DALLAS, June 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- SoftVest, L.P., Horizon Kinetics LLC and ART-FGT Family Partners, the Investor Group which collectively beneficially owns over 25% of the outstanding shares of Texas Pacific Land Trust (TPL) (the "Trust" or "TPL"), announced today that it has filed court papers seeking the prompt confirmation of Eric Oliver's election as the third Trustee of TPL. The Investor Group issued the following statement to TPL shareholders in connection with its filing:
"Less than 24 hours before the special meeting of shareholders scheduled for May 22, 2019, David Barry and John Norris chose to bring litigation against the Investor Group in a last-ditch effort to try to prevent the election of Eric Oliver as Trustee. Their effort failed and Mr. Oliver was elected Trustee by an overwhelming 2-1 margin vote. However, one month later, TPL management continues to refuse acknowledging the will of its shareholders. Instead, Mr. Barry and Mr. Norris have decided to continue wasting shareholders' money in a legal battle that they launched in the first place.
"In order to bring the Court case to a prompt resolution, the Investor Group has filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas a request for a declaratory judgment that (1) the vote at the May 22, 2019 special meeting was valid and Mr. Oliver has been duly elected a TPL Trustee, and (2) David Barry has never been duly elected a TPL Trustee, among other things. To prevent any further abrogation of TPL shareholders' rights in connection with the May 2019 election, the Investor Group has also requested that the Court issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting Mr. Barry and Mr. Norris from taking any action on TPL's behalf without Mr. Oliver's participation as a fully empowered Trustee. The Investor Group has also requested that the Court schedule the hearing on their motion for August 5, 2019, or as soon thereafter as the Court is available. The Court filings are available here: https://horizonkinetics.com/tpl/.
"On June 14, 2019, Mr. Barry and Mr. Norris issued a press release stating they were "obliged to remind shareholders that the proxy solicitation is suspended while the litigation is pending." One week later, their counsel requested, in a Court filing, a trial on the merits of the lawsuit not commence until at least August 31, 2020. These recent statements – in addition to the daunting discovery requests served last week by Incumbents' counsel on the Investor Group, including Eric Oliver's son and Allan Tessler's two daughters – make clear TPL's true motivations behind its lawsuit: (1) intimidate the Investor Group, (2) impose on over 15,000 shareholders at least a year-long delay, and (3) incur the costs of protracted litigation. All of these nefarious tactics were taken in an effort to dodge the shareholders' election of Mr. Oliver as Trustee. In the meantime, the Incumbents continue to illegally manage TPL without the necessary checks Mr. Oliver would bring as a duly elected Trustee. All TPL shareholders should be aligned in asking TPL management to fully cooperate in the prompt resolution of these matters."