Pecos Independent and Enterprise
April 26, 1962
Reeves County Grand Jury indicts
Estes on 8 felony theft charges
Billie Sol Estes -- already under federal indictment for fraud -- was indicted Wednesday by the Reeves County grand jury on eight separate counts of felony theft.
The grand jury charges grew out of anhydrous ammonia tank transactions.
Indictments against Estes were returned along with 11 others after the jury panel spent nearly three days behind closed doors in investigation.
A $22,500 bond on Estes was posted early this morning in Callihan County. Reeves County Sheriff A.B. Nail said he was notified this morning that the bond had been met.
Estes is free on the federal charges on a $100,000 bond, posted April 2 in El Paso.
Attached to the indictments were promissory notes, chattel mortgages, conditional sales contracts and leases on ammonia tanks signed by six Reeves County farmers.
Although the indictments show only theft over $50, the instruments attached to the charges show a total of $828,577.
Action by the grand jury was the first local action against the Pecos financier.
A federal grand jury in El Paso indicted Estes on eight counts, alleging he transported fraudulent chattel mortgages in interstate commerce. One indictment showed 58 overt acts of fraud.
The $22,500 bond--$5,000 on one indictment and $2,500 on each of the other seven--was set soon after the grand jury made its report to Judge J.H. Starley in 143rd District Court.
John Dennison, Estes' Pecos attorney, entered the courtroom soon after the bond was set. Dennison was given copies of the indictments by District Attorney R. B. McGowen Jr.
Farmers allegedly bilked by Estes and the amounts include W.J. Worsham, $76,464; L.G. Worsham, $104,960; Alan C. Hoefs, $49,608, $39,204 and $309,615; Thomas Bell, $162,144; Travis Lattner Jr., $55,211.60; and Jack Bradley, $31,370.40.
Meanwhile, a blue-ribbon federal grand jury--reportedly called to investigate charges that Estes gave expensive gifts to federal farm officials--recessed Tuesday just two hours after it was convened in Dallas.
Seven employees of Neiman-Marcus specialty stores were subpoenaed to testify. They were ordered to stand by and have their records available for the grand jury to examine.
And in Amarillo, it appeared that Attorney General Will Wilson will present evidence next week to a Potter County grand jury in an attempt to indict Estes on violations of the state's antitrust laws.
Finance company sued for contempt of court
A hearing for officials and representatives of Walter E. Heller and Company Inc. to show cause why they should not be cited for contempt of court was issued Wednesday by Judge J.H. Starley in 143rd District Court here.
Judge Starley set the session for May 21 after attorneys for four Midland men filed a complaint alleging violations of a temporary injunction issued April 12 by the district judge.
The injunction was granted in order to keep the Heller company and others from disposing of records and agreements made in connection with the mortgaging of anhydrous ammonia tanks.
Specifically the injunction enjoined the companies "from removing, selling, assigning, endorsing, transferring, pledging or otherwise losing or relinquishing title, possession or ownership of said notes, chattel mortgages and lease."
The injunction further demands "...that the status quo of the parties and said notes, chattel mortgages and lease and other properties should be maintained..."
Two Midland attorneys, W.B. Browder Jr. and Milton L. Bankston, filed the complaint Wednesday on behalf of J.C. Barnes Sr., J.C. Barnes Jr., Russell Ramsland and W. F. Wynn, all of Midland.
The complaint alleges that on April 16 Heller and its representatives "...violated its agreement (with the plaintiffs) and disobeyed such injunction..."
Heller and company, said the complaint, received judgments against the plaintiffs in a Cook County, Illinois, court under a confession clause in the mortgages.
The confession clause, illegal in Texas, allowed the Cook County court to appoint an attorney to represent the plaintiffs and "confessed" the Heller company's judgment on the plaintiffs.
The complaint charges officials and representatives with "delivering and removing from said company's personal possession the four notes of the plaintiffs ...to the clerk of Superior Court of Cook County, Illinois, and in filing its complaints..."
In addition the complaint charges the defendants with "...failing and refusing to retain the status quo of the parties and notes and chattel mortgages...seeking to remove said parties and this suit as to such notes and chattel mortgages to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Pecos Division."
Attorneys for the Heller company indicated they would ask the federal court to void the actions of the state court because the state court had no jurisdiction to enter the temporary injunction.
Named in the suit as defendants in the complaint action were Walter E. Heller and Company Inc., Robert L. Livingston of Chicago, Heller's president; Sidney Bloom of Chicago, Heller's vice president; Hilbert Kreeger Jr, of Chicago, Heller's assistant secretary; John Foringer of Chicago, a Heller representative; Jules Green of Houston, Heller's southwestern representative, and Frank Cole of Chicago, a Heller attorney.
Other attorneys for the company named as defendants included M. Warlick Carr of Lubbock, Marion T. Key of Lubbock and R.B. McGowen of Monahans.
The injunction grew out of a civil suit filed April 2 charging Billie Sol Estes of Pecos. Superior Manufacturing Company of Amarillo, Harold E. Orr of Amarillo, Walter E. Heller and Company Inc., Pacific Finance Company, Kuykendall Investment Company and Commercial Solvents Corporation with fraud in connection with sales of ammonia tanks.
Judgments returned in Cook County against the plaintiffs were Barnes Sr., $173,515.80; Barnes Jr., $361,725.60; Ramsland, $360,594; and Wynn, $350,757.
The Pecos Independent and Enterprise
April 30, 1962
CIT files 28 suits
One of the nation's largest finance companies Friday filed suit against 28 Pecos area farmers to collect money owed them for anhydrous ammonia and acid tanks.
Some 28 suits charging default in payment were filed here in federal district court by Raymond A. Lynch, Midland attorney.
CIT Corporation, the finance firm, is asking the farmers for a total of $2,971,198.67.
The firm alleges the persons have defaulted in payment on 3,783 fertilizer tanks and 506 applicators.
Reeves Countians named in the suit were G.M. Atwood, Thomas H. Bell, Jack Bradley, Jose S. Bradley, Robert D. Bradley, Eddie J. Carpenter, Barton D. Cramer, Marcus Dingler, Glen E. Estes, H.W. Elam, Ralph Evans, Alan Hoefs, Charlie R. Howell,
W. Travis Lattner Jr., Ted Lindemann, Ellis Mattox, L.C. Moore, John T. Sargent, Lewis Swain Thomas, Will H. Weaver, T.J. Wilson, J.S. Wofford, W.J. Worsham and L.G. Worsham.
Others named were C.M. Kellar of Coyanosa, W.L. Murphy and L.M. Freeman, both of Imperial, and Hubert P. McClure of Midland.
The suits contend that the persons owe CIT $2,583,564.09 for the tanks, all of which were bought from Superior Manufacturing Company of Amarillo and Lubbock Machine and Supply Company of Lubbock.
Original purchase price for the tanks and applicators was $4,038,417,82.
Each of the persons were sued in a separate suit.
The person number of tanks mortgaged in his name, and the amount asked by CIT include:
Atwood--100 tanks; $68,521.02.
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