Dream Home Winner Can't Afford Home - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/16/05-Tyler

Dream Home Winner Can't Afford Home

Don Cruz won a dream home, but the taxes he owes on it are a nightmare. The IRS say he owes about 600 thousand dollars by April 15th, 2006. The disabled-unemployed father and husband doesn't have that kind of money.

His solution, to rent out the boat house and the master suit. The only problem, Cruz doesn't own the property, just the house. The HGTV Dream Home was built on The Reserve at Lake Tyler, and the lease agreement prohibits leasing out any part of the home.

That's why Cruz went before the Lake Tyler Advisory Board today to ask for a change in the rules. But the board had a few problems with his proposal, first the lack of a business plan. "From a business standpoint, I don't want to predict failure but I would find it very difficult to succeed," says Board Member Mark Lankford. Second, the time limits upon Mr. Cruz. "He's got a limited amount of time that he can lease these rooms out -- assuming that people would only come in the summer, spring and fall -- his answers will have to come from within," says Lankford. Finally, Cruz may not be able to afford the property now or in the future. "All of the properties on the lake and all are usually very expensive, it is an expensive place live," says Scott Shaver. "And without the revenue to keep up the place I'd find it pretty difficult to leave a wonderful impression of East Texas," says Lankford.

Cruz did have a few allies on the board. "I think in these exceptional circumstances you have to open you mind up and take the blinders off and think of a new approach to things," says Shaver.

In the end though, Cruz lost his fight. After hearing the news, he denied us any comment but told the board several time he believes God will open a door to help him pay the tax. And many members of the board hope he can find a way to succeed. "I wish Mr. Cruz the best. He sees like a wonderful man and we look forward to having him on the lake," says Lankford.

Michelle Mortensen, reporting.  mmortensen@kltv.com

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