BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – A Louisiana pilot who made an emergency landing in Bryan in December 2022 faces a deadline of Thursday, March 17 to remove his plane from the field on which it landed.
In two YouTube videos, the plane’s owner, Borrel Rene Jean Luc, claims that he was denied access to his plane and that Bryan Mayor Bobby Gutierrez demanded a ransom of over $250,000 in exchange for his release .
The land 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 bovine embryo harvesting.
According to lease documents released by attorneys for the Bryan Business Council, Rafter D Genetics, LLC was granted grazing rights on the land at $1.00 per year. When asked if the council had other similar leases, council attorney Mike Gentry said the Bryan Business Council had no other pasture leases.
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Rafter D’s owner, Cliff Dorn, says he allowed Guiterrez to bring his longhorn onto the property in a private arrangement, but says the plane’s emergency landing in December disrupted farm operations, resulting in financial losses for him and Gutierrez led.
Dorn also tells KBTX that he did not stop the pilot from gaining access to the plane. He also clarified that he and Gutierrez had entered into a private agreement a few years before Gutierrez was elected mayor, stressing that he, not Gutierrez, is leasing the land from the Bryan Business Council.
In a statement, the council says after the pilot’s claims were shared on social media, the city of Bryan’s economic development director, Kevin Russell, was asked to notify the owner of the plane that he has until Thursday to get it off the property removed. When we asked why Russell, a city employee, was now involved in the matter, the Bryan Business Council’s lawyer said Russell was the liaison for the BBC and providing administrative support to the organisation.
The council says the plane’s owner had not contacted the council or his insurance company prior to this request.
KBTX actively sought answers from the city and reached out to the mayor, the city and the attorneys involved to gain a better understanding of the contracts and how they were awarded. The city has not responded to inquiries about the mayor’s ransom demand, and the city manager, city attorney and mayor could not be reached for comment.
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The situation has sparked a heated discussion online, with many people expressing their opinions on the matter and questioning the mayor’s involvement in the lease. Lawyers representing the council explained that Gutierrez’s role on the council was that of an ex-officio non-voting member.
The Bryan Business Council has emphasized that it acts independently of the City of Bryan and that the Council’s Board of Directors acts independently of the City.
The Bryan Business Council is “a not-for-profit corporation separate and separate from the City of Bryan, formed for various purposes of economic development, including the purchase and ownership of land available for future multi-family, commercial, manufacturing, and industrial prospects “, the statement said.
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KBTX has reached out to Mayor Gutierrez to try to ask if the pilot’s ransom demands are true, but we were told by city officials Wednesday that he, the city manager or the city attorney general are available for comment. Questions for Bryan Business Council counsel regarding the claims were directed to Gutierrez and his attorney. We also asked Dorn if that happened and he said he was not aware of the allegations.
Below are documents related to this story received by KBTX, including the pasture lease agreement between the BBC and Dorn. Also is the full statement released by the Bryan Business Council to KBTX on Tuesday. This is an evolving story. KBTX will update this announcement as new information is independently confirmed or verified by our editorial team.
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