It was a symbolic gesture, but sometimes such things send an important message.
At a court hearing Wednesday in Fort Worth’s lawsuit over millions in royalty earnings from Chesapeake Energy, Mayor Betsy Price sat up front with Ralph Duggins, the attorney representing the city.
In many hearings, you don’t see that. Attorneys for both sides, the judge, a court reporter and a bailiff might be the only people in the room.
“I hope that my presence said that [the lawsuit] is important to the city and that we are dead serious about recovering the citizens’ money,” Price said.
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It does say that, Madame Mayor, and it’s worth saying.
The lawsuit, like hundreds of others filed after a flurry of natural gas lease contracts in the North Texas Barnett Shale brought disappointing results for property owners, accuses Chesapeake of deflating royalty checks through gas sales to related companies.
Fort Worth got $6 million in a settlement this week with Chesapeake’s partner. Seriously.