Houston charity suing landlord after historic flood

- Sand bags still surround the doors at "Easter Seals" in Southwest Houston where they’re always worried about the rain. 

“There's not a day that goes by that if it rains or we here in the forecast it's raining that your gut doesn't clinch up,” said Kelly Klein, Easter Seals Development Director.

Nearly 2-feet of rain water flooded their rented building on Bissonnet during the historic Memorial Day floods causing extensive damage. 

“Our biggest problem was that our landlord decided that they didn't want to make repairs to the building,” said Easter Seals CEO Elisa Hough.

Now Easter Seals, a non-profit, which provides services to the physically and developmentally disabled, is suing its landlord, “4500 Bissonnet Associates, LP,” to recoup the money the charity says it had to spend to fix the building. 

“We are out about $50,000. It's absolutely our last choice to have to sue somebody, but we do expect the landlord to make repairs to their own building,” said Hough.

The temporary closure of their school and therapy clinic forced clients like Alex Garcia to travel farther for therapy, while some clients have never returned. 

“It was a struggle,” said Garcia. 

In a counter-lawsuit, the realty group claims it’s not liable for the damages or any lost income. 

“I don't understand when we’re renting from a building why it's our responsibility to fix it. I understand if like if something we did made it happen but we didn't do anything it was a flood," said Klein.

While many in the community did step up with donations after the flood, Hough says the future of the therapy clinic is in jeopardy. 

“It was already hard for us to sustain it in the community was helping support it, but I just don't know if we're going to be able to keep the doors open for the clinic,” she said.

The attorney for “4500 Bissonnet Associates LP,” Laura Kissel, released the following statement about the pending lawsuits: 

“We are aware that Easter Seals incurred repair costs associated with the flooding in May 2015.  We sent Easter Seals a check for the full amount of those repair costs.  Easter Seals sent the check back to us, and is requesting additional damages that are not allowed under the terms of the lease. While regrettable, we must continue to defend the lawsuit under these circumstances.”

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