A Texas couple set up an outdoor photoshoot for their daughter’s first birthday, hoping to capture some happy pictures. But, they were quickly interrupted when a woman stopped her car and confronted the family, claiming there was a big problem.
Kelyn and Isaiah Allen were simply hoping to capture some photos of their daughter Anja in celebration of her first birthday, according to Inside Edition. A clear and sunny Saturday afternoon in Houston with the perfect scenic backdrop for a photoshoot should have made for a few great photos. Sadly, that wouldn’t be the case when they encountered Franci Neely.
After finding a spot on a picturesque walking trail in the Broadacres community, often frequented by local families and popular with photographers, the Allens posed their daughter for the photos. As Anja sat on a pink, fuzzy blanket, surrounded by a few birthday balloons, it appeared they had the perfect setting for a heartwarming photoshoot. But, the happy day was about to dissolve into chaos as Neely, a Houston socialite, spotted the Allens.
Their outdoor photoshoot was quickly interrupted by the furious millionairess who claimed there was a huge problem with what the Allens were doing. What’s worse, it’s not the first time Neely did something like this, according to ABC 13.
When Neely saw the couple on the sidewalk with their daughter, she couldn’t contain herself. She immediately stopped her car and got out. Barefoot and carrying a small dog, Neely approached the parents and confronted them. Shocked by what was unfolding, the family recorded the incident with their cell phone, capturing the moment the angry socialite slapped the phone and the balloons.
In the footage, the little birthday girl, obviously upset by Neely’s outburst, is heard crying. “You’re making my child cry,” her mother shouts at Neely, who then goes after the dad and appears to strike his camera. After dragging the baby’s blanket off the sidewalk, Neely heads back to her Jaguar convertible parked on the street. But, things were far from over.
As the footage gained attention, Neely, who was reportedly awarded $30 million in her 2015 divorce, became “apologetic.” But, she insisted she was justified, citing a claim by the local homeowners association. According to the HOA, the property in question was deeded to the group in the 1920s and posted signs banning photo shoots throughout the community, alleging that photographers disrupt the peaceful neighborhood with large crowds, equipment, and tables.
“We had to take a stand,” HOA president Cece Fowler said, explaining why the photogenic Houston community was trying to block photoshoots from its streets. “People were going into people’s gardens, standing on people’s front steps, and they felt that they could just take over the neighborhood.” However, there’s just one problem.
Although the HOA has tried to restrict photographers, the City of Houston says the esplanade, streets, and sidewalk along North Boulevard in the Broadacres community are considered public property. The HOA has been fighting the city over the property rights, but at the time of this incident, Houston maintained that the areas are in the public right-of-way. But, Neely wouldn’t back down.
“The Broadacres Homeowners Association Invests lots of money paying to maintain the trees, grass, and walkways in our neighborhood,” Franci Neely said in a statement, claiming the high volume of photoshoots taking place in the community are damaging the property and interfering “with dog walkers and others who merely want to walk under the pretty trees.”
Although Neely also said in the same statement that she was “very sorry” she “got upset,” she maintained that the couple was wrong for obstructing the walkway. She also said they were not respectful when she explained the situation. “It’s hard to remain composed when confronted by shouted threats of lawsuits and false, inflammatory accusations,” she alleged.
The Allens, of course, disagree about who was disrespectful and filed a police report. But, no charges were immediately filed. The public has been instructed to call 311 if they see a photographer blocking the sidewalk, so the city can investigate the matter. And, that’s exactly what Neely should have done, rather than committing assault in front of a small child.
No one wants their hard-earned property damaged, but it’s hard to sympathize with a woman who gets violent over a blanket on the sidewalk. What’s Franci Neely’s real issue? If she’s opposed to crowds, she can use her millions to move someplace that doesn’t border busy public property. Sadly, all that cash can’t buy class.