Castle Roland

Chapter 49

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On the defendant's side, the five of them just sat and smiled as Frank Hale and his gang went ballistic over what was just revealed. The bailiffs physically sat the four lawyers down in their chairs, as the judge kept slamming his gavel down, over and over.

Eventually, order was restored and the judge asked to see the certification by the FBI and that the DVD was authentic. After taking a few minutes to review it, the Judge stated that the DVD was indeed authentic and that he would accept it as a trial exhibit. The Plaintiffs immediately began to protest, but the judge gaveled the court in recess for lunch and he quickly descended off the bench and walked out of the courtroom.

Frank Hale quickly tried to get at the Defendant's table but the Bailiffs, still being right there, kept him back. He then yelled out some expletives directed at Andrew Marshall and Ken Thomas, but this time, the Bailiffs forcibly removed him from the room. It took the rest of them about ten minutes to exit as their exit was being controlled by the court deputies.

After lunch, the judge began the afternoon session with a strict warning to the plaintiffs that he would not accept any outrageous behavior such as he saw that morning. He threatened them with fines and imprisonment if they so much as hiccupped out of turn.

Then the judge turned to the Defendants' Table and William Jackson, and asked him to present his witnesses. His first witness was Ken Thomas, and even though he was asked numerous questions, the most significant item that he revealed was that he had agreed to act as the CEO of Wilkinson Enterprises, at the behest of Collin Wilkinson, for the sum of one dollar. The document was introduced as an exhibit and then it was the plaintiffs turn to cross-examine.

Nickolas Jerwerski wasted no time in trying to get Ken Thomas to admit that he had overtly influenced Collin Wilkinson into giving him control over his vast inheritance. When he couldn't shake him there, he tried to get Mr. Thomas to admit the DVD was a forgery. After again being rebuffed, at that point, Jerwerski tried to show that Ken was an opportunist and was out only for his own gratification and was indeed a pedophile and only wanted to keep Collin there for his own sexual desires.

When Ken heard that last slanderous statement, he jumped the witness stand railing and went after the man. The bailiffs had to restrain him and force him back to the stand where the judge gave him a stern warning not to do that again or he'd find himself spending a few nights in jail. Then he scolded Jerwerski inside and out for what he attempted to do and then told him to never attempt that again without showing proof. He also warned the entire plaintiffs table that if there was any release to the press or otherwise of such nonsense, without proof, he would charge them all with Contempt of Court. He then dismissed Ken from the stand and had Bill call his next witness.

"Will Collin Wilkinson please take the stand," was heard in the courtroom and Collin got up and headed to the witness stand. After taking the oath to tell the truth, Collin sat down and Bill began to ask him questions.

"Collin, do you know why we are here today?" asked Bill Jackson.

"Yes, sir, Mr. Hale over there wants to appoint his own man to run my companies."

"Do you have any idea as to why he would want to do that?" asked Bill.

Collin replied, "He, Mr. Hale, said something about Mr. Clarke would take care of him or something when he got him out of jail."

"That's a lie!" yelled out Frank.

"Bailiff, if that man says another word without being asked, he is to be removed from this courtroom," gaveled the judge who then told Bill to continue.

"Do you have anything else to add to that, Collin?"

"Yes, all you need to do is replay the audio tape and hear how Mr. Hale feels and what he wants to do,' responded Collin.

Just then Jerwerski stood up and yelled, "Objection, your Honor that tape was never verified as being authentic."

"Overruled!" was all that the judge said. Then he said, "Continue!"

"Collin do you know the contents of your parents' Last Wills and Testaments?"

"Yes, sir, I do. You were there when Mr. Marshall read it to me last Thursday, the day we all met."

"And who was there? Do you remember?"

"Well, you and I, of course, and then there was Mr. Hale sitting over there, Mr. Ken my guardian and Mr. Stewart my lawyer and Mr. Marshall my dad's personal lawyer and best friend. There were three other lawyers, whose names I cannot remember at this time. That was the first time I ever met them."

"Did Mr. Hale there (pointing at the man) hear the Last Will of both your father and mother?"

"Yes, sir, he did. Everyone there heard both Wills read to me," responded Collin.

"So, Mr. Hale knew that you had the option to appoint your own receiver, err, you own person, to run the businesses until you were old enough to do it yourself."

"Yes, he was there and he heard Mr. Marshall say what I could do and what the States interpretation could be. He said that I could appoint whomever I wanted, and I chose Mr. Ken Thomas, my guardian, to be the acting CEO. When I said that I wanted Mr. Ken they all started yelling at me and said I couldn't and some said some other things I wouldn't want to repeat."

"Collin, in your own words, please tell the court why you want Mr. Thomas to be the CEO of Wilkinson Enterprises. Take your time, Collin. There is no rush."

After sitting for a few moments, Collin began to speak. "Your Honor, Mr. Ken was the man who saved my life for the first time the night of the storm ... (and Collin went on to explain everything up through Ken Thomas being appointed his guardian) ... and he has his own business interests which aren't even close to what my dad had built. I know he will be a good leader."

Bill Jackson sat down and now it was time for Nicholas Jerwerski to cross-examine Collin.

"Collin, did Mr. Thomas ever take a shower with you..." was all he got out when the judge told the man to sit down and not say another word.

"Mr. Jerwerski, I will not tolerate that line of questioning," said the judge. "You are continuing to go in a direction, I told you not to go, and I hereby fine you one thousand dollars. Do you understand, Mr. Jerwerski? (Jerwerski nodded) Now, if you wish, you can continue or allow one of your other lawyers to cross-examine, but I warn you and them ... if you go anywhere near what I told you not to, I will throw you all in jail. Now continue or have someone else stand up."

"Thank you, your Honor, I will tread lightly."

"See that you do!"

"Collin, did Mr. Thomas ever talk to you about your dad's businesses?"

"No sir."

And from there the questioning went on for almost an hour while Jerwerski tried to trip up Collin into contradicting himself, but he never could. Collin had lived the last three and one half months with his Big Bro and, he knew what he knew, and there wasn't any way anyone could get him to say anything different.

The last questions Jerwerski asked were all combined and asked one after the other in order to confuse the lad. He wanted to show the court the boy wasn't cognizant of what was happening around him and that he shouldn't be allowed to make such an important decision that affected thousands of workers who live around the world.

"Collin, why is it that that you do not to want your dad's own lawyers, people he personally chose, to help him make such decisions, to choose someone to run the 'store' to speak while you finish high school and then college? Shouldn't you rely on their learned counsel just as your dad did? Don't you think they have vested interests in seeing Wilkinson Enterprises continue to succeed? Didn't you learn anything from watching your dad day after day amassing and then running such a large corporation? Can you really tell us? Do you have a good excuse? For the life of me I can't understand why you reject the people who your dad sought out continually for their advice."

Collin sat there thinking about all that was asked and had begun to ask that the questions be reread when he realized that was what it was all about. They wanted him to show that he was not able to answer such complex questions and then they would win. He figured they asked questions without rhyme or reason so he would answer them in the same way and so he began.

"You asked me why I reject the people my dad sought out, so I will tell you. You ... are the reason. You deliberately, just now, asked me misleading and run on and unrelated follow-on questions without giving me the time to answer. It is you, and your kind, who represents their own agendas and speaks forcefully trying to outdo everyone else, in order to get their way. I know that because that was one of the many things that my dad DID teach me. He told me not to listen to the blowhards, but to the ones who had thought out the situation and presented a calm but reasonable course of action.

"It is Mr. Hale who wants to choose my dad's successor and it is he who only wants Mr. Clarke to return. He wants the man who is responsible for everything, that happened to my family, to be back in charge. Sure, he says he wants some guy named Sullivan, but I have no idea who that man is. How can that be learned counsel when only one man forces his own agenda? You tell me! And how is bringing me to court some more of YOUR learned counsel?

"Why didn't they ask for another meeting or conference to provide me with the type of advice they would have given my dad? I'll tell you why, it was because Mr. Hale there convinced them he would take care of them, no doubt. The lawyers I met with that day didn't have anything to say, but to support Frank Hale and his candidate. I see nothing special in their actions. They were all focused on one agenda and when I announced Mr. Ken Thomas was going to run the businesses, they all freaked out. They thought they would come in there that day and control me, and thus Wilkinson, but I was one step ahead of them.

"I felt that I needed someone ... someone I could trust and I could go to and get a fair and honest answer. I know I'll get that in my Big Bro. The whole time I've lived with him he has done nothing but shown me outward concern for my well-being. He would come to me and explain things to me before they were about to happen. He'd talk with me and hear me out and never once did he say what I had to say was nonsense or it wasn't well thought out. He always encouraged me to make my own decisions and then learn from them, whether they were right or wrong.

"Two weekends ago, my Big Bro, Mr. Ken, took me out to Los Angles on a mini-vacation to relax some, before I was to start school. While we were out there, he told me about his plans to acquire amusement parks, as being his main business focus for now. We used our time out there visiting a number of parks and he explained to me what he was looking for, and why those particular parks. None of what he did out in California was ever associated with any of my dad's businesses. As for the idea of me appointing him to be my CEO, I didn't even know that was a possibility, then.

"At night, when we talked about what we did that day, he would tell me how he intended to add to the amusement parks he already has. You see, when I learned that I could appoint my own person to run the Wilkinson properties, I knew that by naming him I would have someone who would not only look after my inheritance, but would also be teaching me about it. He is forever giving me new things to experience and learn. For once, since I was thirteen, I now have close friends. For once, since I was thirteen, I can have them over, to my new home, to visit. For once, since I turned thirteen, I can have friend stay over and I can even have a cook-out for them.

"Your Honor, for the first time in almost three years, I NOW have a life! The person who gave that to me was Mr. Ken Thomas, sitting over there. None of those lawyers over there ever cared about me. They never came to talk to me. They never cared if I had friends. They never taught me about important things happening with my dad's corporations. They never gave me counsel, so why should I trust them now? They say I have a grandmother out there, and that they are continually looking for her, but they never updated me on their findings. The Will's both state she will be my guardian and I suppose, if they do find her, I will have to go and live with her. But, in the meantime, I want to continue to enjoy being a teenager who has friends and a life.

"I want Mr. Ken Thomas to run the businesses, until I am ready. He has told me he will coordinate with the corporation lawyers on any and all acquisitions he plans for his future endeavors so they do not conflict with this new position. My wishes should take precedence over those who have a personal agenda, such as, Frank Hale and his lawyers. Since he didn't get his way last week, we are here wasting the court's time, this week.

"If, after a period of time, say six months, and things do not work out, then I guess we can revisit this and I will ask the lawyers for their input. In the meantime, as for my newly acquired Wilkinson Enterprises, I want the directives Mr. Ken announced last week to be implemented immediately. As for me, and where I live, I want to remain with Mr. Ken Thomas until such time as my grandmother is found or I go off to college. Those are my wishes, your Honor."

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