By Stephen Young
By Stephen Young
By Stephen Young
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Linscomb says she filed a harassment complaint against Loncar with the Texas Commission on Human Rights and eventually may bring suit. "He'd go around calling you a 'b' or a 'c,' you know, those words," she says. "You didn't hear him calling the men derogatory terms...You work for him for a while and you have no self-esteem left--you wonder if you're worth anything. I just think he's evil."
Loncar, in a story published shortly after the lawsuits were filed, called the women's claims "absolutely nutty." His attorney, Chris Weil, told Texas Lawyer in September that Loncar denies the women's allegations and "expects to prevail against any claims that remain by the time the cases go to trial."
He said Felmly's lawsuit "is some indication of her intense personal feelings arising from her three months of employment, and Ms. Alcoze's suit indicates the impact of Ms. Felmly's activities in encouraging others in Mr. Loncar's office."
Several former male employees recall that Loncar could be extremely moody and foul-mouthed at times, but they don't remember him being abusive toward the women in the office.
"I never heard him say anything crude to a woman straight to their face," Shirer says. "When he was upset, you'd hear him scream obscenities from one end of the office to the other, but there wasn't anything sexual about it."
Shirer's former secretary, Rita Paredes, says she did not experience any harassment from Loncar. "You couldn't be very thin-skinned and work for him, but I've worked for others more abrupt in their speech than him."
Love, the former office manager, agreed. "He's a very hard person, but that doesn't make him a sexual harasser. He'd treat men and women equally as bad. If he'd call a woman a bitch, he'd call me a bastard."
Love, who these days describes himself as friendly with his old boss, kicked off the present flurry of employee lawsuits against Loncar in 1995, when he sued Loncar for defamation and wrongful firing. He alleged that Loncar wrote a letter to the State Board of Law Examiners accusing him of being a drunkard and organizing a kickback scheme with a chiropractor's office where Love's wife worked.
"Cindy [Alcoze] brought that down to me after it was drafted," Shirer recalls. "I said 'do not send this--it's libelous and slanderous and it will cause problems'...Brian sent it anyway."
In a pre-trial hearing in Love's defamation suit in July 1995, Shirer testified that Loncar said "on maybe four occasions to me that he fully intended and was having Mr. Love followed by a private investigator...His plan was to have his investigator follow Mr. Love during the evening hours on the weekend...in hopes of finding Mr. Love inebriated and then having the investigator call policemen to have him arrested for DWI.
"He told me on a few occasions that he wanted to basically destroy Robert. He wanted to prevent him from becoming an attorney."
Randall Hill, an attorney representing Loncar during that hearing, conceded that the investigator who followed Love made a videotape. In other court papers, Loncar says he does not dispute that he asked his office manager to hire an investigator to follow Love.
Denying the rest of Love's allegations, Hill said, "The whole idea of this lawsuit is this young would-be lawyer was caught in a kick-back scheme and he wants to exact his revenge by trashing Brian Loncar in public."
Love says he handled the books for Loncar's firm, and claimed in his suit that "as his knowledge of the business increased, he became increasingly disturbed by how client money was used."
During the pre-trial hearing, Love testified that money was taken from a client trust account and transferred to the firm's operating account to cover expenses for a trip to New Orleans to film a commercial. He also said that non-attorneys would "run cases," meaning bring in clients in return for payment of $300 to $500 for each, a practice that is barred by professional ethics.
Love also testified that fees from some criminal cases that were paid in cash were not reported to the IRS. Once he saw a brown bag filled with $15,000 in cash, he told the court.
Felmly makes some of the same accusations in her lawsuit. At Loncar's request, she says, she was told on several occasions to take money from the client trust account and use it to pay for either personal or business-related expenses.
Felmly became concerned about the appropriateness of that practice, her lawsuit states, and let Loncar know. He told her that if she did not do it, he'd find someone who would. On one occasion, Loncar threatened to withhold everyone's paychecks if she did not take money from the trust account, she says. Loncar reminded her that he "owned her," and told her he did not "pay her to fucking think," her lawsuit states.
Alcoze alleges in her suit that Loncar instructed her to defraud the IRS by charging hundreds of thousands of dollars of his and his current wife's personal expenses as business expenses. Court papers her attorney filed last week specifically list salary and benefits paid to a nanny ($315 a week); Loncar's third wife's engagement ring ($78,000 obtained "from cashing clients' settlement checks"); attorneys' fees to defend against the 1994 bigamy charge ($17,500); attorneys' fees to a Las Vegas lawyer to annul Loncar's marriage in that city to avoid the bigamy charge ($1,000); and expenses for Loncar and his wife at Bent Tree Country Club.