testify before at least one public agency. State investigators h a v e also examined bank records in various other parts of the State, it has been learned, and some of the information acquired in this manner is being used to further the investigations. A number of Brady veterans involved in multiple deals told a Travis County grand jury that they did not know they were buying land when they signed purchase papers in return for $100 or more. Some of these have now signed affidavits stating that, to the contrary, they did know what they were doing. In Austin, Rep. Tom Cheatham of Cuero said that “there is not any doubt but that some of them did” know they were buying land when they signed papers. Dennis Wallace, acting chairman of the Veterans’ Land Board, agreed. One notary public who testified before the Travis County grand jury said in Brady that she had notarized veterans’ affidavits for the purchase of land without seeing the veterans. Brady is the home town of the new land commissioner, Earl Rudder. John J. Bell On the basis of miscellaneous hearsay information received in Cuero, The Texas Observer asked Wallace, chief clerk of the Land Office who acts as chairman of the Veterans’ Land Board in Rudder’s absence, if Congressman John J. Bell had made representations to the Board on behalf of any sellers of blocs of land to the Veterans’ Land Board while Bell was a state senator from Cuero. Wallace replied: “I’m sure he’s been an agent on some transactions repres,enting the seller. Senator Bell was in the office various times. I have reason to believe he was representing either the seller or the purchaser in group transactions.” Ray Clark Diebel, the new executive secretary of the Land Board, remarked that it might not have been “group transactions,” and Wallace agreed, therefore adding: “I am not sure whether they were group or individual transactions.” A wire was sent to Congressman Bell in Washington, asking him if he had “made representations to Veterans’ Land ‘Board on behalf of applicants in veterans’ land transactions,” and if so, whom he had represented, and, if he wished to make them public, his retainer fees. Rep. Bell wired back: “Re tel complied with request of many veteran applicants to try to obtain information from Board for them at no retainer.” Another wire was sent to Bell saying: “Thanks much for reply. I infer from it you did not represent any sellers of blocs of land before the Board. If you did represent such sellers will appreciate your notifying me return collect.” As of Monday morning, Jan. 31, no answer to the second inquiry had been received. It was wired to Bell Friday at 11 a.m. Senator Hardeman was asked if he knew anything about Bell’s activities in the matter, and he replied that he did not, and that “there’s nothing in there about it,” referring to his Committee’s records. In a letter which he made public, Rep. Tom Cheatham of Cuero recently wrote to Bell rather abruptly: “There was a time, at the beginning of this investigation, had the opportunity afforded us, we would have endeavored to talk to you about this terrible and atrocious matter; but, of course, you just happened to be in Colorado at that time.” Since Cheatham’s letter then immediately went on to other matters, the inference was left that he does not now want to talk to Bell about it. A person close to the situation Page 4 January 31, 1955 THE TEXAS OBSERVER Resistance to House Land Probe Tol I told him we were going to look thoroughly into this thing, go to the bottom of it.” Hardeman said he and Sheffield did “not discuss” the possibility that Sheffield might be subpoenaed by Hardeman’s committee. Sheffield has not been seen around Brady since the hearings began, townspeople in Brady say. This reporter was told by a prominent Brady person who knows Hardeman and said he was certain he was not mistaken that Hardeman and Sheffield had lunch together in the Brady Hotel during Hardeman’s visit in the pre-Christmas week.. Asked if this was so, Hardeman flared: “That’s a damn lie. Is that plain enough?” He went on: “I conferred with him, sure, he hounded me till I talked to him. Earl Rudder was there with me, part of the time, anyway, there were 25 or 30 people in the lobby there.” A person close to Sheffield said in Brady that Hardeman conferred with Sheffield about an hour in Sheffield’s streetside office in the hotel which Sheffield owns. The person would not let his name be used. The report was not mentioned by anyone else, but it came from a person other than the person who said he saw the two at lunch in the hotel. In Austin, Hardeman’s remarks did not preclude such a conference, but he did not mention it and did not seem inclined to go further with the matter. Giles-Sheffield A check of corporate records on file with the Secretary of State in Austin reveals the following information about some of the business activities of the Giles family while Bascom Giles was the chairman of the Veterans Land Board: ’43taeOt ates and his wife, Effie Dean Giles, put up $149,000, and Elbert J. Wall, son-in-law of B. R. Sheffield, put up $1,000 to form Delwood Apartments, Inc., on March 11, 1948. Alvis Vandygriff, who resigned as executive secretary of the Veterans’ Land Board in mid-June, 1950, and subsequently assisted McLarty of Cuero in pushing group land deals through the Veterans’ Land Board, was one of three appraisers of land Giles transferred to Delwood Apartments, Inc., as capital investment. On March 31, 1948, Sheffield, Wall, and two others, Joe Williams and Grady Motheral, formed the Tex-Lite Masonry and Construction Company, Inc. A fully-paid-in $30,000 corporation, the company was subscribed as follows: Williams, $10,000; Motheral, $10,000; Sheffield, $0,900; Wall, $100. On May 20, 1948, G. W. Poteet, Sheffield, and Bascom Giles subscribed to the Southwest Plastering Corp., a fully-paid-in $8,700 corporation, to the tune of $2,900 each. A bank receipt shows that on that date, Sheffield deposited $5,800 with the Capital National Bank in Austin. It is explained in the charter that Sheffield and Giles subscribed in this manner: “B. R. Sheffield and Bascom Giles by the payment to B. R. Sheffield, Trustee for SouthweSt Plastering Corporation, the sum. of $2,900.00 in cash,” and then the deposit of the $5,800 by Sheffield in the bank. Both Tex-Lite and Southwest Plastering dissolved on Dec. 30, 1950. At that time, Southwest Plastering was wholly-owned by TexLite. Upon dissolution, stockholders in Tex-Lite were Rogan D. Giles, son of Bascom Giles, Motheral, and Sheffield. In Southwest Plastering, final stockholders were Bascom and Rogan Giles and Sheffield. Eleven months later, Nov. 17, 1949, the capital stock of Delwood Apartments, Inc.. was decreased from $150,000 to $15,000. Wall, one of the three original subscribers, was not mentioned among officers or stockholders in the dissolution certificate of Feb. 9, 1951. The Giles family formed Delwood Center. Inc., Dec. 13, 1951, with a capital stock of $50,000. Stockholders and the amount subscribed were J. Bascom Giles, $42,500; Effie Dean Giles, $2,500: Rogan Giles, $2,500; and J. B. Giles, Jr., $2,500. These c or p o r a t e transactions dealt in part with the construction and operation of 77 duplex apartments on land in Austin owned by Bascom Giles, Tex-Lite contracted with its subsidiary Southwestern Plastering, to build the 77 apartments. The apartments then appeared in a series of business transactions which, at various times, involved Bascom Giles. B. R. Sheffield, and C. 0. Hagan. Bascom Giles a n d Sheffield bought, devel6ped, and traded other real estate in the Austin area. One deed on file in the Travis County court house is signed by Rogan Giles for the Sheffield Building Company. James Cross of Yoakum, an attorney who went through Travis County records with Cuero Record Editor R. K. Towery, said that during the construction of the 77 duplex apartments, Giles and Sheffield appeared on the scene frequently and Rogan Giles was there “almost daily.” Cross was an office manager then for a concern doing business with Delwood Apartments, Inc. Bascom Giles and Sheffield were co-defendants in a 1949 suit filed by Grady Motheral alleging that Giles and Sheffield took actions which caused the bankruptcy of a company in which all three held stock in transactions with another corporation in which Giles and Sheffield also had an interest. Two key witnesses, “Slim” Sheffield, the “sharp trader” from Brady. and McLarty, are out of the State. Giles is in Austin but in seclusion. Sheffield’s attorney, E v e r et t Looney, told newsmen last week in Austin that Sheffield is out of the State on business. Sheffield’s son. Buford, told this newspaper in . Brady that his father is in Houston, “but I don’t know where you could reach him,” the son said. Another Brady source said Sheffield is “in California on vacation.” McLarty, according to his attorney, is in Denver. A good authority in Cuero said he has bought a home in Colorado and moved there permanently. He is said to be in the oil business there and to have made a good well recently. Giles in Austin Bascom Giles’s telephone number is a secret. He is living on Ridge Oak in Windsor Park in Austin. He sold his house in Highland Park West last May. Three weeks ago, on 4-an. 12, Mr. and Mrs. Bascom Giles conveyed the old Giles farm, which contains 1,012 acres northeast of Austin, to Raymond R. Todd, trustee. Public records at the county clerk’s office show that the transaction involved a promissory note for $150,000, two liens on 1,999 acres Giles owns in Falls County, Texas, and a mortgage deed to 10,500 acres of land Giles owns in Polk County and Red Lake County. Minnesota. Giles’s inventory of property in the county tax assessor’s office listed a total value of $39,250 before the sale of the old Giles farm. Rogan Giles is reported selling Delwood Motors, Inc., Packard outlet in Austin. Asked about this by telephone, he replied: “Well, we’ll have to wait’ and see. I’m not sure myself.” Rogan Giles said he did not know where his father is now, although he acknowledged that the former land commissioner told the Senate committee he would be available for further testimony if required. Brady Report It was learned during a visit to Brady that state investigators have examined the bank records of four Brady persons who have figured in the public testimony of the investigation: Sheffield, Ruffin, Wall, and Sam McCollum III, Ruffin’s lawyer. All but Wall have been asked to in Cuero says that Bell was on vacation in Colorado with or near McLarty recently, but. this is not confirmed. McLarty is reported by his lawyer to be in Denver now. Cheatham would not comment in Austin on Bell’s role. Bell, incidentally, said in Washington on Jan. 6, 1954, in response to a reporter’s question, that he had occupied a duplex apartment then owned by Bascom Giles at 1301 Kirkwood Road in Austin in 1949 Ruffin Sources Say \(Continued from Page 1 All the papers, in deals in which he was involved were approved by the Land Board, Ruffin said, and the purchase price was set by the Board’s own appraiser, H. Lee Richey, whom Ruffin said he saw only once, when Richey called him to ask him to show him the land Richey was to appraise. Ruffin said in Brady he does not know Bascom Giles. It is now clear that some of the veterans were well aware that they were buying land ! by signing papers in return for $100 or so, and that they intended to ; turn the land back to the promoters as soon as the deal was completed. Other veterans apparently did not know they were buying land. Ruffin has a real estate and insurance office in the Brady Hotel a door or two down the street from another such office belonging to B. R. Sheffield, with whom Ruffin was associated in some of the group land deals. Sheffield has not been seen around Brady since the investigations started, townspeople say. He is reported variously to be in Houston, out of the state on business, and in California on vacation. Sheffield, is a trader. G. E. Parke r a city employee, says: “I ‘member twenty-five thirty his brother ran a hamburger stand and couldn’t get together enough money to make it over one day. He’s done allright for hisself. He’s a trader, a slick trader.” Parker, standing on a sidewalk across from the courthouse late one night last week, said: “One man can’t pull that kind of deal hisselfhe’s got to have plenty of help from down there and here and other places too.” Brady drugstore cowboys kid Ruffin a lot these days and he takes it well. He walked into the Coffee Shop of the Brady Hotel the other day and started singing “Don’t Fence Me In” to some of the girls at the counter. But L. V. Ruffin isn’t really laughing. If somebody is trying to make him a goat, they’d better watch his horns. when he was a state senator. He paid rental through a manager who represented Giles, he said. He occupied the same duplex in 1951 and 1953 but Giles had sold it to another owner. House Probe House members said Hardeman entered the House chamber last week and told several of them that he thought they should not investigate the land scandals since the Farm loans Totaled $46 Million in Texas DALLAS, Jan. 31Texas farmers and ranchers borrowed $46 million and repaid $37 million under the emergency loan program of the
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.