Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Texas Couple Fined $7,000 for Posting Sign in Yard

When Johnnie and Clara Russell posted a small yard sign on their own North Texas property outside Ft. Worth several years ago, they did not expect that they would have to seek government permission first. The sign, which promoted an event called “Wake Up America” for conservative pundit Glenn Beck’s “9/12 Project,” provoked the ire of one of their neighbors, who complained to authorities.

The Blaze reports:

Apparently the sign violated the rules of the Homeowners Association (HOA) that governed the subdivision where the Russells lived. And although Mr. & Mrs. Russell claim they never joined the association, never paid dues to the association, and never signed any papers acknowledging the association as a governing body with rules over their property, they were sued for violating the rules.


Read the story. Another HOA inmate ground to fine dust in the courts.


Anonymous said...

"The 9/12 Project is a volunteer based, non-partisan movement focusing on building and uniting our communities"

That's what community associations (aka HOAs) are for.

Anonymous said...

So what is Glenn Beck's take on this?

Anonymous said...

from the comments section of the story:

"To many Liberals or Morons in Austin already, thats why you can Beat Babies and Steal from folks and not get in trouble…………."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 9:39am

"YES – Keep the liberals out of TEXAS!!! And HOA should be done away with!!! They are a bunch of thieves!!!"
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 10:15am

"The Judge (JP) was elected by the people in his county. There are pockets of liberals in the Dallas, Ft Worth metroplex. This will be just one thing his opponent can use against him."
Bill Rowland
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 8:09am

"What city in Texas did this? It must have been infiltrated by “coast” liberals; it’s not Texan!"
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 7:31am

"In 2012 we MUST work to elect conservatives from the ground up…..Local, state as well as Federal candidates….including JUDGES."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 7:00am

"Hard to believe it happened in Texas, but there are many organizations that say they are HOA. Actually they are just liberals that extort money from homeowners for their political gains. "
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 6:37am

"I have to assume somehow a HOA sprung up in the area all by itself, kind of like an unwanted union. This is very scary that a judge would take the side of an illegal HOA over a Citizen. But this is what liberals do, for some reason they feel they know how you should live."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 5:18pm

And yes, there is a point -- or punchline -- to this.

from the story:

"It was also explained to us that Judge Lynn Marie Johnson also happens to be a personal friend of a member of the board of the Homeowners Association that is suing the Russells. Clara reports to us that Kathy Kornegay Chruscielski is the board member who calls Judge [Lynn Marie] Johnson her friend. Ms. Chruscielski also posted photos of the swearing in ceremony of her friend, the Judge."

And what is Judge Lynn Marie Johnson's party affiliation?

Hint: Judge Lynn Marie Johnson is listed on the Parker County Republican Women's "Republican Elected Officials" web page at

Anonymous said...

And don't forget that it was an HOA led by Republican T.K. Mastny who sued the family of a United States Marine for posting a sign in support of their son while he was deployed to Afghanistan.

See comments section at

And regular readers of this blog are familiar with Senator John Carona (Republican - Dallas), owner of the largest HOA management company in the country.

Anonymous said...

Here are some more insightful comments from the comments section of the story, blaming liberal judges for supporting liberal HOAs:

"HOA is another word for Socialist."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 8:59am

"Cases like this show how deeply ensconced in our legal system these Woodstock leftovers are and they‘ve been legislating from the bench since slick’s sleazy terms and shows all another reason why these elections matter so dearly."
One Man Progressive Wrecking Crew
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 8:52am

"Sounds like you’ve got a strong case. It’s in the courts, now, right, not an appeal to the HOA? Good luck. Common sense is on your side, but that doesn’t always win, not where liberals are involved."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 9:17am

"HOA’s are magnets for the Obamabot, socialist control freaks that want it all in their grasp."
Barry Da Fraud
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 8:09am

"Just another ridiculous attack against conservatives from the progressive. When these cases goe to COURT.. the progressives ALWAYS win, facts do not matter."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 10:03am

"Homeowners associations = little slices of communist territories."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 9:26am

"Also, if the HOA was elected, as is likely, all members have the right to run for office. Perhaps it’s time for conservatives to run for these positions. If a conservative in one of these places can’t win against a socialist, than it’s probably time to move."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 9:18am

"Another liberal hack of a judge"
Wakeup Maggie
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 9:16am

"Once again we see that liberals have removed the blindfold from lady justice. It is no longer blind and treats consertives differently then liberals."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 1:17pm

"'Homeowners Association' Sounds like socialism for rich people."
Thomas Paine
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 1:14pm

"Most HOAS are liberal communists on steroids"
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 11:26am

"Conservatives want to be free to live their lives – liberals want to be free to force their ideology down all our throats – Because they are smarter dont ya know just ask a liberal"
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 3:09pm

"No doubt this judge is a liberal,"
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 2:43pm

"this will happen more and more because this is bho’s government."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 5:37pm

"$7,000 fine for a Beck sign. Hope having a barry 2012 sign should be 10x that. Oh wait a minute, the morons who came up with this fine are barry’s supporters."
Posted on November 21, 2011 at 5:14pm

"This HOA is nothing but a bunch of busy bodies who are like Obama and the Democrats — they won’t accept any answer but what they want to hear."
Posted on November 22, 2011 at 11:00am

Anonymous said...

According to the 912 project, the subject of the sign in question, at

Activist Judge Rules Against Freedom of Speech in North Texas! (update #5 7-22-2011)
. . .
"Initially I told Clara that I most likely would not have the time to do a story on her case until she began providing some details about the Judge and had told me how she had found out that Judge Lynn Marie Johnson had been previously registered as a Democrat and only recently joined the GOP in order to get elected in a largely conservative area (I along with others are still working to try and verify this statement). Mrs. Russell also explained how the judge had come back from a lunch break with pages in a book already marked prior to the end of the trial or final statements had been given as if Judge Johnson had already reached a verdict on her case. I can assure you that both of these comments were quick to catch my attention at which time I told Clara I would make time to get her story out since I have personally taken a strong stance against activist judges because they are the ones who are tearing down the pillars of our U.S. Constitution."

Two points:

(1) Clara Russell had to claim that Judge Lynn Marie Johnson was a former Democrat in order to get the 912 Project to investigate this story, and

(2) the last update to the story ws 4 months ago, meaning that the 912 Project has not yet verified that claim.

Judgepedia says nothing about Judge Johnson having been a Democrat.

I'm not saying that it's not true, but people who have an interesting in painting Judge Johnson as a liberal activist have yet to produce any evidence.

The mental gymnastics that the political Right has to perform when confronted with the HOA issue is nothing short of amazing.

Anonymous said...

Clara Russell on the Glenn Beck show 4 days ago: 6 minutes 13 seconds long

At 4:40 into the video, Ms. Russell states that "I had the deed restrictions at that time. I got a copy of the deed restrictions. I highlighted the area. It's only three lines that says 'No signs are permitted unless it's a For Sale sign, and that sign can only be one sign per property."

But the funniest part about the video is that Glenn Beck seems shocked that this could go on in Texas; a state which the conservative and libertarian media has spent the past year praising as a model for the rest of the country to emulate (ie, right-to-work laws, no state income tax, etc.).

Somebody should tell these people that stories about private corporate governments like this aren't aberrations, but the norm in Red State Utopia.

As somebody named Evan McKenzie said nearly 10 years ago -- before the current housing and economic crisis -- "What's really driving this is the dynamics of these collection lawyers who are just out to generate fees and to sell these houses off as fast as they can."

Anonymous said...

According to the 912 Project at

HOA president Kathy Kornegay Chruscielski and Judge Lynn Marie Johnson have been busy removing evidence of their friendship from their Facebook pages.

Anonymous said...

Re: Judge being a democrat

If you look at her supporters who helped to get he judge into office, it's really not hard to believe she was a democrat who changed to GOP just to get elected in a largely conservative area. It's a common tactic. In the latest article they are showing how one of the judge's focal points is "Improving Revenue". This stance is hardly that of a real conservative.

Anonymous said...

"The mental gymnastics that the political Right has to perform when confronted with the HOA issue is nothing short of amazing."

Conservatives and libertarians are frequently criticizing the "lack of common sense" in society -- whether it be activist judges, zero-tolerance policies, political correctness, greedy lawyers, etc. -- but are apologists for the most appalling examples of zero-tolerance policies enacted and enforced for the benefit of greedy lawyers.

Watching them try to blame this on the conservative bogeyman of activist judges is amusing, because they refuse to see the bigger problem -- that HOA private corporate governance by contract-law is the embodiment of their pet theories in the real world.

And like other forms of Communism, it's a failure.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous@ November 26, 2011 10:27:00 PM CST:

> In the latest article they are showing how one of the judge's
> focal points is "Improving Revenue".
> This stance is hardly that of a real conservative.


That's the best conservatives can come up with after 4 months?!

I'm not saying it's not possible that Judge Johnson used to be a Democrat, but

(1) no evidence has been offered, even though such records are public, and

(2) even if she was, so what? Are these "isolated incidents" of abusing homeowners excusable when the players involved are life-long Republicans?

Anonymous said...

The libertarian "Free State Revolution" web site has named the HOA's president, Thomas Stewart, "Idiot Of the Week" at

"Show me an over-regulated, freedom dissolving neighborhood, and I will show you a progressive, left-wing, 'everybody should be the same', dictator-like HOA president at the helm. If the Russell’s would have had a 'We’re the 99%' sign the same size, this story wouldn’t be a national story. In a way, this HOA is a microcosm of what is happening nationally."

"Free State Revolution" links to a story on the conservative web site "The Blaze" with a photo of the HOA president wearing an Obama shirt.

But that still doesn't prove that Judge Johnson is a liberal or used to be a Democrat.