** LIVE News Updates *** Texas Spanish Land Grant Heirs Initiative
by Edward Gomez – Austin Texas
AP / HLN
We have been following the stories of the Spanish Land Grant Heirs movement in Texas for the last year. Over the last several years, thousands of Texans, Hispanics, Latinos have been actively fighting for their rights, rights that the Constitution of the State of Texas protects.
It all began several years ago, when a Texas attorney, Eileen M. Fowler took interest in a handful of people who were trying to get their royalties (inheritance) from the State of Texas comptrollers office. According to the San Antonio Times, these land grantees are trying to find their “A $561 million pot of gold.”
The La Porte attorney Eileen McKenzie Fowler (right), who represents families whose ancestors received land grants, reads the framed lyrics of a song written for her by one of the descendants, Antonia Margarita Gonzalez, after Gonzalez’s cousin John Orfila (left) gave Fowler the gift.
They are seeking unclaimed oil and mineral royalties derived from their ancestral lands.
Sitting in the Texas Comptrollers Office, they represent $200 million to $561 million of the state’s $2.2 billion in unclaimed funds.
“Through the years, our ancestors — my father, his parents, his grandparents and his great-grandparents — all have been seeking justice and compensation of what our forefathers left us,” said Lilia Gonzalez Kohandani, an heir of Joaquín Galán, who settled in what’s now South Texas in the early 1700s.
Since Fowler began representing these families, the numbers have grown into a number larger than 20,000.
In 2012, Fowler got behind a Texas Senator and Representative sponsored bill that would look into the the problems and provide solutions for payouts.
According to Fowler’s website “SUPPLEMENT # 7, DATED DECEMBER 11, 2014 TO A WHITE PAPER TO GUIDE THE HB724 UNCLAIMED MINERAL PROCEEDS COMMISSION IN ITS HISTORICAL MISSION MARCH 21, 2014/APRIL 25, 2014” by Mr. George Farias, that house bill committee failed. According to many sources, including the Voice of Change Network, many of the members of the committee, appointed by the late Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, where planted, staged. The majority of the members of the committee were working for the big oil companies that were not paying the dividends into the State of Texas comptrollers office. Breaking several laws, but no law enforcement agency was enforcing the laws. The comptrollers office even admitted in public record (see the State of Texas public video archive) that she was unsure of which payments were being grossly unreported and paid. Fowler, presented the committee with new discovery of thousands of other oil, gas and mineral sites that were not even in the Comptrollers records.
According to some of the victims of these injustices, this crime against a race of people, is worse than the crimes committed against the American Indian tribes, and those tribes have received some justice, while this group of people, are continually denied their “rightful” inheritance according to Fowler.
According to attorney Fowler’s website, there is a big litigation that is about ready to present itself. It is unclear exactly what it details, however posts on her Facebook site and website indicate this will be the largest lawsuit in the history of the United States. We reached out to Fowler and the attorney’s involved and they declined to comment as of yet.
Our Associated Press partners are watching the press releases and the court docket records daily, for information that will update this story. Please follow this Live timeline as we continue to report this breaking story.
2000-2011 Attorney Eileen Fowler gets behind land grant heirs, in an effort to get them legally declared as rightful descendants of each families land grant(s).
2014 House Bill was passed to provide relief and payouts to the land grant heirs
2015 House Bill committee finds no evidence to support the land grant heirs
2015 Fowler joins with prominent law firm to fight the oil companies
2015 600 Families sue the State of Texas over Land Grants (Unrelated to Fowler’s efforts)
2016 Fowler begins meetings across the nation with her clients regarding upcoming legal efforts
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Also published on Medium.