Several Galveston Bay Oyster Companies and Fishermen are filing a federal civil rights lawsuit Monday Morning alleging their Constitutional rights have been violated by an illegal conspiracy of the Chambers Liberty County Navigation District board members to secretly help one company, Jeri’s Seafood, take control of Galveston Bay.
Hannah Reef, Inc, Shrimps R Us, Inc., Ivo Slabic and Michael Ivic are represented by Houston Attorneys Cris and Dave Feldman. Feldman and Feldman have led the charge on behalf of Texans to preserve Galveston Bay for all oyster fishermen. A Galveston State District Judge has already declared the lease illegal.
In 2014, after secret meetings, the Navigation District leased 23,000 acres of Galveston Bay to a company called S.T.O.R.M. run by a local Judge Tracy Woody and his politically powerful relative, the late Ben Nelson.
The lease was executed at the shocking price of 1.50 cents an acre. On average, a single fresh oyster costs $1.75 in Houston.
S.T.O.R.M. then issued trespass notices and harassed boats trying to harvest oysters for companies with legitimate leases authorized by the State of Texas.
“There was a conspiracy to pull off a back-room deal for this oyster land grab, and now, for the first time, we will hold individual members of the CLCND financially responsible for the damages suffered by these hardworking Texas families, says Attorney Cris Feldman.