It was on the second trip to Miami and Ron’s plastic surgeon that I experienced what my office staff came to call “the Rhonda blindside.” What they meant was that a pattern was developing where Ron would announce a devastating fact in a simple, innocent, off-hand, seemingly unknowing-of-the-factual-consequence way when we were already in the middle of a legal process for him and he hadn’t bothered to mention the fact before.
The purpose of this trip was to take the deposition of the plastic surgeon about the possible causes and extent of injury to Ron’s tricep implant that he alleged had been damaged by the rancher, Sam Vest.
The plane was enroute from Dallas to Miami. I was reading a novel when Ron said:
“Glen, I want you to look at this.”
He handed me a handwritten paper entitled “Marriage Contract.” It was signed by both Ron and Sam Vest. It purported a promise by Sam Vest to marry Ron Morgan. In return, Sam would pay Ron $25,000 a month for Ron agreeing to marry him.
“When did this occur?” I asked.
“When Sam took me on a trip to the Bahamas and wanted sex. I made him promise to marry me and pay for it. Now, he won’t do it. I want you to sue him for that, too.”
I had not known that Ron had gone on a trip to the Bahamas with Sam, and I certainly didn’t know about a marriage contract. Here we were in the middle of a lawsuit where I portrayed Ron as this innocent interior decorator working on Sam’s ranchhouse in West Texas, and Sam attacks him in a drunken stupor wanting sex, injuring Ron’s arm.
Stunned with this new information would be an understatement. Ron seemed to think that, somehow, this trip to the Bahamas and Sam signing a marriage contract in order to have sex with Ron strengthened his case against Sam. All I could think of to say as a response at the time was :
“Ron, it’s unenforceable. Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. Therefore, there can be no breach of promise.”
I write of Ron’s antics and “blindsides” in my book: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime. It is a story of my client, Ron, a 50-year old gay man who married a 72-year old Wall Street Journal heiress, and is the first in a trilogy of narrative nonfictions I call “The Prison Trilogy.”
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