Last year, the 14th District Court of Appeals confirmed that the Garden Oaks Maintenance Organization could not enforce its deed restrictions against Peter and Katherine Chang, homeowners who challenged the organization’s legal standing.
Then — after being denied a re-hearing before the 14th Court of Appeals — GOMO hired a law firm to handle bankruptcy proceedings that would allow the homeowners’ association to potentially re-organize, and there have been some new developments in the process.
According to Johnie Patterson of Walker & Patterson, who represents the estate of GOMO in the organization’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, at a Garden Oaks Civic Club meeting Tuesday night, a creditors’ committee has been appointed on behalf of the community for the proceedings. A creditors’ committee is a group of general unsecured creditors appointed to represent the interests of all general unsecured creditors.
“This will not work unless you all get involved. They have a fiduciary duty to serve the creditor body as a whole. But they don’t know what that is, and they can’t do that unless you tell them what you want them to do or what you think they should do,” Patterson said. “Otherwise you have five or six people in a room just doing whatever they want to do, without any input. If neighbors want a say in what happens and how things go in this case, then get involved.”
Patterson said creditors’ committees do not necessarily have a “say,” or the ability to simply tell the court what to do or not do – they can simply ask the court to make a certain ruling. And as of now, Patterson said the committee has filed suit against GOMO, asking that it stop collecting fees and cease all enforcement activities. Meanwhile, he said GOMO is trying to work on a way to reconstitute or work on a plan in which they can continue to provide the services and deed enforcements they have in the past.
And some residents are not thrilled with how the committee went about filing the suit.
“They did this totally without communicating at all with the neighborhood, not asking for input, and not sharing this information,” said one, who wished to remain anonymous.
However, since the committee just recently got appointed, there has been no plan drafted yet according to Patterson. Important dates along with contact information for the appropriate parties community members can contact to get involved should be posted soon on gardenoaks.org for those who wish to participate.
“If they don’t hear from the community, they’re going to assume everyone thinks what they do. And if that’s the position of the community, then that’s what (GOMO) will do,” he said. “The organization is here for the community – but if we don’t know what you want to do, we can’t do it.”