district court judge, effectively denied the Egerts from telling much of their side of the story, just as Glaser allegedly said would happen. The jury would never know that they had heard only part of the story. Read Article by S.I. Banister
Details of the Pat & Bob Egert Ordeal
June 16, 2005: Fannin County homebuilder Bobby Fines and his partner Vickie Leggett walked off the job with $65,000 of the Egerts money plus building materials after being hired by Pat & Bob Egert to build their Delta County home. (Fines admitted during the Fannin Co. trial that he remembered receiving "at least $41,000.")