EL PASO, Texas - Opening statements began Tuesday in the legal battle over the estate of the late El Paso car dealer Dick Poe.
Richard Poe II, Dick Poe's eldest son, is seeking to regain control of three of his father's dealerships after a deathbed stock transaction by his father stripped him of control two years ago.
Opening statements for the defense revealed the alleged reasoning behind Dick Poe's decision to take back ownership of the dealerships.
Richard Munzinger, attorney for three former Dick Poe employees who helped with the stock transaction, told the jury Dick Poe told people he believed his son was on methamphetamines.
"Several people will testify Dick Poe made that statement to them," Munzinger told the jury.
The attorney went on to state Richard Poe II had been accused of having a condition known as "meth mouth" after having a dozen or more teeth replaced.
Munzinger added Dick Poe was concerned his son would mismanage his entire estate "if he didn't take those shares of the dealerships away from him."
Dick Poe, Munzinger said, was also concerned about Richard Poe II allegedly losing more than $20 million in bad investments.
Poe allegedly ordered his attorney, Paul Sergent, to take back control from his son, regardless of how he did it.
Richard Poe took the stand to testify. His attorney showed jurors a video produced in 2007 in which Dick Poe talked about his family's business, started by his father in 1928.
At the end of the video, Dick Poe says his son "has done a wonderful job and I'm very, very proud of him."
Richard Poe was then asked how it felt when his father made that stock issuance from his hospital bed just 10 days before his death in 2015.
"It was kept a secret from me. I was devastated. I was completely devastated," Poe II said, "I didn't find out until after my dad died. My dad never spoke to me about this."
Testimony resumes Thursday morning.