Page 4


Johnson \(Obs., Aug. Several representatives consider the incident an affront to the dignity of the Legislature and have considered introduction of a resolution of censure. But there is apprehension that such a resolution might not pass and thereby prove not a censure of Sadler but a vote of confidence for him. Later developments of the treasure matter include the filing of a law suit by Platoro Ltd., Inc., the Indiana firm that recovered some of the sunken treasure in the gulf off Padre Island. Platoro is seeking recovery of all treasure it brought up. Atty. Gen. Crawford Martin has retained two attorneys versed in admiralty law to aid the state in the case. They are Gilbert T. Adams, Sr. of Beaumont and M. L. Cook of Houston.. Sadler has announced that three galleons sunk off Padre Island have been evidently worked out; three large craters in that area are all that’s left, Sadler announced at a news conference. The following day Johnson called another press conference, to debunk Sadler’s latest claims. Johnson said that “Again, the land commissioner of our state has hidden behind the knickers of the school of Texas to cloak in a shroud of heroics, a flurry of questionable activities. . Johnson presented C. Fitzhugh Grice, Houston, who has wide experience in underwater recovery. Grice said that holes of the size described by Sadler would likely have had to have been made by recovery work originating at the surface, not below in submarines. Rep. Neil Caldwell, Alvin, sitting in on the conference, said he doubted such work could have gone on, as a vessel on the surface would have been noticed. Grice noted, in understatement based on some treasure recovery work in Florida, that such a situation “does raise problems of accountability of what eventually shows up in the vault.” When the three craters were made is indefinite. Sadler at his press conference said the “piracy” evidently is recent since “all three excavations went down through 8 The Texas Observer CLASSIFIED ATTORNEYS WANTED. El Paso legal services project has immediate openings for lawyers. Bi-lingual desired. Mail resume to El Paso Legal Assistance Society, 2000 Texas St., El Paso, Texas. BOOKPLATES. Free catalog. Many beautiful designs. Special designing too. Address: BOOKPLATES, Yellow Springs 8, Ohio. YAMAHA: For the best soundpianosorgansguitars available at Amster Music & Art Center. 17th & Lavaca, Austin. 478-7331. ANNE’S TYPING SERVICE \(Marjorie Anne Binding, Mailing, Public Notary. Twenty years experience. Call 442-7008 or 442-0170, Austin. hard clay and only a few inches of recently-deposited silt now cover the cuts.” He said one of the three craters is the site of the ship Platoro worked before being stopped in late 1967 by state action initiated by Sadler. The other two craters were, Sadler said, the site where two other sunken Spanish galleons rested. After Sadler’s press conference the point was again raised by several House members that the land commissioner had opposed passage of an antiquities code during the recent regular legislative session. Such a code, say Sadler’s critics, would have discouraged the emergence of the sunken treasure difficulties. It was said that Sadler worked to kill the bill through his close relationship with Rep. Rayford Price, who, like Sadler, is from Palestine. Price is evidently the man who will succeed Gus Mutscher as speaker of the House, so is a man of influence in the Legislature. Sadler denies he was instrumental in killing the antiquities bill. But on April 8 he was the only witness to testify against the measure before a House committee. Testifying for the bill at the same meeting were Curtis Tunnell, state archeologist, and Truett Latimer, executive director of the Texas State Historical Survey Committee. Had Sadler not opposed the bill, the losses such as the land commissioner alleged in his press conference might not have occurred, according to Reps. Don Cavness of Austin \(before whose Governmental Affairs and Efficiency Committee Sadler opposed the antiquities whose bill it Johnson has asked that the House General Investigating Committee look into the matter. Mutscher Says he’s considering such a move. IN ALL THE flap two former Sadler employees, who may now be considered political enemies of the commissioner, have raised questions about other aspects of Sadler’s stewardship of the land office. Homer Long says he was sent during times he was on the land office payroll to operate a motel Sadler owns at Palestine. Long says it was his impression he’d have been fired if he declined to go to Palestine for Sadler. On returning to Austin in 1967 after spending three months working at the Palestine motel, Long found he no longer had a land office job. His last job in the land office was as custodian of records. Long now manages an Austin motel. A second former employee of Sadler, retired Army Col. Charles Deason, has been critical of land transactions made over the past 15 years by Jack Giberson, Sadler’s first assistant in the land office. Deason has compiled and released to the press and others a fully detailed account of deals Giberson and members of his family have made under the veterans’ land program, according to records at the Hays County courthouse and in the land office. Two Republican legislators, W. R. Archer and Will Lee, both of Houston, had, about three weeks ago, first raised the questions about Giberson’s dealings but the accusations didn’t get much play in the Texas press. The summary of the deals is that Giberson’s father, R. C. Giberson, owned a 600 acre tract of land just south of Austin in Hays County. In 1954 R. C. Giberson conveyed three 50-acre tracts of this to the Veterans Land Board operated by the land office. In 1957 and 1958 these tracts were conveyed by the three veterans to James L. Rice, Jack Giberson’s father-in-law. Further, the three veterans, at the time they first made the deals with the VLB, each listed the same address, Box 583, Buda. A 60-acre tract adjoining the 600-acre tract owned by R. C. Giberson was quitclaimed by R. C. to Jack Giberson in 1956; half the 60 acres was conveyed to the VLB in 1965 and, later that same year, was conveyed back to Jack Giberson. Another tract, 45 acres, also adjoining the original 600-acre Giberson tract, was conveyed in 1962 to the VLB and, in 1965, was assigned to Dorothy Croom, Jack Giberson’s sister. Deason, who was assistant executive secretary of the VLB at the time he became aware of Giberson’s dealings in veterans’ land, says he believes such deals as those Giberson has been involved in personally are contrary to the spirit of the program which, as Deason sees it, was founded for the benefit of Texas veterans and not land office employees. Sadler became associated with the land office in 1961, when he first became commissioner. So, much of the Giberson deals about which there are complaints occurred before Sadler’s time. Giberson acknowledges that he has dealt in transactions under the veterans’ land program and says there is nothing wrong with this, in his view. The state made money on the deals, he says. The comments of the two former employees of Sadler Long and Deason recall the comments of last year \(Obs., May Charles 0. Chambers, alleged that Sadler is irregularly on the job in Austin. Chambers was fired by Sadler, who said Chambers had been absent without leave, and so, as in the cases of Long and Deason, Chambers must be considered an enemy of the commissioner. Chambers, after being fired, said that Sadler frequently is away from his office. Deason has made a similar allegation, saying the commissioner, “during the year I was a member of his office [February, 1967, to February, 1968] , spent less than one-half day a week in his office. At all other times he was at home near Palestine. . . .” G.O.