Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

December 31, 2011

Nothing inadvertent about Pinotti’s work

Craig D. Caldwell
Cherokee County Attorney

JACKSONVILLE — (This letter from Cherokee County Attorney Craig D. Caldwell is in response to a letter by John Tessaro of Jacksoville published in the Dec. 11 Daily Progress, who wrote that Commissioner Katherine Pinotti's had ordered the "inadvertent improvement of a road thought to be a county road?")

Mr. Tessaro: Your use of the word 'inadvertent" in describing the road work done by Commissioner Pinotti on the private road in question puzzles me. How can the word "inadvertent" be used when $30,000 plus tax dollars of road material are expended on a private road. How can it be "inadvertent" when she was told by her foreman and most of the road crew, who had worked years in that precinct, that the road was not a county road. How can her activities be "inadvertent" when she threatened to fire the road crew if they did not do the work. How can it be "inadvertent" when she dispatched 5 or 6 men and at least that many trucks and road equipment over approximately two days to do the work. And finally, how can it be an "inadvertent" activity when the deeds to the land owners located on the road had the following wording in each deed:

 "Grantor hereby clearly stipulates that the 50 feet wide horseshoe-shaped ingress/egress easement road, by which access is provided to the property, is, at the time of conveyance to Grantee, a private road for the use of all of the landowners who purchase land in this subdivision, and for their heirs and assigns forever, and is not under county maintenance at the time of conveyance, nor has Grantor specifically stated, promised, nor implied, either orally or in writing, that said easement road will ever be under county maintenance. Maintenance and upkeep of the easement road shall not be the responsibility nor obligation of the Grantor, Dream-Site Land Company, Inc. Each individual land owner in the subdivision shall have the right and election to perform maintenance and up keep of all or part of the easement road as they so desire, but not the obligation nor duty to do so. At such time as a majority of the land owners in the subdivision desire or vote to do so, they may petition the county to accept maintenance of the easement road, however, Grantor makes no stated nor implied warranties or assurances that the county will agree to accept maintenance.Grantee, by means of a signed and notarized Purchaser's Affidavit, has acknowledged the above terms prior to conveyance of the property, and further understands and agrees that if at some time in the future the county does agree to accept maintenance of the easement road, that any and all charges for bringing the road up to the county standards which are in effect at that time, will be the sole responsibility of the landowners as assessed by the county on a pro-rata basis..."

That wording can be found in the Cherokee County Clerk's office in the deed records as follows:

Vol 1401 page 440    dated 19 Sep 1998 on page 3

Vol 1405 page 523    dated 30 Oct 1998 on page 3

Vol 1404 page 215    dated 30 Oct 1998 on page 3

Vol 1658 page 359    dated 21 May 2004 on page 2

Vol 1754 page 777    dated 04 Nov 2005 on page 2

These deeds are public records and can be viewed without cost on the public computers in the County Clerk's office. In other words, Commissioner Pinotti could have easily obtained this information.

So, Mr. Tessaro, the use of the word "inadvertent" certainly does not apply to this activity.