Monday, February 12, 2007

Emergence of Stockholders, Heirs Awaited in Oso Giveaway

As we've reported several times, Oso Beach Municipal Golf Course in Corpus Christi is likely to be given away by the city to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi University for that school's expansion. The city would then either build a new municipal golf course, or buy an existing private or semi-private course and open it to the public.

But there's a potential complication brought about by the history of Oso golf course. Oso began as a private club, a club whose deed included restrictions, who members owned stock, and whose owners had heirs.

The emergence of those heirs and stockholders in the long-ago private club could make things interesting. The Corpus Christi newspaper has an article on the subject today:

When a private country club donated the Oso Beach Municipal Golf Course to the city in 1942, it left behind an unknown number of stockholders - and possible heirs - who could play big roles in the city's plan to donate the course for university growth.

Mike Carrell, regional president of Frost Bank, is fairly certain some of the people who could lay claim to the land if it no longer is a golf course will come forward. He has a direct interest in the matter because Frost Bank would be their trustee.

"I believe that we're eventually going to find who the stockholders are," Carrell said.

Their identities, or their existence, are among the enticing mysteries of the deed restriction. When the Caller-Times contacted local lawyers who are board certified in real estate law to inquire about the legal intricacies, two lawyers said they couldn't comment because they were involved in the case. They would not disclose how. One other real estate lawyer said he couldn't comment because the city had consulted him about the case.

People move, die, give birth and alter their wills - all complications in the process to find heirs through possibly generations of wills.

Companies also go through complications, such as splits and acquisitions, which is why Frost Bank is the trustee. The bank, under a previous name, acquired some assets of the title company that handled the 1942 transaction. The former Guaranty Title and Trust Co. now exists in fragments belonging to Frost and San Jacinto Title Services.

The stockholders and heirs, if they are found, might have final say whether the city can donate the 271-acre course to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for expansion. The corporation added a deed restriction in 1944 stating the land must be used as a golf course or public park, or else it would revert back to the title company to act as a trustee for the stockholders or their heirs.

Read the full article. It's pretty interesting stuff.

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