I met Ronnie Lee Morgan in the late 1980s after rehabbing from a car wreck. The physical therapy clinic where I received treatment had a small weight area and trainer. The number of people allowed to use the facility for weight training was restricted since the main purpose was physical rehabilitation.
Counting our trainer, there were six of us. All were professional people such as engineers, geologists, myself, a lawyer, and Ron, who, at that time, owned an upscale antique store called “Jackson-Morgan.”
Ron called me one morning and asked if I could drop by his store. He had a legal matter he would like me to review. I told him I would be glad to, and suggested the following morning. He said that would be a good time, but seemed quite anxious.
The following morning, I drove out to the chic shopping area where Jackson-Morgan was located. I had been to the shopping area before but never to the store. As I entered, I saw Ron. “Ron, how are you this morning? I have never been in your store. It is quite impressive.”
“Thank you. We have armoires from France, beds from Italy and Spain. There are a number of unique items. Some of it is on consignment. Some, I have imported,” he explained.
We sat down in a small cramped office in the back of the store, as Ron said, “My partner has been stealing from me. I want us to break up. He needs to go back to California.”
I had handled numerous partnership dissolutions. I asked, “How do you know Mr. Jackson has been stealing from you?”
Ron responded, “Mr. Jackson? Who is he?”
“Isn’t that your business partner?”
“Oh, that. No, that’s just a name I made up for the business. I thought ‘Jackson-Morgan’ sounded sophisticated. I’m talking about the partner I’m living with. He’s been stealing from me. I want him out, and I want you to handle it.”
It took me awhile to get over the shock. I had worked out with this man for a year and had no idea he was gay. It didn’t make any difference to me. I just didn’t know. I wondered if our other work-out partners knew.
I write of Ron’s life, his later marriage to a Wall Street Journal heiress, and my legal representation of him in my book: Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime.
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