Home | About TCL | Art Galleries | Music Scene | Shops_Bumper Stickers | MAP of Big Bend | Educational Entertainment | LOCAL ISSUES | Contact-Links | COMMUNITY POST

March 9, 2008
Terlingua Ranch lawsuit update:   Order for Non-Suit
MARCH 7, 2008
On February 29, 2008 Judge Denman signed an Order of Non-Suit* dismissing the current lawsuit.   The two remaining plaintiffs filed a Motion for Non-Suit on February 26, 2008 requesting that the judge sign the order of dismissal. Accordingly, the Truksa et al v. Durham, POATRI et al lawsuit has been dismissed.    
At the time the plaintiffs asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, there was a proposed settlement pending before the court. Additionally, as was reported in the “Lawsuit Update” article in the most recent newsletter, an agreed order to allow the property owners to vote on the future of Terlingua Ranch was also pending. The proposed ratification of the amended Terlingua Ranch Maintenance Association agreement by the membership was agreed upon by attorneys for all individual defendants, POATRI and plaintiff Frank Truksa. Plaintiff Andrew Guill’s attorney did not sign the membership ratification order.
Apparently, rather than allow the proposed settlement to move forward for a vote of the membership under the supervision of the court, the plaintiffs elected to simply dismiss the lawsuit rather than pursue the allegations upon which they had originally filed their legal action.
While the end of the lawsuit is a positive step for Terlingua Ranch, much work remains to be done to continue our progress in securing the future of the Association. In anticipation of the April quarterly meeting, the members of the Board are diligently working on proposals which are aimed toward incorporating the positive aspects of the proposed settlement into the future of the Ranch and of POATRI. The Board urges all members to attend the April meeting to participate in the discussions regarding these important issues.
*    Definition of Non-Suit - n.
A judgment given against a plaintiff who neglects to prosecute, or who fails to show a legal cause of action or to bring sufficient evidence. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright 1997, by Random House, Inc.)

January 26, 2008 -
   ELECTION RESULTS FOR Terlingua Ranch Directors,   (3 winners, in red):
Willhauer 414
Demetri 405
Oxsheer 363
Whitebear 352
Hillje 350
Sledge 325
Dec. 15, 2007
Terlingua Ranch Directors Election
January26, 2008  is the Annual Members Meeting of POATRI.   On this date there will be three new board members chosen to represent Terlingua Ranch Property Owners,   so  PLEASE VOTE,  and lets make this year's owner's involvment in the future of Terlingua Ranch change from apathy to participation.
Upcoming board member election in January 2008, has 6 running candidates:
John Hillje
Dick Willauer
Liz Demetri
Frank Oxsheer
Richard Whitebear
Sam Sledge
Click on each name for the candidate's statement on the candidate page at POATRI'S website:
Important issues are whether property owners want the Lodge closed down or not.    From what has been written on their election material, statement,  forums,  and what their endorsers claim,   the closing of the lodge and maintenance crew or POATRI,  IS an important issue .
The candidate statement on poatri's website, and mailed ballot packet is much longer and detailed than the following abbreviated observation of what has been read on forums, candidate statements, or web sites: 
This member would like to give the option to close the lodge area,  to the members, in a vote:  Hilje.
This member feels that there is a possibility to make the lodge area a profitable business:  Willauer
This member is on the board at present,  and has voted for the approval of the lawsuit settlement:  Demetri.
This member approves of all the actions and changes that the board approved in the last couple years: Oxshear.
This member has been on the TRRP candidate slate for the past several elections and has lost,   and appears to represent the Mahan's point of view to the fullest extent. Sledge.
This member has also run in the past several elections, yet loosing,  and who also would like to close the lodge and Poatri,  and have each property owner worry about their own road maintenance:  Whitebear
Please read the poatri web site,  of each candidates statement.    Vital information is on their statements which will affect your future investment in either your vacation retreat, or your full time residence investment.    http://www.poatri.org/ElectionIndex.html

Terlingua Ranch-
Important Lawsuit Settlement UPDATE   12/15/2007
Terlingua Ranch
Lawsuit report updated  November 29, 2007
Settlement  agreement:
There has been an agreement between both sides of the lawsuit, (TRRP vs POATRI)  for a proposed settlement  which the Judge has given a preliminary acceptance to.     He will, however,  send the proposed settlement,  which consists of changes in the MA and also the bylaws,  to ALL TERLINGUA RANCH PROPERTY OWNERS.   Part of the changes in the MA are increased fees,  so property owners are encouraged to read these copies when the Court sends them to each of us.    Then,  if you do not approve,  by all means,  plan to go to the Hearing on January 18, 2008,  and voice your protest to Judge Denman at that time.
Below is from the cronology of POATRI's website: 
Notice of the proposed settlement to include the proposed Settlement Agreement, TRMA and Bylaws is to be mailed to primary contact listed with POATRI for all property owners no later than December 10, 2007.  Notice states:
“You must appear in person even if you are represented by counsel in order to oppose the settlement.  If you do not appear in person the court will presume that you do not oppose the settlement.”
Court will conduct a hearing on Jan. 18, 2008 at 1 PM in the 412th Judicial District Court located at 111 E. Locust, Angleton, Brazoria County, Texas.

Hearing:  Court to consider proposed settlement and entry of final judgment approving proposed settlement     1 PM  January 18, 2008

July 16, 2007
What would happen if the lawsuit that the Mahans' party (TRRP) against Terlingua Ranch (POATRI) goes according to the plaintiff's wishes, and they actually win?
What if the TRRP manages to get control of the Board of Directors by winning director positions?
Passivity and reluctance to support the board and management at this time,  could possibly lead to the ruin of your peaceful retreat like we know it,  in Terlingua Ranch.   I have heard from numerous ranch members that they do not intend to pay this NRC fee.
As much as we all do not like paying extra fees such as the last Non re-occurring fee of $100,    all things must be considered thoroughly.
The TRRP have been threatening more suits.   The cost of POATRI's insurance policy went from $805 with a $1000 deductible per year to $5600 with a $5000 deductible and less coverage per year,  just because of the suit.    If POATRI gets sued again the policy cost would likely become sky high (or unavailable at any cost, so POATRI would have to self-insure).   I think that the board realizes this,  and that is the reason for the NRC,  so that the bank will lend us money if this happens,  and in the case they would need emergency money immediately.
Should TRRP,  which this group calls themselves,  or Terlingua Ranch Reform Party,   succeed in the upcoming elections,  in winning seats,    and control the board,   then what will happen?    From observing their past,  we have seen that they want the Ranch to resort back to operating on 1986 fees,  which cannot operate in today's economy.     There is no way it can operate (maintain roads and operations) due to inflation since '86 .   
The Mahans want our ranch to become their hunting paradise.  (see table below this article).  They also want to assure that the POATRI will fund the expense to provide guzzlers (sheds that will collect water in tanks with watering troughs) spread around the ranch to assure that wildlife will come to drink at these places. (This is a not a small expense to contruct and maintain).     Why do they want to do this?    They have resented the fact that there are no longer any hunt parks.   So how do you think that they can get any future hunting parks?  These hunt parks were not owned by Terlingua Ranch,   and the owners have sold them,  so they are no longer an option to lease them.   But their plan is to draw hunters to invest in Terlingua Ranch, buy up land,  and lease them out as hunting leases.    How can they do this?    They'd like the property value to decrease and be less of a draw to the person wishing to buy in a peaceful place,  so that their hunting friends will see the opportunity for investing in a hunting paradise.   They claim that there are big bucks in hunting,  and that hunters will once again fill the lodge,  and make the lodge profitable.    What will happen,  however,   is they will realize they need money to operate,  and once again they will raise fees,   attempting to run those off who just want to live in peace.    Who wants to live next to a hunting park where the owner makes a profit on letting hunters go onto his land?    Hearing gun shots is not a peaceful environment,  and gun shots travel and echo very far in this area.      
This,  I believe,  is their main goal.    Although many of you hate having to pay this extra fee,   you must study all the issues at stake.    They'd like nothing better than for you to sell your land,  if you are against hunting in your neck of the desert here.      One by one,  many will sell out,  when the community becomes a hunting community.     The place will once again be run by hunters.   Many who sell out won't be around to watch out for poachers,   and once again the hunters will be driving the roads,  shooting everywhere from their vehicles,  like they bragged about before when they headed for the "hunting paradise".  
If much of TR land should become hunt parks,  and many do not sell their land right away,   holding out,  most of our lives  here will no longer be enjoying watching the wildlife come up to our yard,  because these friends will eventually be shot.   And if you want to spend all your time watching out for the poachers on your land,  you will find little peace.    Their hunting leases will be all over the place. 
This is what  I believe is their main goal,  from reading their editorials,  and forum posts over the past few years.    It takes much time to study all of what will come out of this if they win the lawsuit,   but the study is worth it,  if you value your retreat, investment,  or home.     The TRRP post obsessively on several forums,   and seem to have nothing to do but this.   
Property owners have a wonderful spot in the beautiful desert environment. The value and even their very use of their property is dependent on two things. First and most important is access by way of some portion of 1200 miles of property owners association maintained roadways (all of Brewster County only maintains 350 miles of roadways). Under the Mahan plan, as documented in their lawsuit, road maintenance would have to be reduced by at least 50% with the loss of at least one grader and one crew. There would not be enough assessment income to even maintain the other 50% without some other source of income. However, the most danger to the property owners and their roads would be the possible total loss of road access. The Ranch roads are not controlled by the County or any clause in the owners deeds. Terlingua Ranch Roads are under the control of the Property Owners Association for the benefit of all owners as established in the TR Maintenance Agreement. If, due to Mahan activities, the POA has to declare bankruptcy and cease to exist the roads would not be maintained, would not be kept open for all property owners to travel, and could be closed off at the whim of any property owner who owned property the road crossed. Also, without the present road access financial lenders would not finance properties that had no guaranteed access. The Terlingua Ranch Roads are now in the best condition they have ever been and will continue to get even better but only if POATRI continues to exist and only if assessments are realistically at 2007 prices and not at the unrealistic 1986 levels.
Secondly the property owners have a valuable asset in the "resort" features. The vast majority of owners are non-residents and the lodge gives them a means of visiting and enjoying their property. Resident owners also use the lodge for guests and the swimming pool is like an oasis in their desert paradise. The Mahan plans would cause the loss of this valuable asset.
Terlingua Ranch is a large and very complex operation which has struggled over the years to barely cover expenses. The Mahan Lawsuit suddenly made everyone aware that there was absolutely no way to keep operating under the existing assessment structure when any unexpected expense hit. And now a similar blow has struck in the form of a federally mandated large increase in the minimum wages. The Board of Directors are doing every thing possible to protect the property owners and the value of their land by making the very difficult decisions to collect just enough income to pay the bills. If the Directors did not fulfill these fiduciary responsibilities they would be guilty of not performing the duties for which they had been elected.
For details of the lawsuit and links for additional info,  see

Ronald Mahan's plan for Terlingua ranch
" The Many Tinajas Hunt Club has a long term plan to attract thousands of people to start purchasing property on the ranch,  and using the resort facilities once again.   Their plan is not very different from the original plan for the ranch which made some developers very rich.  You grow a lot of deer, quail, doves, rabbits, and javelinas on some worthless desert land,  and Texas hunters will almost trample you trying to get a piece of the action.   Hunting is still a big business in Texas." ....Ronald Mahan
......from the  Dec.12, 2002 issue of the Alpine Avalance, editorials.
and on a yahoo public forum
On Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:17 pm   Ronald Mahan wrote:

"Be patient and you can probably purchase similar property for less than one half - after the lawsuit trial results come in.  "
...Ronald Mahan
Member TRRP & OMTHC.

January 27, 2007
The three elected board members for Terlingua Ranch are Jim Miller,  Tom Durham,  and T.J. Ramey. 
Below are the votes cast:
 906 members in good standing, voted
Miller          445
Durham     435
TJ Ramey  427
Bill Love     342
Sledge        320
Whitebear 218
Nolin           212
Viles           157
Bradford     75
rest were 1 vote write in's (3)