TEXAS CITY — A second attempt to evict the couple running a Christian ministry that managed the Timothy Apartments was stymied Monday.
David Barnes, the owner of the Timothy Apartments, 5105 Timothy St., in Texas City was attempting to evict Christopher and Laura Propes, the directors of Worthy Ministry Inc., who were managing the property.
Barnes said the Propes owed about $30,000 in unpaid rent. Because of the amount of unpaid rent in question, Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Sonny James said the issue would have to be filed in Galveston County district court.
Barnes said he hoped to resolve the issue without having to go to district court and said he and the Propes were trying to reach an agreement.
The Propes have already moved off the property and have said they do not want to continue managing it. But Christopher Propes said he wants the ministry’s name cleared.
In April, tenants complained to Texas City police and Constable Derreck Rose about lack of utilities, bedbugs, overcrowding of apartments and trash on the premise.
According to Texas City police, the apartment complex has been cited for “life and safety issues.”
Christopher Propes was given five citations March 28 because of uncorrected property maintenance issues, according to Texas City Police Chief Robert Burby.
Problems included lack of proper heat because gas had been shut off to some units, overflowing trash, problems with smoke detectors electricity, among other issues.
Christopher Propes said the problems on the property were largely because of tenants not paying rent.
Tenants, meanwhile, have disputed that claim and have said they were paying rent but were being treated unfairly and evicted without proper cause.
While he had previously said that he was unaware of the condition of the apartment complex, on Monday Barnes said he had been aware of some of the minor issues and that he had been under the impression that one of the major problems, code violations with water heaters that were not vented properly, had been taken care of.
But Barnes said it was his responsibility to correct that problem. Under terms of the lease, major repairs fell to him, Barnes said.
“I’m not going to say I’m completely blameless in all this,” Barnes said.
Barnes also said he had heard from the Propes that they were having trouble collecting rent from tenants in the past but he had told them that was between the ministry and the tenants.
But now with the ministry out of the Timothy Apartment, Barnes said he was working on bringing the property up to code and getting tenants to sign leases. Barnes said he had not collected rent from the tenants as he waits to settle the issue with the Propes.
“What I’m looking for right now is to basically wipe the slate clean,” Barnes said.
Christopher Propes said his ministry will continue doing its work at another property.