Trying to report the comprehensive story of Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused of perpetrating an $8 billion fraud, is like trying to reassemble 100 documents after they've been through the shredder.
Stanford's business and sports interests and the subsequent investigations into them stretch across the ocean, through numerous government agencies and courts and into the lives of people in places big and small.
As usual, there was too much to fit into any one story.
Last week I flew from New York to Houston and drove about three hours north to Mexia, Texas the small town where Stanford grew up. I wrote about Mexia here, and about Stanford's complicated personal ties -- apparently he charmed women as well as investors and has left an angry trail of both, including an estranged wife, several girlfriends and six children with four women.
Here are some thoughts and notes from Mexia. First tip: if you pronounce the town's name correctly (Muh-HAY-uh) you win points with the townspeople.
Stanford and Goswick
Stanford's board included Chairman Emeritus James Stanford, Allen Stanford's father, who is 81 years old, and gets around with a walker. His office is a little white rancher on the side of the main road heading into town from the interstate. There's a tiny hole in one of the windows that James's wife and Allen's stepmother Billie said came from a BB or pellet gun. No, it's due to disgruntled investors, she said. It was more likely poor neighborhood kids playing with guns again.