the Getty Agreement

Pursuant to the Getty Compromise Settlement of 1986 (Case C-85-335, District Court of the United States for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi, known as the Getty Agreement) between Texas and thirty-one oil companies all royalties owed by these companies prior to September 1, 1980, were excused. Going forward if no owners were found for new minerals after that date the royalties would be entrusted to the state. It appears those being paid to the state, are vanishing into the state’s general fund and are misappropriated. [5]  Also, other royalty types paid to the state rightfully belong to the heirs, a claim substantiated by Fowler, other lawyers, and experts. A copy of that case file is below, but is missing the exhibits we are searching & requesting for copies. If you can help, please contact us. We are working on getting them.

In 1986 the Getty agreement was reached between the State of Texas and 30 O&G Co.’s headed by Getty Oil Company. They argued about the aspects of the Texas Property Code.  

The oil companies agreed to pay the state of Texas royalties for “unclaimed property” to the State thereafter. There was to be no statute of limitations and the claims could be filed in perpetuity.

They also agreed to deposit $50 million into this new trust fund. 

The state of Texas denies this but admits they have collected $9 million in 1987.  

They also admit they are missing records, payments, and other problems during the HB724 commission hearing. To this day there has made no accountability system for this agreement. Something that must be challenged in court.

For 35 years they have collected this money or not collected it, they are not sure. According to our last report in the last 14 years, there are trillions of dollars paid in royalties to the State of Texas, how much of that is unclaimed we do not know.  

Multiply that amount for the last 35 years. This is a lot of money. 

San Antonio personal injury lawyer, Thomas J. Henry, routinely gets settlement in the $35-$50 million range for his clients, so the possible proposed damage figure of $250 billion for about 5,600 adjudicated heirs did not seem out of line. He said. But after our latest report, we think it is much higher. 

The Texas Supreme Court and Constitution protect our rights. This gives us the right to go after our unclaimed mineral rights.

The coalition gave an example a few weeks ago about how the process works.  

A landowner in South Texas, for example, owns 1,000 acres of land, but only owns 75% of the minerals below. The owner(s) of the other 25% are not known, and his deed records so stated when he bought the land. An oil and gas company (O&G Co.) wants to drill on the property, but, by law cannot, unless they get a permit from a state district judge. This process is called a receivership hearing. The judge will not grant a permit unless the O&G Co. has exhausted all efforts to find the owner. Company officials swear they have done so, looking at all county records, Interviewing descendants, etc. They say “Judge, no luck.” 

The judge then grants the permit but instructs that 25% of the money extracted must go into a state trust fund (the fund the Getty court case/agreement created), if the owner is not found after three years. Or the judges may put the money in their county fund called a registry. The same conditions apply to the county for funds to be transferred to the state.

During the commission, the State admitted they have an unclaimed fund. They say it is for claims they try and payout but come back and that there is only $450 K in it. They could not identify the titleholders. This might be some of the money, but we think the Comptroller either knows nothing about the Getty agreement or is hiding it. 

The Getty Agreement was reached in the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, Cause # C-85-335, GETTY OIL COMPANY, A Delaware Corporation, et al, Plaintiffs, vs. ANN W. RICHARDS State Treasurer of the State of Texas, and JIM MATTOX, Attorney General of the State of Texas, Defendants. Years ago our researchers called the Corpus Christi Court for copies of the proceedings. They were told that the files had been sent to a Fort Worth storage facility. The facility knew about the case but said that all files had been burned.

A copy signed by the Mitchell Energy Company was ultimately obtained from the Texas State Archives. However, the copy obtained was missing “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit B.” Perhaps in this those were additional details such as an agreement by the O&G Co.’s to deposit one million each, $ 50 million, to start the new trust fund, (denied by Texas officials), and that there would be no statute of limitations so that heirs, as they appeared, could file claims. Mrs. Fowler’s former colleague Attorney Don Tomlinson did the research on the Getty Agreement, and our understanding is that Mrs. Fowler has a box of her office of his materials. If not, whatever exists in the case can be obtained by court order.

Mrs. Fowler’s original law partner, Houston Judge Félix Salazar, who helped design her program, said legal heirs have a right to these minerals. In a hearing in Zapata County, Judge Ricardo García was asked by Mrs. Fowler if her clients were entitled to these minerals. He said there was no doubt, but said Mrs. Fowler had to prove to him the ancestral connections with documented evidence.

Unfortunately, both men have passed on, but in the Jacinto de la Pena case # 6644 in the 49th District Court of Zapata County signed July 7, 2008, by Judge García, the transcript of the trial verifies his comment.

Ref. Coaltion Report #3

Although the HB724 Commission claims we have no rights we do

See also

Texas Archives