CLARKSBURG — A Florida man is suing the State of West Virginia, three county commissions, Trio Petroleum Co. Inc., Waco Oil & Gas Inc., American Energy Marcellus Minerals LLC and Michael Ross for alleged breach of contract and violation of federal law.

The county commissions listed as defendants include the Trio Harrison County Commission, Doddridge County Commission and Tyler County Commission.

Richard M. Watt, personally and on behalf of the heirs of Charles A.F. Randolph and Jesse Randolph, filed a complaint on May 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, alleging that the defendants failed to notify him of the improper sales of his personal property.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff, who inherited royalty interests in oil and gas production in several counties in West Virginia, alleges that he found out in May 2015 that at least three West Virginia counties were "relabeling the royalty interests, assessing taxes and selling them as real property mineral estates for delinquent taxes."

The plaintiff alleges that he suffered damages from having his property sold without consent. The plaintiff holds the defendants responsible for allegedly claiming ownership of the plaintiff's property.

The plaintiff seeks declare the sales of personal property unauthorized by law and void, declare that the plaintiff and the remaining heirs are the rightful owners of the royalty interests, reimbursement for oil and gas, all legal fees, and that the Watts be paid all sums to which they are entitled in future production consistent with such ownership. He is represented by Jenny A. Bonham of Bonham Legal Services in Hinton.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 1:17-cv-00094

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