Don't worry, no one on The Forum has been ignoring you. They just have a few quirks in their website / software that they are trying to figure out.
For example, you posted your questions and requests at 2:10 PM yesterday, Clint Liles responded an hour ago, but I only just now received your posting.
Why is it you do not want to lease? If the 4P you are negotiating with is the same one I am familiar with, out of Dallas, it is an excellent company.
If they are willing to allow you to reserve a 1/4 royalty in your lease, there is no doubt in my mind's eye that you would be better off leasing. If you are not familiar with what all goes in to being an Unleased Co-Tenant, then you probably won't see a dime for years and years to come.
And, yes, they can penalize you up to what amounts to 300% of the monies attributable to your share of the expenses of the Lease, Land and Legal, the drilling and completing of the well (or each of them) and operating the well(s) before you see a dime. By their accounting figures.
You'll have to obtain liability insurance, hire an Accountant and probably an Oil and Gas Attorney.
Perhaps even your own Landman to prepare Title Run Sheets on each of the tracts of land pooled and then an Oil and Gas Attorney to prepare a Title Opinion or set of Title Opinions, including an eventual Division Order Title Opinion, as the Operator is not responsible for your legal work.
In addition, if your interests are subject to any outstanding Non-Participating Royalty Interests (NPRI), you will be responsible for the timely paying of those NPRIs, even 'tho you won't be receiving any income from the well(s) for years. And you will have to be correct in your payments of the NPRI's every month without access to the Operating Company's books. One penny off, and you could end up being sued.
The only way your Uncle would have remained unleased and is now receiving 100% of his production would be if he underwent the penalization period as I just described or if he put his share of the money up, as a Working Interest Partner in the well(s). If he did that, then he started receiving royalties and invoices right away, just like the other Working Interest Partners.
Think of a well or set of wells as being like a Limited Partnership with the Operator being the Managing Partner.
They don't have any reason to take you to court and, no, you can't lose anything except time and perhaps a lot of your personal savings while you address all of the expenses and overhead of becoming a Working Interest Partner.
Yes, the Landman / Landmen (it's one word and gender neutral - their are no Landwomen) are trying to get you to lease. We are paid to do so.
Most people are glad to hear from us because we aren't SELLING anything.
If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to ask. If you feel you need the assistance of an experienced Oil and Gas Attorney, many of us here on The Forum can suggest one to you.
Hope this helps -
Charles Emery Tooke III
Certified Professional Landman
Fort Worth, Texas