When we bought our house in a new subdivision we were told the mineral rights would not transfer. About one year later we were contacted by a landman and informed that due to a "deed failure" we actually owned our rights. He told us that the first three homes built all retained mineral rights. We were surprised and thankful. We got 1380.00 for a signing bonus and 25% for our 1/4 acre lot.
The gas compnay is Williams out of Oklahoma. Over a year went by (wells were drilled and pipelines were put in over the course of this year) and no royalty checks had arrived so I contacted Williams. They told me that the developer had filed a dispute saying he owned the rights.
After about three more months Williams advised us that they had two law firms look at the title work and they believe it could be argued either way. Their suggestion was for us to approach the developer and try to make a deal. Because this developer is already in several ventures with Wiliams I don't trust them for their solution. I saw the title work and it is pretty apparent to me the developer went back in and tried to change the title work to give himself the mineral rights.
Compnay A sold the rights to Company B including Mineral Rights in 2004
Company B now holds the rights
Company A in 2006 comes back in and transfers the mineral rights to the developer personally.
Company B sells the land to Company C
We bought our lot from Compnay C
Now here is twist, the same guy owns all these companies, but, once Company A sells to Company B, Company A can't come back in 2 years later and re-assign rights. They don't own them anymore, Company B owns them. He should have re-assigned them as Company B and I can't figure out why he didn't do that.
A lawyer we talked to states our case is strong but wants 5000 retainer to represent us if we have to go to court. I really don't know if I can swing that kinda money.
If Williams assigns this to a court to hold the royalties have I lost any chance of recovering the royalties? The developer is a very wealthy mover and shaker around here so I don't really see him letting this all go with out a protracted fight. Lawyers fees to him are nothing.
Any thoughts out there on this situation?