State lawmakers have written a new chapter in a century old tale of dispossession.
La Porte Attorney Eileen Fowler has spent much of the last decade fighting for the Spanish and Mexican land grant families. At issue, the energy wealth of South Texas and the claim the descendants of Spanish settlers. Oil companies have allegedly funneled the unclaimed dividends to the state treasury from wells in South Texas.
Those revelations inspired the Texas legislature to pass State Representative Ryan Guillen's House Bill 724, creating a first of its kind commission empowered to discover how much unclaimed mineral wealth the state is holding and the best way of distributing the cash to its rightful owners. So far, Texas courts have certified around 14,000 land grant heirs.