The assistant managing editor at the Fort Bend Herald newspaper, in Rosenberg, TX, John Merculief, has published an editorial that purports to be concerned about honoring the memory of Thomas Araguz III, who he describes as the person at the center of the lawsuit against Nikki Araguz. However, John Merculief appears to be just another foot soldier in the Texas yellow journalism brigade, a latrine brigade that doesn't seem to know when to stop shoveling shinola at the sensibilities of its primarily Texan readers. Merculief's editorial, which is replete with the same heaping dish of diatribe the Texas media has employed in myriad ways since a couple weeks after Thomas Araguz's death, dishonors Thomas and disrespects the memory of the work he did. Merculief's editorial also represents yet another continuation of the media's verbal assault against Nikki Araguz, the woman Thomas Araguz loved, chose to love, chose to live with, and married.
Without Heather Delgado and Simonia Longoria's lawsuit, Thomas Araguz's two boys would have the same $300,000 that was coming to them anyway, without the need for a court of law to issue an order allowing distribution of it to them, and without having to take attorney's fees out of it beforehand. By Texas statute, Thomas's two boys will also be able to attend the Texas public university of their choice tuition free, something never at issue in the lawsuit Heather Delgado and Simonia Longoria have instigated. It is entirely specious, if not downright fallacious, for John Merculief to state in his editorial that:
(Heather Delgado and Simonia Longoria have) filed suit to have his marriage voided and ensure his children get his death benefits.when in fact, his children were ensured of receiving his death benefits anyway, which their lawsuit only delayed and diluted with attorney's fees, while it also creates an unwarranted cloud of vitriol over the life of the woman Thomas Araguz loved and married, Nikki Araguz.
The editorial John Merculief has published also begins with mention of Chad Ellis, one of three attorneys whose legal representation of Simonia Longoria, is little more than a greedy $300,000 money grab for themselves, unless it is also bigoted vindictiveness toward Nikki Araguz with whom Heather Delgado and Simonia Longoria had previously been familial. Surely, the three less than honorable attorneys, Edward Burwell, Frank E. Mann III, and Chad Ellis, knew full well when they convinced Heather Delgado and Simonia Longoria to file their probate lawsuit against Nikki Araguz, that nothing would be gained financially by those two women, or the boys who cannot represent themselves as the actual parties to the lawsuit because they are minors, except the lining of three attorneys' pockets with half the proceeds. No matter what the outcome, all that Chad Ellis, Edward Burwell, and Frank Mann, will have accomplished is the pointless judicial institutionalization of their dishonor and lack of respect for Thomas Araguz, for Nikki Araguz the woman he lived, and for their two boys Trevor and Tyler. It seems noteworthy that both Edward Burwell and Frank Mann have been sanctioned previously by the Texas State Bar Association for breach of ethics rules. Frank Mann's license to practice law has even been suspended on two occasions, for years at a time, and he is currently under investigation again for his unethical and potentially illegal activities.
Meanwhile, John Merculief's editorial references Chad Ellis's use of the nickname "Tommy" which also disrespects Thomas Araguz, because that was a nickname he disliked and told people to never use. The people who knew, loved, honored, and respected, Thomas Araguz, know that he preferred to be called Thomas. Although Merculief's editorial goes on to quote Chad Ellis who claims that:
"We chose to do this, after visiting with the family, because Tommy's not here to lend a voice to the story," (Chad Ellis) said. "The family has come forward to tell the things they know should be said."The facts are that Thomas Araguz spoke loudly through his actions during his life, and before his death, about his intentions and about what he honored. Thomas Araguz loved, married, and honored Nikki Araguz, even if by some chance the Texas state judiciary ends up refusing to recognize and honor his wish and intentions at some future juncture. Thomas Araguz also divorced Heather Delgado, communicating to the world his rejection and repudiation of her. The undisputed fact is that Thomas Araguz also named Nikki Araguz the beneficiary of his life insurance / pension plan policy proceeds. Yet Merculief's editorial fails to mention that judge Randy Clapp, who presides over the probate case at the Wharton County District Court, has released that $60,000.00 benefit to Nikki Araguz, in recognition of Thomas Araguz's wishes. These are all indications that Thomas Araguz would be horrified by the ways in which he and his wife Nikki are being dishonored by Heather Delgado, and by his very own mother Simona Longoria, who together with Heather Delgado and Thomas's sister Raquel Araguz have publicly expressed their vindictive vitriol toward Nikki Araguz, all of which disrespects and dishonors the choices Thomas Araguz made during his lifetime. One person who has remained publicly absent and silent since Thomas Araguz's death is his brother Phillip Araguz, a gay man whose silence may indicate his disapproval of his mother's actions. The voices that Simona Longoria and Heather Delgado have lent to the story that is Thomas Araguz's epitaph, have been characterized primarily by dishonorable and defamatory epithets hurled by them at Nikki Araguz.
|Thomas and Nikki Araguz|
Heather Delgado and Simonia Longoria could honor the memory of Thomas Araguz most, by dismissing their foolhardy and pointlessly greedy lawsuit against Nikki Araguz. To do so would honor the love Thomas Araguz shared with, and gave to, Nikki Araguz. Dismissing the lawsuit would honor and respect Thomas's two sons, his sons' privacy, his sons' dignity, and their ability to honorably remember the father who clearly loved them deeply as well. If the three attorneys who represent Heather Delgado and Simona Longoria were truly interested in honoring and respecting Thomas Araguz, surely they would change their minds and persuade their clients to rethink what they have done, and the harm their shameful lawsuit has heaped on the memory and honor of Thomas Araguz, on Nikki Araguz, on Trevor Araguz, and on Tyler Araguz. That would be a fitting gesture for a Labor Day weekend that ought to honor the way Thomas Araguz labored hard, without monetary remuneration, with such devotion to his community of Wharton, TX that he gave his life doing so.