BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – An attorney representing Bryan Mayor Bobby Gutierrez and his private business, La Pistola Cattle Company, issued a statement Thursday addressing allegations that surfaced on social media that he demanded a ransom in exchange to release a plane that made an emergency landing in late December in a field near Easterwood Airport.
The plane’s owner, Borrel Rene Jean Luc, of Marksville, Louisiana, says he was blocked from accessing his plane in exchange for a $250,000 payment.
Gutierrez’s attorney says his involvement in the incident was as a private citizen and rancher, not in his capacity as mayor of Bryan. The field where the plane landed is owned by the Bryan Business Council, a non-profit organization that leases the land to Rafter D Genetics, LLC, a private company specializing in artificial insemination and embryo transfer for cattle.
“At the time of Mr. Borrel’s landing, Mr. Gutierrez’s cattle business, La Pistola Cattle Company (“La Pistola”), in coordination with his paid consultant Rafter D, gathered cattle on the BBC property for artificial insemination and to begin an embryo collection process with the ultimate goal to sell the embryos to his clients,” said Gutierrez’s attorney Matthew Doss.
The affidavit further explains that La Pistola Cattle Company suffered significant financial losses as a result of the disruption caused by the plane’s landing and that Gutierrez only sought to resolve the dispute with the aircraft owner and his insurance company in an amicable and fair manner as soon as possible. as possible.
“The artificial insemination and embryo transfer performed by La Pistola Cattle Company and Rafter D is an expensive, time-sensitive process. Unfortunately, Mr. Gutierrez and his business La Pistola Cattle Company have been financially harmed (now over $269,700.00) as a result of Mr. Borrel’s negligent conduct. Following the crash, Mr. Gutierrez advised Mr. Borrel and his insurance company on his desire to recover his company’s substantial financial losses.”
The mayor’s attorney went on to say that Gutierrez never prevented Borrel or anyone else from retrieving his plane from the property and that “any report to the contrary is false and is defamation.”
“After the crash, Mr. Gutierrez, although it was not his responsibility to do so, made several attempts to coordinate Mr. Borrel’s pickup of the aircraft with Mr. Borrel’s aircraft recovery company and Mr. Borrel’s insurance company. On each of these occasions, the recovery contractor canceled the pickup without fault of Mr. Gutierrez, La Pistola, Rafter D or the BBC.”
“At no time did Mr. Gutierrez or La Pistola Cattle Company ‘ransom’ or ‘hold hostage’ Mr. Borrel’s aircraft in exchange for the payment of money, which was sensationalized by uninformed internet bloggers. Mr. Gutierrez never prevented Mr. Borrel or his representatives in retrieving his plane from BBC property.”
The statement further highlighted that cowboys and ranchers immediately stepped forward to assist the pilot in the aftermath of the emergency landing.
“Following the crash, La Pistola’s cowboys immediately halted their operation to render aid to Mr. Borrel and worked with the FAA as well as other emergency personnel to relocate the cattle.”
The statement also suggests that the pilot’s decision-making ability was called into question when he had to make the emergency landing.
“When Mr. Borrel was on his way from an airport in Austin, Texas, Mr. Borrel that he observed problems with his plane’s airspeed. Mr. Borrel refused to declare an emergency when asked by air traffic control on at least two occasions. Declaring an emergency would have allowed Mr. Borrel to land on the nearest runway available to him. Instead, Mr. Borrel toward College Station, Texas, eventually crash-landing on BBC property. Sir. Borrel has since claimed that he crashed his plane due to engine failure,” the statement continues.
“It is critical for the public to understand that Mr. Gutierrez’s involvement in this unfortunate incident with Mr. Borrel was as a private citizen and rancher, not in his capacity as Mayor of Bryan, Texas. Mr. Gutierrez’s focus remains on work hard to serve the people of Bryan, Texas in meeting the needs of the community and promoting the city’s growth and development,” said Doss.
Borrel Rene Jean Luc had arranged a virtual interview with KBTX on Thursday afternoon, but he chose to cancel the meeting based on the guidance of his lawyers.
The Bryan Business Council said on Thursday that “the owner of the aircraft has engaged Lone Star Retrieval to remove the aircraft from BBC property and the BBC expects the aircraft to be removed sometime during the week of March 20-25, 2023.”
The BBC also shared this statement: “The BBC acquired this property for future development opportunities consistent with the purpose of the BBC. The BBC determined that it was in its best interests to lease the property for an agricultural purpose so that for tax purposes the property would be assessed as open land (agricultural use) rather than to be assessed at its market value. The annual tax saving is significant. The BBC also appreciated having a tenant who used the property to avoid litter, encroachment and other problems that could arise on open undeveloped land. You will note that the 10- annual leases are subject to the landlord’s right to terminate at any time with 30 days’ notice. This provision in the lease gives the BBC flexibility in the event that there is a development option for all or part of the property.”
According to lease documents released by Bryan Business Council attorneys, Rafter D Genetics, LLC was granted grazing rights on the land for $1.00 per year. When asked if the council has other similar leases, council attorney Mike Gentry said the Bryan Business Council had no other grazing leases. Earlier this week, the Bryan Business Council provided additional information to KBTX about its role in the city’s economic development, saying it is “separate and distinct from the City of Bryan” and “was formed for various economic development purposes, including purchasing and keeping land available for future multifamily, commercial, manufacturing and industrial perspectives.”
Below is the full statement released Tuesday to KBTX by Doss & Rodriguez Attorneys at Law on behalf of Mayor Gutierrez and La Pistola Cattle Company, LLC. This is a development story. KBTX will update this story as new information is independently confirmed or verified by our newsroom.
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