A ruling made Wednesday has recused a judge from presiding over cases in Zapata where hundreds of South Texas families are claiming that they are owned money by the Texas State Comptroller.
THE ZAPATA TIMES
There is no specific respondent in the case.
“We’ve been taken back to square one. … For five months, we have not been able to move these cases at all,” said Eileen McKenzie Fowler, an attorney who represents hundreds of people claiming to be the rightful heirs of Spanish land grants.
Visiting state Judge Fred Shannon, who had presided over the land grant cases since December 2009, has been replaced by state District Judge David Peeples.
The cases, which involve 13 suits, in? clude approximately 2,000 plaintiffs who assert that they are the rightful descendants to royalties owed to their families.
The royalty money, they say, is owed to them on the grounds that their ancestors were given land grants by the Spanish crown that were wrongfully taken from them.
The land today generates money from oil and gas drilling that should be paid out to the heirs, contends Fowler.
“I’m drafting legislation that will change law to make sure that that money is theirs,” she said.
(Denise Blaz may be reached at 728-2547 or email@example.com)