Saturday, November 26, 2022

City receives federally seized property

The City of Highland Village has been given the deed to a home at 707 Highland Village Road by the Department of Homeland Security.

The property was seized by the federal government as part of a case involving racketeering, obscenity, fraud and income tax evasion in 2004.

Highland Village resident John Kenneth Coil, owner and operator of 27 adult-oriented businesses in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, was sentenced to federal prison in 2004 after pleading guilty to charges in connection with a racketeering, obscenity, fraud and income tax evasion scheme. He was also ordered to forfeit an estimated $8.1 million in property to the government, including his residence in Highland Village.

The City of Highland Village applied for a deed transfer of the property through the Federal Equitable Sharing program of the Department of Justice. In September 2003, Highland Village Police assisted the IRS in serving the federal warrants.

“We submitted the application with the hope we could partner with the federal government and the city could attain this property,” stated city Manager Michael Leavitt. “We couldn’t have anticipated the road blocks along the way that have made this a seven-year process.”

After a year of letters and inquires, the city enlisted the help of Congressman Michael Burgess and his staff. Congressman Burgess’ office directed the city through the process, beginning with the opportunity for transfer through the “Weed and Seed” program and ultimately applying through the Federal Equitable Sharing program.

While the application was processed, further delays were encountered when the 5th District Court in New Orleans, where the case was in appeals, was destroyed due to Hurricane Katrina.

“We couldn’t have navigated our way through the process without the assistance of Congressman Burgess and his staff. We’re pleased to see this project come to fruition and the city finally attain ownership of this property,” stated Mayor Scott McDearmont.
The residential property will be used by the city for park and recreation purposes. The property includes frontage to Lewisville Lake and is adjacent on both sides to US Army Corps of Engineers property.

Federal Equitable Sharing is a Department of Justice program designed to enhance cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through the sharing of proceeds resulting from federal forfeitures.

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