Famed Texas PI Lawyer’s Trials Help Destroy Landmark Home
Posted Nov 14, 2007 7:17 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
An abandoned landmark home in Houston reflects the fortunes and vicissitudes of its owner, famed personal injury attorney John O'Quinn.
Purchased in 2004, along with its unique furniture, for $515,000 by the "zillionaire" attorney, the once-"superswank Mod palace" remembered by a local architecture critic is now a water-damaged, vandalized wreck that is likely soon to be a teardown, reports the Houston Chronicle.
The beginning of the end reportedly was O'Quinn's decision to give an ex-con a second chance by hiring him as a law firm gofer and, eventually, a personal assistant who lived at the house and was in charge of O'Quinn's vintage car collection. Treated by the attorney as the son he never had, the ex-con took advantage by adding hookers and heroin to the mix and allegedly skimming $1 million before he pleaded guilty to felony theft, jumped bail and was sentenced to s 25-year prison term.
"Over the next two years, a lawn service and pool guys kept the yard spiffy, but no one seemed to go in or out of the house. It's hard to say whether the place ever crossed O'Quinn's mind," the newspaper recounts. "Maybe a half-million-dollar piece of real estate was too puny to merit his attention. Or maybe the house, and the Oedipal betrayal it represented, meant all too much to him.
"Neglected, the house declined fast. The roof leaked and water got in. Vandals broke glass and spray-painted the living room. The custom-made furniture disappeared."
Although the Chronicle doesn't focus on other issues that have plagued Quinn in recent years, they can't have helped the situation either.
Now a builder reportedly has purchased the property, intending to tear down the house and construct a new one for himself.