SAN ANTONIO – A small group of residents remain living at an east Bexar County mobile home park more than a month after receiving notices to vacate.
The notices, handed out by a real estate eviction company hired by the property owner in late June, told tenants of the Jasper Mobile Home Park they had 30 days to move out.
While some people living in the troubled community, located in the 6700 block of Walzem Road, have left, Dominick Barreras remains part of the dwindling group of people who have refused to go.
“Now, they are basically trying to strong-arm us out of here because they want to redevelop it,” said Barreras, who has lived there with a disabled parent for five years.
Dozens of trailers that formerly housed residents have been destroyed and moved in recent months.
Barreras, joined by a group of community activists Friday morning who gathered to bring attention to the ongoing property dispute, said management in recent weeks has threatened to shut off remaining tenants’ access to water and electricity.
Barreras said more recently, management has told residents their trailers would be moved by heavy machinery to the front of the property, possibly as soon as Friday.
While employees were using a front-end loader to dump construction debris Friday, the KSAT 12 Defenders did not see them attempting to move any occupied trailers.
“If they’re going to do it, I’m going to make it as hard as possible to get everything done, because I’m not going anywhere,” said Barreras, who conceded that he would be willing to relocate his family’s mobile home to another property if offered assistance.
The vacate notices state that even though the federal CARES Act postponed evictions on many properties until at least late August, Jasper Park does not have to abide by it because it is not a federally funded property.
Eviction hearings, however, have still not resumed in Bexar County Precinct 4, where the property is located, after being paused earlier this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An official with the real estate eviction company that handed out the notices earlier this summer said Friday via telephone they were legal documents that abided by the Texas Property Code.
She said she would provide a list of units that the property’s ownership group, Texas PMR, had started eviction proceedings against, but then did not respond to multiple phone calls from the Defenders.
Texas PMR owner Robert Ripley, reached on the phone Friday, said, “You can write, print, broadcast any bull**** you want. They aren’t residents. None of them have any leases. That’s why you see the sheriff’s office out there all the time picking them up.”
Barreras agreed with Ripley’s comment on the leases, describing it as paperwork that would be tough to find or perhaps never existed.
Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Rogelio Lopez confirmed Friday Texas PMR has filed six eviction cases, all of which remain open and pending.
Lopez said his court could resume eviction hearings within a week or a week and a half, but in the interest of fairness, all tenants who have already been served paperwork will be served again.
A history of problems
The property, which has been repeatedly cited for code violations, is also a frequent target of squatters and arsonists who have burned down several units dating back to late 2018.
Several rows of trailers near the back of the property have been flattened.
Of the trailers that remain, many are boarded up and do not appear to be occupied.
Four Bexar County Sheriff’s cruisers were on the west side of the property early Friday morning responding to a call for a suspicious person.
A BCSO spokesperson confirmed a woman was eventually taken into custody on a drug possession charge.
The park’s former owner and brother of its current owner, 69-year-old John Ripley, was arrested in May after BCSO investigators said he installed piping to illegally divert more than $9,000 worth of water at the property.
John Ripley is free on bond and is scheduled to make his next court appearance in late September, court records show.
He was the third person associated with the mobile home park to be arrested in May.
Two other people were arrested in connection to arsons and interfering with fire investigations at the property.