2018-08-09 / Letters

Response to Spigelmyer

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Officially, what we’re

Officially, what we’re looking at is a royalty fraud claim. Attorneys are not happy about taking these cases as they’re not lucrative. They prefer injury claims, like if your water is catching on fire. Because royalty cases aren’t lucrative, you would have to pay the hourly rate right of the bat. Gas companies will then keep the case in court for years and in the end paying the attorney will cost more than the money won in the case. There has been some success with class action cases, but they’re difficult to pursue. A lawyer will ask: how are you being damaged? That’s their case. If you’re being paid royalties, they’ll want evidence as to why you think the companies are stealing money. Without some proof that we’re being defrauded, it’s difficult to approach a lawyer. There are three kinds of legitimate fraud that gas companies commit: 1. Our lease says that we’re paid depending on what they sell. Oil companies will take gas out of the pool and then store it instead of selling it right away. They’ll store gas from multiple pools in one tank to make things even more confusing and after a year or so, they’ll sell it. It’s difficult to keep track of what is whose and who is owed what. Fighting this would be a discovery case. 2. Oil companies will have a wholly owned subsidiary. They take the gas out, sell it to their subsidiary at the lowest possible price, and then the subsidiary will turn around and sell it at a very high price. Because we only get money from the sale to the subsidiary, they make bank and we don’t. 3. We make money on what they sell. If they trade another company for, say, tractors, then we don’t see any profit because there’s no cash money being exchanged. It’s not a sale, technically. These don’t take into consideration the other frauds where they will just steal gas because they know people won’t come after them. It’s too expensive for anyone to bring a case against them so they know they’ll get away with it. Hiring an accountant would be more useful than hiring a lawyer. Our Representatives will continue to do nothing for us as they are paid more by industry than voters. We can give the companies a 30 day notice that we’re sending our accountant in to audit them, and they are legally obligated to allow the audit. They will hate this. If we send in someone who just keeps asking for more accounts and who asks the right questions, we might have a case. At the very least, it will make the oil companies nervous and they will most likely self-correct on any fraud they’re committing. It would be best to hire an accountant who used to work for the one of the oil companies, because they’ll know where the bodies are hidden, so to speak. Overall, it’s better to hire an accountant. They might cost about the same as a lawyer, but they’ll be more effective. Trust, but verify. Right now we’re just trusting. It’s important to verify. There’s nothing a company hates more than an independent auditor walking in and asking for a room to set up in. Everyone in the building knows they’re being audited. Even if we find nothing, there’s a utility to sending someone in. Anyone interested in collaborating to create a group who will pay for an accountant to audit some gas companies please contact me at the gmail.com email above. Maybe we can schedule a community meeting to strategize and pressure both our bought-and-paid-for Reps and the gas companies

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