January 18, 2003
|NOTICE:||To all the heirs of Jose Manuel Ballí Villarreal|
|RE:||Cause No. 1261; The John G. and Marie Stella Memorial Foundation v. Sylvia Menchaca Ballí Aguilera, In the 105th District Court of Kenedy County, Texas.|
On December 30, 2002 an all-day hearing attended by over 100 family members was held in Corpus Christi. The following is a summary of the main motions argued at the hearing:
The purpose of the motions filed by the Kenedy Foundation was to force Judge McDowell to decide whether we have enough evidence to go to trial. The purpose of our motion was to knock-out the Kenedy Foundation's attempt to get attorney's fees from the family.
On January 6, 2003, we were informed by Judge McDowell that he intends to grant the Kenedy Foundation's motion to exclude our 1804 deed and the 1949 Lease. As a result, the February 24th trial date in Dallas has been cancelled and we will not go to trial as scheduled. Judge McDowell's rulings about the admissibility of both key documents will not be final until a judgment is signed. Please do not be discouraged. This is yet another test of our faith in this crusade for justice.
Fortunately, Judge McDowell granted our motion for summary judgment to dismiss the Kenedy Foundation's claim for attorney's fees. Although his decision was based on overwhelming case law, this is a major victory because the Kenedy Foundation was asking for millions of dollars in attorney's fees. Stated another way, if our case is eventually dismissed, the Kenedy Foundation will not be able to recover any attorney's fees from the family.
I apologize for the delay in posting this notice. However, we have been very busy preparing our counter-attack. Please understand that the Kenedy Foundation and the public is monitoring this web site for information about the case.
Our crusade for La Barreta will be won or lost depending on whether the 1804 deed is admissible as evidence at trial. Although the 1949 Lease is important, we can still win the Mesquite Rincon portion of La Barreta, also known as the "mud flats" if we can convince Judge McDowell to allow our 1804 deed to be used as evidence. The Mesquite Rincon is located on the eastern border of La Barreta and contains oil wells.
If we are allowed to use the 1804 deed at trial, then we should win the mud flats (as well as other parts of La Barreta) because neither the Kenedy family nor the Kenedy Foundation has ever fenced, paid taxes, or done any of the other things required by Texas law to prove that they stole our land by adverse possession.
Our lawyers are in the process of filing papers that should allow a jury, rather than a judge, to decide whether we have enough evidence to get our land back. However, if Judge McDowell won't let us use the documents that I believe prove we still own La Barreta, then we will not go to trial and will be forced to file an appeal. Do not be discouraged!
Like me, many of you have made a promise to a grandparent or other relative to never give up the fight to restore our family honor. By contributing to litigation expenses and praying for justice during this critical time in the history of our family, you can keep that promise.
Last but not least, do not underestimate the power of prayer. Therefore, please continue to include Judge McDowell in your prayers. Please also continue to pray for justice.
Fred B. Ballí
Hector H. Cárdenas, Jr.