She said and said and said.....When local Fort Bend real estate developer Will Perry, son of very rich home builder Bob Perry, filed for divorce earlier this year from wife Laura, friends sympathized with the couple with two small children. They
had both been active in local charities (Laura) and politics (Will).
But when scant weeks later, Will filed for bankruptcy even with a $30,000 per month trust fund, this sparked the interest of several people, and included many people who ended up on the wrong side of a deal with Will Perry. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Will’s testimony
during a hearing to modify temporary custody and spousal support. Last week, I wrote about all the anomalies associated with the case, including the fact the case was filed under the couple’s initials only.
I had earlier promised to tell you about Laura Perry’s testimony during the temporary hearing.
At that hearing last month, Laura Perry spent her entire day on the witness stand staring straight ahead. When questioned by Will Perry’s attorney Mike Orsak about why she wouldn’t look at him (Orsak) when he questioned her, she replied that she did not want to look at Will Perry.
She testified that her children’s behavior changed after spending the weekend of March 21 with their father. She testified that the children went to Moody Gardens with their father, and during the night they were roused up in their hotel room and told to stay in the bathroom for a
long period of time.
Will Perry’s attorney tried to tie the children’s personality change with the arrival of Laura Perry’s parents who have been living with her since the separation. According to Laura, her mother does not like Will but does not speak bad about him around the children. Laura said she
had borrowed $40,000 from her parents in order to pay the bills and feed the children. She said her RN mom was paying for meal tickets and tutoring of the children.
Under questioning she admitted that she had spent $550 to hire a private investigator and had borrowed money from her father to pay fees and retainers to attorneys.
Will Perry’s attorney asked her about her brother’s car payment that the couple were paying. Laura answered that the couple made the decision jointly to help her brother and that Will and her brother were very good friends before the filing of the divorce. She testified that up
until two months ago, Will’s trust fund money was deposited to their joint account. She admitted that most of the trust fund money went to pay household expenses, but that a new budget did not have to include all the political contributions. She testified that her breast operation cost far
less that Will had earlier testified and that she underwent it after two children and at his earlier request. She said the money came out of her checking account.
At one time during her testimony, she testified that at no time had she EVER asked his parents for money.
Laura Perry said she did not know where the $180,000 children’s trust fund went and she did not sign her name to the loan document nor did she give permission for anyone else to do so. She testified that she believed that Will Perry was having an affair with his executive
assistant who had been to prison and was currently on parole for embezzlement and who notarized both signatures.
She said she and Will had split up in 1997 but worked out their troubles and the day before in court was the first time she had heard about the prostitutes. She started crying and said she felt horrible about their 15 years of marriage. She testified about her use of baby sitters
and said she had help two to three hours per day every other day, particularly when she was working. She said after she quit working in the medical field, she worked some at Will’s office.
Laura Perry testified that she sent their daughter to Dr. Debra Stokan after her grades started falling and after she held a steak knife to her chest and said her father would not take her to the baseball game and did not love her anymore.
Dr. Stokan had testified that she had alerted CPS because the child told her that her father hit her. Dr. Stokan said that by law she had to report it.
Laura Perry testified that the daughter had walked in on Will Perry as he was looking at porn on the computer and masturbating. She said that she had always been the buffer between her husband and the children, and he had never been around them without her. Now she said concerning
his visitation, “I’d be scared.“ She wants her children to have a lawyer and Will Perry to go into treatment for three months.
She said she had no idea that their finances were in such dire straits. Income was received on schedule. Perry made $320,000 on the Imperial property sale. In answering if she thought Perry had been truthful in his bankruptcy filing, she answered absolutely not. She said strangely
that very day before her testimony she had seen a truck full of Will’s business furniture and main computer, artwork, crates of taxidermy animals, and personal stuff not listed in the bankruptcy filing being hauled to a warehouse.
She testified that she and the children had been cut off financially. “I can’t believe I believed in him so long. He abandoned us.”
At that point, visiting Judge Bruce Wettman reminded the lawyers that he had told them when he had heard enough, and he was getting very close to that point. Both sides closed and the judge made his ruling in the next 30 minutes.
I won’t go into details except to say that the judge issued temporary orders granting them joint managing conservatorship with attorney fees equal to both sides from the community estate.
Will Perry gets overnight visits with his children as long as it is in his parents presence. The children can not be in the presence of felons nor any unrelated members of the opposite sex between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. Laura Perry was awarded $18,000 per month spousal support and
$1875 child support, however, she has to make a $14,000 per month house payment. He has to continue to pay private school tuition and tutoring.
I did some more research about filing the divorce under the couple’s initials. Last week Judge Ron Pope said neither he nor several other judges and attorneys could find a law either for or against it. Pope said he asked Judge Tommy Culver and I talked to attorney Logene Foster.
However, Associate Judge Brenda Mullinix of the 387th District Courts (Judge Robert Kern) said certainly it was illegal to file under initials only. Judge Mullinix said that family law courts must follow Texas Rules of Civil Procedure which Section 79 says right up front “The
petitioner shall state the name, ..” address and claim.
The Perry divorce is a sad case with dirty laundry being aired on both sides. Except for Will Perry filing for bankruptcy, it would have remained hidden under initials and conducted in private.