SAN ANTONIO – A local attorney explains the legal issues he faced in a separate case involving people who claimed to have a deed to a property that belonged to his client.
On Tuesday, San Antonio’s Dangerous Assessment Response Team moved in to vacate people from a property suspected squatters were using on the East Side. Records show the property belongs to Bexar County.
KSAT reported on the concerns from neighbors about those living on the property in a previous report. Leaders in the church next to 727 Morningview Drive claimed someone from the property had been stealing electricity and water. The church was concerned their pleas for relief from the alleged thefts were not being heard by city leaders.
The city staff made a move to clear the property and released a statement Tuesday.
“The City’s DART Unit (Dangerous Assessment Response Team) conducted an inspection at 727 Morningview this afternoon. The people found in the house had no authority to be there, and there was no water service. The conditions inside the structure and the backyard pose a threat to human and animal life and safety. ACS took possession of a female dog surrendered by one of the occupants. The City Attorney’s Office is exploring all legal options to abate this dangerous situation to the neighborhood and adjacent church,” said the city attorney’s office.
Court records show a man by the name of Frank Herrera filed a lawsuit in February against the former owner of the property, claiming the property on Morningview belongs to him.
Attorney David Dilley has a couple of pending cases against Frank Herrera. Dilley tells KSAT Herrera moved into a property on the West Side with court documents he filed claiming the property belonged to him.
“Police decided, well, it’s a civil matter. We’re going to stay out of it. But in reality, what he was doing was burglary,” Dilley explained.
After many court hearings and appeals, the owners were able to get Herrera out of the property, but the legal battle continues in court. Dilley says the court process cost his client thousands in legal fees and time.
Court records show Herrera filed an affidavit of inability to pay costs, seeking a waiver intended for those who can’t afford to pay. Dilley says he contested it, but a judge approved the waiver.
‘The system is in place for a reason for people that can’t afford to pay filing fees. But he’s taken advantage of the fact to use it more as a sword than a shield for some sort of protection. He’s trying to obtain things without earning them, without paying for them.”
The local attorney says he filed a temporary injunction against Herrera to prevent any further action against his client and to prevent Herrera from filing further bogus lawsuits. Herrera’s motion to have it thrown out was denied.
KSAT reached out to Herrera by email. He claims the property on the West Side belongs to him, but he lost the case because he missed the court hearing. He also claims to have liens on a lot of other properties.
Dilley worries Herrera or someone else might attempt to take a different property in a similar manner, using the legal system.
“How are people going to afford an attorney? They can barely pay the property taxes on their property. How are they going to kick somebody out or litigate against them,” Dilley said. “If he files a lawsuit against them? Because for him, it’s free for somebody else is going to cost money.”
He urges anyone who has a similar property takeover to hand deliver a notice to vacate property to the person. Then be ready to call police and argue that this is a criminal matter not a civil one.
“Put something in writing and make sure you have some sort of proof that you’re giving this this man a no-trespass warning to stay out of your property,” Dilley explains.