It’s easy for Fort Worth lawyer Dan McDonald to put himself in his clients’ shoes for a lawsuit he expects to file against Chesapeake Energy over alleged underpayment of royalties. He says he has been shorted too.On Tuesday evening, McDonald held his first Tarrant County meeting aimed at rounding up royalty owners for the cases. About 75 people showed up at Unity Church on Trail Lake Drive in southwest Fort Worth, where McDonald told them he thinks there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.One of those attending was Paul Weide, a TCU-area resident who has pressed the company previously on royalty issues.“So many people just don’t know what to do,” Weide said of the appeal of a mass effort like McDonald’s. “Eventually, if there’s enough people it’s worth his time” to take on the cost of preparing the cases, Weide said.“It’s really nothing short of stealing,” McDonald said, recounting his own experience with the Oklahoma City-based natural gas producer. He said the company did not pay royalties for months and months after beginning production on mineral interests his family holds in west Fort Worth, an issue resolved only after Chesapeake needed a pipeline easement across one of the properties.The company did not respond to a request for comment on McDonald’s efforts.Several big public and private property owners have sued Chesapeake over the same issue. The Fort Worth school district and the Star-Telegram filed suits earlier this month, and the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington, the Arlington school district and a group including Fort Worth developer Ed Bass have sued in the past year.Tuesday night’s meeting was the seventh McDonald has held in the past six weeks, with all the previous ones in Johnson County. He said he has collected about 1,000 names from the events and plans to file lawsuits by grouping landowners who are part of the same lease.“I think within a year we will be resolving some of these cases,” he said. McDonald Law Firm also has meetings scheduled at First Baptist Church of Crowley tonight, at Brewer High School on Monday, and at Cleburne Conference Center on Wednesday. All the meetings are at 6:30 p.m.Park Place to break ground for Mercedes dealershipPark Place Dealerships is set to break ground this morning for its new Mercedes-Benz of Arlington showroom at 4201 Beltway Place, nestled among the bustling auto dealers row on Interstate 20 east of South Cooper Street.It will be Park Place’s fourth Mercedes-Benz store in the area and its 18th overall. Construction is expected to create 325 jobs and the dealership anticipates 90 permanent jobs when it opens next year.The site is located just east of the Furr’s cafeteria on the south side of I-20.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718 Twitter: @bshlachter