The Bass Brothers’ Private Island

Welcome back. With lots of ground to cover first up will be the fabulously wealthy Bass family of Fort Worth.  In 2020 Forbes Magazine ranked the Bass brothers as the 30th wealthiest people in the United States and provided the following biographic information:

  • The four Bass brothers, Sid, Edward, Robert and Lee, each inherited $2.8 million from their oil tycoon uncle Sid Richardson after his death in 1959.
  • The brothers have built on that wealth ever since, partnering with investing legends including David Bonderman and the late Richard Rainwater.
  • In January 2017, the Bass brothers sold oil and gas interests in Texas’ Permian basin to Exxon Mobil for $5.6 billion in stock.
  • Most of their holdings are private, ranging from hedge fund investments to stakes in aerospace firm Aerion and ice cream maker Blue Bell.
  • The brothers are also active philanthropists, giving millions of dollars to universities including Yale, Stanford and Duke.

In addition, they own San Jose Island, a twenty mile long, sometimes five-mile-wide piece of land that takes two boat rides from the mainland to get there and it’s just about as remote as it gets in this part of the Gulf of Mexico. For fishermen, bird watchers, folks looking for shells or just wanting to relax this place is it. No restaurants, bathrooms or other services are available on the island, the Jetty Boat as it’s called will take you there and if you miss the last boat back at 6:30 PM you’re in trouble because this is private property and no camping is allowed.

On my way there I discovered that the Jetty Boat service was started in 1968 after the federal government declared that beach land in the United States belonged to the general public. This proclamation opened up properties along the sea shore from the water’s edge to what they call the vegetation line and gave the American people millions of acres to explore. An amazing place San Jose Island is one of those treasures where dolphins swim right alongside you and birds eat from your hand.

On nearby Mustang Island I found communities of thousands of so-called snowbirds spending the winter. Snowbirds are northern folks looking for warmer weather and often staying in travel trailer cities that are everywhere along the 18-mile sandy beach there. This is also the home of Port Aransas, a shipping port that locals tell me is rapidly becoming just as important as Houston’s big port. From San Jose Island you can see the big ships coming and going, it’s quite a sight. My tip of the week is to go in the off-season which is October-February when only the snowbirds are here. If summer weather and lots of people is your thing, you’ll find them at Port Aransas and Mustang Island during the rest of the year.

Moving on to another subject I want to thank all the folks who have been sending me leads on the unsolved mystery of the cheerleader who went missing in Pawhuska back in 76. Although many of them don’t pan out, it’s tips like these from ordinary citizens that help cops solve crimes and they appreciate them. A recent tip was about a man who kidnapped a 16-year-old girl in Bartlesville in 1976 and then raped her both physically and mentally. Before he was caught, he went on a wild kidnapping spree. After he was convicted, the man managed to escape and embarked on another kidnapping reign of terror until he was captured in Sapulpa where he took more hostages while trying to get away. Answers from him about the missing cheerleader would be hard to come by because while he was in county jail the suspect managed to set fire to his clothing, mattress and anything else that would burn in his cell. He was transferred to Hillcrest Hospital with burns covering most of his body and the hospital examination revealed that he had swallowed a lightbulb, toilet bowl cleaner and paper clips, anything to try and escape from jail. But the burns did him in and when he died, he took any possible knowledge of the Cindy Kinney case with him. Thanks again for all the tips and I’ll follow them up.

I’m also following a story about a local boy who through hard work and with the support of his family became a top staffer at the very important House Armed Services Committee. Jason Schmid has served in one of the top spots in our government for the past four and a half years but that all came to an end last week when he abruptly resigned after watching the horrible events on January 6th. Google Jason Schmid for more information.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road………….


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