Lawyer goes after Houston land

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By Damon Lawrence

The signs brothers Rocky and Leon Houston have been accused of erecting South of the River could be coming down.
Cleveland attorney James F. Logan Jr. has filed a petition in Roane County Probate Court to be appointed administrator of the estate of the brothers’ late father, Clifford Clyde Houston.
“The descendant (decedent) owned real estate which has substantial value so long as the defendants Rocky Joe Houston and Clifford Leon Houston are removed and restrained and prohibited from coming about said property,” Logan wrote in his petition. “Rocky Joe Houston and Clifford Leon Houston have placed objects and communications upon said premises, which are despicable, unreasonable and they have done so without lawful authority.”
Logan represented Leon in his first-degree murder case.
The charges stemmed from a 2006 shootout that left Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his ride-along Mike Brown dead.
Prosecutors claimed Rocky and Leon ambushed the men, but the brothers contended they killed in self-defense.
Leon’s first trial ended in a hung jury. He was acquitted during a second trial in November 2009. Afterward, he referred to Logan as the best attorney on the “East Coast.”
A state appeals court ruled that an error made by the judge during Rocky’s trial in December 2008 barred him from being tried again.
On March 12, 2009, Rocky, Leon and other members of the Houston family signed a deed of trust on four tracts of land that named Logan as the beneficiary. The property was used to secure attorney fees and expenses for Logan.
He later decided to foreclose on the property after Leon defaulted on an agreement.
Three of the tracts, which total around 100 acres, were purchased by Logan for $150,000 at a foreclosure sale on the steps of the Roane County Courthouse in January 2011.
At the time, Logan said a fourth tract, which totaled around 150 acres, was postponed because of Clyde Houston.
“We will see if we can resolve the issue involving their father,” Logan said at the sale.
A trustee’s deed was filed on three tracts of Houston family property in November. Logan was listed as the new owner of the property.
“The actual consideration or value of the property at the time of purchase and until the Houstons are ejected from the property is $105,000,” the deed said.
Clyde Houston passed away on March 14, 2012. Logan filed his petition last week.
“The totality of the decedent’s debts are unknown to your petitioner,” the petition said. “However, it is known that the deceased Clifford Clyde Houston was in his lifetime a guarantor of a debt due and owing to your petitioner in an amount in excess of $100,000. The indebtedness is drawing interest at the rate of 1.5 percent  per annum plus payment of all attorneys’ fees attributable to the collection of the aforesaid debt.”
The petition said in addition to Rocky and Leon, Clyde had three other children: Debbie Cofer of Roane County, Lisa Burris of Niota and Tommy Houston, whose whereabouts are unknown and who was not mentioned in Clyde Houston’s obituary.
Logan wants the court to appoint him the administrator of the estate along with an order directing the Houston siblings to produce a copy of Clyde’s will. 
“Petitioner believes that the decedent died with a will,” the petition said. “However, no one has been forthcoming with reference to the will.”
Logan estimates the value of Clyde’s estate is approximately $500,000.
“The defendants Clifford Leon Houston and Rocky Joe Houston continue to engage in outrageous, despicable conduct calculated at and accomplishing the objective of depriving the petitioner creditor of his recourse against the estate of Clifford Clyde Houston,” the petition said. “Petitioner will exhibit to the court upon the hearing in this cause photographs of the placing of huge signs on the property, which are calculated at causing the public at large and particular individuals to be fearful of the defendants.”
The signs erected on the property accuse federal and state officials of treason and being terrorists. In the petition, Logan also asked that he and a representative be authorized to remove the signs.
A hearing is scheduled in Roane County Probate Court on Feb. 5.   
“The court will further consider the issue of removal of signs from said property on the aforesaid date,” court records said.
Logan also wants Rocky and Leon barred from going on their father’s property. That shouldn’t be too difficult,  since the brothers are currently incarcerated on federal firearms charges.
U.S. Magistrate C. Clifford Shirley Jr. ruled last week that Leon must remain behind bars while his case is pending.
Rocky has yet to have a detention hearing. He faces 14 counts of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.
Leon is charged with possession of firearms while being an unlawful user of controlled substances.