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Suit over Calvert woman's estate going forward

Suit over Calvert woman's estate going forward

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A district judge denied former Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall's effort to halt the proceedings in a civil case alleging he stole from the estate of Mariam Oscar while executor of the deceased Calvert woman's estate.

However, Senior District Judge H.D. Black extended the deadline to May 26 for Paschall to produce records and responses requested by Ty Clevenger, who represents the plaintiff in the case, the Calvert Historical Association, to give Paschall's civil lawyer, Rusty Russ, time to appeal the judge's decision.

Additionally, Black asked both sides to return June 4 for a hearing to determine if Paschall should be held in contempt for not handing over documents as ordered. If an appeal is filed and the matter is still pending come early June, Black said he will reschedule.

While Paschall has turned over bank records from a "Mariam Oscar John Paschall, Power of Attorney" First Star Bank account, Clevenger said he suspects there are other bank accounts that Paschall is not disclosing.

He's also requested Paschall's tax returns and records of payments he's made to Russ for attorney fees, records he's still waiting on.

In arguing for a stay of the discovery process, Russ pointed to a criminal investigation that has been launched by the state attorney general as a result of Clevenger filing complaints alleging Paschall misappropriated Oscar's estate funds.

Russ said that by complying with the judge's discovery order in the civil case, Paschall would be waiving his Fifth Amendment rights in the criminal investigation because the records would be accessible to the attorney general's investigators.

In response, Clevenger argued that the records would be obtained under subpoena during the criminal investigation regardless of the civil case.

Paschall was originally sued by Clevenger in 2011 on the behalf of a distant relative of Oscar, who died in 2004. 

Clevenger filed a fourth amended petition naming the Calvert Historical Association as the plaintiff in June after it was discovered that, according to Oscar's trust, which Paschall had to be ordered by an appeals court to produce, the Calvert woman desired anything remaining in her estate after she died be given to a Calvert nonprofit group and be used to build a memorial for her mother in a building that Paschall had already sold by the time the document was released. 

At the time of her death, Oscar's assets and property were believed to be worth about $300,000, according to the lawsuit against Paschall. Toward the end of January, Paschall handed over $86,000 in cash, what he has said is left of the estate, to the Robertson County Clerk's office, where it will remain until a receiver is named.

According to the First State Bank documents that have been submitted into evidence, Paschall wrote 16 checks to himself from the account totaling $19,700 January 2005 and September 2007.

Many of the checks have "attorneys fees" written the memo line. But according to an accounting sheet submitted by Paschall listing expenses incurred and paid for by Oscar's estate, there is record of legal payments made to Russ from the bank account but not to Paschall. 

Additionally, on Nov. 19, 2013, Paschall submitted responses to a set of interrogatories -- a series of questions a litigant is required to answer to clarify facts in a civil proceeding -- and stated "there are no bank accounts" when asked to describe "all bank accounts affiliated with the estate of Marium Oscar or the trust at any time."

Since the last hearing in March, Paschall turned over records from the First Star Bank account through 2013, though records from January and February of that year are missing, based on what's available in the district clerk's office.

Clevenger said he plans to find out why and asked that they be submitted.

Paschall is being represented in the criminal investigation by Bryan attorneys Jim James and Cameron Reynolds. Reynolds attended Wednesday's hearing, but declined to comment.

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