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Only a month before Shivers gave his deposition in 1952, he had bolted the national Democratic ticket against Stevenson and Valley newspapers reported that Cong. Lloyd Bentsen, Jr., went along with him, as reported elsewhere in this issue. As the intense political feelings engendered by the Shivercrat revolt built toward the 1954 elections, stories began circulating about the Shivers deposition. In his questioning of Shivers, attorney Smith had pursued lines of questioning predicated on curiosity whether Shivers knew anything about the methods of selling land used by Texan Development Co., had seen to the sufficient enforcement of the state real estate law, and had had anything to do with the issuing of water district 16’s 1949 water permit by the state. In general Shivers’ answers had parried Smith’s questions harmlessly. The rudimentary political implication of the deposition abided in the terms of the option transaction, itself, and the timing of the issuance of the water permit. The deposition, taken in Austin, had been mailed to Allred’s court sealed and had not been unsealed. J. R. Parten, the wealthy Houston oilman, a leading loyalist Democrat, and a Yarborough backer, wanted Yarborough to demand publicly that Shivers open the deposition and explain it. “Parten knew all about it when we started these discussions, probably in the summer of 1953,” says Pat Beard, a Waco Mission, Edinburg The First National Bank of Mission has continued to advertise in the Mission Times despite that newspaper’s endorsement of Sen. Ralph Yarborough and the reported remark by one of the bank’s officials to the paper’s editor that if they did so, there might be orders from “higher up” in the bank to pull all advertising from the Times. Lloyd Bentsen, Sr., father of the senatorial candidate against Yarborough in the primary, is president of the bank in question. Bentsen, Sr., and his brother, Elmer C. Bentsen, are directors of it. Papers on file in 1966 showed that at that point the largest single stockholder in the bank was Lincoln Liberty Life Insurance Co., which held 456 of the bank’s 1,122 and 2/3 shares. Bentsen, Jr., is president of Lincoln Consolidated, a holding company that controls Lincoln Liberty Life. James Mathis, publisher of the Edinburg Daily Review and three other Valley papers including the weekly Mission Times, said to the Observer that he understood that a vice-president of the bank made the remark 10 The Texas Observer attorney who, at that time, was a key figure in Central Texas pro-Yarborough politics. “Certainly he knew about the deposition, he knew every detail of it. Cullen Smith [another Waco attorney] knew about it hell, they took the deposition. It was not a question of what was in it. That was well known. The purpose was to fix it so it could be published. As long as it was under seal, it was not privileged.” Cullen Smith had practiced with Smith and Mcllheran, then had moved to Waco Early in February, 1954, the Valley Evening Monitor ran a story headlined “Bentsen Land Suits Involving $70,000 in Damages Settled.” The cases were the five with which the Shivers deposition was concerned. Beard says that he was to be Yarborough’s state campaign manager that year, but quit when Yarborough decided against blasting Shivers publicly on the sealed deposition. As Beard recalls, he drafted such a statement for Yarborough, but after it had been typed Yarborough asked the secretary who had typed it what she thought about it, and she said she didn’t think it was very nice, whereupon Yarborough tore it up. “I told him, ‘Well, if we’re going to have so much disagreement on how to run the campaign, I’ll just quit and go open the thing myself,’ ” Beard says. He continued as Yarborough’s Central Texas campaign manager. to the editor of the Mission paper, Tom Fatheree. It is not represented that it was more than a remark, and Mathis says that pressure may not have been intended, but pressure “was the result because Torn was “shook up.” Mathis took the decision to challenge the remark as well as the removal of papers containing the offending editorial from the Fontana Motor Hotel in Mission, and his published complaints were amplified by . Yarborough. “The time has come,” the statement from Yarborough’s campaign headquarters said, “when politically eccentric border barons and financial giants must be prevented from using their money clubs against the freedoms of the people.” Bentsen, Jr., said of the accusation, “They’re reaching pretty far.” John Mobley, Bentsen’s state campaign manager, issued a statement that “no one … condones coercion against anyone who supports our opponent, including these two newspapers. We have no control over private citizens who might get unhappy with a newspaper endorsement.” The bank’s weekly three-column-byeight-inch ad has continued to run in the Mission Times without interruption. Beard’s first ploy was an atLempt to get the deposition sent to the trust department of a Waco bank for delivery to an unnamed person, namely, himself. Shivers’ lawyers opposed this and took the bank officer’s deposition to show Beard’s hand in it. Beard next reasoned that if one of the five plaintiffs would ask the court to unseal the deposition and provide a copy of it, there would be no basis for refusing the request. “I had to find me a plaintiff to get the thing opened,” he says. “Cullen Smith assisted me in persuading Mrs. Landergott.” Knowing that politics was the purpose, Mrs. Charles Landergott of Cedar Rapids, Mich., formally asked Judge Allred to give her a copy of the deposition. Beard says: “The clerk took it to Allred, and he kept it a long time, and he could hear Allred just laughin’, back there!” There then ensued a comic opera of lawyers’ motions the like of which Texas had not seen since the 1948 Johnson-Stevenson senatorial election contest. Formally opposing the opening of the deposition, Shivers’ lawyers declared , they would take Mrs. Landergott’s deposition. Lawyers for her replied, well, they would take Shivers’ deposition. With that, the lawyers all agreed there would be no further depositions. Allred, not wanting to rule on Mrs. Landergott’s request, kicked the matter over to his colleague on the bench in Houston, Judge T. M. Kennerly, who, on June 24, 1954, abruptly ordered that the deposition be unsealed. Yarborough made some political capital out of the deposition. Shivers said, “All that the deposition shows is that in 1946 I made some money on a land deal. There is nothing wrong with that.” Parten was a supporter at that time of Lyndon Johnson, as were most of the anti-Shivers Democrats. It would be difficult to believe that Johnson did not know of the deposition as Shivers considered whether to oppose Senator Johnson in 1954. Johnson’s principal political concern at that time, in light of his controversial 87-vote election in 1948, was whether Governor Shivers would take him on. Shivers did not, but ran again. Whether or not Bentsen, Jr., had meant to run for governor if there was an opening, there was not, and he left Congress. Bentsen, Jr. told the Observer from Corpus Christi that he did not intend to run for governor in 1954. “I never did give it any consideration. Frankly, I felt I wanted to come back and develop my financial independence.” Shivers was re-elected but he had been weakened by the deposition, and when the land and insurance scandals broke in his administration in the ensuing year and a half, his day in Texas politics was done. Johnson and Yarborough defeated him in the 1956 spring conventions. Bentsen, Jr., sided with Johnson, who, with John Connally, backed Mrs. Bentsen, Jr., for Bentsen bank still dealing with pro-Yarborough paper