Land grant descendants may gain millions

Jan. 30, 2011 at 3:33 PM
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SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A proposed Texas bill would release millions of dollars in royalties to descendants of Spanish and Mexican land grant holders, authorities say.

About 500 descendants of the land grantees gathered in San Antonio in the Texas Comptrollers Office to discuss the proposed legislation concerning unclaimed oil and mineral royalties derived from their ancestral lands, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Those royalties represent about $200 million to $561 million of the state's $2.2 billion in unclaimed funds.

A 12-page bill called The Unclaimed Mineral Proceeds Act, which would adjust the Unclaimed Property Act, is expected to be introduced in the Legislature this year.

It would set up procedures by which the Texas Comptrollers Office could process descendant's oil and mineral claims and accept judgments from district courts that establish them as heirs.

"Through the years, our ancestors -- my father, his parents, his grandparents and his great-grandparents -- all have been seeking justice and compensation of what our forefathers left us," said Lilia Gonzalez Kohandani, an heir of Joaquin Galan, who settled in the area of what's now South Texas in the early 1700s, the newspaper reported Saturday.

"If they release this money that is due to us, it's going to be spent. It's going to rock the Texas economy," Kohandani said.

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