More on the Murphy Castle Keeper Squatter Eviction Case: What the Heck Happened?

Published July 2, 2012 by Candy Evans

I read this “eviction story” last week in the Dallas Morning News on line — someone told me it was a front page story– and was in shock. The point is, of course, that a woman who owned a $259,900 home in far out Murphy had to essentially go to court to get her home back! And I’m not even sure you could technically call it an eviction case. More like booting.

Aji Philip hired a Carrollton-based home staging and occupying company called Castle Keepers to stage and babysit her home. One wonders if the furniture in these photos is that of Aji or the Castle Keepers. I’ve had some experience with Castle Keepers. Years ago, when we lived on Park Lane, a Castle Keeper family lived in the rambling ranch that was across the street. It was a gorgeous mid century modern built by the same contractor who built Fair Park. The owners had died and the loveliest family in the world moved in to “keep” the house, stage it with pretty furniture. They had a teenage son, maybe two, and they were among the most respectful boys I have ever met. The father was in insurance sales. The boys mowed that lawn, all 1.5 acres of it, with a push mower in the heat of August. They explained the Castle Keeper deal to me, although I never saw their contract. The deal was this: furnish the house with gorgeous furniture, keep it immaculate and magazine-ready at all times as if someone was showing the house at a moments’ notice, and  take care of everything from the roof to the yard to the middle of the street. They paid something, but the rent is incredibly low. I got the impression that Castle Keepers vetted their tenants damn carefully. They may even have had to be bonded. They lived across from us for two or three years until the house sold and was scraped, a huge Todd & Hughes (as in Randy Hughes) red brick mansion of about 8500 square feet went up.

But the “tenants” — my neighbors told me they were more like guests — in Aji Philip’s case were not so lovely it seems. We do not know what the condition of the home is now, we can only hope they kept the house immaculate.

Philip did not like having the young men’s father’s pit bull in the house, I cannot blame her. I cannot imagine Castle Keepers approving pets in a home they are staging, and I am a HUGE pet lover. It’s just that if you are living in someone elses’ house and trying to make it look its best for selling/showing, who wants pets because God love them, they do have little accidents. (Or big accidents.) And then I have a son, he is 27. He has always been incredibly mature and responsible, and he actually lived in a home we own in college for a bit. He took care excellent care of the house and did half the renovations, painted, landscaped. But was the house neat and show ready? No way. Were there spatters in the microwave baked on? Beer cans? Oh yeah. That’s when he was 23. My point is — who puts a 23 and a 27 year old in a house if they want it to look like a feature story in a shelter pub?

Aji Philip apparently almost got tasered by Murphy police. Apparently she was a little agitated and I cannot blame her. THIS IS HER HOME:

Nathan Burgess met Philip at the door. He ordered her off her own property and called Murphy police. Officers arrived in the middle of the confrontation.

“It sounded like he [Burgess] had every right to be there because she had signed a contract with the Castle Keeper deal,” said Lt. Adana Barber. “We all feel sorry for her, but there’s nothing we can do criminally unless he did something to her.”

At one point, Barber said, one of the officers threatened to use a Taser on Philip.

“She was coming at the officer and she was very agitated,” Barber said. “And we understand why, but she wasn’t complying with what the officer wanted.”

Soon after, Raupple posted an eviction notice on the front door of the home.

“The parties in this dispute have hardened their positions to a point where they refuse to talk to each other,” he said. “This is totally beyond my control.”

Aji bought 720 Paint Creek Drive in Murphy in August of 2009 for $245,000. She was asking $259,900, down from $279,900. The home was listed in January, just off the market June 24. Agent was Robin Everly with ReMax. The home is 3796 square feet with five bedrooms, four baths and four living areas including a media room. The master is down, and the kitchen has granite counters and some stainless appliances. It’s really a lovely home, typical of Murphy development.

If I were her, I might have borrowed that taser…

— Daily Local Real Estate Dish By Dallas Real Estate Insider — Candy Evans at CandysDirt.com