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Bexar County Officials Might Extend Eviction Moratorium After Olmos Club Incident

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff may extend a county-wide hold on eviction through the end of May.
Dominic Anthony Walsh | Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff may extend a county-wide hold on eviction through the end of May.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff might extend a county-wide moratorium on evictions through the end of May, according to County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez.

"The judge has at least relayed to me that his intent is to — in this next revision of the order — extend that moratorium on evictions," Rodriguez said. "He didn't give me a date (for) certain, but I would imagine it would have to be at least 30 days — through May, as a lot of the fallout is still happening in the economy." 

On Monday, Wolff said he heard reports that about 50 people were locked out of their apartments at the Olmos Club complex in San Antonio. The property manager said only 18 people had been locked out, and that most were suspected of selling drugs or were late on rent for as far back as February. Olmos Club is in Rodriguez's Precinct 2.  

"We're hoping this is just an incident that occurred, and that it's not a pattern because we know that there's still people struggling," Rodriguez said. "There's still people that are losing jobs and applying for unemployment benefits. And my hope is that the judge will extend the order here in the next day or two.”

The Olmos Club Apartments property is owned by MacTex Properties. When reached by phone, the owner of MacTex, Manuel Cruz, refused to identify himself, but a MacTex employee later confirmed his identity. Cruz claimed that most of the affected tenants were in Cuba, Mexico or Puerto Rico, and the apartments were being used by drug dealers and sex workers.

The on-site property manager, Edward Garza, said he doesn't know anything about illegal sex work at the property, but said some tenants are suspected of selling drugs and others are late on rent. He said the locks activate each time the doors open and close, but that tenants will be let into their apartments if they contact maintenance.

Garza said he doesn't enjoy locking people out of their apartments, but renters should prioritize paying rent. 

"We have bills the same way. We find methods to pay everything," he said. "If you don't have a place to live, where are you going to live? Your priority should be your rent first." 

Luis Santana-Falcon said he has lived at Olmos Club Apartments for 20 years. He said his son recently moved into the complex after completing military service, and is behind two months on rent. According to Santana-Falcon, his son was one of the tenants locked out of his apartment. 

"I feel like they should be treating people with a little bit more respect," Santana-Falcon said. "The way he did it, there's no reason for in the situation we're in now."

The Texas Supreme Court has extended a hold on eviction proceedings through May 18, but landlords can still file for eviction in many counties. The Bexar County Justice of the Peace isn’t holding in-person proceedings, including on evictions, until June. 

Correction: A previous version of this story named the wrong location of Olmos Club Apartments. It is in San Antonio.

Dominic Anthony Walsh can be reached at Dominic@TPR.org and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony.

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Dominic Anthony Walsh can be reached at Dominic@TPR.org and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony