Cowtown Babylon

When Fort Worth oil tycoon Tex Moncrief accused his secretary of embezzlement, she says, he left out one important detail: their 16-year affair

She testified that she had her bathroom shower retiled and other home repairs done at Tex's insistence, and that he liked the way the place looked after they were done.

In the meantime, Lloyd told the jury, the Moncriefs introduced her to casino gambling through the office trips to Nevada; she recalled how their pilot taught her to shoot craps, and how it was more fun to win than to lose.

In Fort Worth, she said, Moncrief would ask her to place bets for him on college and professional football games. And she produced an envelope from the Moncrief Building on which was scrawled in Tex's scratchy handwriting, "Notre Dame -6 maybe -7 [$]7700 on Notre Dame." Also on the envelope, in her handwriting, was the name Sam Lupica, who works at the MGM Grand's sports book, and his home phone number.

Because the bet was a loser, she also had the betting slip--which proved the bet had been made.

Six months before the Lloyd trial, Bill Jarvis, a former accountant for the Moncriefs who helped initiate the tax investigation, filed a sworn affidavit in a civil lawsuit brought against him by Tex. In it, Jarvis said he believed Moncrief "set up" Lloyd. "I previously identified Ellen Lloyd to the IRS as Tex's 'bag lady' for Tex's gambling activities," he wrote.

Lloyd testified in her case that some of the money she was accused of stealing was actually used for Moncrief's bets, although she admitted to making frequent trips to Vegas so she could play in slot-machine tournaments. In all, about $100,000 of the $400,000 Lloyd is accused of stealing went for Las Vegas hotels, airfare, and such.

Because of the statute of limitations, the charges covered only money allegedly taken after 1990.

She told the court that Tex gave her the OK to spend his money starting in 1979--meaning she could have spent, at the rate she was going, more than $1.5 million. While many of the checks were signed with a rubber stamp Lloyd said Moncrief had given her, some were signed by Moncrief himself, or another secretary in the office.

Of the $400,000 at issue in the trial, about $205,000 wound up in the register of Maribianca Moda Italiana, a chic west Fort Worth clothing shop. Lloyd told the jury that Tex paid considerable attention to how she looked and what she wore. He forbade her to wear pantsuits, told her one of her dresses "looked like a couch cover," and said another made her look "fat and pregnant," she said.

To spruce her up, she said, he gave her permission--and carte blanche--to shop at Maribianca, where dresses start at $750 and some outfits cost more than $3,000. Presided over by Bianca Pastore, whose accent and inventory suggest stylish Milan, it's where a number of Fort Worth society women, including Tex's wife, like to shop.

"I'm not an expensive person," Lloyd insisted under cross-examination. "It looks it, but it's not mine. It's not my lifestyle."

Lloyd also produced for the jury an array of jewelry--including an expensive jade pin and a diamond tennis bracelet--that she said Tex had given her over the years. Some of it came from the collection of Tex's mother, who died in 1992, Lloyd said.

She said she spent considerable time--more than the family, actually--sitting at the family home in Rivercrest with the elderly "Mrs. Senior" in the years after her husband's death. With such intimate knowledge of the family, she had gossip to tell--stories that painted Tex as a hard, at times eccentric man.

She told how he balked at buying his bedridden mother new nightgowns when hers were threadbare, and how Tex took away his son Tom "Oil" Moncrief's accounts when he refused to make his fiancee sign a prenuptial agreement. Tex was so angry that he skipped the wedding and canceled the reception at his house, she said.

In his closing statement, Lloyd's attorney made much of the fact that members of the Moncrief family, including Tex's sons Tom and Richard, were in attendance at the trial and none was called to refute her accounts.

Instead of exploring Moncrief family rancor, prosecutors Brandenberg and Paul Silverman introduced three witnesses, two of them close friends of Lloyd's, to show jurors Lloyd did have a long-running affair--with another man.

Gloria Capps, a manager in the Moncrief office for nearly 20 years, testified that she was very close to Lloyd. "She was very kind to me," Capps said. "She would lend me money to make car payments. She sat with my mother. We were very friendly."

Their friendship notwithstanding, Capps said Lloyd had been going "for years and years" with an insurance man named Bobby Malone, himself a married man and a golfing buddy of Tex's. "I'd seen them together. Various places for happy hour and outside certain establishments. London House, which doesn't exist anymore. It was a restaurant on Camp Bowie that we used to go to."

She said she'd seen the two out in the car "kissing and hugging and loose clothes." Capps said Lloyd told her that many of the pieces of jewelry Lloyd brought to the trial had been given her by Malone.

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