The lawsuit that John Paschall doesn’t want anybody talking about

I think I’ve finally found something that Robertson County DA John Paschall hates more than black people, and that’s the First Amendment. Paschall is really upset about the new website I built for him, RedFacedDrunk.com, so he asked a judge for a “gag order” yesterday. I kid you not. Click right here and read it for yourself.

What is Paschall so worried about? He doesn’t want me talking about Marsha Gilbert and John Gilbert v. John Paschall, a lawsuit that accuses him of swindling money from the estate of Marium Jeanette Oscar. So what am I going to do? Well, I’m going to talk about it, of course. [more…]

Before her death in 2004 at age 95, Ms. Oscar was the last survivor of a once-thriving Jewish community in Calvert, Texas.  If you want a great introduction to her story, click on this news video by Steven Romo of KAGS.  The second installment in Romo’s series is even better, because Paschall did what he does best — run his mouth — without realizing he was being recorded.

According to Gilbert v. Paschall, Paschall got himself appointed executor of Ms. Oscar’s will in 1992, and he obtained a power of attorney in 1996 to handle Ms. Oscar’s affairs. As I previously explained on RedFacedDrunk.com, Paschall was indicted in 1987 for stealing money from the hot check fund that his office oversaw. Here’s a little more detail: a couple of years earlier, the IRS placed several liens on Paschall’s property for failure to pay his income taxes, and he was also sued for failure to pay a school loan. Clearly, Paschall was having serious money problems.

Flash forward to 1997, the year after Paschall obtained control over Ms. Oscar’s affairs, and Paschall had paid off every last one of his tax liens. Things got even more suspicious after Ms. Oscar’s death in 2004.  Here’s an excerpt from the lawsuit:

On November 22, 2004, Mr. Paschall filed Ms. Oscar’s will with the Robertson County Clerk to be probated.  In 2006, the county judge removed Mr. Paschall as executor because he failed to file an inventory of the estate as required by law.  However, even though Mr. Paschall no longer had standing as executor, his attorney immediately asked the county judge to transfer the case to the district court, ostensibly because there were issues of stock and real estate ownership that might require a declaratory judgment.  After the case was transferred to district court, Judge Robert M. Stem immediately reappointed Mr. Paschall as executor.  To date, Mr. Paschall has never sought a declaratory judgment regarding any of the estate properties.

Mr. Paschall finally filed an estate inventory on November 17, 2006.  Numerous items, however, are missing from the inventory.  Several properties listed on the inventory already had been sold by Mr. Paschall, including a 109-acre tract of land that he sold to DonMichael L. Triolo of Bryan on April 8, 2005.  On the other hand, Mr. Paschall failed to list another tract of roughly 100 acres that the estate still owned.  And he failed to notify the court that he had sold the mineral estate belonging to the latter tract to Virginia Jackson on February 2, 2005, even though he had retained the surface estate.  It is not clear what Mr. Paschall did with the proceeds of the sale of the mineral estate.

According to a former member of the Calvert city council, Ms. Oscar asked that her estate proceeds be used to build a Jewish museum in Calvert, and that some of her family’s antique furniture be displayed in the museum.  No proceeds have been used for a museum, and most of the antique furniture has since been destroyed as a result of neglect.  Ms. Oscar made only one specific request in her will, namely, that “my body shall be buried in a Mausoleum, above ground, in a proper and decent manner.”  Mr. Paschall had Ms. Oscar buried beneath ground in what one witness described as the cheapest casket that the funeral home had to offer.  In fact, Ms. Oscar’s body would have been embalmed – a grave violation of Jewish burial customs – but for the fact that two of her Gentile friends intervened to prevent it.

You can read the entire lawsuit by clicking here. (Oops, I guess it’s too late for a gag order to prevent me from doing that). According to Ms. Oscar’s will, the money from her estate was supposed to go into a trust.  Naturally, Paschall had himself named as executor of the trust. But who are the beneficiaries? And does the trust even exist? If not, the money should go to my clients, who are Ms. Oscar’s cousins.

For more than a year, Paschall has refused to produce any documents or answer any questions about the estate or the purported trust. Instead, he has fought tooth and nail to keep anyone from seeing the documents.  On what basis?  His attorney, Bryan F. “Rusty” Russ, Jr., has repeatedly argued in writing and in open court that the court cannot disclose the trust documents, because if the names of the beneficiaries were revealed, that nasty old Ty Clevenger might recruit the named beneficiaries to sue Paschall.  Seriously, that’s his argument.

Obviously, this begs a question. If Paschall hasn’t done anything wrong with the money of the estate / trust, why is he so worried about the beneficiaries suing him? I’ve worked as a cop, a newspaper reporter, and a lawyer, and it’s been my experience that people with nothing to hide don’t try to hide nothing. Paschall claims the trust is real and that it has real beneficiaries (though I’m not sure that either is true*), yet he obviously does not want the purported beneficiaries to know that they are beneficiaries.

On August 17, 2012, Judge H.D. Black, a retired judge from neighboring Limestone County who was assigned to hear the case, ordered Paschall to provide the trust documents to me or file a petition for a writ of mandamus to the court of appeals within 31 days. Naturally, Paschall waited until the last day and then filed his petition with the court of appeals. My response is due on October 10, 2012. In all likelihood, nobody will see anything until after election day, and that was exactly what Paschall intended.

In Paschall’s motion for the “gag order”, Rusty Russ claimed I had threatened to shoot Paschall. Obviously, those boys are wearing their panties a little too tight.  On May 23, 2012, in front of about 15 people in the Robertson County Clerk’s Office, Paschall observed me in the room and started insulting me (“homo,” drug addict, mentally ill, etc.). I told him he was going to be out of a job after the election, and he responded, “I guess I’ll have to come down to Bryan and kick your ass.”

Now that is a threat. I responded on RedFacedDrunk.com as follows: “Please don’t try that. It’s not that I mind shooting you, but I really don’t want to deal with another grand jury investigation.”  That is not a threat — it is an explanation of the rules of engagement. Lest there be any confusion, I will clarify:  If Paschall and his goons put on their white sheets and pointy hats and show up in my yard for a cross burning, I will probably point a gun at them. If they give me reason to believe that anyone (e.g., me) is in danger of serious bodily harm, I will pull the trigger. After all, I don’t plan to end up like Charles Workman or Hank Johnson.

Now Rusty, you can print this out and go running to the judge with another motion if you want, but I’d suggest your client man up and quit acting like a crybaby and a tattletale.  And I’d suggest both of spend a little more time studying the First Amendment.

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* I suspect the beneficiary is non-existent, therefore the trust is void, therefore my clients inherit the money. But that’s awfully hard to determine when you can’t see the trust documents.

UPDATE (Oct. 3, 2012): The comments “counter” has listed as many as 60 comments below, but there actually have been only three. One of them keep posting again and again, but it only appeared once. GoDaddy tells me that’s called a “trackback,” so I have deleted that one comment, and hopefully that will solve the problem. Nobody is being censored (i.e., no “gag order” here), so post as much as you like.