The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024

University Gardens case delayed

The battle over University Gardens has been delayed – but not by Gary Vodicka.
Gerry Jetton, a man in his mid-20s who Vodicka claims has a one-tenth ownership in the property, filed for bankruptcy late Tuesday.

Judge Jay Patterson ruled that since Jetton has a claim to the outcome of the case the motion for summary judgment had to be delayed.

“I would rather err in the direction of caution than do the whole thing over again,” Patterson said.

The next key date in the condominium saga is June 27, when the two sides are scheduled to meet with mediator Louis Webber. Vodicka said that any results and terms agreed to in the conference would be kept confidential.

Another twist in the case is a motion of continuance that was filed on June 7 by Robert Talfel. Talfel is a Euless dentist who is as an additional litigant in the lawsuit.

The continuance was not formally addressed in the court since it was filed in the 134th State District Court instead of the 101st. It stated that “depositions of the following individuals are necessary before a thorough response can be completed and filed.”

Nearly 60 people and groups related to the case are requested to submit depositions — most notably first lady Laura Bush. The first lady’s press office declined to comment.

Presidential Library Search Committee members Harriet Miers, Marvin Bush and Don Evans were listed, along with Board of Trustee members Ray Hunt, Lamar Hunt, Carl Sewell, Ross Perot, Jr. and Gerald J. Ford. University president R. Gerald Turner was also listed.

Also listed were Chicago Title and Republic Title companies. Vodicka said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss his case strategy and could not comment on why those two specific companies were included on the deposition list.

However, Vodicka says all of the people listed are “fact witnesses” and have information that would help his case.

“If they are fact witnesses, then it’s not a publicity stunt,” he said of the marquee names listed in the continuance.

John McElhaney, an attorney representing SMU, called the deposition requests publicity stunts and a delaying tactic.

“From the beginning, their strategy has been one of delay,” said SMU legal counsel Leon Bennett.

In a statement released by Bennett and the university late Wednesday, he said Vodicka and Tafel are “relying on sheer sensationalism and legal maneuvering to divert the public’s attention,” and called the depositions a “desperate maneuver designed to frustrate the university’s efforts to have the court address the merits of the case.”

The court session, which began at 9 a.m. in the George Allen Courts Building, wrapped up in less than 20 minutes.

Unlike the February 21 court session, during which Vodicka was alone at the plaintiff’s table, two new lawyers were with Vodicka at Wednesday’s hearing.

Joyce Lindauer, the attorney representing Jetton, did most of the talking during the hearing. She informed the court that Jetton had filed for bankruptcy and that, therefore, no additional action could be taken with respect to the University Gardens case. Lindauer said afterwards that she was brought onto the case one week ago.

Jim Krause, a commercial litigation lawyer from Dallas, is represents Talfel. Krause also joined the case one week ago, according to Vodicka.

Both SMU and Vodicka were given a June 27 deadline to file briefs with the court regarding the bankruptcy filing. Bennett said SMU wants a stay for the single person, Jetton, so that the remainder of the litigants can proceed in the case. Vodicka did not say what he would mention in his brief.

Despite the setbacks for SMU, Bennett said, “We are still confident of the outcome of this.”
Two hours after the hearing, Vodicka was back at his University Gardens residence. A visit to the complex revealed that very little demolition work had taken place.

“You could move 320 families in here today, easily,” Vodicka said. Bennett says the university has already begun work to demolish the units by removing electrical equipment from the site.
The engineering report that Vodicka was allowed to collect as a result of the February session will not play a role in any further proceedings, according to Vodicka. The report was supposed to show that the complex could still function properly, but Vodicka and McElhaney say that the report is now irrelevant to any outcome.

Vodicka is leasing units to three individuals on Oxford Terrace, one of them Jetton. Jetton was not in his unit when visited and did not respond to further attempts to reach him.

Vodicka says that Jetton owes him $250 rent, but that he could not recall when he became aware of his financial situation.

“He hasn’t discussed it with me, so I don’t know,” Vodicka said.

Jetton was sued by SMU on January 31 for not vacating the property he currently lives in.
Vodicka also said that he had received a death threat from an unknown person(s) recently and that he planned to take the threat to Dallas police for fingerprinting and further investigation.

He also said that Talfel had received a similar threat at an unspecified recent date.

More to Discover