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The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth: Thoreau .-171,1exao Mhstrurr An Independent Liberal Weekly Newspaper 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. 47 4 q . 6 k2 2-1.1 A Finally Dropped D. A., Said Unenthusiastic, Blames Delay on Jury Snag SEGUIN The indictment of Congressman John J. Bell of Ciiero on a charge of conspiracy to take money from the state in a veterans’ land deal has been dropped. If it is revived it will have to be by the next Guadalupe County grand jury, because in one day here this weekMondaythe firstindictment against Bell was dismissed and the current grand jury adjourned without re-indicting him. Bell was present at the courthouse Monday but had no comment. Bob Looney of Austin; attorney for one of the persons indicted with Bell -7-T. J. McLarty of. Cuero had moved that the indictment be dismissed. The argument was that the Court of Criminal Appeals had held that the grand jury that returned the indictment had been illegally constituted. Actually, the high court ruledithat a murder indictment by the same grand jury was void because the district court jury had not been selected by a jury wheel. This was held here Monday to apply to the Bell case. After the indictment’s dismissal, TI;strict Attorney Paul Boethel said he would ask the grand jury That was then still M session to re-indict Bell. It adjourned later in the day without doing so. It did return 39 indictments, nine of them re-indictments of McLarty in connection with the land scandals. It has been reported in law enforcement circles here that Boethel is not anxious to prosecute Bell, his Conpressman. Boethel is from Hallettsville, the home of State Sen. Gus’ Strauss, who testified to a Senate investigating committee that he received more than .$11,000 as “legal fees” from group land deal promoters. Bell testified that he accepted about $28,000 from veterans’ land deal promoters, also as “legal fees.” The current grand jury was dismissed, subject to recall, by 25th District Court Judge Lester Holt. Co-defendants with Bell on the original indictment were McLarty and J. T. Wofford. Boethel told the Observer here last week that he did not expect a trial of the case in December. He said the delay was caused by the grand jury snag. Returned in July, the indictment charges the Congressman and Wofford and McLarty with combining, conspiring, confederating, and entering into a positive agreement to take $154810 .from the state fraudulently to use for themselves. The official copyof this indictment has not been signed by the district clerk as a true and correct copy. A spaCe is provided on each true ‘bill for this signature. TEXAS, DECEMBER 14, 1955 , 75 Wells Said at Stake in Suit Involving Owners, ship to these same wells, in -which case it would have to put hem on the auction block and sell :them to the highest bidder, the reveries. going into . the public till. The Francitas oilfield is at stake. The Sun Oil Company and the Texas Company, along with 25 or 30 present alleged landowners and -others, are named defendants in the suit filed in EdnaJohn Kunkel, et al, vs. Lewis W. Watson, et ca. The group of half a dozen plaintiffs” say that they bought portions of the land in question from the Valley Fruit and Garden Co., which sold the land a-s part of a rice promotion scheme in 1910-1914. Another 70 or so persons might become associated in the action. In ,1931 and 1932 officials of Jackson County sold the land to private parties because of unpaid delinquent taxes. The key contention of the plainti ffs is that this land was knocked down to the state, it being the highest bidder, and that the state attempted to sell 1 ‘THIS HORRIBLE AFFAIR CORPUS CHRISTI “This horrible affair !” said the Mexican consul, Senor Alberto Andrad -. ref…Is’er! to the shooting of a Mexican national by a police man here last Nov. 23 .undervery curious circumstances curious in several ways. . Senor Ancirado has filed a report to his government and has caused the matter to be taken up before the grand jury here. If he concludes that justice is not goinc ,b to be done, he will suggest that the Mexican embassy in Washington take the matter up with the Department of State. the consul in a short, volatile man, careful in his words \(“I must be very careful, even about my own feelings theless in the changing shapes of his features and. in his very angry eyes. As Jose .Garcia, a Mexican construction worker in his early twenties, recounted the affair, he returned to his home that Wednesday night toward midnight. All the lights were out. His wife Ofelia was home, but so also was Police Lt. W. T. Jackson. Garcia says Jackson struck him and then called for help. Patrolman Jose Solis of the police narcotics squad appeared. It is not denied that Jose Garcia was then shot in the leg. At the hospital certain charges were made against Garcia : four marijuana cigarettes supposed to have been found on. the . floor of Garcia’s home we r e involved. Curiously, t he se charges have not been pressed. Senor .A.ndrado remarks: “That was a ..; how do you call it in this country r In Washington one of Senterfitt’s chief targets, Senator Price Daniel, denied Senterfitt’s charge that the ‘draft Daniel” developments are part of a professional advertising campaign. Daniel does not intend to announce his gubernatorial plans until the Senate has disposed of the Harris bill to exempt natural gas producers from federal regulation and narcotics legislation. This may mean early spring. Companies, State the land to the private parties-in violation’of law. If they are right, then the sale of the land to the private parties in 1931 or 1932 was void, and the state has title. Persons whose land has been’confiscated for taxes may redeem the taxes and get the land hack within a twoyear period from the date of confiscation. If the plaintiffs are correct, therefore .either the plaintiffs have a right to pay back taxes with penalties and. inVre*t and get the landand the cir the state has owned the land all the while, subject to getting a deed ; may be due royalty payments on the oil ‘wells and the taxes not paid; and would, in addition, be obliged to sell the land and the wells at public auction to the highest bidder. Thus are millions . of dollars involved for the litigants, the state, or the oil companies. THE QUESTION OF FACT is : was the sale of the land to private persons in 1931 and 1932 void? The plaintiffs maintain that a statute iii., the early thirties required that the sheriff or the county attorney, when offering properties for sale under the terms of a tax judgment, in the absence of any other bidders . or any bidders bidding lower than the amount of the principal taxes, interest, penalties, and court costs, bid in the property for such amounts for: the state. The-Owners of the then-tax-delin-; quent lance maintain that the county, attorney did make such a bid as re, quired by law, and in addition, on some of the land, bid $2 cash per acre, which was the highest cash bid. But, they maintain, he then withdrew the bid ; the properties were “attempted to be sold” in a block deal to T. N. lqauritz, Fred Mauritz, and -Harry Mauritz, of whom one is understood to have been a state senator at the . time. Sheriff’s deedS were delivered to the Mauritz _es, contend * the plaintiffs. In sum, the contention. is that the land was “attenipted. to be sold” for far less than the amount of the taxes, interest, penalties, and costs, contrary to law. It is ‘alleged that the amount of the judgments against all 1,251’ tracts in question at the time was $75.000 plus $21,275 court costs ; but that T. N. Mauritz and Harry Mauritz paid only $11,882.18. . THE CASE has been hanging fire several years. In 1953 . Thdmas ,Black, an assistant attorney general under then. Atty. Gen. ,Price , Daniel, wrote an interested laWyer: ‘”, .. the available evidence of fraud or that the sale was knocked down tothe state is too slight to Merit our proceeding further. The opinion .of your. ‘ attorney … that the deed is ;void, is probably correct, but we feel that this .theory would be of little advantage to the state, for the original land owners would be able to redeem their interests and the land for a very small amount. The only case we would want to .bring would. be one based upon the thepry that the land was sold to the state, and as I said, we feel that our factual position on that point is very, weak.” In the plaintiffs’ amended original petition, the State of Texas is named as a defendant, not for a judgment, but “because it is -to the interest of such state to affirmatively protect and preserve its rightsto collect the redemption money which plaintiffs wit’ .\(Continued on 4/111011.10 AUSTIN Reuben Senterfitt dealt pimishing thrusts to half the politicians in n’exas Tuesday night in a 24-station television broadcast that cost him $20,000. He bids to become a “television candidate” for the governorship and is already planning another statewide Tv speech early in January, ‘ pe0aPs Jan. 3., AUSTIN A law suit over ownership of about 75 oil wells that may be worth eight or ten million dollars has been bringing out beads of sweat on lawyers in the Attorney General’s office, the Obgerver has learned. It is possible that the wells belong to the state. Davis. Grant, first assistant attorney general, said Monday that the state has been asked to intervenein the law suit and that this request is being considered. He said a decision is expected. this week. “Of course, if there are any taxes due the state, I want to collect them,” Grant said. “My main interest is to. r6cover any taxes, penalties, and interest due the state.” The litigants have something more at issuethe 5,000 acres of land with the oil wells on them in Jackson County. And as a matter of fact, the state, too, might wind up with owner “A frame-up ?” “That’s it … a frame up. Mrs. Garcia has stated that nothing. untoward was going on when her husband arrived. The grand jury heard evidence in the case last week. It adjourned until January without taking action. Noah Kennedy, who presented the matter to the jury, said that this was tantamount to a “no bill” for Jackson and Soli e s: Senor Andrado: . “The day after I took this to the Authorities, a man came in here into my office, a :very important man here, and said, th4 he knew the Mexicans here are mistreated, but it would be better for all concerned if I did not press this matter, that everybody would be better off, that if I.did press it, it might be worse for the Mexicans. A threat? How do you take it? Eh? -“I have lived in this country for 20 years, I told him, and I have always believed in American justice. Till now, to this minute. I believe in the Authorities, and I know justice will be done. “I love your country,” the consul said to the reporter. “I believe. in your -… Way, your system of government, and I still believe in the American justice, to this very minute.. do not think that is all the.g-rand jury will do. This is not the end of it.; is it? I cannot, I will not criticize the grand jury. I am -very respectful of the Authorities. I know the grand. jury is composed of very, good,-people, and I would not say ‘anything ever about the Authorities. It at the end of the matter, justice is not performed, I will feel very disappointed.” 11 REUBEN BLASTS’ AWAY; DANIEL DELAYS WORD Governor Shivers said he would .announce his plans at dogwood time perhaps as early as February or March. “It looks like there will be a lot of races open next year … a wide choice. All I’ve had so far are hard races. I’d like to have an easy one for a change,” he said. A group of 50 McLennan County citizens signed an endorsement of .\(Continued on 10c per copy No. 34 011. OWNERSHIP QUESTIONED