When he placed a romance ad in the Globe tabloid, Ed Goldwater says he was "just a lonely guy that wanted to meet a nice woman." The Mesa chiropractor thought he'd found her in Mary "Kathy" Cook, a respiratory therapist living in Virginia. The two began a courtship by letter in October 1992.
By January 1993, Cook had flown to Arizona--on Goldwater's nickel--and agreed to join him permanently in Mesa. Which she did, a week later. He was "madly in love," Goldwater says.
But by last fall, love had soured, and the two stopped seeing each other. In October, Goldwater and Cook began corresponding on paper again--but this time it was through legal documents.
The jilted Goldwater has filed two civil lawsuits in Maricopa County Superior Court, charging Cook with breach of contract, fraud, burglary and "intentional infliction of emotional distress." He wants at least $500,000. Cook is countersuing, claiming damage to her reputation and "intentional infliction of severe emotional distress." She wants at least $600,000.
Cook did not return calls from New Times. Stephen Cox, Cook's attorney, says he advised his client not to talk.
Goldwater's office, Affordable Footcare and Chiropractic, is in a strip mall on Main Street in Mesa, sandwiched between a beauty salon and a tattoo parlor. Inside, Goldwater's dog, Sandy, reclines listlessly by the reception desk, standing to follow her master to his small, fluorescent-lighted office. The walls reach up a few inches shy of the ceiling, and he leaves the door open, but Goldwater is oblivious to the proximity of patients and staff as he tells his tale of woe, his voice growing louder and louder.
Goldwater describes himself as over six feet tall and over 200 pounds. He wears gray slacks, a dingy white polo shirt pulled down over an expansive midsection, and black and gray argyle socks with running shoes.
Diplomas line the walls of his office and examining room, announcing various degrees from chiropractic institutions and master's degrees from Pepperdine University and American Graduate School of International Management. He has also studied law, which is why he has chosen to represent himself in his lawsuits, with the aid of two paralegals.
In his initial lawsuit, filed in late October, Goldwater alleges that Cook broke her oral promise to marry him and bear his children. In exchange for that promise, he alleges, Goldwater paid for in vitro fertilization treatments for Cook (which she never completed), gave her money and made payments on her car.
He even quit law school (he was attending part-time, he says) and applied to medical school--all for love. "Cook induced Goldwater to quit law school and pursue a medical degree to become a humanitarian instead of a 'dirtbag,'" his complaint states.
According to court documents, Goldwater was accepted by the Universidad Federico Henriquez y Carvajal School of Medicine in the Dominican Republic. He traveled to the school for two weeks in September, to attend his first surgical training session.
While he was in the Dominican Republic--dutifully wielding a scalpel so that Cook could one day call herself a doctor's wife--Goldwater says his fiance was entertaining men at his Mesa apartment. According to his complaint, upon his return, "Cook told Goldwater that she was going to start dating men, answering personal ads again and if he didn't like it, he could go ---- (deleted) himself." The shock caused a "near nervous breakdown," Goldwater claims in his lawsuit, in which he describes Cook's character as "predatory, cold-calculating, flagrant, extreme and outrageous."
Shortly after Goldwater returned from the Caribbean, Cook moved in with and subsequently married a man named Jon Jay Taylor. The newlyweds, who met through a local personal ad placed by Taylor, are living in Laveen, Cox says.
Goldwater says Cook (now Cook-Taylor) took him for a $37,500 ride, including the cost of car payments, fertilization treatments and medical school tuition--but not counting irreparable damage to heart and soul.
In legal papers she has filed, Cook-Taylor says Goldwater was after her money. She alleges that Goldwater cajoled her into moving to Arizona "for the purpose of marrying her merely because she was financially solvent, had good credit, had a trust account from her mother's estate and was likely to inherit substantial sums from her father upon his death."
Cook-Taylor alleges that she had her own money, and was not wholly supported by Goldwater. She says he broke a promise to seek psychological counseling and lied about his family's background--including telling her that his father was a retired federal judge appointed by President Eisenhower and that his parents resided in Mexico but kept a home in Phoenix, next door to Charles Keating's.
She claims he stole her mail and lied about his past (he didn't tell her he'd been married previously). And, Cook-Taylor claims, Goldwater lied about his weight during their courtship-by-correspondence. In his answer to her counterclaim, Goldwater admits that he was previously married and that his mother lives in Spokane, Washington. He denies Cook-Taylor's allegations about mail theft and therapy.
Goldwater's second lawsuit, filed in late November, contains almost identical allegations, but instead of breach of contract charges Cook-Taylor with fraud, larceny and intentional infliction of emotional stress. Along with $500,000, Goldwater demands a formal apology--not just for himself, but for the staff of Affordable Footcare and Chiropractic, who, he says, was harassed by Cook-Taylor.
Sitting at his desk, Goldwater rifles through piles of paper, pulling out a tattered address book he says belonged to Cook-Taylor (he says it contains the names and addresses of other men she's ripped off) and documents he says will prove her guilty of tax fraud. His voice grows so loud that finally his assistant peers around the corner, then shuts the door.
Goldwater leans back, pulling an arm across his torso and rubbing his elbow so furiously it begins to bleed. He sighs, his voice dropping a few decibels as he explains that he's not supposed to be in contact with Cook-Taylor (her attorney says both parties have restraining orders), but if she'd apologize, pay his expenses and stay away from him, he'd be willing to "call it a day." "I'm willing to work out a reasonable solution," he says.
(The next day he says he might settle the breach of contract suit, but will take the second case to court.)
Goldwater has tucked two snapshots into the frame of a print hanging on his office wall. One is of his faithful dog Sandy sitting on Santa's lap; the other is of a long-tressed, thirtysomething blonde--his latest pen pal.
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Ed Goldwater's new love interest, whom he declines to name, lives in Tennessee. She answered his latest ad in the Globe; they've been corresponding for almost three weeks.
Isn't he wary, given the results of the last go-round? "Damn right," Goldwater says, but this time he's being careful. He doesn't want a woman who's been married more than two or three times, he says, and he doesn't plan to sleep with his new flame until they are married.
"This woman is a moral woman," he says. He asked her mother. She lives with her mother and father, who watch her "like hawks." She's home every night by seven o'clock, Goldwater says. He plans to fly the three of them out to Arizona in January--after his next surgical rotation in the Dominican Republic.
As for Kathy Cook-Taylor, Goldwater concedes that he may still be in love with her. "I don't know if I should answer that or not," he says. "I don't know if I am or not. Probably no. I don't know.