Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Brief Aside

Do you think all the heated debate currently going on in Kerrville over the building of a proposed major new convention center and the wrangling over which group might win the right to build said center could possibly be related to the ongoing push in Austin to legalize casino gambling in Texas? Just a passing thought.

I like the definition of gambling as a tax on the mathematically challenged. As with the use of illegal drugs, criminals love to make gambling seem cool and popular in order to get as many victims hooked as possible. Believe me, there would not be so much interest in and infighting over who controls drug and gambling interests if vast sums of money were not involved. In the end, the house always wins.

In any case, this area doesn't need any more organized crime!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The history behind the fraudulent trust document that is discussed so often in this blog is explained in the post at the very beginning of this blog entitled "My Story" (posted 6/18/09). Because this clearly manipulated document features so prominently in our continuing situation, I've decided to discuss it in more detail, which I'll be doing in this and the next few posts here in the hope of finally finding a lawyer who will actually help us instead of trying to cheat us.

This document was filed by the county despite not being properly notarized (see "The Legal Situation", posted 6/23/10). The document that was filed is very different from a document I signed, and my initials were forged on all the pages except the one containing my signature, which was retained and was on clearly different paper. An accurate description of the document in the form of an excerpt from the report written by a professional document examiner I hired is posted at "She Said" (9/16/09).

Other descriptions of the document in question with highly variable degrees of accuracy are posted here at "They Said". The descriptions by the former FBI and DEA agents are fairly accurate, but the letter from their document expert friend is not at all correct. The letter from Ed Hodges' first document expert, the ex-Secret Service agent, that is posted at "He Said" (9/17/09) contains totally false information. Ditto for the letter from Hodges' second expert, posted under "I Was Told He Said" (9/18/09). False statements from some of the attorneys who conned me with regard to the document are also posted at "They Said" and "She Said".

Here I am posting copies of each of the five different versions of just the first page of the fraudulent document (with personal stuff removed) that I've obtained. I will explain each by the number I've put on it at the top left.

1) This is a copy of the first page of a draft of a trust document that was faxed to me by private investigator Ed Hodges on 12/18/03. As explained in "My Story", Hodges called me before faxing this document to tell me he was sending it. He also pressured me to sign it quickly. When I read it, I discovered it gave him and his attorney-friend total control of my house and property. Even though I'm not a lawyer and have little knowledge of legal affairs, I still was able to realize there were many problems with the document Ed had faxed. I made some notes in pencil on the document about some of these problems, and I told Hodges I couldn't sign it and why. Although I didn't notice it at the time, I later discovered Hodges and his attorney friend had already signed this draft document. The former DEA agent I later hired as a p.i. and then had to fire insisted I give him my original of this document that has my penciled notes about the changes on it, and he refuses to return it to me.

2) After being very heavily pressured and frightened by various incidents (that I realize now were staged), I did sign a completely different document Hodges provided me with that had all the changes and safeguards I'd insisted on. I followed Hodges' carefully written instructions (which I'm not posting for now, although they're extremely interesting in light of all that has occurred) about what to do and how to send the document back to him. He then told me he'd filed the document I'd signed and would provide me with a copy. I received the copy this page is from by regular mail sometime in the middle of January 2004. At that point, I still trusted Hodges and happened to be extremely busy at the time, so I filed the document away without looking at it. Notice that this page is the same as the first copy--and most definitely NOT the document I signed (which I'd have realized if I'd looked at it more carefully). Also notice how light the printing is on this version of the page, which is evidence of copying. My document examiner provided strong scientific evidence of my initials having been forged on this and all of the other pages except the page with my signature, which I know for a fact to be true (because I'm positive this isn't the document I signed).

3) Along with the document returned to me as explained in #2, this extra copy of page 1 with a filing number was also enclosed. This copy also has my initials forged by someone on it. It also has markings at the top indicating it was faxed to someone by the county. Later, after I realized I'd been defrauded, I went to the courthouse and asked who it had been faxed to, but of course they wouldn't tell me.

4) After I discovered the fraud, the former DEA agent I was employing at the time as a private investigator instructed me to go to the courthouse and "obtain a copy of everything they had on file" under the fraudulent trust. However, when I did this, I was only given a few pages of some sort of deeds that had completely different filing numbers. I went home, called the investigator, and told him the courthouse had refused to give me what I'd asked for. He told me to go back, give them the filing number, and insist of getting a copy of everything on file under it. When I did this, they gave me a copy of the document whose first page is shown here. By this time, I knew enough to realize what was on file was indeed the original document I'd refused to sign with my initials forged on it. I also noticed that the signatures of Hodges and his lawyer-friend looked exactly like the ones that were on the draft document faxed to me earlier (#1, the one I refused to sign).

5) Immediately after I received the report from the document examiner I'd hired (see "She Said", 9/16/09) stating the trust document on file was fraudulent and manipulated, Ed Hodges filed a lawsuit against me and my children alleging we owed him and his lawyer-friend large sums of money for clearly fraudulent "trust duties" (some of which were from time periods when I hadn't even known them!) and property taxes Hodges claimed he'd paid on my property--even though I'd paid all of the taxes myself and had all the receipts and cancelled checks for them! (My kids and I quickly filed a counter suit.) This final copy of the first page of the fraudulent trust document is from the initial paperwork Hodges filed with the court as part of the lawsuit. Although I've removed them for posting as before, the initials that are supposed to be mine are again clear forgeries. In this copy of the document, each page has double lines down the entire right side. This is something I've seen on official documents from law enforcement agencies, and I believe it may be related to the fact that Hodges was using the former Secret Service agent of "He Said" (9/17/09) as his expert witness at the time. (This expert suddenly quit shortly after I discovered potential ties between him, the local real estate market, and my ex-husband. Since then, he has harassed me.) Finally, notice that there is faint handwriting at the top of this page. I will be discussing this later.

These are the documents numerous lawyers and even a retired judge have tried to use to extort money and property from me repeatedly. The local tax appraisal board has used this document to try and conceal enormous increases in my tax appraisals, the illegal changing of ownership names and addresses on my house and land (which at one point were illegally listed under my ex-husband's office address as documented earlier here), and other blatantly illegal acts. They continue to refuse to admit the fraud or make any corrections, and they continue to list ownership of my house and property under Ed Hodges' address. Without proper legal representation or help from law enforcement, I haven't been able to force them to stop committing criminal fraud, and by my latest tax appraisal statements, the fraud is actively continuing as a result.

Some (but not all, by any means) of this fraud is summarized here in "How To Steal Property In Four Easy Steps". I wrote this shortly after my last property tax protest hearing during which, among other things, the county's tape recorder that was supposed to be officially recording the proceedings was instead quietly playing music; when this was pointed out to the appraiser in charge, he simply switched it off and proceeded with the hearing. (At least this time he didn't have an enormous black eye as an official at one of my previous hearings had. That guy had looked like he'd been in a fight, and it was very disconcerting, to say the least.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

DOJ Civil Rights Division

In desperation, I filed a well-documented complaint with the U.S. DOJ's Civil Rights Division, after one victims' rights organization suggested doing this. In my complaint, I provided evidence we were victims of illegal surveillance (see "Illegal Surveillance Summary"), documentation of wrong-doing by public officials, copies of threats made against me by law enforcement officers, evidence our right to proper legal representation was being interfered with, and much more. I also provided copies of correspondence from various law enforcement agencies refusing to do anything about any of it. This letter was their response.

Because no one in law enforcement will do anything to stop this, many of the basic civil rights of myself and my children continue to be blatantly violated on a daily basis and our situation only continues to escalate.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This is the reply I received from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation when I contacted them asking for help in finding proper legal representation. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid told me I didn't qualify financially for their help. My problems with the State Bar of Texas' referral services you already know about if you keep up with my blog.

This is one example of what domestic violence and abuse expert Alexis A. Moore calls "the domestic violence run-around": the passing of victims from one agency to another rather than providing them with actual assistance. Sadly, shockingly high percentages of victims experience this--often from agencies that accept public funds and contributions that are supposed to be used to help victims.

I have LOTS of these types of replies, and I will be posting more of them in the future in order to document what victims are subjected to. As Ms. Moore has said many times, what victims need are 1) individual advocacy, and 2) accountability from organizations accepting money to help them. If you agree, please go to Ms. Moore's website and sign the online petition she has posted there.

7:35 PM

A little while ago, at 7:35 PM, I was out walking my dog near our house when my ex-husband and his wife suddenly rode past me slowly on bicycles, laughing.

It was obvious they'd been waiting for me just down the street, and it's too hot outside this time of year for them to have been waiting outside long, so they had to have known I was coming. Since I normally walk later in the summer and had decided to walk earlier on the spur of the moment, they had to have had access to illegal surveillance from inside our house.

These people and their friends stalk and harass me constantly, and no one stops them. It's completely illegal, but they don't care--in fact, they brag openly about doing it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is This Right?

Shown here is a copy of a letter I received from the Texas OAG regarding complaints I had made. Notice that they refer me to the FBI in Houston, rather than the San Antonio or Austin offices which serve our area. (I've included a copy of a card I received from an agent at the San Antonio office for comparison.) There is no explanation for why they did this, and there's also no explanation as to why they referred me to an office with a different address from that of the current Houston FBI office. Perhaps it's the address of an older office as the one from San Antonio is.

Also notice that the Texas OAG referred me to the State Bar of Texas' legal referral services (see previous post).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Legal Situation, No. 1

In the United States of America, everyone is supposed to be entitled to proper representation by an attorney. However, I've been searching for proper legal representation for myself and my children for over 11 years now without success. More lawyers than I can count have first conned me, then (after I figured out what was going on) attempted to con me, and now either stall or completely shun me.

Eventually I learned I'm not the only victim of this sort of treatment by the local legal profession by any means. I'm posting this recent letter to the editor of the Kerrville Daily Times because it explains the legal situation here far better than I can and also because it provides a separate point of view. (I don't know the author.)

While the writer here gets it right, he doesn't go far enough. In our case, it has become clear that our adversaries are so powerful as to be able to cause the State Bar of Texas' referral services to deliberately send me to lawyers that actively tried to con me. Other experiences I've blogged about previously here (and many more I'll probably discuss in the future) make it clear both state and national legal assistance organizations like the Texas Advocacy Project, Texas Legal Aid, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and ACLU (both state and national), Public Justice, NOVA, and the various national crime victims' organizations have been pressured and/or coerced into refusing to help us.

How can this be?, you ask. It's because our case pits one homemaker and her children against numerous public officials (see "My Story" and "How To Steal Property...", for ex.), a former Secret Service agent (see "He Said", for ex.), former FBI and DEA agents (see "They Said", for ex.). and possibly people at the highest levels of the federal government (see "Namedropping" and "Questions and Answers", for ex.).

If you happen to know of an honest lawyer who can't be bought or coerced and is interested in a lot of publicity and the possibility of quadruple damages, PLEASE ask them to contact me immediately!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Jimmy Brown?

There certainly are a lot of people named Jimmy Brown involved in our case. (If you haven't done so already, please read "My Story" at the very beginning of this blog.)

My ex-husband made some comments about this at the end of my 11/24/09 posting here entitled "What's The Buzz?" about one or more of these people. Here I'm providing a page from the Texas DPS-PSB website that gives information on licensed private investigators in the state of Texas. How coincidental is it that a person with the name of Jimmy Brown just happened to be licensed under one of Ed Hodges' companies?

I think this Jimmy Brown is probably the same person who used to work as a security guard at our local hospital and was a very close associate of my ex-husband's--so close that for at least a couple of years he was at my ex-husband's home virtually every time my children went over there for visitation. He even went on vacations to the aforementioned waterfront house in British Colombia, Canada with my ex-husband and my children.

If this Jimmy Brown and that Jimmy Brown are the same Jimmy Brown, then this Jimmy Brown died very suddenly on the same day that my youngest child and I saw a city ambulance parked along the street directly in front of my ex-husband's office around 7 A.M., and this Jimmy Brown provided a link between my ex-husband and Ed Hodges. My kids are still extremely upset and frightened over Mr. Brown's sudden demise. Oh, and Ed Hodges is also now deceased.

More Campaigns

Here I'm sharing copies of two rather strange letters to the editor published in the 2006 Kerrville Daily Times. They both pertain to the campaign for Kerr County judge that was going on at the time. I have no knowledge of anything these letters refer to (but I'd love to find out!). I'm especially interested in knowing if the lawyer who represented me in my divorce is one of the other attorneys referred to.

Also, I have heard that one of the candidates discussed in these letters might have ties to one of the lawyers involved in our case. (I'll let you figure out which one.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Shown above are some excerpts from campaign ads published by candidates challenging the incumbent in the 2000 election for sheriff of Gillespie County. Despite their efforts, the incumbent was re-elected.

A thought-provoking recent column by T. R. Fehrenbach entitled "Bad governance is the electorate's just deserts [sic]--harsh, yes, but true" concluded, "And people still get the kind of government they deserve." I wonder what he'd say if told that a criminal defense attorney who is originally from back east recently ran for mayor of Fredericksburg? (This candidate backed out of the race at the last minute in favor of a local candidate who was not elected.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Noises And More

This morning around 6 AM we were once again rudely awakened by someone illegally broadcasting loud, obnoxious noises inside our home somehow. (For another example of this, please see my earlier post here entitled "Possible Hate Crime".) The noise this time was one I hadn't heard before, and I'm not sure quite what it was; it sounded something like someone taking an empty cardboard wrapping paper tube and slapping it repeatedly against something hard. This sound was repeated over and over for about 10-15 minutes while we all tried to ignore it. Then it stopped for a couple of minutes, resumed for a minute or two more at a much louder setting, and finally stopped for good.

Later today when I left to run a quick errand, a car full of rough-looking men was waiting for me around the corner. As I drove by, the car suddenly pulled out, one of the men flipped me off out the window as it passed, and then it sped off. As it did so, a local police car (that also seemed to have been magically waiting nearby) pulled in behind me briefly and then sped off after the other car (but did not pull it over or turn its lights on).

Then tonight while I was mowing out front, someone in a light green truck parked at the top of our driveway and sat there watching me for some time. There were many other vehicles that were doing drive-bys, but this was the only vehicle that stopped.

Yesterday morning we were awakened by a man repeatedly jogging back and forth in front of our house with a large yellow dog in order to make our dog bark. This same man was also waiting just west of our driveway with the dog when I went up to get the newspaper, and once again he jogged back and forth in front of our house with the dog. (He had to have somehow known I was coming, because I didn't walk up there at my usual time.)

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. postal delivery lady brought a package from one of my children to my door--and by her comments let me know that she somehow already knew what was inside the box. (Even I didn't know what it was until I opened it.) This is the same lady who once tried to make me think I was signing for a package I was expecting when the card she handed me to sign was actually for a package of some kind of drugs that was addressed to one of my ex-husband's business partners. (Thankfully, I checked the card carefully before I signed! I did this because I knew the package I was expecting shouldn't have needed a signature.)

How do you stop severe harassment like this that involves so many people, so much corruption, and so much sophisticated illegal equipment? Clearly these people do not seem at all worried about facing any negative consequences from their actions.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Coach

A local high school coach and science teacher is currently facing charges related to an alleged inappropriate relationship with an underage student, but relatively few people around here seem shocked or surprised by this. Most folks in our area are aware that this man is rumored to have been having inappropriate relationships with multiple young female students for years. In fact, I remember hearing rumors about this man getting a high school girl pregnant 9 or 10 years ago--and the young woman in question does have a child that age--but, like most things scandalous around here, it was hushed up.

This time, the girl's mother insisted on pressing charges against the coach. Rather than supporting the victim and her mother, however, the community has responded with a no-holds-barred smear campaign against them. My youngest child was shocked earlier this year when another teacher at the high school (one my child particularly respected and admired) stood up in front of their class during class time and gave the students a lecture on how the whole affair was the 16-year-old female student's fault because she had deliberately led the coach on. This teacher also told students it was essential that they not discuss the matter with anyone outside of school "because they might be reporters". Within the school, my youngest heard numerous students and faculty members blaming the girl and making rude/crude remarks about her morals and character. My kids and I had some frank discussions together about what it means to be a 16-year-old student compared to an adult teacher with teenaged children of his own and why there are laws against such relationships.

Recently I discovered the smear campaign against the student and her mother also extends to the Internet and is very aggressive. Someone is getting numerous locals to write ugly and disturbing comments, particularly about the girl, all over various social networking and discussion sites--see Topix, for example.

As I and a few others have tried to point out on these sites, it doesn't even matter what the student is or isn't and did or did not do. Age-wise, she was still a minor at the time, and the teacher was both older and in a position of trust with regard to her. (As my kids and I discussed and agreed, there are good reasons why these relationships are against the law!) To slander, libel, and defame this student in order to try and cover up the wrongful actions and immoral conduct of a supposedly respected adult member of the community is utterly despicable.

This type of "cover up at all costs" mentality is nothing new here, though; indeed, it appears to be ingrained to the point of being an automatic defense mechanism among locals. Even before I moved here in 1986, I remember hearing people talk with shocking nonchalance about a very prominent local man whose job gave him unlimited access to children of all ages in a position of particular trust who was said to be abusing boys in the community and had apparently been doing so for years despite numerous complaints. This man was eventually arrested in another town for propositioning an undercover officer in a park restroom, but he received only a fine. He was forced to retire, but despite knowing his history, this community continues to this day to allow the man essentially unlimited contact with children, even to the point of allowing him to accompany students on overnight school trips. This man has probably been knowingly allowed easy access to children within the community for over 50 years!--locals seem to think that it's better to victimize innocent children than have the scandal of having to deal with him properly.

I suspect at this point, you're probably noticing similarities to what is currently going on within the Catholic church and of course you're right to a point, but there are also important differences to consider. Both entities have had a "cover up at all costs" mentality regarding sexual abuse and inappropriate sexual relationships and contact between minors and adults in positions of trust, but within the Catholic church, I believe in most cases only individuals close to each incident of abuse plus a few higher-ups knew what was going on. Here entire generations of young people are growing up knowing that their communities put a higher value on silence and hiding the truth than they do on protecting innocent children. Anyone exhibiting empathy for victims or outrage at the enabling of continued victimization is looked upon as weak, accused of not acting for the common good, and ostracized and ridiculed rather than being commended--a dysfunctional "peer pressure system" for grown-ups and kids alike. It's little wonder, then, that other types of victims (domestic abuse, violence, crime, and more) are also openly treated badly by these communities and that such behaviour is actually regarded by most as normal and acceptable.

Recently I came across two prime examples of community attitudes toward young people here that were both published in the same newspaper, both written by adults in positions of trust with regard to students, and both written as letters expressly addressed to students within our community. The author of one of these letters is a local teacher. The other author is the wife of a prominent community member and co-chaired our most recent "Project Graduation". Both letters are long, rambling, and repetitious statements of how wonderful our children are and how much our community loves its young people no matter what they do. Putting these messages into the overall context here, our kids are being told they are loved unconditionally yet are not worthy of protection from predators and that they will actually end up being persecuted if (heaven forbid!) they are victimized.

Before I end this post, there are a couple of additional pieces of information my non-local followers should have regarding the coach who initiated the post. The wife of the coach facing charges happens to be a high-level administrator at a different school within the same district. Their own teenaged daughter died in a car crash after the charges were filed against her father.

Update, 10/10: The San Antonio Express-News reports that new sexual assault charges have just been filed against this same coach in Gillespie County. The article does not contain any information on the nature of these charges or give any victim information, which is strange.


A further update:

Another One

According to a "mini-article"in this morning's San Antonio Express-News, another close associate of my ex-husband and his brother was found dead under suspicious circumstances yesterday. The article says the man had been missing since Friday, but we never saw or heard anything on the news about the extensive search for him that was described. Of course it was my ex-husband's buddy the local sheriff and his friends who found the body "in a wooded area on an adjoining ranch".

Once again I'm left unable to answer the frightened questions of my children, who grew up with this man's kids. Many years ago when I was still married, I remember my sister-in-law telling me a wild story about this man and his wife, who I was told were extremely wealthy, deciding to move here from Dallas because their children had either been kidnapped or had been threatened with being kidnapped. They'd supposedly come to our area because they believed it was safer. Coincidentally (?), the man worked for the same construction company previously discussed here in my post entitled "Spouses". I also remember that his sister-in-law, an accountant, died suddenly while on vacation in the British Virgin Islands a few years ago; her husband currently lives nearby.

There has been an extreme and unusual dearth of information given out by this same sheriff concerning the murder investigation of the death of the young man who was found at an unnamed ranch house near here months after he disappeared from Kendall County. San Antonio news coverage of this recently had short press releases saying two young men had been arrested in connection with this homicide, but there's been no additional information given out that I'm aware of and no mention of any of this in our local paper. This is frankly unbelievable under the circumstances; a homicide in a small town is usually considered much more newsworthy. (Update: There is a short piece in the local paper this week about the case, but it contains very little additional information.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

And Trucks, RVs, Buses, Boats, And More

The illegal smuggling business that ultimately victimizes so many people on both sides of the border utilizes every sort of transport you can possibly imagine. Now I will begin discussing a few of the more common examples of this with regard to other types of vehicles.

I've already discussed the basics of the use of trucks for smuggling in "Hill Country Holidays" (12/29/09) and elsewhere; now it's time to add a few interesting details for those not in the know. A current trend among smugglers is the use of fake business trucks. By this, I mean they take a plain truck and paint it to match those belonging to well-known businesses that are so ubiquitous on our highways as to not draw any undue attention. Law enforcement once intercepted a large drug shipment that was being hauled in a fake Walmart truck that, at least on casual inspection, looked very much like the real thing.

I also have reason to suspect that moving vans are being used for smuggling. They can come and go from houses easily, hold a lot, and are easy to hide things in. I found a scrap of paper in my ex-husband's bathroom drawer when I was boxing up his things after he left in 1999 that looks like notes for some sort of delivery, and elsewhere in his things I found what appear to be keys, combinations, and numbers for storage facilities I know nothing about.

In 2004, my father and stepmother insisted on making all the arrangements with a moving company for transporting a beloved family piano to me from another state (even though I was paying). Shortly before they arrived, the movers called and asked if I could find someone to help them bring the piano inside and set it up, so I called a local man I knew would be at home and got him to come over.

After the piano was unloaded, the movers and this man went back to the van and spent 20-30 minutes together inside the trailer where I couldn't see them, after which they came out and were acting strangely. The local man was giggling about something as he left, and the movers started asking me about possible routes to their next delivery, which was in San Antonio and which they said was "a big government delivery" of some sort. (They had not let me near the back of their van, so I never saw what else was inside. It was one of the very large vans, not a small one.) However, they accidentally left a pad of paper at my house that had the actual location of this delivery on it, and it was underneath a highway overpass and not near any government installation I'm aware of.

I've already discussed RVs as well; see for example "To The Beach And Back Again" (3/16/10) and "Winter Texans" (3/26/10). Buses have been a major form of transportation used by smugglers around here for years, and there have been countless seizures of contraband from them. I've heard that around here, bus travel to and from Monterrey is especially popular. Because our area is a popular tourist destination, tour buses come in and out frequently. The same person who told me what happened to Clara George (see "People Named George" from 4/25/10) also told me drug smugglers here love the tour buses and motels/hotels because people coming in and out with suitcases at all hours don't attract attention.

A couple who managed a large motel here used to live just down the street from us, and they stalked and harassed us regularly. They also gave me one of the worst scares I've ever had. I was out walking my dog by their house one evening and saw two very large and rough-looking Hispanic males pull into their driveway, jump out, bang on their door so loudly I thought they'd break it, start arguing loudly with the husband, and cause the wife to run inside screaming. (At that point, I quickly headed home with the intention of calling 911, but the wife must have beat me to it, because I saw unmarked law enforcement vehicles speeding over there before I could get to a phone.)

I've also heard rumors of fake school buses--and a very recent newspaper article on "Operation Deliverance" specifically mentions these.

Then there are the boats. My ex-husband and his friends make frequent trips to the Texas coast, Mexico, and the Caribbean for fishing and scuba diving and have been doing this for years. Years ago I went with them on some of these trips, and even back then they were going off by themselves for long periods of time. My ex-'s aunt and uncle regularly moved their sailboat back and forth between the Bahamas and various cities on the East coast for many years after he retired at a very young age. My ex-'s family owns a ranch in West Texas along Devil's River that everyone in the family except to for canoeing trips. (I was always told there was some reason why I couldn't go, and I often wondered about this.) The foreign-born mechanic who helped my former husband build one of his airplanes had worked on foreign submarines and was an expert on both subs and planes. This man had a boat at the coast then and now apparently lives in the Florida Keys.

There are also connections to boats along our northern border around here. Many years ago, my ex-husband and I drove up to the Seattle area to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins and do some touring. While we were there, my husband and I decided to take the ferry over to Vancouver Island and do some canoeing. We found a quiet beach and unloaded the canoe. Then I stayed with the boat while my husband drove our truck back to a nearby parking lot--and disappeared! I'd expected him back in 5 or 10 minutes, and after an hour had gone by, I started wondering what was going on. Two hours later, I was frantic with worry and had not seen another soul on the deserted beach I could ask for help. (This was long before the advent of cell phones.) After several more hours went by, it was starting to get dark, and I was shaking from the cold because I had no jacket. Then two older women suddenly appeared and said they'd received a radio call from someone who asked them to find me and tell me my husband was on his way back and would pick me up shortly. The women loaned me a jacket because my teeth were chattering and waited with me until, to my relief, I saw our truck drive up.

It turned out my husband had been in jail!--and that the two women had known this but never told me. My husband said he'd been in a minor accident (and there was a small dent in the bumper) and that he'd been hauled off to jail when he couldn't produce a valid registration document. He said he'd had to make a lot of phone calls and that eventually someone my uncle knew had "taken care of it" and that everything was finally straightened out. Knowing what I know now, I suspect this was not the whole story.

I thought that experience would probably put my husband off boating in the Northwest for good, but shortly after he left in 1999, I accidentally discovered he'd been in close contact with my uncle and his son, a well-known equestrian on the international circuit with a hard-partying reputation. After our divorce, I learned my ex-husband had bought a waterfront home close to where he'd been arrested years before. My ex- and his friends go up there frequently and have taken our children along a few times. (One of these trips also involved the late Jimmy Brown.) My kids tell me there are 6 to 8 speedboats docked at this house at any given time.

Smugglers use lots of other assorted forms of transportation here. Often these are vehicles you normally take for granted: scout trailers, church vans, and official vehicles of various kinds, for example. In light of all this, the insistence of local law enforcement on making regular long-distance prisoner transport runs to Cherokee and elsewhere seems suspicious.

Update, 7/5/10: An article in this morning's San Antonio Express-News describes a drug-smuggling submarine that was just seized in Ecuador. Coincidentally, my ex-husband and his wife visited there recently. Also, my ex- had a sudden meeting down at the Texas coast yesterday with his good friend, the Australian airplane and submarine mechanic.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

And Automobiles...

I've already discussed the subject of automobiles around here: see "To The Beach And Back Again" (3/16/10) and "Winter Texans" (3/26/10), for example. There is a great deal more to discuss on the subject that I'll almost certainly tackle in the future, too, but today I intend to blog about an aspect of automobiles that is very fresh in my mind and also very representative of some of the many ways people are victimized around here.

First I need to back-track a little. Almost 2 weeks ago, I drove my youngest child to the "big city" (San Antonio, about an hour's drive from where we live) to place an order for a medical-related item from a company recommended by our doctor. At the time we placed the order, I thought the cost seemed unusually high, but I was not completely familiar with what was being ordered, the doctor had recommended this company very highly to us, and my ex-husband usually reimburses me for similar items for the kids, so I went ahead and placed the order. We explained that we also needed to receive our item as quickly as possible, and the salesperson told us they would put a "rush" on it.

Although I'd already paid for our order in full, I decided to wait on submitting the receipt to my ex-husband for reimbursement until we had the order and I was sure it was right. However, a few days later, I received a letter from my ex- indicating he somehow knew I'd placed the order and implying I'd paid too much for it. I did a little checking and did indeed discover that the company had probably overcharged me by a substantial amount. (This is done to me frequently here where we live, but usually not in San Antonio.)

When we didn't hear anything from the company, I began calling them. Each time I called, I was put on hold while they did some sort of checking and then was told our order wasn't there yet. Today I was finally told we could come to pick it up, so my youngest and I got into our car and headed down. Because we rarely go to the "big city", we always try to combine errands there, so we had other stops to make as well.

As we were driving down, I noticed we were being passed by an unusually large number of vehicles from our town (ones with local stickers and logos on them). As we neared the city, my youngest and I decided it would be more efficient to do one of our other errands first. As we got out of our car, I noticed a woman wearing a pink T-shirt with a logo from our home area jump out of a vehicle that had parked nearby. The woman walked directly in front of our vehicle with a cigarette dangling from her lips and then stopped until she was sure we'd noticed her; then she hurried off and we went inside to complete our first errand.

Our next stop was at the business where we picked up our order--and where we noticed a number of people hanging around who did not seem to be doing anything in particular. We were pleased with our purchase (except for the price), and we decided it had been worth waiting for.

After that, my youngest and I decided to have lunch at a nearby restaurant from a major chain. We waited a few minutes to be seated--and then discovered to our dismay that our waitress was very seriously and visibly impaired (high on crack, if I had to guess). We watched in horror as she lost her balance while walking and fell against a wall. She clearly could not handle a large, heavy tray, and other servers brought our food and filled our water glasses. However, the impaired waitress continued hovering over us and constantly bothering us about trivial things in an obnoxious manner. By the end of our meal, we saw her nearly fall again, and we'd reached the point where we just wanted to get away from her. As we were leaving, the hostess asked us if we'd enjoyed our meal--and then started laughing at us!

We made a few more stops (and saw more vehicles and people from home) and then headed for a store we'd planned as our last stop. As we walked in, we discovered my ex-husband and his wife waiting for us just inside the door. His wife walked up next to me to make sure I'd seen her and then hurried away. My ex- walked up to our youngest and spoke with them briefly (also to let us know he was there). My youngest and I discovered the store didn't have what we wanted, so we decided to try one more store before heading home.

We then found what we needed and started back on the interstate. It didn't take long for us to realize that a woman in a gold car was tailgating us with her headlights on. She did this for about 20 miles or so and refused to pass us despite many opportunities to do so. When she finally sped off, she also switched her lights off. Several other vehicles also tailgated us with their lights on for various lengths of time.

Now that I've detailed things for you, let me explain more fully what was going on. The owners of the 70+-year-old company that was recommended to us have ties to our area, own land here, and know my ex-husband and his family well. No doubt we were told our order wasn't ready for several days in order to get us to drive to San Antonio on a day my ex-husband had off. We were followed and under illegal surveillance the entire time we were gone, probably by associates of my ex-. The business probably overcharged me and certainly violated our privacy by disclosing our order to my ex-husband without permission. (The letter my ex- sent me implies that he intends to blame me for being overcharged.) We were harassed by an obvious doper working at the restaurant (there's no way this woman could pass a drug test!), and other employees thought it was funny. My ex-husband and his wife then staged the meeting at the store (because it's no fun stalking someone if you don't let them know at some point who's behind it). Finally, we were "harassed by auto" going home.

These events form a variation on the themes of stalking, harassment, and illegal surveillance perpetrated against us every time we go anywhere--and we've been victims of this for at least 10 years and almost certainly much longer. Some parts are the same virtually every time: the locals following us; harassment by both employees and customers in various businesses; my ex- and/or someone very close to him turning up briefly at some point; and the automotive harassment (tailgating, flashing light, reckless driving around us, etc.). Some aspects differ from time to time, though; for example, sometimes marked law enforcement vehicles (from multiple jurisdictions) are involved in harassing incidents directed at us. In one particularly memorable incident when I was coming home after picking up one of my kids at the airport, one of the vehicles tailgating us and then speeding off was a very large, bright red SUV with a custom lt. governor's license plate. (The white pickup that immediately took its place tailgating us that day was being driven by my ex-husband with his wife in the front passenger seat. My ex- was shaking his head "no" back and forth in a bizarre, exaggerated fashion.)

Monday, June 7, 2010


There's been quite a bit in the press recently about the use of trains for smuggling between Mexico and the U.S. (drugs and people going north; cash and guns going south), so I don't believe I need to delve into the subject in much detail here. I will say that we certainly hear many Wild West-type stories about train hold-ups in some of the rougher, sparsely populated areas of South Texas. We also keep hearing about increased inspections of and seizures from trains in the past couple of years, but I have no way of knowing whether this is true. I suspect freight trains remain a major source of illegal contraband in both countries.

I do have one entirely separate story of my own regarding trains, although I'm not sure of its value. The one and only time my (former) husband took me with him on one of his business trips overseas was on a mid-eighties trip to Switzerland for a conference. One day while we were on the trip, my husband suddenly announced he'd always wanted to visit Lichtenstein and that he'd already obtained information on traveling there as a day trip by train. He said he wanted to go there immediately and that we'd be back at our hotel in time for dinner if we left right away. I was puzzled by his sudden desire to go to a place he'd never even mentioned to me before, but I was curious to see it, so I grabbed a few things and off we went.

The train ride took about an hour and was very pleasant and scenic. When we arrived there, I wanted to climb the hill above the main town area and tour the castle, but my husband insisted on taking a walking trail through the woods along the hillside between the castle and the town that he said someone had recommended. I must admit it was a very pleasant walk, and I remember meeting some interesting people along the path who were also out for an afternoon stroll.

Unfortunately, our walk was all too short. My husband suddenly stopped after about a mile or so and said we'd have to turn around and hurry back if we were to make our return train. He hadn't mentioned anything about this before, and I remember being confused because he'd originally talked about wanting to do and see more while we were there. He practically raced back to the train station as I struggled to keep up--but when we got there we had to wait an hour or more for our train back to the hotel.

To this day, I have no idea why my then-husband suddenly wanted to make this trip, but I've always been glad I got at least a quick look at Lichtenstein. (I haven't been fortunate enough to have been able to visit many other foreign countries.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Yesterday morning my children and I were suddenly jolted awake by a small plane or planes buzzing our house (more than one pass). For some reason, this was repeated off and on all day, too. We've had this happen before many times, but never this many times in one day.

This type of harassment, which is often strategically timed to be most disturbing, is difficult to photograph or even see and describe well because it happens so suddenly and the offenders are gone so quickly. However, during one of these incidents today, one of my children happened to be down at the barn doing chores and was able to see and describe the planes involved: two small planes flying close together, one bright/neon yellow and the other blue and white (blue on top and white on the bottom).

An entire day of being subjected to this caused me to reflect on the subject of airplanes and flying in general with regard to both ourselves and other victims. While I have blogged about the subject here before (see "What's The Buzz?" from 11/24/09, "What's The Buzz Revisited", and "Mystery Man" from 12/26/09, for example), I realized I have a great deal of additional information to share on the subject.

During my 20-year marriage, my husband left me twice for women he worked with (different ones; see "My Story" at the beginning of this blog). Coincidentally, both times he left happened to also be the two times during the many years I knew him when he was into airplanes and flying in a big way.

The first time, back in the mid-1980s, my husband suddenly began spending a lot of time with a couple of local pilots. Both of these men had moved to Central Texas from Houston, and both were very wealthy. The older of these two men was a flight instructor who started teaching my husband to fly and eventually helped my husband obtain a pilot's license. According to my husband, this older man and his wife owned considerable valuable real estate in our town, including several businesses downtown and a good deal of property and at least one business close to our house. A shop owned and run by this man's wife moved from Main Street into a building on a side street that I've discussed before, and the wife of the then-county judge (the judge who was later convicted of records-tampering) started working there around the same time.

The younger of my husband's pilot-friends and his wife were around our ages and had children close in age to ours. His wife and I took our children to the same playgroup, where I got to know her a little bit. She was by herself with her children much of the time and lonely as a result, because she said her husband worked for a large real estate firm in Houston during the week and only flew up on weekends. I would have liked to have known her better, but I did not care for her husband and never felt comfortable when I was around him. In fact, I remember trying to discuss this with my husband several times--for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why my husband liked this man so much.

At one point, this couple was gone from our town for an extended period of time (several years?--I can't remember for sure). I thought they'd moved away because my husband said the man got tired of commuting, but I also heard rumors from the other playgroup moms that the husband might have gotten in trouble for flying drugs into the country from South America. Eventually, however, they turned up in our town again.

When my husband decided to leave his first "other woman" and return to try and save our marriage, he seemed to lose a lot of his former fascination with flying and other pilots. He began spending more time with the kids and me and less with his pilot-friends at the airport. I can remember only two small incidents regarding planes from this "in-between period". The first was a casual remark made to me by the then girlfriend of a close college friend of my husband's. This college friend travelled all over the world for his job and was living in London at the time, and his girlfriend was a stewardess with American Airlines who worked the Dallas-London route. She told me she could carry anything she wanted through customs either way because all the customs officials knew her and never checked her bags.

The second incident was an explanation my husband gave me for why certain houses owned by related families near ours were brightly lit all night long. He claimed the women who lived in these houses had a lucrative contract to sew seat cushions for airplanes involving meeting deadlines that caused them to have to work through the night at times. With the Mooney airplane factory located nearby, I saw no reason to question this at the time.

In the year or so before my husband left the second time (this time for good), he returned to his obsession for airplanes and flying with a passion. He began gradually spending increasing amounts of time with not only his first two close pilot-friends but a much wider circle of both local and out-of-town pilots, most of whom I didn't know and never met. My husband also started buying planes: first a basic older Cessna; then a kit for a plane he and the foreign-born airplane and submarine mechanic who worked for the "Mystery Man" built together and customized substantially for speed; and finally a Vietnam-era plane known for flying "low and slow".

Along with being gone from home more and more and hanging around with increasing numbers of people he wouldn't introduce me to, my husband suddenly left for a long weekend in Dallas to train on an American Airlines flight simulator with another pilot-friend who worked for them. My husband also suddenly began spending a great deal of time with both his old flying instructor and a woman pilot who had extensive real estate and construction business contacts in Houston and sat on the city council at the time. (I once became very suddenly and mysteriously ill two hours before I was supposed to attend a private dinner with these people--the only time I was ever invited to join any of them socially.) Around the same time, a man who owned property near the local airport was found shot to death in a local motel room.

After my husband left me in 1999 for the woman who is now his wife, a lot of other things began happening with regard to the local flying scene. One of the first of these was an announcement by local government officials of a major expansion and several major building projects at the airport here. The man who'd taught my (now ex-) husband to fly was found shot to death in his home, and although I'd always believed my ex-husband considered this man one of his closest friends, my ex- threw a large birthday party for his wife on the night of his flying instructor's memorial service and grinned and waved at me and one of our children as he passed us on the road while the service was going on (so we know he didn't attend).

My ex-husband's other close pilot friend had also left his wife and married someone else by this time and had also run for local political office unsuccessfully. One of their children nearly died in a bizarre accident that occurred while they were with their father. Then my acquaintance from playgroup was found dead, hanging from a hook in her dining room, and my former mother-in-law and one of the other women in our playgroup both began spreading rumors about how depressed the dead woman had been, even though I had never seen any signs of this. Her former husband (the pilot) was married to a woman who had ties to South America at the time, and they'd started a chocolate-importing business that involved regular flights down there. After his ex-wife's death, we frequently saw the pilot back at his ex-wife's house, and I was told he'd opened (or tried to open?) a restaurant there.

Compare and Contrast

My youngest recently brought home a copy of the last high school newspaper of the school year. It contained two different pieces by two different student authors that addressed a number of significant local victims' issues, but each author discussed these issues in completely different ways and from a completely different viewpoint. I found the contrast both interesting and educational.

A little background is necessary first. Recently my youngest child came home very upset from an assembly that had been held at school. Apparently this assembly was some sort of anti-drugs and anti-alcohol program that's held every year, but the two-day affair that was put on last year was deemed excessive, and the event was scaled back considerably this time around. My youngest said a local woman had been asked to speak to the students as part of this assembly on very short notice (she was asked earlier that same morning) and had graciously agreed to do so. This woman and her husband lost their daughter tragically in an auto accident in Austin 12 years ago when the daughter's car was hit by a drunk driver. They have been strong and vocal supporters of MADD and other related organizations and causes throughout Central Texas ever since.

My youngest said the woman got up at the assembly and started talking very frankly about her daughter's life and death. Some of the woman's talk was graphic but no worse than what's in many movies, on t.v., in driver's ed. classes, or even in other student programs in our school (like "Shattered Dreams"). Because the subject of her daughter's death was very personal to her, the speaker became emotional at times. At some point, my youngest became aware that certain students and faculty members were mocking and making fun of the speaker.

About halfway through her presentation, faculty members suddenly stepped up to the speaker and told her she needed to leave. The woman protested that she hadn't finished or made her final points yet and became visibly distraught. My youngest felt extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed when faculty members insisted on escorting the still-protesting speaker off the stage.

The writer of the first student piece in question, a letter to the editor, apparently felt the same way my youngest did about the whole affair. She wrote that the school's treatment of the speaker had been disrespectful and appalling and that she'd been especially upset to learn the speaker had broken down in tears immediately after leaving because she believed her attempt to talk to the students had been to no avail. The writer ended her piece by assuring the speaker that she, for one, had been touched by her words and was grateful to her for taking the time to come. My youngest was glad to see they hadn't been the only person at the assembly who'd come away disturbed by the speaker's treatment. (Since then, another student has written a letter expressing similar sentiments that was published in the local community newspaper.)

The second piece for discussion from the same school paper is an end-of-year student opinion column entitled "A Hero To Save Us". In part, the author writes, "This year, our town has needed a superhero more than ever before. The losses we have experienced this year have surpassed any we could have ever pictured. We lost loved ones, we lost trust, we lost faith in whatever we had worked so hard to finally believe in. We lost." She goes on to say, "Where is the superhero we so desperately need to save us from that doom we're facing?"

Both of these student writings are about issues related to lives needlessly lost or ruined due to substance abuse, crime, and other related social ills within our community. Although done more indirectly than I would have liked, the first piece asks for personal soul-searching, more open dialog, and acceptance of personal responsibility for important issues of character here. The second piece directly expresses a wish that all the troubling societal ills destroying the community could simply be magically covered up and whisked away so that business-as-usual could return.

Ultimately, the first piece is about empathy for victims. I could not find much empathy at all in the second piece. If my youngest's description of what took place at the school assembly is any indication, I fear the second writer's approach is far more common in our community than that of the first writer. The pervasive lack of empathy here is being passed on from parents, teachers, and other community leaders to our young people with painful results for all, whether they realize it or not. I'm glad to see a few hopeful glimmers of something better someday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Latest Trends In Local Harassment

Lately any time I step outside or go anywhere, people who are waiting nearby and obviously know I'm coming start driving by me in various moving vans, moving company trailers, or rental vehicles. Also, when I walk my dog in the evenings now (at different times every evening this time of year), anywhere between 50 and 100 or more vehicles (some of them marked police patrol vehicles) suddenly turn up and start driving by me repeatedly, often with their drivers and passengers yelling at me, waving at me in an exaggerated manner, pretending to blow kisses at me, etc. I have a feeling all this is related to a statement once made openly at a city council meeting by the local police chief that he "couldn't wait to kick [my] sorry ass out of town".

While most of the moving stuff is relatively new, some things continue to be the same as they've been for a long time--the constant parades of vehicles and people back and forth in front of our house when I do yard work out front and the people standing in front of our house very early in the morning in order to get our dog to bark and wake us up, for example. The trashy and/or bizarre items thrown in our yard and pasture or strewn along my walking path continue unabated as well. The number of prank calls and faxes we receive seems to have dropped off lately, but the constant hacking of out computer continues. An example from today: our water softener went out over the weekend, and although my kids and I discussed this only while we were inside the house and when I called a repairman, tonight I started getting repeated pop-ups advertising various water treatment services on our computer even though I hadn't clicked on or mentioned anything at all related to these services during my session. (Every year around my ex-husband's birthday we suddenly receive similar pop-ups reminding us of his birth date.)

While I don't know that it's necessarily related to the ongoing harassment of us, one more thing happened recently that was strange enough to deserve a mention here: less than one-fourth of the graduating class from our local high school attended the baccalaureate service the other night. You have to understand that normally the attendance rate for this is close to 100% and the chosen church is packed to the gills instead of being over half empty as it was this year. My kids and I decided this might have been due to the fact that it was over a holiday weekend, but normally this town (and my ex-husband and his family, who never told my youngest, one of the graduates, that they wouldn't be attending) never misses a photo opportunity or a celebration.

Update, 6/3/10: The numbers of people and vehicles doing drive-bys have decreased since I wrote the above, but today someone scattered toilet paper along the route I normally walk. Also, today during school hours, we had to threaten to call the police on a group of kids of school age (during school hours!; kids here seem to come and go from the schools at will) who were skateboarding on our driveway and in our front yard (which clearly involved trespassing on private property) when they were slow to leave after we told them to. Just another day around here...