Follow on Google News
News By Tag
News By Place
Follow on Google News
Graham Weston Divorce Shows the Power of Money
By: Kurth Lampe Worldwide
Innocent Victim of Abuse - How it started
"I am frugal, I have not been a bad mother, I took care of my husband, I took care of my children, I cooked for them, I homeschooled them, I did everything. I took care of our land and defended our home. I lived in service to my family for almost 30 years. During that time I put up with drunken assaults from my husband and years of abuse. I finally got brave enough to try to leave my billionaire husband," said Elizabeth Weston.
"And it looks like, as this divorce is finalized, I will be left without a home, without a functioning automobile and without assets after a marriage of almost 30 years, a lifetime together. If this is what happens to women in Comal County who try to save their own lives by escaping a dangerous marriage, our system needs to be examined, people need to be held accountable,"
According to pleadings, the Weston's are going through a divorce as a result of Graham's years of abuse and assault of Elizabeth. For Elizabeth, the final straw was when she discovered his online sex addiction and was powerless to stop it. Graham's response to the growing marital stress was to schedule a "marriage counseling" appointment with Om Rupani, a self-proclaimed Bondage Discipline Sado Masochism (BDSM) master who conducts sex workshops, according to his website.
Divorce is painful and crushing. Graham Weston's activities were responsible for the end of his marriage. His wife of almost 30 years helped him build their wealth, helped him with activities and projects for Rackspace employees, managed multiple family ranches and properties, and organized and conducted the schooling of their three children. Instead of doing the honorable thing and coming to a fair agreement with her, Graham Weston, who has appeared on the Forbes Billionaire list, appears to have made every effort to ensure that she does not have the money or adequate time to make the legal case a fair fight, or to live on moving forward. She does not have a car. She is homeless. She is living out of a carry-on suitcase.
If Graham Weston, his legal team, or the judge witnessed a family member who plays high school football take the field without the benefit of proper equipment and protection, they would likely stop the game. They would insist on helping the athlete secure what is needed. Elizabeth Weston needed sustaining funds to afford to live, support the needs of their impaired son, and participate in this divorce on a level playing field. They all left her helpless on the field. The Judge did not, in two years, grant temporary support orders for her, even though this is normally one of the first things done in a divorce.
For Graham Weston, the divorce proceedings do seem to be a sport. One which he must win at all costs. At one hearing, Graham Weston made light of the divorce by commenting "Welcome to the wild show…" to a reporter, demonstrating how callously he treats his family and this serious matter. He needs to win no matter the cost to his wife and sons.
Access to marital funds: Graham Weston 6M, Elizabeth Weston 0
Elizabeth Weston said in court on September 26, "Today I am being abused and silenced in Court just like I was abused and silenced in my nearly 30-year marriage. Limiting me to small areas of rebuttal make these proceedings meaningless. Without allowing me the attorneys of my choice and access to full discovery, these proceedings are just a show trial."
Throughout the case, Ms. Weston has cited the lack of due process and an objection to the divorce proceedings going forward when she lacked full discovery and did not have access to marital funds for attorneys. According to testimony, her husband was allowed to spend more than 6 million dollars out of marital funds through lines of credit on "living expenses and attorneys fees" over the past two years of the divorce. But, Ms. Weston, who was forced to use money from her separate retirement savings, was not ever granted the temporary orders for maintenance or interim attorneys' fees which are customary in divorce cases.
Mr. Weston's experts testified in court that Elizabeth Weston spent 8 million dollars on lawyers out of community funds, however, the actual amount she spent was about 5 million, and none of it came out of community funds. Through the course of the divorce, Judge Waldrip had never given Mrs. Weston access to community funds for temporary maintenance funds or interim attorneys' fees. If Mrs. Weston had no access to community funds, how could she have paid 8 million dollars out of community funds? She already paid her attorneys $5 million out of her own funds and is now being asked to pay 8 million dollars to the marital estate for those fees she already paid out of her separate funds. That is bad logic AND bad math.
Elizabeth Weston has not been allowed to access funds from the marital estate, but her husband has. She has exhausted her personal savings and did not wish to go forward without an attorney. Of course, she found it extraordinarily hard to find representation without access to marital funds to pay for their fees. She sought a continuance from the court until discovery was complete and she had attorneys. That request was denied so she went into the divorce trial last week without discovery, no attorneys, no expert testimony and no ability to testify. Some might say that this abuse by the court added to the financial and domestic abuse the pleadings show she had already suffered at the hands of her husband.
Carowest, the Judge and Quid Pro Quo
On Wednesday, September 21 Ms. Weston asked the divorce court Judge Dib Waldrip to recuse himself. The Court did not grant the motion to recuse Judge Waldrip despite the fact that in 2014 Judge Waldrip recused himself from hearing a case regarding the Carowest land deal. Carowest ranch was Elizabeth Weston's home for decades, and, was the subject of a dispute with the city of New Braunfels. In 2014, Judge Waldrip voluntarily recused himself from ruling on a Carowest suit, but now, he found no reason to recuse himself from ruling on the divorce where Carowest should have been one of the assets to be divided, one worth approximately $25 to $30 million.
During the course of the divorce, Graham Weston, in violation of Comal County standing orders, removed Elizabeth Weston as an officer and manager of Carowest and other properties and entities. He then represented to the Secretary of State of Texas that it had been a mistake or clerical error to have listed her as part of the leadership team on those entities for years and years and years.
Jekyll and Hyde
Over the years, Graham Weston has helped people through non-profit organizations and large charitable donations but has not been willing to take care of family needs. The way someone treats their family doesn't always match up to the positive and caring way one treats others, as is the case with Graham Weston. In this case, the two-faced difference is dramatic. His charitable giving and business endeavors have earned him civic awards and business acclaim. Life at home is a different story.
Weston Urban properties in San Antonio are shiny and sparkly. At home in New Braunfels, Graham Weston, the man who has been on the Forbes billionaire list, had his family living for decades in a mobile home that had mold and environmental issues that deemed it uninhabitable. Meanwhile, he was the CEO of Rackspace, traveling the world. At home, he housed his retired father-in-law in a derelict cottage and made him pay rent out of his Social Security payments.
For the past two years, he has left it to his wife to pay the medical bills and living expenses for their son, which are, on average, in excess of $150,000 per year. Again, this is without Elizabeth Weston having temporary orders for living support or being compensated out of marital funds for her attorney fees; so she was forced to spend her life savings.
Delay, Neglect and Billable Hours
Elizabeth Weston had hired lawyers who came highly recommended. Her team charged her more than $5 million dollars over the course of about 8 months, yet they never got her temporary orders, interim attorneys' fees nor funds to care for her son from the marital estate. Further, they did not meet important deadlines for filings and for depositions. As a result of their actions, or lack thereof, the divorce court judge, Judge Dib Waldrip, sanctioned Elizabeth Weston, but not the attorneys.
Her former attorneys, who were paid millions of dollars, yet admitted that they were not ready for trial, were allowed to withdraw in violation of Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 10 and Texas State Bar Ethics rules, particularly 1.15
The divorce wrapped up, but the discovery is still not complete. This is not normal. Elizabeth Weston produced discovery materials, but her lawyers did not diligently pursue Graham Weston for discovery materials. Discovery remained outstanding, yet the divorce trial moved forward. Graham Weston failed to produce discovery, despite being compelled by the court to do so, but he was never fined nor sanctioned for his inaction.
Further, while preventing Elizabeth Weston from discovery necessary to refute numerous positions that Graham Weston asserted, the Judge granted Motions for Summary Judgment in favor of Graham Weston. Elizabeth Weston had asked her team of highly paid lawyers to join certain entities into the case before a January deadline. When they finally attempted to do it in May, the Judge predictably told them they were too late. The Motions for Summary Judgment allowed for all of the couple's 10 houses to be kept out of the marital estate considered by the jury for the division of assets.
How it Ended
The beginning of the trial process was premature and manifestly unfair under the rule of law. Yet it went forward. In a peculiar type of Texas justice, Elizabeth Weston will be left penniless and homeless and owing her billionaire husband 8 million dollars. Why? Because she dared to try to get out of a marriage where she was being financially and physically abused and silenced. When she finally spoke up, Graham Weston, in a purely evil narcissistic set of actions, chose to annihilate his wife rather than follow the Texas law and split their assets 50/50.
Due to sanctions and rulings by the court, Elizabeth Weston was not allowed to testify, was not allowed to put on any expert witnesses to testify, and was not allowed to talk about Weston's wealth or the history of abuse to her by Graham Weston in their marriage. And, she had no attorney nor discovery nor access to her own records, reports or experts. Is that what fair trials look like in Texas?