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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Monday, November 8, 1999

Moores fight with bank over cattle round-up

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer
PECOS, Nov. 8, 1999 - Roundup on the Moore Ranch that began Friday is not a happy time for either the longtime ranching family or for the bank that kept them in business through the hard times.

First National Bank holds mortgages totaling almost $2.5 million the Moore's land and cattle, and they initiated the roundup to recoup some of their money.

"Moore has failed and refused and continues to fail and refuse to pay the Ranch Note as renewed and extended," claimed the bank in a court action filed Oct. 12 in 143rd District Court.

First National had posted notice of foreclosure on the land, known as the Banky Stocks Ranch, in August, but withdrew it in favor of negotiations. They re-posted the sale for September, and Moore sought an injunction to stop the sale. Judge Bob Parks granted a temporary restraining order, which delayed but did stop the sale.

However, the Moore ranch was not among foreclosed properties sold on the courthouse steps Tuesday.

"The bank didn't go ahead and foreclose, because I think they see some real problems," said R. Byrn Bass Jr., the Moore's attorney.

Bass said the notes are all part of the same package, and that First National was rounding up the cattle

Moore had alleged in his amended petition that sale of the cattle while the market is low would, in effect, put the ranch out of business.

"We think the Moores have been terribly wronged by the bank, and we look forward to telling the whole story in court," Bass said. "This is a story about a bank abandoning a longtime and good customer."

In his original petition, Moore said he has been a director of the bank, which "for years embarked on and adopted a course of conduct with regard to the Moore indebtedness of renewing and extending unpaid notes as they come due in exchange for the payment of interest and on occasion, a principal reduction.

"That, the Moores have offered to do with regard to the note. The bank has now obviously refused to renew this particular note on those terms."

All parties knew when the loan was negotiated that the Moores would be unable to pay the note when it came due or any time soon thereafter, the petition alleges. He further said that the bank had no legal claim on the Stocks Ranch leased land.

In their answer, First National alleges that Moore fraudulently induced the bank to participate in the exchange of the Davis Mountain Ranch collateral for the Stocks Ranch collateral, as a part of his family's personal financial planning.

"Moore intended to reduce the bank's collateral by renewing the Stocks Ranch lease lands in his individual name and attempting to remove the collateral from the lien granted to the bank by the partnership," the petition claims.

"Moore was a director of the bank at the time he renewed the leases in his own name, and knew that such action would diminish the bank's collateral for his loans at the bank. Moore should be stopped from asserting that the bank has no lien on the Stocks Ranch lease lands by virtue of his fraudulent conduct while a director of the bank," the petition continues.

Making their own counterclaim, FNB claims that prior to Aug. 15, 1997, the bank held liens under three deeds of trust from John M. Moore on the Davis Mountain Ranch in Jeff Davis County to secure a $1.25 million loan. In the early summer of 1997, Moore advised the bank for the first time that the ranch had been assigned by him to the partnership in 1994, and he wished to participate in a tax free exchange of the Davis Mountain Ranch for the Stocks Ranch in Culberson, Jeff Davis and Reeves Counties.

The bank accepted a deed of trust on the Stocks Ranch as partial security of the ranch note. When that note became due in 1998, it was extended until April 20, 1999.

"Unknown to the bank at the time of the renewal of the ranch note, Moore had renewed the lease lands of the Stocks Ranch in his own name, and not in the partnership, Jan. 1, 1998. Moore now claims he has defeated the bank's lien by his renewal of the leases outside of the partnership, thus removing the lease lands from the deed of trust," First National alleges.

The agricultural notes are of varying dates and are secured by agricultural security agreements pledging livestock as security. All of the notes have matured, according to the petition.

The bank made formal written demand on all notes June 25, and Moore has not paid them.

Moore breached his fiduciary duty as a director of the bank by purporting to renew the Stocks Ranch leashold estate in his individual name, rather than the partnership, the bank claims.

"Moore knew that his actions to defeat the lien of the bank were fraudulent and would result in damage to the bank," the petition alleges.

First National Bank seeks a judgment against Moore for the principal and interest due on the notes; that the family partnership defend its title to the Stocks Ranch leasehold estate; foreclosing the bank's lien on the Stocks Ranch real property, both fee and leasehold estates, and ordering a sale thereof with proceeds to be applied to the amount owed to the bank.

C. Medford Owen Jr. of Midland represents First National and its president, Bruce Duston.

Bass said the matter probably would go to trial in Pecos.

Council votes for mediation of water fight

PECOS, Nov. 8, 1999 - Town of Pecos City Council on Friday voted to hire a mediator to work out water rates with Reeves County for service at the Reeves County Detention Center.

The center lies outside the city limits, on the southwest edge of Pecos. Water rates are normally much higher there than inside the city limits, but the city gave Reeves County a discount when the prison opened in the mid-1980s.

A recent water rate hike would run costs for the prison into the thousands of dollars each month, said Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens. The county is currently building a 1,000 bed addition to the 1,000 bed facility.

Reeves County Commissioners have discussed the matter numerous times in executive session, citing possible litigation with the city.

Visiting judge makes long trip for naught

PECOS, Nov. 8, 1999 - Two visiting judges made it in from New Orleans to U.S. District Court in Pecos today, but two defendants in a criminal case failed to show up for the start of their trial this morning.

Juan Oliveros-Munoz, Raul Betancourt-Lara and Javier Vera-Munoz were scheduled to go on trial on charges of transporting illegal aliens, before visiting judge Peter Beer of New Orleans. But Betancourt-Lara and Vera-Munoz, both of whom were out on bond, didn't make it into court this morning and warrants were issued for their arrests.

Oliveros-Munoz did appear in court today, and the trial began as scheduled, with Bentancourt-Lara and Vera-Munoz tried in absentia.

Judge Beer is scheduled to conduct three more trials this week in Pecos federal court. George Guzman will go on trial Tuesday on two counts, conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, while Nicole LeAn Meek will go on trial Wednesday on one count of marijuana possession with intent to distribute. Meek is currently out on bond while Guzman is being held in the Ward County Jail in Monahans.

The final trial is scheduled for Thursday. Ruben Alarcon Pinon, Llama Edmidia Alarcon and Sergio Alarcon-Lopez are charged with conspiracy, possession of marijuana and use of a minor to avoid detection. Alarcon-Lopez in currently in jail in Monahans, while Pinon and Alarcon are out on bond.

The other visiting senior judge from New Orleans, Judge Adrian Duplantier, is presiding over a civil suit that began this morning and is expected to last several days; William Hopkins, et al vs. Rohn Products, Inc. Dick Holland, Roddy Harrison and James Boldrick are representing Hopkins, while attorneys Dan Griffis, Robert Scogins and Jon Mark Hogg are representing Rohn.

Husband of former winner takes  chili title


TERLINGUA (AP) The chili was hot but the competition was hotter.

A record number of contestants took part in the 33rd annual International Chili Competition in Terlingua Saturday.

The chili chefs, 307 in all, entered chilis with such names as "Doc's Backbone Chili," "Baby's Brew" and "Maverick Chili," but an Irving man walked away with the grand prize for the most savory bowl.

Bob Coats, who works for a moving company, won the Chili Appreciation Society International championship. His wife, Doris, won in 1991, making the Coats the first husband and wife in the history of the chili cook-offs each to have been awarded first place.

It was also a big day for Bonnie Walstrom of Ft. Washington, Md. The former Bonnie Hobson married Charlie Walstrom on the cook-off's main stage.

The chili competition started in Terlingua in 1967. The first cook-off was a publicity stunt that pitted Wick Fowler, an Austin journalist and originator of the Two Alarm Chili spice mix, against H. Allen Smith, a noted humorist and author.

Terlingua is 165 miles south of Pecos in the Big Bend.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 2, 8, 15, 42, 47, 48. Estimated jackpot: $14 million. Number matching six of six: none. Matching five of six: 117. Prize: $1,430. Matching four of six: 5,271. Prize: $114.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Cash 5 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery: 8-12-30-32-34 (eight, twelve, thirty, thirty-two, thirty-four)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Texas Million numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 26-38-61-72 (twenty-six, thirty-eight, sixty-one, seventy-two)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 6-2-9 (six, two, nine)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7-8-6 (seven, eight, six)

Weather

PECOS, Nov. 8, 1999 - High Sunday 79. Low this morning 47. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the upper 40s. South wind 5-10 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 70s. South to southwest wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Low in the mid 40s.



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Pecos Enterprise
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