Murray bennett story part 13
LAVISH LUNCHEONS, A DANGEROUS FLIGHT, AND SAVING MONEY
Once the bond issue went through Hankamer purchased all the additional remaining open land and then sold it at an undisclosed ridiculously low amount an acre to 10 of his Wealthy friends. These individuals then became the Municipal Utility Department board.
Which was required by Texas law to hold monthly meetings, at these board meetings they would set the rate of taxation they were going to apply to the property within their district. These were no ordinary board meetings; they were lavish expensive lunches.
Eventually the fateful day came that Murray received his companies MUD 36 tax bill in the amount of $75,000 and Murray about lost the teeth in his mouth. The amount of that bill was astronomical and unbelievable, Murray could not believe his eyes. Being Murray, he did his job and found out when and where the next board meeting was to be adjourned.
He attended that board meeting and the next 2 board meetings after much to the board members’ dismay. As usual, they were prepared for their lavish luncheon served by fancy dressed waiters in white gloves. As soon as the plates were being served Murray pushed his away stood up and began to harangue the assembled 10 board members.
He told them they were thieves, snakes, scalawags, liars, wastrels, and spendthrifts and on and on he went berating everyone sitting there these wealthy men were not use to be spoken to in this manner much to the amusement of the waiters. This went on for the better part of 20 minutes until Murray finally had his say and of course had ruined lunch for everyone there.
Murray returned and spoiled 2 more of these lavish lunches where he met the owner of the largest Cadillac dealership in Houston Carriage Cadillac who had also received an enormous tax bill from these scammers before he was finally satisfied and let it be, and he never did pay the $75,000 tax bill.
At a much later time when Murray was returning from a business trip to Houston his secretary notified him that there was room available on the company plane a Cessna citation jet. Murray decided to take the free ride and return to Amarillo on that Cessna and while aboard the cabin of the plane happen to fill with smoke, this was a scary situation.
Murray was seated directly behind the pilot and he overheard the pilot contact the Cessna Wichita plant in Wichita Kansas. The Cessna tech told him, he could land in Waco or keep going to Amarillo because when he began his descent from 29,000 feet is when a potential spark would occur.
With the cabin was full of oxygen that potential spark would cause the entire plane to explode. They were not aware of where the short could be, although they could detect an extremely warm spot in one side of the interior wall.
They continued to Amarillo and landed there without mishap, the Cessna Kansas plant sent technicians down to Amarillo to try to locate the problem, but nothing was ever found. Pioneer natural gas continued to use the plane and Murray himself flew on it on several occasions.
In 1986 Mesa bought out Pioneer natural gas and Murray was at the top of the hiring list, when he was hired his new title was property tax supervisor and it came with an increase in wages plus a yearly bonus. Murray’s first assignment was to fly out to Kansas and visit a county tax assessor.
Murray flew out to Kansas on a twin-engine King air and landed at the Ulysses airport and contacted the assessor for Grant County to pick him up for their business meeting. After business was concluded Murray returned to Mesa and reported how the meeting went with his manager.
He also notified his manager that he would prefer driving company cars to his business meetings for better access to the assessor’s in the future and his manager agreed.
One day while Murray was in the office going over the state of Kansas information on taxation of movable personal property, he found out that the planes they owned would be tax exempt if domiciled in Kansas. Mesa owned a Mystery falcon three engine jet, Cessna citation and another smaller plane.
He knew a County assessor in Kansas and spoke with her about getting the paperwork handled and she thought there would be no problem Murray proceeded with the plan. First thing he did was to rent a hanger, at the tiny airport of Ulysses, there was no possible way that the Mystery Falcon could fit in that airport but nobody but Murray and the man that rented him that hanger knew that.
Murray called the Amarillo office and told them about his plan and mentioned that they had to show on their books that the planes were in Kansas on the first day of January. They told him it would be no problem that they would do the logistics to show that fact. Murray's plan worked out perfectly and he saved the company at least $275,000 a year, he even got a call from the owner Boone Pickens congratulating him on a job well done.
For Mr. Boone Pickens there was another advantage to this coup he had a bit of a squabble going with the city of Amarillo where the planes were originally domiciled, and he loved taking the tax money they charged from the city.
This will be the last installment of the Murray Bennett story for some time, my microphone for dictation suddenly will not work, Murray himself is reluctant to give more in-depth info on his life as he aged. I am getting it in bits and pieces but tough to pull it out, but pull it out I will.
I hope everyone is still saying prayers for Florentino and his daughter, may we pray to hear from him soon.