Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Messiah loses house to "vindicative woman syndrome"
But Nancy Clayton, police sergeant and major in the Marine Corps Reserves, lived in California. In that sheltered environment she may not have been familiar with this particular subspecies of humanity. She went to eBay trying to sell a laptop, and before you could say "apocalypse" Sir Michael had made her "Queen."
She did what any red-blooded Heavenly Queen would do. She quit her job with the police, retired from the Marine Corps, moved to Florida, cashed out her retirement, bought a four-bedroom, two-bath ranch house with pool, deeded the house to Sir Michael, and gave him an extra $490,000 because as "the Son of God ... [he] would decide how it would be spent."
Well, that's the way Ms. Nancy tells it. Sir Wayne the Messiah sees it differently. According to Dan Lynch of the Daily Business Review,
For his part, Wayne contends that Clayton "concocted" all the allegations in her lawsuit and suffers from "vindictive woman syndrome." He denies that he coerced her into signing the house over to him. "You cannot make that woman do anything she doesn't want to do," he said. "My ex-fiancee wanted to ruin me. She wanted to make it so no woman would have anything to do with me."
I know women like that. The judge apparently does too because he didn't know whom to believe—
The judge said he vacillated. He took into account that "you have a right to be foolish in this country, and you have to pay the consequences." He had a particularly hard time believing that the worldly Clayton could be so frightened of Wayne. "Am I supposed to sit here and believe that this ex-police officer, ex-Marine was so intimidated?"
Ultimately, the judge said, he decided to rule in Clayton's favor because of the testimony of a corroborating witness, Ryan Drinkhahn, who had lived in the house at the time and supported Clayton's version of events. Eades ruled that Clayton "as a grantor did not freely and voluntarily sign that deed. ... By this court's final judgment, the deed has no validity."
So Nancy will get back the house, maybe—Sir Michael will appeal the court's decision. But she has completely lost her cash donation. She wasn't great at record-keeping, and besides, she didn't have enough money for her attorney—
"We dropped the fraud because of documentation problems relating to the amounts and because my client was out of money," he said. "I focused on the house because, with appreciation, it was the best way for my client to get back some of her money."
There are lessons for us all—Messiahs and Queens alike—in this sad tale.