Friday 6 October 2023

State Lawmakers Suggest Texas Put Controversial Colony Ridge Development In ‘Conservatorship’

 A group of Texas state lawmakers say officials should consider placing Liberty County under a state conservatorship to address issues surrounding Colony Ridge, a massive land development that critics say has become a hub for illegal immigrants 

The four State Representatives in a Wednesday letter to Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dade Phelan say “establishing a conservatorship” would give the state the ability to “coordinate law enforcement operations and county restrictions to clean up and clean out Colony Ridge.”

The development has come under increased scrutiny since a Daily Wire investigation that revealed marketing practices that appear to be aimed at attracting illegal immigrants, and a community overwhelmed with crime, which experts say is driven by drug cartels.

“New information is coming to light daily and suggests that Liberty County’s Commissioners Court may have failed to protect their citizens by supporting the Colony Ridge developments,” the lawmakers say, further suggesting that the state budget for “a Department of Public Safety substation to multiply law enforcement presence in the Colony Ridge community.” 

The lawmakers — Reps. Steve Toth, Nate Schatzline, Brian Harrison, and Tony Tinderholt — praised Governor Abbott for his decision to address Colony Ridge at a special legislative session in the coming days.

“The conditions in Liberty County warrant immediate consideration in the forthcoming special session, alongside strengthening border security,” the lawmakers say.  


The letter hones in on the “threat to public safety in these developments,” citing comments from Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader on crime in Colony Ridge, as well as reports from the Center for Immigration Studies that indicate that the Gulf and Sinaloa Cartels invested in the development. The representatives also point to a recent surge in drug overdoses at the school district serving Colony Ridge.

The letter comes amid a flurry of elected officials calling for substantive action to address Colony Ridge. The entire Republican Congressional delegation from Texas recently signed a letter addressed to Governor Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton urging them to investigate the development.

“If even a fraction of the above claims are accurate, it is unthinkable that such an enormous settlement would be allowed to persist in Texas, much less expand to over double in size over the next decade,” the letter asserts. 

The congressmen urged Paxton to “thoroughly investigate the land purchasing, use, tax status, and other authorizations relating to Colony Ridge and its affiliate entities,” also noting that “any new state laws created to address these concerns should be applied and upheld in Colony Ridge and the surrounding area.”

The Texas Republican Party voted unanimously 61-0 to urge for a special legislative session to address Colony Ridge, also requesting that Paxton initiate “a full investigation into the development activities of Colony Ridge Land, LLC, and its possible connections to elected officials in the region.”

The Colony Ridge developers have attempted to make inroads with legislators ahead of the special session, inviting them to come tour the development in hopes of quelling concerns about its conditions. After Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick paid a visit to the development and met with Colony Ridge developer William Trey Harris, he maintained that the legislature should hold hearings on how to address it at the special session.

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