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Goliad Airpark proposal leaves unanswered questions

By KBell
Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:28 a.m.

GOLIAD - The Goliad County Airpark Advisory Board wants more details on a $4 million proposal before it can say if it supports the offer to buy.

The report comes after a proposal submitted Aug. 9 to the court from the San Antonio engineering company, Wehman and Associates. Victor W. R. Wehman approached the court on behalf of a family trust called Truehanderschaft Schlusstein, which is based in the European country of Liechtenstein.

The board's one-page recommendation expressed difficulty in gaining the information necessary to take further action and called for a stalemate until an official earnest money contract could be presented to the court.

"This was just too generic and left too much to the imagination. There's just not enough facts," Steve Lott, chair of the advisory board, said.

Lott said the board had difficulty communicating with Wehman, who refused to answer questions posed by the court-appointed advisory board.

In an e-mail to County Judge Harold Gleisner, the board's report said Wehman wrote, "I am not planning on submitting any information to any individual or group other than the proposal that has been submitted."

In a phone interview, Wehman did not acknowledge the e-mail, but said he preferred to address any concerns with the court in a "public session, nothing behind closed doors."

"When the court feels it's the appropriate time, they will invite me back to ask questions or to answer questions or to negotiate further," Wehman said.

One of the concerns the board approached Wehman with was its inability to find a record of the Truehanderschaft Schlusstein family trust.

Board member James Johnson said he contacted the Liechtenstein's Financial Market Authority, which supervises and regulates the country's financial market, via e-mail.

Sonya Cepe, a financial service provider at the FMA, responded to Johnson that the Truehanderschaft Schlusstein trust was "not known to the FMA."

However, in an e-mail to the Advocate, Cepe said certain trusts do not need to be registered with the FMA, but with Liechtenstein's Public Registry.

Cepe concluded her e-mail by saying, "The FMA and its staff are bound by official secrecy."

The court and residents in attendance at the public session on Aug. 9 expressed excitement for the proposal but apprehension that it may have been too good to be true.

"This is my home out here, and I want to know what's going on," Lott said about his efforts to delve deeper into the proposal.

Johnson and Lott said the board will wait to make any recommendations until an earnest money contract is brought up. In the meantime, they said the burden lies on the court.

"I feel like if there's due diligence by the court, there's really nothing to worry about," Lott said. "There's plenty to worry about if there isn't."

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