La. attorney general issues warning of mineral rights scam
Gannett Capitol Bureau • August 20, 2008
BATON ROUGE – With property in northwest Louisiana in high demand for drilling leases in the Haynesville Shale, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell cautions landowners to beware of a scheme designed to steal their mineral rights.
Caldwell’s office says consumers should watch out for letters in the mail that contain a check and ask property owners to sign documents and return them.
“You should be extremely cautious because you may be permanently signing away valuable mineral rights without realizing it,” the warning says.
“The document you are asked to sign may actually be a mineral deed with a general power of attorney. If you sign the document, the power of attorney might be used to amend the document, after you sign it, to reflect that all mineral assets, even those already in production, are turned over for very little money.”
The attorney general’s Consumer Protection Section urges any consumer who receives such documents in the mail to check the offer out with an attorney before signing anything.
“This is just one example of the type of issue that can come up during a mineral lease or sale transaction,” the alert says. “The attorney general encourages all property owners in Louisiana to seek legal advice before signing any documents relating to the sale or lease of mineral rights.
If you believe you may be the victim of a mineral lease scam, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889.
I attended the town hall meeting in Natchitoches several weeks ago and the speaker said that he has heard of the land owners and lawers review the papers, but when the landman came back to get them signed the first page looked the same as the original papers, however the following pages changes had been made, so beware. I would ask what if we found a lease that we could live with, had a notary stamp and sign each page and made copies before returning the papers back to the landman would this help to safeguard against the scammers?
Jim..When I sign my lease on my property I guarantee you that each and every page will be initialed not only by me but by the landman and both our signatures on the last page will be notarized at my request. If they oppose such then you and I both know somethings not right because if they are honest it will not be a problem. Apparently, louisiana law doesn't require this but it's how we do business in georgia and it will be how i execute any lease agreement between myself and any O & G company.
This is my humble opinion and discretion only.
LA law doesn't require anyone with $$$ to be honest, nor does it seek to help the citizen that has no $$$ and a legit claim. I have had a suit against a big bucks corp for about 7 years with no resolution. Property loss not G&O related, but the same principle will still apply... Hey anybody here know a good (or rather a competent) attorney. Would prefer get-r-done for you at any cost evil slickster....
A number of months ago I received such a letter with check and mineral deed which, after reading, shredded it.
I know of someone who came to me with the check and thought it would be okay to deposit the check. He had no idea of what he was about to do. Likewise, after I explained it to him the documents were shredded.
It's like anything else in life, if it sounds to good to be true it usually is.
Property owner sues developer to get mineral rights
By SONJA BAILES email@example.com
Amid all the excitement over the Haynesville Shale natural gas field, a lot of homeowners in parts of Bossier Parish are finding out they don't own the mineral rights to their property after all. One major developer in the parish who built and sold homes kept the mineral rights in the subdivisions.
"I just assumed I owned everything, but it didn't work out like that," said Melvin Edwards, who lives in Golden Meadows in south Bossier City and has filed a lawsuit against James Brown Builders trying to get his mineral rights.
Edwards found out he didn't own the mineral rights under his property when he was trying to negotiate mineral rights to his property earlier this year.
"Somebody cared about those mineral rights enough to take steps to strip them out of the land they were selling," said Edwards' attorney, Todd Benson.
Edwards' lawsuit says homeowners in 13 subdivisions who bought property from Brown from July 2006 to the present don't have mineral rights.
In a statement, James Brown Builders said that more than 30 years ago, the company began reserving some of the minerals on property it developed -- long before anyone heard of the Haynesville Shale.
Brown said ownership of the minerals is, and always has been, public record for anyone buying property from them.
Benson has asked the court to certify the lawsuit as a class-action suit, because more than 100 homeowners could easily be affected. The Bossier District Court judge hearing the case has not ruled on that request.
The Bossier Parish clerk of court will help property owners in the parish determine whether they own their mineral rights. Clerk of Court Cindy Johnston said her staff will search property records back 10 years to check for existing mineral reservations or leases on the land. Inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
As exciting as this is, we know that we have a responsibility to do this thing correctly. After all, we want the farm to remain a place where the family can gather for another 80 years and beyond. This site was born out of these desires. Before we started this site, googling "shale' brought up little information. Certainly nothing that was useful as we negotiated a lease. Read More