Arts & Culture News

Former Classmate of Warhol Vandal: 'To Me It Sounds Like a Defense Tactic'

A World War II tank owned by attorney Tony Buzbee was parked in front of his Houston home.
A World War II tank owned by attorney Tony Buzbee was parked in front of his Houston home. Google Maps
It's the date heard round the world. On Dec. 23, 29-year-old Dallas court reporter Lindy Lou Layman became an international celebrity after her rendezvous with 49-year-old Houston trial attorney Anthony Buzbee ended with her arrest for vandalizing art in Buzbee's $14 million mansion.

According to allegations in the lawsuit Buzbee filed in Harris County on Christmas Eve, Layman got drunk on their date. But it wasn’t all bad because Buzbee still took her back to his home in Houston's River Oaks neighborhood, where he claims Layman proceeded to pour unidentified fluids on two Andy Warhol original paintings and hurled sculptures at him “with her hands.”  She also hid.

Layman was arrested Dec. 23 and charged with criminal mischief. She was released the following day after posting $30,000 bond. Her next court appearance is Thursday, The Dallas Morning News reports. 
click to enlarge Lindy Layman's Christmas Eve mugshot - HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
Lindy Layman's Christmas Eve mugshot
Houston Police Department

On Dec. 30, Buzbee told KHOU-TV that Layman had been a stranger.

The Observer talked to one of Layman’s former high school classmates, Tristan Baker, who now lives in Iowa. Layman’s father was Baker's history teacher and coach at the 1A, K-12 school in Eula (population: 125) that Layman attended.

Baker says that in Eula, everyone knows everyone else and that “a lot of people that went to that school are bitching about her. The history of that place is pretty crazy. Everyone jumps to conclusions.”

She remembers Layman as being kind and well-liked, and in a rural school environment that was rife with bullies, Layman was “never openly mean.” Both of Layman's parents were teachers, Baker says, and strict, “so the backlash would have been much harder for her.

“Honestly, there’s no reason even for a drunk girl to be hiding from an older man and throwing things at him," Baker says. "To me, it sounds like a defense tactic.”

So it's Layman, the apparently drunken, angry Dallas court reporter, versus Buzbee, the art collecting, Trump fundraiser hosting, fighting Texas Aggie. When it comes to suing, Buzbee brings much more experience into the ring. Such as:

Anthony G. Buzbee v. Priority One Jets Inc.
In 2014, Buzbee approached Priority One Jets Inc., asking the New York-based chain to procure a private jet and crew for a trip. Buzbee stipulated he wanted a charter with “the least amount of time in the air and the least amount of stops.” Priority One sent Buzbee an itinerary. He signed a contract and had an employee wire the company “a substantial sum of money.”

Maybe it was a mathematical error. Maybe the original pilot got food poisoning and his pinch hitter wanted to make a lot of stops and spend a lot of time in the air. We don’t know. What we do know is that the charter service soon realized it would need to make some tweaks to the itinerary. On March 10, Buzbee filed a lawsuit against Priority One, seeking “$100,000 to $200,000” for fraud, breach of contract and punitive damages.

“Priority One made a 'switch' to a less preferably [sic] itinerary, which it knew that would not be acceptable to Buzbee in the first place,” the suit reads in part. “As a result, Buzbee has been damaged.”

Four days later, he withdrew the suit.

Anthony Buzbee v. Hey Girl Hey Productions LLC
Also in 2014, Buzbee sued Hey Girl Hey Productions LLC for $6.5 million. He alleged that the company swindled him out of $1.5 million he’d invested after a couple of “phone conferences” toward the production costs of a film called In Light of the Dance.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants lured Buzbee by telling him they had made an “offer” (the lawsuit's quotes) to Ryan Gosling, who was considering taking a role in the movie, and were in “discussions” (same) with Justin Timberlake. An international dance troupe called Burn the Floor was also “attached” to the project.

Per Buzbee, it wasn’t long before Hey Girl Hey’s house of cards began to twitch. JT’s schedule was tied up. So was Burn the Floor’s. On top of everything else, somebody had to go to Canada. Around the eighth page of the file, we learn there were never any “discussions” with Timberlake or Gosling.

“It is now known the defendants are charlatans,” the lawsuit claimed.

The suit was later settled and dismissed, according to The SE Texas Record.

Anthony Buzbee v. Brad Cox
On Oct. 15, 2017, Tim Morrison of Houston was working on an oil and gas storage rig in Louisiana. There was an explosion, and he was killed. On Nov. 5, Morrison’s widow, Erika, a young mother of minor children, met with Buzbee.

The next morning, the law firm notified her that it had filed a lawsuit on her behalf. Mrs. Morrison wrote back, saying she wanted to “put things on hold.” Buzbee found out she was speaking to another attorney, Brad Cox of Dallas. Buzbee is suing him.

In a lawsuit filed Nov. 7, Buzbee writes, “Mrs. Morrison’s case would have easily generated $10 million in attorney’s fees. Plaintiffs seek more than $10 million from Defendants … Plaintiff’s damages are extensive. Plaintiff lost attorney fees that would have easily amounted to $10 million.”
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Rachel Williams is the social media editor for the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Rachel Williams