Bayou Corne residents brace for buyout process change

Photo provided by staff.
Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 8:55pm

People living in Bayou Corne only have a few hours left to decided what to do with buyout offers from Texas Brine Company. A federal court in New Orleans gave Texas Brine until June 24 at 5:30 p.m. to talk to residents who don't have lawyers. After that deadline they can't go forward with buyout offers unless the resident is represented by a lawyer. Texas Brine spokesman officials said the company gave out 91 offers, of which 34 were accepted as of Sunday. Some property owners say the offers were much lower than expected. Now property owners have to figure out what to do next, fast.

"I am not surrendering by any means," Shelly Hernandez, Bayou Corne Property owner, explained. "I may be torn tattered worn. I am not surrendering. It may bring me to my grave but I'm not."

When Bayou Corne property owner Shelly Hernandez first saw her buyout offers from Texas Brine she was outraged.

"Very disappointed and insulted," she described. "There is no more hope. I have lost all trust."

Hernandez owns three properties in the area. She wants Texas Brine to buy them all out, so she can move on with her life. As of Sunday she had only received two offers. None of which she says she can accept. She explained the money she was offered wouldn't be enough for her to try and get a similar home somewhere else.

"Don't treat us like we are everyday and below you, because I feel we have been very disrespected," Hernandez stated.

Hernandez got her second offer on Friday, giving her four days to make a major decision. She also has counter offer in to Texas Brine that she has not heard back about.

"If we put in counter offer tomorrow it will be rushed," she exclaimed. "Everything has been to pressured and too quick for people to make decisions for life long changes."

Hernandez says settlement offers also include money for other damages including emotional suffering since the sinkhole started.

"It's just not fair to say you can put a dollar sign on my life," Hernandez said.

Now, Hernandez is considering getting a lawyer to help her family make sure her family is protected.

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