Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, March 30, 2000


Intervenes on behalf of Texas children

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced his intervention in the case of Riddell Family Partnership v. Manchaca Optimist, Inc. to protect the Manchaca Rex Kitchens Youth Sports Complex from being sold to private owners. The Attorney General intervened because the Sports Complex has been dedicated to the public, and therefore, the land cannot be developed for a private purpose.

"The sale of this public complex, which has been used for almost 40 years by the Manchaca Optimists, would affect the thousands of children who participate in Optimist programs. The sale of the sports complex would violate the law, and it is my duty to protect the non-profit use of the facility," said Attorney General Cornyn.

The case involves approximately 12 acres located at the corner of Old San Antonio Road and FM 1626 in Manchaca. Since 1963, the Manchaca Optimists have operated the public sports facility on lands donated in memory of Rex Kitchens. Over the years, the Manchaca Optimists have maintained the fields and received permission from Wayne Riddell to expand the fields and build permanent fences, lighting, concession stands and a parking lot.

Riddell, who officially dedicated the complex in the 1970's to the memory of his father-in-law, has recently attempted to revoke the donation so that the property may be sold into private ownership. Riddell has filed a Declaratory Judgment action and Trespass to Try Title Claim seeking damages, attorneys fees and expenses against the Manchaca Optimists in March 1999.

The Attorney General filed the Petition in Intervention to protect the entrusted land. According to the petition, the complex exists for the public's benefit and cannot now be revoked. Under Chapter 123 of the Texas Property Code, any party initiating a proceeding involving a charitable trust is required to give notice of the proceeding to the Attorney General. It is the Attorney General's responsibility to ensure that dedicated public land is protected as required by law.

Assistant Attorney General Mary Taylor Henderson, Chief of the Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Section, is handling this case. Trial is currently set for May 8, 2000 in the 250th District Court in Austin.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050