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

Interpreting the outcome for the Lloyd jury, Moncrief said that he was the victim of a conspiracy, that the IRS staged a "Gestapo-like" raid on his offices, and that he finally paid a settlement that was "nothing but extortion by the IRS."

Prosecutors had convinced the judge in the Lloyd case that jurors should not hear the amount of Tex's settlement in the case. As Brandenberg stressed to the judge: "They're going to think that somebody who paid the government $23 million is a crook."

But after Tex referred to the settlement as nothing but "extortion," the judge revised his ruling and let Hinton ask about the amount.

"So for the jury to understand what you're getting at here is, even today, you don't consider that there was any merit at all to the IRS investigation or their allegations?" Hinton asked in a dramatic flurry.

"There was no merit to their allegations," Tex replied.
"You paid the government $23 million, didn't you?" Hinton coaxed.
A couple of questions later, Tex couldn't help but concede: "That was the figure you mentioned, $23 million, which has been in the newspapers across the country."

The kinetic procession of witnesses ended after two and a half days, leaving only closing arguments before the jury could begin its work.

Prosecutor Brandenberg underlined the testimony from Lloyd's friends about the affair with Bobby Malone, not Tex Moncrief. "Folks," he said, "that has the ring of truth," not these "scurrilous allegations" of a love affair with Tex, which he called the inventions of a "desperate woman to save her hide."

"Is it reasonable to believe that for 16 years there is absolutely no indication, anywhere, anytime, of any personal relationship between two people in a small office? For 16 years is there not one written communication? Not one trip somewhere out of town? It's inconceivable."

Hinton made use of the same word. "It's inconceivable that somebody could be stealing out of Tex Moncrief's personal checkbook for a decade and he not know it...inconceivable."

He pointed out how Tex, who swore he was not a betting man, clearly used Lloyd to place the $7,700 bet on Notre Dame.

"He's got a reputation for being a dishonest person. He's got a reputation of being a very, very, very vindictive person," Hinton said.

The jury got the case before lunch, and after the break, took their first anonymous poll. It was 10-2. After less than three hours of deliberation, the panel was unanimous.

Lloyd was found not guilty.
"We were all thinking along the same lines," says juror Susan Totty. "There is no way she could have taken that amount of money, month after month, without him knowing about it."

Tex had to replenish the account, with her spending as much as $100,000 a year.

She said it was "fairly obvious she was fooling around with Bobby Malone, but she was probably screwing both of them." The prosecution portrayed Lloyd as sexually loose, Totty says, "which I guess she was."

Totty said Lloyd's nervousness on the witness stand, and the many details she offered about the relationship, made it difficult for her to think her story was made from whole cloth.

She says it was easy to see Lloyd in her 30s attracting a man like Moncrief in his 50s.

Kimberly Baggett, another member of the jury, which consisted of eight women and four men, called the trial "quite a bit of sex, lies, and scandal."

The 36-year-old accountant, who counted herself among the handful who leaned at first toward conviction, says one important matter that was apparent in the exhibits--but not brought out in testimony--was the fact that Tex's checking account carried an average balance of between $25,000 and $30,000. With Lloyd spending at least a third of that every month, "that couldn't happen without him [Moncrief] knowing about it," she says. "He had to fund that account fairly regularly."

Lloyd's attorney caught Tex in a flat-out lie about gambling, which made him seem to be a man who would lie to protect his reputation, she says. "I believe he had her placing bets regularly."

In all, looking back, she says she can't understand why Moncrief even pursued the case. "Why would he go through the embarrassment when he has enough money to pay the IRS $23 million?"

A third juror, a middle-aged Fort Worth woman who asked not to be identified, says she thought Lloyd probably overstepped her authority to spend Moncrief's money. But she has no question that there was a relationship through which she was given freedom to write checks on his account, adding, "There was something going on between them."

Says Moncrief now of the outcome, "I figured we had it documented in the office. The jury saw fit to let her off. That's it. That's all I care to say about it."

As for the sting of the adultery allegations, Moncrief says it hasn't affected him or his family, or hurt his reputation in the least. "All my friends, my bankers, I get along with them fine. It hasn't bothered me at all."

Just six days after Mary Ellen Lloyd's acquittal, Moncrief appeared before a U.S. Senate committee and launched a salvo at the IRS that was picked up by news outlets around the nation.

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