Texas Land Office reaches settlement with former Alamo managers

Tourists crowd the entrance of the Alamo in San Antonio on Dec. 3, 2015.
Tourists crowd the entrance of the Alamo in San Antonio on Dec. 3, 2015. The Texas Tribune

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has reached a settlement with the longtime managers of the Alamo, whom he fired last year in a move that set off a protracted fight over a library collection on the grounds of the state-owned monument.

As part of the settlement, which was announced Friday, the General Land Office agreed it does not own the contents of the collection, which includes artifacts within the Alamo complex in San Antonio. Bush's office also said it would reimburse the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, which had managed the monument for more than a century, for $200,000 in legal expenses.

The settlement caps a legal saga sparked by Bush's decision in March 2015 to part ways with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a women's lineage organization, citing failures to maintain the fiscal and physical health of the monument. The DRT shortly thereafter sued the land office over the library, saying Bush was attempting an "unconstitutional taking" of private property.

"We are all pleased to resolve this issue in a manner that allows the DRT to continue to manage this important collection of historic books, photographs, documents and artifacts," land office general counsel Mark Havens said in a statement, adding that the office will now fully focus on its efforts to develop a long-term plan for the monument.

DRT lawyer Lamont Jefferson cheered the settlement in a statement, saying that the lawsuit "was about protecting individual liberties against the overreach of the state."

Disclosure: The Texas General Land Office has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune.