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

Then she told of a double-date with Lloyd in which the two women ended up at a Fort Worth home. Malone and Lloyd paired off and headed for one of the bedrooms, she said. They emerged later wearing towels.

In a moment that made the whole deal sound like Dallas, with the Ewings in fact residing in Cowtown, defense lawyer Hinton asked Capps who her date had been.

"I don't believe I have to say that," she said.
When she was informed otherwise, she answered, "So if I don't answer it I go to jail? Well, there's nothing going on between us. But it was..." (She went on to name a Fort Worth businessman.)

"Was he a married man at the time?" Hinton continued.
"Yes," Capps said, adding that her fling with the man, a roofing contractor, ended years ago.

Two other witnesses linked Lloyd romantically with Malone--boutique owner Bianca Pastore and Connie Richie, an accounts payable clerk at the Moncrief office--with Richie also identifying the rings and bracelets and other baubles as gifts Lloyd had told her came from Malone.

During her second turn on the stand, Lloyd denied that Malone was anything more than her insurance agent and old friend, but the man himself was missing in action throughout the trial.

"He ran like hell when he found out the trial was going on," Silverman told the judge. He left town, letting the newspapers stack up in his front yard--which displayed a fresh "For Sale" sign--and wasn't expected to return until after the trial.

By subtle design, Lloyd's defense took primary aim at her chief accuser, Tex Moncrief, attempting to explain why he might turn on his secret lover and pursue her with charges that could send her to prison for as much as 20 years.

Hinton also needed to explain why Lloyd left town at a time when the alleged embezzling was being uncovered.

The answers--according to his defense strategy--lay in an event that Lloyd says affected Tex deeply: the IRS raid, which took place September 1, 1994, about nine months before Lloyd left town.

"He was a very concerned person. He lost sleep. He lost weight. He was afraid he might be put in the penitentiary," Lloyd told the jury.

The raid, the following investigation, and a lawsuit brought by his nephew, state Sen. Mike Moncrief, changed his personality into that of a paranoid searching for hints about who turned him in. "He told me he didn't want me being talked to by the IRS or Mike Moncrief's lawyers at all," she testified.

She said he didn't want her discussing "Mrs. Senior's" mental state around the time Tex helped change her will, or the way income from producing wells was spread among family members. The former was an issue in Mike Moncrief's lawsuit, which he withdrew in 1996. The latter related to estate and gift tax matters being investigated by the IRS.

Testimony in the case showed that during the federal investigation, Tex had bought one employee a brand-new $22,000 Buick. While Hinton's questions suggested it was some sort of payment for cooperation, those involved said the employee had been forced by the investigation to work late at the Moncrief offices and needed a reliable car.

Lloyd told the jury that Tex had devised a more drastic plan to shield her. "He told me that he thought it was time for me to disappear," she testified.

Which is just what she did.
"I did not know what he would do to me if I stayed around to talk--to be available for the IRS and anything to do with Mike's dealing," she said. "I knew too much about the family business and the family."

In his trip to the stand, Tex ended up reinforcing a few of the things Lloyd and other defense witnesses had said about him.

Mickey Oxford, who worked as the Moncriefs' data processing manager for 13 years, had told the jury that Tex was a "control-oriented" person, that he was involved in every aspect of the business.

At the same time, he said, Moncrief could be "very, very vindictive. His personality changed after his father's death in 1986," Oxford said. Before, he was friendlier, more happy-go-lucky.

Later, "I saw men coming out of his office with tears because of the abuse and verbal lashings that he had given them," Oxford said.

Along with that was a certain stubbornness. "Mr. Moncrief believes what he believes is the truth. Mr. Moncrief believes what he wants is the truth."

Tex gave the jury a first-hand demonstration of his slant on things when Lloyd's attorney took him through his account of what eventually happened in the IRS matter.

In early 1996, an agreement was worked out between U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins' office and Moncrief's legal team, which included influential Washington lawyers Robert Bennett, President Clinton's lawyer in the Paula Jones lawsuit; and James Bruton III, former acting chief of the Justice Department's tax section.

Moncrief and his sons agreed to pay $23 million for unpaid back taxes in a civil settlement, and all criminal matters were dropped.

(One Coggins assistant told the Observer that the conduct of the government's chief witness, former Moncrief accountant Bill Jarvis, considerably weakened the government's chances of successfully prosecuting the case. Apparently attempting to profit from his knowledge of the Moncrief books, he signed on with a lawyer working for Tex's nephew as a $5,000-a-month consultant. The assistant, however, said he could not understand why higher-ups in the Justice Department nixed a no-contest plea to criminal tax evasion that Tex's son Charles and Tex's lawyers had signed in October 1995 for Tex's company, Montex Drilling. "[Justice Department officials] said they don't take no-contest pleas, but we do them all the time," the assistant prosecutor said. In papers filed in another lawsuit, Jarvis alleges that Tex's heavyweight attorneys used their clout to kill the guilty plea in Washington.)

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