La Marque ISD sued after it abandoned deeded property

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Dec 22, 2008

GALVESTON – A deceased Galveston County woman's trust seeks to recover property allocated to the La Marque Independent School District 70 years ago after the latter reportedly stopped using the land.

The Naschke Testamentary Trust, created under the will of Narcissa Gary Naschke, is suing LMISD in Galveston County District Court for what it claims as unlawful conduct, alleging the school district abandoned usage of the deeded property – a former school building – and failed to relinquish the title upon cessation in accordance to the deed.

"Plaintiff has superior title to the deeded property and has the right to possess the premises, but defendant has unlawfully dispossessed plaintiff of the deeded premises and continues to withhold possession," the complaint says.

The suit was filed by Galveston attorney John A. Buckley Jr. on Dec. 17. Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia is presiding over the case.

Court papers say the Naschke family deeded a certain tract of land to the La Marque Common School District No. 17 of Galveston County, LMISD's predecessor, in 1936 on the express condition that the premises was to be used "for the sole purpose of maintaining a free public school."

"After the deeded property was conveyed to defendant, defendant erected a public building on the property and used it as a public school for a number of years," the original petition explains.

It adds LMISD quit using the land for school purposes in June 2007, but gave no indication that the defendant never intended to use the property for said purposes in the future or that the cessation was permanent.

"The corrected deed stated that 'whenever said premises ceases to be used for school purposes or said premises are used for any other purpose, then and thereupon this conveyance shall be null and void and said land shall revert absolutely to grantors herein, their heirs and assigns, without suit or re-entry and no act or omission on their part shall be a waiver of the enforcement of this condition…'," the suit states.

The trust consequently sought to retrieve the deed, but to no avail.

"Plaintiff then immediately requested that defendant execute a warranty deed in favor of the plaintiff to clearly establish record in plaintiff's name," the suit says. "Defendant refused and asserted that it holds the title to the deeded property in adverse possession."

In addition to not managing an amicable change of ownership, the defendant maintained the building in an unsanitary manner, the plaintiff argues.

"The deeded property has fallen into disrepair," the suit says. "It has been vandalized and sustained damage."

The plaintiff has requested for a jury trial.

Case No. 08CV1251

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