My free pass

Going back… Before my dad remarried, he owned a huge parcel of land in Foley, AL. After my parent’s divorced, he decided to start a partnership with me and my sisters and include this land in the partnership. In the beginning, his plan was to hold on to the land until it increased in value then sell it off and possibly buy more under the name of the partnership.

In the late 90’s, the idea came about to build an expressway through Foley. This would include a toll bridge for access to the beach roads. When all the plans were drawn up, the expressway would go through part of the land owned by the partnership. My dad negotiated with the city of Foley on a price and sold part of the land to them with the agreement that he would receive a lifetime pass for the bridge. Not only did he get one pass, but he got a total of 5 passes. At the time, this covered his three cars and his two new step children that lived with him.  Nothing was ever mentioned nor given to the three daughters who were in the partnership. I always had resentment about that because I would have given my pass to my mother (an Orange Beach resident) so she wouldn’t have to pay the $3.50 to go through each time.

After my father died….if you’ve read up to now you know his children and grandchildren were left NOTHING in his will…I started thinking about those passes because now, I had inherited my mother’s condo in Orange Beach and could really use one of those passes. One day, I decided to call the Orange Beach Express office and inquire. I got the nicest man on the phone. His name was Chris Musgrove. I started to explain my situation about my father, the partnership, him getting remarried and he stopped me. He said he understood completely. I wasn’t sure if he really did but I told him I would fax in the copies of the deeds that were available on the City of Foley website. While I was speaking to him, he pulled up the passes in the computer and said they were all 5 being used constantly. Strange. Norma had sold all three cars and only had one now. Her two kids were living in Mobile. But yet, 5 passes were being “burned up” as Chris said. So I faxed in the deeds to him and he said he needed to talk to someone and would get back in touch with me.

When he called back, he said he planned to send a letter to Norma requesting a current update on all pass holders. I stopped him and said that if she knew I was involved, it would be detrimental to my family.  He said he knew that and it would in no way indicate that I was involved. In his opinion and the owner’s the passes were given to my father for a lifetime but not meant to be inherited. The plan was to have her confess that my father was deceased and at that point, he would revoke all 5 passes. I was a nervous wreck, but for some reason, I trusted this man. He seemed to get the big picture.

Within two weeks, he called me. He said he’d received her forms back stating my father was deceased and had issued a letter stating all her passes had been revoked. He would be issuing a pass for me and each of my sisters to be mailed to us immediately. I got mine within 2 days.

About three months later, I happened to be in Orange Beach with the kids. Norma had her mother visiting from North Carolina. She invited me to go shopping with them at the outlet mall. On our way there as she approached the bridge, she began a story about getting the letter. I listened intently through the whole thing as she was so irate that they had revoked her passes.  But you know what? I didn’t feel bad because it’s the only thing I got from my dad’s estate.



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