Bad Signal

When Randy Angle disappeared, he left behind a multimillion-dollar fortune in a two-way radio -- and an ugly secret

In mid-March, after Paula returned from church with her boyfriend, Angle informed her he was taking back the truck, which escalated pressure on her to quit seeing LaPrade. A week later, Angle evicted her from the ranch and forced her to walk down to the gate with her kids and what she could carry.

A week after that, Paula gave her statement to Garland police, hired Collier, and started fighting back.

Angle, arrested within days, made his $5,000 bail after five days in jail.

wide selection of mainstream and independent comic books. Such outlets are a dying breed.

wide selection of mainstream and independent comic books. Such outlets are a dying breed.

Randy Angle, left, and Richard Youngblood in 1984, the year Angle began his radio business.
Arthur Nichols
Randy Angle, left, and Richard Youngblood in 1984, the year Angle began his radio business.

Meanwhile, his wife attempted to ready the business for sale, and either Randy or Dana began shopping around about a third of their 51 licenses. Some of those licenses had been placed in Paula's name only a month earlier, which complicated attempts to liquidate. Collier says the Angles were required as part of a new FCC rule to provide tax identification and Social Security numbers to renew those licenses. So they put the licenses in their daughter's name as the sole shareholder and director of 2WC, Inc., which they incorporated in Delaware.

In late April, when Paula went to the Rockwall house to retrieve some of her and her children's possessions, Dana confronted her and demanded that she sign papers assigning the licenses to the Angles. Paula had other things to talk about, recalling later that she brought up the years of abuse and almost had her mother convinced of Randy Angle's crimes.

"She got pretty close to accepting it, but she didn't," the daughter says now. "She is still in denial."

When Paula continued to refuse to sign away the licenses, Dana assaulted her, the daughter alleged in a police report and a civil lawsuit she filed the next month. She came away with scratches and bruises.

In court, Dana's common-law defense attempts took the biggest pounding.In late May 1999, Paula filed suit in Dallas County alleging rape, invasion of privacy, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, wrongful eviction, and wrongful termination -- and requested that a receiver and injunction be put in place to prevent the Angles from dissolving the business.

Instead of hiring a lawyer to defend the case, Dana Angle appeared on her own behalf or in the company of people her daughter suspects she knew from her far-right affiliations, and filled the court file with bizarre paperwork.

Maneuvering into position for the legal kill, Paula's lawyer dropped Dana Angle from the suit, and within two months obtained an $11.5 million judgment against Randy. On the run from the law, he never appeared and lost by default.

Not wanting to turn her mother out of her house, Paula attempted to negotiate with Dana Angle a settlement that would allow her to keep the Rockwall house, a mobile home that had been parked on the Van Zandt County ranch, a 5-year-old pickup truck, $12,000, two dogs, and a paint horse. In return, she was to release all the claims she had loaded into the court file -- and state records -- that purported to hold Paula and her lawyer liable for $12 billion. It was called, in the gobbledygook favored by the common-law folks, a "notice of acceptance for value and exempt from levy," and read, "I, Dana Edna Angle, accept for value of $12 billion your commercial presentment."

Asked what that meant during a deposition that fall, Dana said, "That means I hold you accountable for the things that have been done for $12 billion."

"Where did you get the number $12 billion?" Collier asked.

"I guess the same way people come up with $11 million for lawsuit judgments," Dana replied.

Dana Angle agreed to the settlement, according to a videotape made of the September 1999 deposition. Yet, for reasons nobody can explain, she declined to sign it and, like her husband, went underground.

All that was left for Paula to do was liquidate the business through the court-appointed receiver, James Chiles, who is also an expert in the local communications business.

For the bulk of Angle's licenses, there was one obvious buyer. Since the late '80s, Nextel had been buying up hundreds of local operators in the two-way radio business in order to obtain airwaves on which to expand its cellular phone system. The 800-MHz range, one of several available to two-way radio operators, is also suitable for cellular phones. Using digital technology, their capacity could be vastly increased, several operators in the business explained.

By this spring, Chiles had completed the sale of Angle's frequencies to Nextel and raised another $300,000 by selling another set of frequencies to Delta Communications.

Paula is now remarried and raising five children -- ages three months to 9 years -- at a rural ranch whose location she'd rather not discuss. "Nobody comes up my road; I'd like to keep it like that," she says. She and her new husband had their own child, and each brought two into the marriage.

She says she's using her new wealth to bring some stability to her family -- something she never felt before. "My husband and I have a normal relationship, and I can see now my parents didn't," she says. "Right now I'm getting counseling to get that taken care of. I have a lot to get behind me."

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