In doing research on Chris Simcox -- the minuteman posterboy currently waging a quixotic campaign for the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate primary nod against the ancient, lizard-skinned Senator John McCain -- I came across an odd exchange of legal paperwork between Simcox's current wife Alena, and Alena's mother Barbara Lang-Lyras Auffret. Seems in 2007, Auffret filed a claim in Maricopa County Superior Court against her daughter regarding the Alena Maria Lyras Trust, Lyras apparently being Alena's name before she became Mrs. Simcox.
Auffret alleged in her claim that her daughter had "unilaterally removed [her] as co-trustee of the trust and deleted Article Ten which required the approval and consent of both trustees affecting the trust." Auffret also maintained that she had "created the trust naming the defendant only as co-trustee due to defendant's inability to manage the trust alone..."
Additionally, Auffret stated that after her daughter married Simcox, her relationship with her daughter became "strained." Her daughter would not speak to her, and "prohibited [her] from visitation with her grandson." The claim mentions that Simcox was being sued by another plaintiff, who was asking for one million dollars in damages.
That's a reference to Fountain Hills resident James Campbell's lawsuit against Simcox and Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. (Simcox stepped down as head of MCDC to run for Senate earlier this year.) The legal tussle was over $100,000 Campbell donated to MCDC for the building of an "Israeli-style fence" on private property near the border. Campbell contended MCDC didn't build the sort of fence they promised, and so sued them for around $1.2 million. The suit is no longer active. Last year, Campbell told The Sierra Vista Herald that he "allowed the civil case to be dismissed because he did not want to continue to fund the litigation."
In Auffret's application for a temporary restraining order against her daughter, things turned nastier. She alleged the following of Simcox, and made references to a troubled past on the part of her daughter.
"In July 2005," reads the motion, "after only a few weeks of meeting Christopher Simcox, the leader of the infamous self-appointed private border patrol, The Minuteman Project, defendant married Simcox. Plaintiff seeks to protect the assets and the property in the trust from a defendant who is ill-equipped to handle the trust and unduly influenced by the head of the dubious Minuteman Project, an organization seeking donations of funds for various purposes."
Auffret once again mentioned Campbell's lawsuit, which she described as being for "fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement and concealment, in connection with questionable monetary activities with the Minuteman Project." She stated that she was "concerned that the defendant will use the Trust's assets and the property to defend Christopher Simcox in the civil suit or otherwise for the benefit of the Minuteman Project."
Continued Auffret: "Finally, plaintiff believes that Simcox is attempting to convince defendant to sell all her assets in the trust and flee to Hawaii in order to avoid pending litigation."
Alena denied many of her mother's claims, asserted that she was the trustor and sole beneficiary of the trust, and countered that her mother had removed significant assets from the trust. (There's never a precise price tag placed on the trust's value, but there is mention of numerous checks being written on the trust account, totaling $194,000.)
To back up her counter-claims, Alena submitted an e-mail from her mother to Alena's sister, wherein Auffret makes several colorful statements about her son-in-law.
"There will be no Christmas sorry to say for us here. Anyway, this wacko doesn't celebrate Christmas according to Alena...He wouldn't even let her have a penny to buy any gifts as I told you...and until you told me Marcos hadn't cut back on her $$ I thought this is why she was having so many problems...now I think this guy has taken charge of everything and Alena is suffering...but I am not sure...I can't really get a straight answer to these questions.
"Alena I don't think was ready for marriage to such an old man...if she married someone her own age it would have been much easier for her...This is a very complicated man anyway with divorces and other women...and all kinds of wacko stuff I can't even imagine...I would have dumped him after one date...if he even got that far with me..ha ha...The attorney said that the reason girls fall for him is that he has carisma [sic] and they can't help being overcome by it."
(You can read Auffret's e-mail to Alena's sister, here.)
Auffret's claim was filed in June of 2007. By September of that same year, the court dismissed the matter with prejudice, "each party to bear their own costs and attorney fees." Apparently, mother, daughter, and perhaps even minuteman son-in-law came to an agreement, though what exactly that agreement consisted of is left unsaid.
Phone calls to lawyers for both sides seeking comment were not returned. Ditto a message left for Simcox with a fellow answering media calls for his campaign. Similarly, a message sent to Auffret's e-mail address was not answered.
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Still, you could say this situation resolved itself better than some of Simcox's previous problems with the women in his life.
A 2005 profile of Simcox published by the Southern Poverty Law Center detailed how the second of Simcox's ex-wives, Kim Dunbar, "filed an emergency appeal in September 2001 to obtain full custody of their teenage son because she feared that Simcox had suffered a mental breakdown and was dangerous."
Simcox didn't fare better with his first ex-wife Deborah Crews, who told the SPLC that, "He tried to molest our daughter when he was intoxicated...When she ran out, he tried to say he was just giving her a leg massage and she got the wrong idea."
The claims of Simcox's mother-in-law pale in comparison with the allegations of Dunbar and Crews. And the fact that the suit, and Auffret's complaints against him, eventually went away, must be the source of some relief for the wannabe U.S. Senator. According to Simcox's campaign Web site, he and Alena are still happily married.