Half-Truth Item in WOWSC Agenda Should Be Noted

The next to last agenda item in the first meeting of the 2024-25 Board of Directors for the Windermere Oaks Water Supply Corporation should become a topic of interest for Windermere water users.

This first post will describe a very mundane matter about the agenda item, but just wait for future posts to get to the meat of the matter.

The agenda item reads as follows:

This item was part of the agenda submitted by: “L. Rene Ffrench”, the WOWSC Secretary-Treasurer. TOMA stands for “Texas Open Meetings Act,” the law which prescribes posting rules for political subdivisions, like WOWSC as a public water utility.

Lawrence Rene Ffrench is a member of the TOMA Integrity LLC which he formed in 2017 with other water customers to sue the Windermere Oaks Water Supply Corporation. I’m not sure whether TOMA Integrity LLC still exists legally, but it did at the time.

Ffrench and his fellow TOMAers wanted the Burnet County District Court to break the contract which WOWSC had with Friendship Homes and Hangars LLC for the purchase of 4.3 acres of land. They contended that WOWSC agendas — December 2015 and February 2016 — were not complete and thus did not properly inform the public about the Board’s intent to vote on a land sale which had subsequently been finalized in March 2016.

To get the result they wanted — of voiding the land sale through court action — Ffrench and his fellow TOMA Inc. members, filed suit in December 2017 seeking the return of 4.3 acres of land sold in 2016 to a sitting director. That was case no. 47531 in the 33rd District Court of Burnet County and titled: “TOMA Integrity, Inc., and John Dial v. Windermere Oaks Supply Corporation.”

TOMA Integrity, Inc., and John Dial lost that case even after their appeals all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. You can view the entirety of the Appeals Court Decision by clicking here.

One of the key sentences from the Appeals Court ruling should be discussed:

[TOMA] is designed to provide an ‘immediate remedy’ for violations. TOMA and Dial’s petition did not seek immediate mandamus or injunctive relief. Rather, after the property was sold, they sought declaratory relief that the board’s past actions were void. Such relief is unavailable.

Josh R. Morriss, III Chief Justice, Court of Appeals, Sixth Appellate District of Texas at Texarkana, June 21, 2019

So, had “TOMA Inc. and Dial” filed their case about the agenda violation before the land was officially sold in March 2016, the courts had the authorization by law to have stopped the transaction. But because TOMA and Dial filed their case in December 2017, more than 20 months after the sale, the Trial, Appeal, and Supreme Courts judged that they could not overturn the March 2016 land sale retroactively.

Now let’s return to Mr. Ffrench’s agenda item of February 24, 2024, where he labels “TOMA winnings” as what will be discussed for disbursement.

There were no TOMA winnings.

Mr. Ffrench and his cohorts lost the TOMA suit.

So here he his, now on the Board of Directors, manipulating words and public understanding of history.

The actual case which produced the “winnings” was an Appeals Court case titled “Rene Ffrench, John Richard Dial, and Stuart Bruce Sorgen v. Friendship Homes & Hangars, LLC and Dana Martin, and Windermere Oaks Water Supply Corporation, Darby Mair, Independent Administrator of the Estate of Johann Mair, deceased; Michael Mair; William Earnest; Thomas Michael Madden; Robert Mebane; Joe Gimenez; Mike Nelson; Dorothy Taylor and Patrick Mulligan.” The final order which released the winnings may be viewed here. That Appeals Court case No. 03-23-00401-CV was the appeal of the original cause no. 48292.

Thus, a truthful agenda for the February 24, 2024 Board meeting would have listed that as the title of the lawsuit which produced the “winnings.”

TOMA — neither the original TOMA Integrity LLC case or the TOMA itself — had anything to do with the “winnings.”

So why is this important?

Well, that will be a discussion item in the future, after more posts on the topic of the agenda item.