Family. Meth. Contamination.

Michael Newey, Practicum Contributor

“You can see some of the needles right here,” said Major Travis Tubbs, pointing out hypodermic needles that lined his property while balancing one of his seven children on his shoulders.

Tubbs came to Oregon State last year seeking his Ph.D in crop science, but the house he bought for his family turned out to be contaminated with methamphetamine. Tubbs claims the house was sold to him with that knowledge in mind and that the sellers should have at least disclosed that information beforehand. 

Bradley Dumilieu and Jody Draper were co-owners of the house until the Tubbs purchased it with the help of the family’s contracted real estate agent, Rick Vega. Draper was working as the official broker for the house, under his and Dumilieu’s co-owned real estate company, Westgate Group LLC. Tubbs alleges that Dumilieu and Draper are liable for the cleanup costs under ORS 475.455. 

“My biggest worry of course is to just make sure the kids are safe from the meth contamination,” Tubbs said. Tubbs also stated that he had to teach his children ways to identify drug needles and how to protect themselves from meth contamination.

According to Public Information Officer Chris Baldridge, the house had been viewed as suspicious but in the end, the police did not have enough probable cause for a warrant, so the house was left alone. Then, the Tubbs family bought the property for $375,000, according to the statutory warranty deed. A few days later, they were told about the meth. 

According to Tubbs, closing on the transaction for the house occured early July and information that the house was contaminated with meth was allegedly disclosed to the Tubbs’ contracted real estate agent for the family, Vega,  from the co-owner of the house, Dumilieu, July 14, 2017. Upon learning of the possibility of methamphetamine on his property, Tubbs hired a third-party contractor, A Best Environmental LLC, to analyze the property. A Best Environmental LLC collected samples from 28 locations, sending them to Analytical Chemistry Inc. for analysis. All came back positive for methamphetamine, according to the test results. The HVAC system tested up to 150 times higher than cleanup standard. 

 Tubbs and his wife, Denay Tubbs, filed a legal complaint in January 2018 against Westgate Group, Dumilieu and Draper, as well as Keller Williams Realty Inc., which Draper is an independent contractor of. 

Tubbs‘ complaint contained eight allegations including breach of contract, negligence and punitive damages, as well as a claim of fraud for defendant Dumilieu. Tubbs claimed that the defendants had violated the contract he signed to purchase the property by failing to disclose the property “had been used and was used as a site for the manufacturing, use or distribution of methamphetamine,” among other allegations. In his claims for relief, Tubbs requested at least $635,513 in damages, $800,000 in punitive damage and an amount to cover attorney fees and costs. 

“We’re trying to estimate what we think will be the real expenses when it’s all done,” said Tubbs. He admitted his family is trying to estimate high to cover costs that have accumulated as time has progressed. Tubbs shared a quote from A Best Environmental LLC, the same company that tested the property for meth. The quote placed decontamination of the Tubbs’ property at over $84,000. A separate estimate for restoration from NW Claims Management LLC cited $616,398.75 in restoration expenses for the property. Together, these costs add up to almost twice the amount Tubbs paid for the house. Further costs from storage costs, electrical rewiring costs and living costs have added up as well.

After issuing a claim, Tubbs requested an issuance of provisional process, which would require the defendants to remediate the property by removing all toxic substances and getting the house to livable conditions. Both Draper and Keller Williams opposed this request. Draper’s filed opposition stated Tubbs circumvented a dispute resolution clause in the sales agreement. The clause stated that arbitration, a process where a third party is elected to decide the outcome of the case, would be used to settle the dispute. 

Keller Williams Realty’s legal response to Tubbs’ complaint, given as an oral argument on April 11 this year, stated that Tubbs purchased the property from the other two defendants, Draper and Dumilieu, and that Keller Williams Realty was not involved in the transaction. The response further stated that allegations against the company were not enough to provide burden of proof against the company. They argued that the motion for provisional process should be denied.

A second response from Keller Williams was issued after the judge on the case dismissed Tubbs’ request for an issuance of provisional process. Keller Williams requested that all claims against it be dismissed on the account of  prejudice. Keller Willams’ team leader did not respond to a request for comment.  

Draper’s motion to dismiss the request for provisional process and compel arbitration came July 10, after a court-requested mediation. Mediation is where a neutral third party assists the two opposing parties in resolving their dispute. In Draper’s motion, it is stated that each of each of Tubbs’ seven claims against Keller Williams, Westgate Group, Draper and Dumilieu and the claim of fraud against Dumilieu, fall within the arbitration clause. 

According to public records, Dumilieu has not been served a successful court summons yet. 

In the next few days, the case will enter mediation once more, not yet arbitration. Draper said he was not able to comment at the time due to impending mediation. 

“Hopefully we’ll have an insurance settlement for the buyers to help them out,” Draper said via text. He was unable to provide more information. 

In the meantime, Tubbs and his family continue to live in a trailer placed on the property and a converted garage.

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