Bastrop man recovers clothing, donations after storage trailer impounded


by QUITA CULEPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 9:41 AM

BASTROP, Texas -- A Bastrop man spent weeks desperately searching for his belongings after the trailer they were stored in was hauled away.

Now that man is counting his blessings and forging a new relationship with a Bastrop church.

Life has been hard for Kari Franks. The disabled carpenter and his wife lost their home in last year's wildfires that swept through Bastrop.

After the fire Franks and his wife were living in a tent and needed a place to store donated clothing, furniture and what was left of their belongings.

“Those were in an 18-wheeler trailer that was parked at Celebration Church in Bastrop,” Franks said. “It was all arranged by Jim Leverett, the head of Logs For Lumber, he set that up.”

Now the Franks are rebuilding their lives and living in a small mobile home, but a few weeks ago, they discovered something was missing.

“We went to go get our blankets, our heater, our winter clothes. We went to go get all of that out and bring it here, and that's when we found the trailer was gone,” Franks said. “We need our stuff. It's all we had left from the fire.”

For weeks, Franks had no idea where the trailer had gone, and no one, including Jim Leverette, could tell him where it was.

Celebration Church Pastor John Eason said they had the trailer impounded. In fact, they said the church called Leverette numerous times since August to tell him that it had to go.

“The trailer is in an impound yard in Gatesville, Texas,” Pastor Eason said. “I was assuming it was going to be a temporary storage just like everything else, not a long term like it became.”

Franks claimed Leverette told him the trailer could stay on church property as long as he wanted. 

“I was very upset with this church because Jim Leverette made me feel like it was their fault,” Franks said.

After meeting with church officials face to face, Franks said she believes Leverette may have misled them all.

“Every time it's some excuse,” Franks said.

Now Celebration Church said it's willing to help bring the trailer back so Franks can reclaim his belongings. It's also going to help make repairs to the rundown mobile home.

It's a gift Franks didn't expect.

“This means the world to me,” Franks said. 

Jim Leverette was not available for an on-camera interview, but he did speak to KVUE by phone.  Leverette said he tried to act as a mediator between Franks and the church, and claims he was never told there was a time limit for how long the trailer could stay on church property.