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The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth. Thoreau Mrs. George W. Haggard 1507 Hardouin Austin, Texas -.11r-.0vrxan Oligrrurr An Independent Liberal Weekly Newspaper 2-56 We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. VOL. 46 FEBRUARY 7, 1955 AUSTIN, TEXAS NO. 43 SENATOR CORBIN SAYS Scandals May ‘Rock the State’ Land Deals Known In 1949 by Staff Shepperd Files 2 Suits Against Land Dealers AUSTIN Employees of the Veterans’ Land Board “right on down to part-time file clerks,” as well as Chairman Bascom Giles, knew that multiple land deals were being approved from the beginning, an employee of the General Land Office has told The Texas Observer. The first group land deals came to the attention of at least one member of the staff in the fall of 1949. They involved land in Hidalgo County. In addition, a letter was addressed to Attorney General John Ben Shepperd in October, 1953, by a county attorney, spelling out a year before any investigations began the details of a group land deal with C. 0. Hagan of Yoakum as AUSTIN Charges of improper practices in the Governor’s office likely will be aired on the Senate floor before the current session is over. Kilmer Corbin, the dark-haired senator from Lubbock, says he will carry his charges to the floor himself if necessary. Young Demos Hit Shivers Seek Natural Gas Tax, New Senate Land Probe AUSTIN Governor Allan Shivers was criticized for advocating higher sales taxes and college tuitions and adoption of the Corbin resolution calling for a new Senate investigation of the veterans’ land scandal was urged by the executive committee of the Young Democratic Clubs of Texas here Sunday. Committee members from various parts of the State adopted a resolution favoring taxes based on “ability to pay,” deploring Governor Shivers’s advocacy of ‘increased sales taxes on a number of Lyn fees for college students, and ex .pressing a preference for natural resources taxes, and, specifically, for a natural gas production or gathering tax. Meeting on the campus of the University of Texas, the committee also endorsed the resolution introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kilmer Corbin, Lubbock, calling for a new Senate committee to hear the “full facts” on the administration of the veterans’ land program, “including Hidalgo County.” The resolution by Corbin also calls for an investigation of state printing contracts let to the Times Publishing Company of Mission, Texas. and of personal business matters allegedly handled out of the Governor’s office by his executive secretary, Maurice Acers. However, the Young Democrats’ resolution does not refer to these matters. The resolution adopted yesterday also urges veterans’ organizations to take immediate steps to correct the land program which, it is said, would be of benefit to all veterans and to the general public if properly administered. Houston was discused as a possible site for the next state convention of the Young Democrats. Dean Johnston, the state president, said he would like to have the convention in Houston and will consult his local organization. Texas Farm Cash Income In ’54 Lowest Since ’46 AUSTIN Preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Business Research indicate that total farm cash income in Texas in 1954 was the lowest of any year since 1946. The figure is $1,848,000,000. This is a decrease of only one percent from 1953, however. Income from cotton lint, wheat, and oats increased in 1954 over 1953 but income from peanut farming and livestock and livestock products decreased over the. same period. However, the Bureau says, 1954 set a new high in Texas building, with almost 23 percent more building volume authorized in 1954 than in 1953. Corbin has introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for an investigation of “the illegal letting of State printing contracts” and “the widespread public complaints of the handling of personal business deals out of the Governor’s office by Maurice Acers.” Acers is the Governor’s executive secretary. Shivers made a special trip to the press room to refute the resolution. Corbin commented on this: “Something’s wrong when the Governor will go to the Press Room to answer a li’l ol’ resolution.” “This is an apparent attempt at a re-run of the campaign last summer,” Shivers said. “I’ll be willing to appear before a Senate committee, or any one else entitled to know, on any phase of my personal, official, or business life,” and the same goes for Acers, the Governor said, adding: “I’m not surprised at this type of action. I expect a lot more of it from others who fall in the same category as Sen. Corbin.” Corbin said that in this statement Shivers was “preparing the people for further scandals that will rock the State.” Corbin told The Texas Observer he “did not introduce his resolution as a gesture.” “I’m going to get it heard,” he said. -If I don’t get a committee Iii get the material together myself and bring it out here on the floor. I intend to go to the bottom of it. Why I’ve got calls from all over the State since I introduced it. The people want it cleared up.” * ‘ Corbin’s resolution also charged that there has been “no investigation of veterans’ land sales in Hidalgo, Liberty, and Polk counties, although there have .been complaints of block sales or sales of large amounts of land to veterans at exorbitant prices in each of these counties.” “This idea that they had a threeman board but only one man did wrong is a lot of hogwash,” Corbin told this newspaper. “And it’s a lot of foolishness, too, that this is going back to the political campaign. We didn’t even know about this veterans’ land thing in the campaign. If he wants to go back to the cam AUSTIN Labor spokesmen and Senator George Parkhouse of Dallas squared off in committee hearings last week on the three Parkhouse bills further restricting labor unions in Texas. With only one dissent from Senator Wayne Wagonseller, the Senate Labor Committee approved one measure which would prohibit striking or picketing for recognition or bargaining unless a labor union is “in fact the representative of a majority of the employees of an employer.” The bill does not provide a method for determining the existence of majority support. Attorney General John Ben Shepperd said that another bill, requiring workers on common carriers to cross picket lines to do certain kinds of work and subjecting them to a fine or a jail term if they refused, would be constitutional if passed. A hearing was also held on the third Parkhouse bill to permit the bringing of suits against strikes AUSTIN Five men are now under indictment in suits filed by the Attorney General’s Department seeking recovery of almost half a million dollars paid them by the Veterans’ Land Board. Other civil suits were to be filed and they will be followed by anticipated criminal prosecutions in some cases, Attorney General John Ben Shepperd said. L. V. Ruffin and B. R. Sheffield, both of Brady, are being sued in Joe McCarthy To. Steak March 4 in San Antonio AUSTIN The American Heritage Protective Committee is sponsoring a speech by Senator Joe ‘McCarthy in San Antonio March 4, Austin Hancock has announced. Governor Allan Shivers was invited to introduce McCarthy, but Jimmy Banks, press secretary to the Governor, says he is scheduled to be in Washington on March 4 for a meeting of the Commission o n Intergovernmental Relations. He is, therefore, declining the San Antonio invitation, Banks said. McCarthy will speak at the Municipal Auditorium on “communism.” It will be his first public speech since his censure by the United States Senate. The Heritage Committee identifies itself as a Texas organization for the study of law enforcement problems. and picketing not only in the county where the activity occurred, but also in any adjacent county, in the residence county of the defendant, or in Travis County. B. T. McWhorter, Port Arthur lawyer who was on one of the “Port Arthur teams” that appeared in various parts of the State telling their story about the Port Arthur strike and supporting Allan Shivers, and Hugh Patterson, a member of the firm of Baker, Botts, Andrews, and Shepherd of Houston, advocated the Parkhouse bills. Patterson testified at Parkhouse’s request. Various labor spokesmen opposed the bills. Houston Clinton, Jr., member of the firm of Mullinax and Wells in Dallas and attorney for the Texas State Federation of Labor, said that the omission from the majority-decision bill of any guarantee of the right of employees freely to choose collective bargaining representatives without coercion from employers indicates the “true purpose connection with land they sold the State in Kinney County. The State seeks recovery of $336,247.30 from the two men in the 54-veteran deal. J. Paul Little, G. Curtis Jackson, Jr., and H. R. Stallings, all of Crystal City, are the principal defendants in the second suit, which seeks recovery by the State of $150,000 paid out in a multiple land deal in Zavala County involving 24 veterans. A source in the Attorney General’s office said the suits were prepared with “considerable haste.” Among the allegations against Ruffin and Sheffield are: That on May 29, they falsely represented that each of the 54 veterans wanted to buy land “purportedly” owned by Ruffin; That they knew that the veterans “had not in most instances even seen the lands in question; did not even know they were buying land; and knew that said veterans had not agreed upon a purchase price.” That they falsely represented to the Veterans’ Land Board that each of the 54 veterans had selected a particular tract of land, when “in truth and in fact” they had not done so and did not want to buy it. In addition, the suit says, Ruffin and Sheffield set “agreed purchase prices” in applications and contracts of sale with the veterans “greatly in excess of the true market value thereof.” The veterans involved were named as defendants, too, but Shepperd said they were “merely joined as necessary parties” and no recovery is sought from them. of the bill: To prevent labor organi zations and employees from further organizational activities in Texas.” “No provision is made for an accurate determination of majority representation of the employees by the union,” Clinton said. “The employer can repeatedly and consistently refuse to have anything to do with the union.” Who is to decide if a union represents a majority of the workers? Clinton asked. “Which employees are to be counted; the non-strikers, the strikers, or both, or neither?” Clinton also said the bill discriminates against AFL craft unions by requiring that a majority of all the employees of an employer vote for the union, since a craft union might be seeking to represent only a segment of an employer’s employees. Senator Parkhouse said unions should not try to sell their services through “terrorism.” He said his bill would prevent a recurrence of the Port Arthur strike. promoter. Shepperd swore under oath that he did not see the letter until December 28 or 29, 1954, and that he has no record of its receipt. It was never answered, though it requested a civil court action to void the deal in question and a law to prohibit its repetition. Shepperd also said that responsibility for the administration of the veterans’ land program had been delegated to the chairman, Bascom Giles, and that Giles had approved all the transactions. He said that he, Shepperd, has not approved any of them. The minutes for the last three years record either Shepperd or his representative as voting to approve all the Board’s transactions. Shepperd said the minutes were false in that they “did not accurately reflect the situation.” These developments emerged from a week of pyrotechnics in the veterans’ land scandal investiga tions. Two thundred people jammed a_ committee hearing room and overflowed into a little hallway leading to senate offices behind the chamber Wednesday as Senator Jimmy Phillips began three and a half hours of questioning of Shepperd. Later the special meeting of the Senate investigating committee adjourned to the Senate chamber.. Phillips and Shepperd parried tensely while the other four members of the Hardeman committee sat listening quietlyexcept when Chairman Dorsey Hardeman had to gavel the two men to order. Phillips charged after the hearing that communications from Shepperd and members of his staff “hastened completion of veterans’ land block deals.” He promised evidence to that effect this week. Saturday, Shepperd added: “I’ve never asked that anything be advanced.” Shepperd Saturday said Phillips is conducting “an inquisition rather than an investigation” on a “purely personal” basis. Phillips’s tactics have not reflected the attitude of the committee nor of the Senate, Shepperd said. “That’s obvious. He is the only man that has asked a question,” he added. Apparent divergences in testimony from Shepperd and State Auditor C. H. Cavness developed during the week. Shepperd told the Senate committee that he never approved any applications for land deals, and that only the one vote of Giles was required. Cavness said that at the time the minutes of the meetings constituted the official basis of his audit of the actions of the Board, and that they operated then on the assumption that presence of two of the three members of the Board was necessary for meetings to be held. Shepperd also testified that improper deals involved probably less than $3,000,000 of the $91,000,000 spent under the program and that the “end is in sight” for the investigations. Cavness said he did not know how much money was involved in the improper deals, refused to comment on Shepperd’s figure, and said that his list of BUT NO PROCEDURES SPECIFIED Committee Okays Bill on Majority Union Rule