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Mei Investments, L.P. v. Dallas County

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

April 2, 2019

MEI INVESTMENTS, L.P., Appellant
v.
DALLAS COUNTY, CITY OF DALLAS, DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, DALLAS COUNTY SCHOOL EQUALIZATION FUND, DALLAS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT, AND PARKLAND HOSPITAL DISTRICT, Appellees

          On Appeal from the 162nd Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. TX-15-02015

          Before Justices Bridges, Partida-Kipness, and Carlyle

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CORY L. CARLYLE JUSTICE

         MEI Investments, L.P. appeals an adverse judgment for delinquent business personal property taxes. In five issues on appeal, MEI contends (1) the trial court erred by admitting an affidavit of MEI's principal into evidence and by applying the presumption in Texas Property Tax Code section 33.47(a) against MEI, and (2) the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the trial court's judgment. We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL CONTEXT

         Appellees, the Taxing Authorities, filed this lawsuit in October 2015 against "Public Auto Sales, Inc. D/B/A Public Autos, Ltd., A/K/A Public Auto Sales," seeking to recover delinquent 2014 taxes due on business personal property. They attached a "delinquent tax statement," bearing the heading "Public Auto Sales Inc, 925 S Buckner Blvd, Dallas, TX 75217-4506" and listing taxes on "Personal Property Public Autos Ltd 925 S. Buckner Blvd."

         In June 2017, the Taxing Authorities filed a first amended petition adding MEI as a defendant and asserting an additional claim for unpaid 2015 taxes on the same property. MEI filed a general denial answer and a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied. The evidence attached to MEI's summary judgment motion included an affidavit of Hussein K. Mahrouq, the "managing member of the general partner of MEI." In his affidavit, Mahrouq stated in part:

3. I was familiar with an automobile business which had existed for many years in
Dallas known as Public Auto Sales ("Public Auto"). . . .
. . . .
7. MEI purchased the following assets of Public Auto:
a. Real property with the address of 908 S. Buckner Blvd, Dallas, Texas. A true and correct copy of the February 3, 2015 contract for this property is attached hereto as Exhibit "1."
b. Real property with the address of 905, 915 and 925 S. Buckner Blvd, Dallas, Texas, as well as certain machinery, office equipment and service vehicles described on Exhibit D to the contract and intellectual property rights described on an Addendum to the contract. A true and correct copy of the March 25, 2015 contract for this property is attached hereto as Exhibit "2."

         The contract attached to Mahrouq's affidavit as an exhibit described the seller as "Public Autos Sales Ltd." at "925 S. Buckner Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75217." The "Addendum" to that contract stated in part:

Property address or description: 905, 915, 925, S. BUCKNER BLVD., DALLAS, TX 75217 Seller has been operating an automobile sales and financing enterprise ("the Business") on the premises the subject of this Commercial Contract of Sale. In conjunction herewith, and as an integral part hereof, the following assets of the Business are included in the contemplated purchase and shall be conveyed by Seller to Purchaser at closing:
A. All right, title and interest in and to the goodwill of ...

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