Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Elect Don Mahan

Dear Property Owners of Terlingua Ranch:

This is an important message about your investment in Terlingua Ranch property. This is a letter to ask for your support, and to ask for your vote for POATRI director for:

                                   DON MAHAN  

The resume of Don Mahan is attached.

I am asking for your vote because I believe that Terlingua Ranch has some major problems that must be corrected if the ranch is to survive and flourish.

Major Problems:

1.      Only 44% of the property owners of record pay all the maintenance fees that the ranch collects. Only 54% of all the property owners, that are required to pay fees, pay fees.

·        This is true because there are large numbers of delinquent owners and many property owners that are totally exempt from paying fees. Only 24% of the tracts of land on the ranch are subject to maintenance fees due to the flat fee which allow the large land owners with many tracts to pay the same exact fee as a small 5 acre property owner. Seventy six percent (76%) of the tracts on Terlingua Ranch are not even subject to fees.

·        The number of delinquent property owners has greatly increased since the year 2005 when the flat fee was passed. Two lawsuits have been filed and many property owners will not pay because the flat fee was passed without a majority of property owners voting to pass it as required by the original TRMA agreement. In the year 2011 the POATRI maintenance fee will be increased again to $165.64 by the current board even though they have a large surplus of funds.

         What needs to be done to correct this problem?

·        Fairness must be returned to the POATRI fee system - such that the 44 percent paying owners are not being forced to subsidize the 56 percent non paying owners.  This will significantly reduce POATRI fees for the average tract owner.

·        Abolish the flat fee. It allows far too many tracts of land to escape paying a fee. No organization can operate for long with less than 50% of the owners supporting it. Brewster county taxes all the tracts on Terlingua Ranch and POATRI can also impose fees on all the tracts.

·        Restore a base fee and acreage fee like we had prior to 2005.

·        Expand the current Amnesty Program to include delinquent owners. The current amnesty program allows property owners in good standing to participate, but this does not result in any additional revenue because of the flat fee. We need to get some of the delinquent owners paying fees again.


Note the board president (Tanya Phillips, currently running for re-election)) has appointed a committee to study the above problem. However the selected committee consists primarily of large land owners/exempt owners/real estate people who are opposed to any tract & acreage fees and originally supported the flat fee. One of the committee members (Barbara Trammell) is one of the largest real estate dealers/exempt owners in Brewster County. This is like putting a fox in a chicken coop to guard it.

POATRI  has a large land owners list. The large land owners, on the list, own 1,089 tracts with 19 accounts, that are billed and 15 accounts that pay. Which means about 12% of our tracts are owned by 0.38% of our property owners. 1,089 tracts or 12% of tracts are only being billed $3,017.00 and only actually paying $2,382.00 this year. Each tract is only paying  $2.19 per tract.

This is why the large land owners & real estate dealers want to keep a flat fee. They line their pockets at the expense of the average ranch property owner. The flat fee may be easier to calculate, but that doesn’t make it a fair fee.

2.   The Board of Directors can change all the POATRI Bylaws (except Article 3) and Policies & Procedures without any input from the property owners. The proxy system for property owners input has been eliminated. This has resulted in total domination of ranch policy by only the board of directors.

            What needs to be done to correct this problem?

·        Restore the proxy voting system, so that if 10% of the property owners want some change, it can be voted on by all the property owners in good standing.


·        Change the current petition system so that only 10% instead of 15% of property owners can petition for a change without excessive costs that the current system has.

·        Change the POATRI Bylaws so that property owners must approve all changes to the Bylaws. No longer will board members be able to make changes to the bylaws that property owners do not approve.

3.      The election system that POATRI uses is not fair to the property owners since:

·        The secrecy of the ballot is not protected from board members, the ranch manager, and ranch employees. All ballots and election materials (computer memory stick) are stored in the ranch office. The current Policy and Procedures Manual concerning election procedures does not even forbid the board members and ranch manager from looking at the ballots or other election materials.

·        The person (Independent Vote counter or IVC) selected to count the votes is selected by an individual board member.

·        No poll observers are allowed to insure the ballots are correctly counted. All cities, county, state and federal elections in Texas allow poll observers to insure fairness. Ever wonder why poll observers are not permitted?

·        The ballots are counted over a fourteen day period in unsecured locations.

·        Ballots are returned to the ranch office if they cannot be delivered. Undelivered ballots should not be returned to the ranch office, but instead to the IVC.

               What needs to be done to correct this problem?

·        An experienced, independent outside firm should be selected and hired to mail out all ballots, tally the ballots, and store the ballots/election materials after they are counted.

·        All Policy and Procedures rules concerning elections must be approved by a majority vote of property owners.

4.      The POATRI Bylaws Article 3.01 states: “The Corporation shall have one class of members.” In fact, the corporation has two classes of membership, which are exempt property owners and non-exempt property owners

The exempt property owners have been allowed per the Bylaws, for years to vote and hold office even though they pay no fees. The exempt property consists of:

·        1,132 tracts of land which totals 61,000 acres which is not subject to acreage fees or maintenance fees.

·        The total ranch consists of 192,000 acres, so exempt tracts are 31.7% of the ranch.

·        There are 615 exempt property owner’s accounts which are not billed maintenance fees.

·        There are a total of 4,965 property owners and only 4,350 accounts are billed.

The ranch is expecting only nonexempt property owners to carry the entire load of providing funds for the entire ranch. This is not fair to the non-exempt property owners. It is grossly unfair that these non paying property owners are allowed to vote and hold office. Why should non paying exempt members be allowed to vote in elections and serve as a director to determine how our funds are expended, when they pay no fees? Currently there are exempt property owners serving as directors of Terlingua ranch.


           What needs to be done to correct this problem?

·        Change the POATRI Bylaws so that  exempt property owner cannot vote or hold office unless they voluntarily pay all fees, just as nonexempt property owners are required to do. Exempt property owners will still be members if they do not pay fees, but they will be treated the same as non-exempt property owners who do not pay required fees.

Many exempt property owners will be happy to pay fees and do their fair share to support the ranch. I personally own both an exempt tract and nonexempt tracts and pay all POATRI fees.

These are the major changes that I recommend. I pledge to try my best to get these issues passed during my term in office if you elect me.

There is one other director candidate that I consider worthy of your vote. His name is Don Ferguson and I have attached a copy of his resume. Please vote for Don Ferguson.

Will you help us reform the ranch?  Will you help us get elected?  We ask several things of you.

·     Please pass this message on to property owners that you know or send us their email addresses so that we can contact them directly.

·     Please tell us of other changes which you would like to see.

·     Please vote for us.

If you have any questions whatsoever, about this email, please call or email me.

Remember it’s your money; make sure the current board fairly collects fees from all the property owners. If they don’t act responsible, then don’t re-elect them.

Send this email to your ranch neighbors.


Don Mahan                                                  

12800 Briar Forest #10                               

Houston, TX 77077

713 854 3169                                                                                                         


  1. If I were a property owner I would certainly vote for him.

  2. I'm a property owner,anybody want to buy my property? I'll sell that 20 acre pile of junk if somebody wants to buy it.

  3. MsB, I'm sure he could use the vote.

    Bkid, You can vote.

  4. I know, I just don't want to participate in ranch politics. I have no use for the political part of the ranch, never did never will.

  5. FYI tanya phillips is no longer running for re-election

  6. "FYI tanya phillips is no longer running for re-election"

    Yeah I know, but who did she back out to support?

  7. Going to be headed out to the ranch 12/25. Going to be staying at the lodge and working on our property that week. We'll be coming from San Antonio, if there is anything we can bring you from the city let me know, be glad to pick it up for you if it will fit in the car!

  8. Lance, Thanks for the offer, but I can't think of anything I need from the big city. I may be out of here for Christmas anyway so wouldn't be here in that case for you to bring anything by.

  9. Budweiserkid, are you really interested in selling your 20 acre tract? If so email me,


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