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Aggies file lawsuit over seating at Kyle

Published: Monday, July 22, 2013

Updated: Monday, July 22, 2013 23:07

Texas A&M’s 12th Man Foundation is facing lawsuits from Aggies in Houston and central Texas whose endowed seats at Kyle Field will be moved after the $450
million redevelopment project.

A press release Monday announced that Tom and Delma Tullos, along with the family of Chester Young and several other unnamed Aggies, are filing a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and misrepresentation by the 12th Man Foundation.

Tom and Delma Tullos endowed a $20,000 scholarship in 1994 to the 12th Man Foundation and claim they were guaranteed their same seats and benefits for 30 years, without any additional payment. Under the reseating process brought about by the redevelopment project, the Tulloses would have to pay an additional $30,000 plus an “indeterminate additional amount” to keep the same seats, the press release stated.

“A deal is a deal,” said Tom Tullos, Class of 1979, in the press release. “I just want the Foundation to do the right thing, which would be to honor the agreements they made in 1994 that prompted us to endow the scholarship. We tried to get them to do so, but they refused. As much as I regret having to sue, they left me no alternative.”

12th Man Foundation President Skip Wagner said the dispute is about seat location, not a guarantee of having a seat in the
redeveloped stadium.

“We’re thankful for the shared commitment in the redevelopment of Kyle Field,” Wagner said. “What you’ve got is tens of thousands of people who are supportive and excited. Then you have literally a handful — one or two or three — that have chosen to go down a different road.”

Wagner said the Foundation guarantees each endowed seat holder a seat in the endowed seating section. That decision was made by a committee that included other endowed members of the Foundation,
Wagner said.

“Every endowment will be honored completely and totally,” Wagner said. “If you look at those endowment agreements they entitle people to game tickets, they entitle people to parking and they entitle people access to away game tickets. That’s not being taken away from anyone.”

Wagner said the actual seat each endowed member is given is not guaranteed by contract. They are guaranteed a seat in the designated seating area instead.

“They are guaranteed a seat in the endowed seating area or a seat in the stadium and that it’s up to the 12th Man what the endowed seating area is,” he said. “You can go back in history and as we made the offer to endowed seat holders who didn’t want to pay anything else could get a great seat, great location and still come to the games. Those who do want to pay more for an access to a club, they can apply their credit and get that access.”

Wagner said he is unaware of any agreement that states seats will be guaranteed in an exact section, row or seat number.

“There’s never language like that,” he said. “Since the whole west side is going away those seats don’t exist anymore. The stadium will be moved closer to the field and indeed if you thought about sight lines and distance from the field and all of that, they would logically be in a different location even if they were going to be the exact same distance from the sideline and height in the air.”

An unnamed, unnumbered, group of Aggies joined the Tulloses lawsuit on July 12 represented by Houston attorney William V. Wade, Class of 1973 and longtime Foundation member and former President of the Houston A&M Club.

Following too is Craig Young, Class of 1985, whose father Chester, Class of 1959, also endowed a scholarship. His pending lawsuit against the Foundation seeks damages alleging breach of contract and breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing.

“My father and grandfather (Charles, Class of 1932) would be troubled that their heirs have to litigate the Foundation’s breach of the endowment agreement,” he said in a statement. “Why would anyone want to give the 12th Man Foundation any more money after the Foundation intentionally broke their promises that led to the endowment and then shamelessly denies having done so?”

Wagner said Monday that the Foundation has nothing to worry about after having attorneys look at the endowment agreements and proposed lawsuits.

“I never try to crystal ball things,” Wagner said. “What I expect to happen is we will continue with our seating process. We’ll defend ourselves vigorously if there are any lawsuits. We sure hope that doesn’t happen ultimately. We’re very prepared to proceed with the reseating of Kyle Field and the project and have absolutely no reason to think we shouldn’t be able to do so.”

A press conferenece is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday in downtown Houston where Tom Tullos ,Young and the attorneys will discuss the pending lawsuit and take questions.

 

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