By Stephen Young
By Stephen Young
By Stephen Young
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
The list, which includes individual check numbers, goes on: child support payments, attorneys' fees for his divorce and defense of traffic tickets, payments on jewelry, car repairs, antiques purchased for his home, home cable TV fees, mopeds, "reimbursements for fictitious expenses," personal credit card payments, mobile phones, and payments to his mother and sister.
Those expenses were incurred between April and July 1994, but Alcoze maintains "on information and belief" that the practice of listing personal expenses as business expense has continued since that time.
Alcoze also alleges that Loncar instructed her to carry out what she describes as a "theft of funds" from the clients' trust account, as well as swear to false affidavits and order office personnel to forge signatures on checks and affidavits.
One thing Loncar handles with particular zeal is dissent. Make a move against him, former employees say, and he will push back.
He fired former office manager Tara Felmly on March 1, 1996, telling her that if she said anything about the money taken from the trust account that she would suffer criminal prosecution, she alleges in her suit. Loncar told her and her husband that if they filed any suit or charges against him, he would send them "down the river" and take everything they owned. Loncar said he would drag the litigation out and make it as expensive as possible, she says.
After Felmly hired a lawyer, Loncar called her and tried to convince her that the lawyer would "fuck things up," her complaint alleges. He tried to convince her to settle with him directly, and even suggested she lie to her attorney to avoid paying a fee. She says he reminded her that he was "smart, had charisma, and can lay it on thick."
Adela Plasek, the former file clerk, says she was four months pregnant when Loncar fired her. He took issue with her remaining friendly with his ex-wife Mary, Plasek says.
"When he fired me, he stated, 'Don't try to file for unemployment, because I'll fight it every step of the way, and don't you dare try to fuck with me, because as you can see, I always win,'" she says in her sworn statement.
"After I left, he had a meeting with his employees and told them not to speak to me, because I was dead."
For all of his bluster and his lawyer's promise to prevail against the harassment claims in court, Loncar has chosen so far not to slug it out with his former employees.
He settled with Love last March, paying him $90,000, according to Loncar's testimony at a hearing for an unrelated case.
Loncar agreed to pay Felmly a $27,000 settlement last April, but she complained in court papers in June that he didn't pay her all the money. That settlement also would have required Loncar to give Felmly's husband, Fred Felmly, a $29,500-a-year job as a case manager.
Court records show that Loncar and Tara Felmly reached an out-of-court settlement last month, but Felmly's attorney, Kendra Karlock, declined to discuss its terms.
Lawyer Stephen Grimmer, who is representing Alcoze, says the two sides also have been attempting to settle her case, but are "fairly far apart."
Even if those talks succeed at closing the matter, Loncar still must deal with a State Bar of Texas ethics investigation that has sprung from employee complaints.
Two sources say Felmly filed a grievance with the state bar late last year, although bar officials would not confirm or deny that they are looking into the matter. Love says the bar asked him to appear at an investigative hearing on Loncar, and another former employee has been subpoenaed to testify before a bar grievance committee this week.
The bar's disciplinary process, which takes three to six months to reach a finding, is closed to the public until the grievance panel issues a public sanction or the lawyer decides to fight the matter in district court. Needless to say, if proven, the types of allegations the ex-employees made in their lawsuits involve some serious ethical breaches, a bar attorney says.
Steve Young, the bar's Austin-based lawyer, says the professional code of conduct requires lawyers to safeguard clients' money in separate accounts. "If a lawyer diddles with clients' money, that's a very serious offense," he says. "The lesser sanctions aren't considered in those kinds of cases."
Loncar, the son of a middle-class businessman, was born in Iowa, grew up in Indiana, and came to Dallas after graduating from Texas Tech University Law School in 1987.
A good student, he was associate editor of the school's law review and clerked at one of Dallas' blue-chip firms, Winstead Seachrest & Minick. They didn't invite him back with a job, several sources say.
Instead, Loncar went out on his own as a personal injury lawyer and within a few years began applying his efficient formula of attention-grabbing ads. This kind of crass self-merchandising is sniffed at by the more conservative side of the bar, but there are many who defend it as protected free speech.
"The establishment lawyers prefer that he not be allowed to do what he is doing, in general," says a partner in one of Dallas' pin-stripe firms.