Attorneys used friendship with contractors as basis for lawsuit

These splash pad features and the work performed by the splash pad contractor is the center of lawsuits filed in Canadian County District Court and in a Texas federal court. (File Photo)

By Tim Farley, News Editor – A woman sued by the Piedmont Park Project and its organizers claims in court documents she was named a defendant only because of her friendship with Houston-based contractors Rick Edwards and James Anthony.

Susan Hellen claims in a document filed in Canadian County District Court that she has no connection to the park project or the work performed by splash pad contractor SEE Spray.

Hellen was named as a defendant in a lawsuit the Piedmont Park Project filed in Canadian County District Court earlier this month. Park organizers also sued McKenna Contracting, of Houston, splash pad contractor SEE Spray, James Anthony, Houston attorney Terri Garcia and Armando Rodriguez.

However, Hellen is the common-law wife to Rodriguez who performed substantial work for the splash pad contractor.

Piedmont Park Project attorney Gideon Lincecum referred to documents that show Hellen prepared at least one invoice for the work Rodriguez performed for SEE Spray.

The Piedmont Park Project alleges in its Canadian County case that Houston-based SEE Spray and its crews performed shoddy work and did not complete the project on schedule.

“Susan Hellen has no connection to any of the transactions and occurrences pleaded in this lawsuit,” Hellen’s response shows.

The woman’s legal response states she did not have any verbal or written contracts with the Piedmont Park Project and did not perform any work “other than volunteer work at the project site where she helped pick up trash, provided food to workers and provided general help as needed.”

The response also shows the Piedmont Park Project’s lawsuit displayed a “poor attempt at linking” Susan Hellen to the project and alleged damages.

“Susan was not and is not a subcontractor or employee. Susan filed no lawsuit. Susan filed no liens. Susan performed no labor or provided any material to the site. Susan only provided volunteer work out of the goodness of her heart,” Hellen’s response states.

SEE Spray, Edwards and Anthony filed a federal lawsuit against the Piedmont Park Project and its leaders last week in Houston. A week earlier, SEE Spray attorney Terri Garcia, of Houston, filed liens against the splash pad equipment and the property where it sits. The property is owned by F&M Bank and is adjacent to a neighborhood developed by Piedmont builder Phil Boevers, who was the construction manager for the park project.

Boevers is one of several defendants in the federal lawsuit. Others are F&M Bank presidents Eric Anderson and Terry Anderson, Paul Francel and the Piedmont Park Project.

Meanwhile, Hellen’s response shows she was named a defendant in the Canadian County case for the “sole purpose” of harassing her and causing “distress in her life.”

“She is a person of minimal means and this lawsuit was filed by Gary S. Chilton, Stephen R. Johnson, Gideon A. Lincecum, Ryan Haynie of Holladay & Chilton as a scare and bullying tactic to harass a person who has the least money, the least power and the least involvement other than volunteer work for the Piedmont Park Project. The Oklahoma State Bar should sanction them for these unlawful acts as to Susan Hellen,” the response reads.

Hellen is requesting a judge dismiss her from the Canadian County case.

“Her only connection in any of this is that she is a friend of Rick Edwards and James Anthony. To further harm them, their attorneys decided to reach out and scare off their dear friends particularly their low income day laborer friends with little power to fight back and fight back a phantom fight at that,” the response reads.

Hellen alleges in her counter-claim that attorneys for the Piedmont Park Project showed bad faith by including her in the lawsuit.

“Here, the clients and their attorneys were careless, hasty, incompetent and inept and any claims of them of bumbling good faith are not excused,” the document shows.

Hellen is seeking $30,000 from the Piedmont Park Project organizers and their attorneys and attorney’s fees. She’s also asking all donations made to the park project be placed in a court registry and a judge order a complete accounting.