Making A Case For Eavesdropping

It happened on the steps on the church house. Several of us were lingering outside the building after church one day. As I spoke with one elderly gentleman, two of our other members where close by having a conversation about a potential land dispute, with one of these fellows being an attorney and the other one owning a parcel of land. It seemed that the landowner was having difficulties with TxDot over what was a very tiny parcel of land.

Several years before TxDot was expanding one of their highways and through right of eminent domain had taken this man’s property. He had gotten a raw deal because he didn’t have the money to hire an attorney.

Twenty or so years later brought us to the time where we all standing in front of the church on that Sunday morning. TxDot was once again expanding the highway and now they were wanting this man to sign over, for just a few bucks this tiny sliver of land that somehow was overlooked in the original transaction. He was seeking the advice of the attorney, before he just signed it all over. The attorney was now retired and land deals weren’t his specialty, but he said he’d look at it, kind of as a favor.

I was not exactly trying to hear what the two men had been saying, but it was almost unavoidable. After they parted ways, I followed the one gentleman, the landowner, to his car. I told him I’d heard some of their conversation and I ask permission to put my 2¢ worth in.

I told him I had a distant cousin that was an attorney and his speciality was land transactions. Not just land transactions, but those involving TxDot condemnation cases. If he liked I would hook them up. The next day I made a phone call and my fellow church member soon became a client of the attonney.

By coincidence, this attorney had handled most of the other cases for the expansion of that highway and knew everything that was going on. In fairly short order, my friend was paid a huge sum, perhaps one of the largest amounts for such a small parcel of land ever paid by the State of Texas.

My friend always claimed that he got much more than the property was worth, because it was so tiny, it rendered it almost worthless. But the settlement he received helped him to feel much about the whole situation, although it took almost a whole generation to get it.

This windfall in his later years let them live more comfortably and allowed him to contribute to many charitable causes.

Most likely without this chance encounter happening just the way it did, with the persons involved, the papers would have been signed with very little money changing hands. I think it was “A God Thing”.

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