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Bastrop trial over, appeal promised

Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Jo Clifton

Bastrop District Judge Carson Campbell ruled on Wednesday in favor of three governmental entities – the city of Bastrop, Bastrop County and the Bastrop Independent School District – on most of the issues in their lawsuit against the Pine Forest Investments Group. The ruling declares the contract between the Pine Forest Investment Group and the city of Bastrop to be invalid. However, Bill Aleshire, who represented the former members of the Pine Forest Property Owners Association, told the Austin Monitor via email that his clients, John Gardner, John Clark and Bill Haschke, along with PFIG’s major investor, Robert Leffingwell, “were not found to have committed ‘fraud’ and will not be liable for the government’s court costs.” In addition, he said those defendants would not be liable for the government’s attorneys fees, “since the Government did not plead for attorney fees.” At this point, those fees have surpassed $723,000. Ben Wetmore, attorney for the Pine Forest Investment Group, and Leffingwell told the Monitor that his clients would be appealing and asking the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to look at “the many procedural problems in this case and ruling.” He reiterated that he and his clients are still waiting to hear from the city’s attorney, Charles Bundren, to respond to their efforts to settle the matter. Bundren did not respond to the Monitor’s request for comment.

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