By JESSIE HORTON
ERATH COUNTY (April 10, 2015) — After being for sale for about two years, the Erath County Livestock Association has sold a little over six acres the group owned between the stock show barn and US Highway 377.
The news has Erath County residents excited for two different reasons. According to those upset about the sale, the ECLA board didn’t follow the legal requirements to sale the property. However, board members have said they acted within their rights as a board to sell unused property.
Not only that, board members have also said they are excited because, while he could not confirm how much the organization received for the sale, ECLA board president Doug Shores said the money was going back into maintenance and improvements for the property they still possess.
The funds to purchase the land the ECLA stock show barn and rodeo arena (which is unused and unsafe for use) were donated to the organization by several residents in 1963. The land was purchased later and the facilities added. However, several years ago, the rodeo was moved from the ECLA arena to Lone Star Arena and the one at ECLA fell into disrepair.
The property behind the barn, which was originally used for warming up horses or other animals to be used at the rodeo or showed, has not been used in more than 10 years according to some on the board. Shores said he welded shut the gate from US 377 into the property in 2005. There’s still access from the show barn side off of FM 205.
Two years ago, in an open meeting, the board agreed to put the property up for sale to raise funds to repair the barn and facilities. Shores said the board agreed to put the property up for sale by owner due to the fact that at least one local realtor was on the board and another was highly involved in the organization.
At that time, one offer was presented to the board that the board deemed too low and passed on. However, recently, Danny Phillips put an offer before the board and it was accepted. Phillips has several properties in Erath County that are used for housing, but it is not known at this time how he plans to use the six acres he purchased from the ECLA. Phillips is also in charge of the Erath County Junior Livestock Show, though that reportedly has nothing to do with his purchase of the property.
Even with the ECLA board planning to use all funds from the sale for improvements of facilities and maintenance, Shores said he learned this week he and the board could face litigation over the sale, something he said was shocking.
“Not one person was concerned with the sale of this property when we decided to sell it, nor when we considered the first offer, but now I’ve been informed we’re facing possible litigation over this,” Shores said. “Our methodology in this transaction was impeccable, and I’ll tell you, it would be a travesty if we had to spend one penny of the money we were going to put back into the facilities that are utilized by area 4-H Clubs and FFA students on legal fees.”
Nothing has been filed in Erath County courts and Shores said he had not heard anything was official yet, just that there could be “possible litigation.”