EL PASO, Texas - Karen Castro, the longtime Dick Poe employee who served as comptroller at his dealerships, delivered emotional testimony Monday as the battle over the estate of the late car dealer entered its second week.
Dick Poe's eldest son, 47-year-old Richard Poe II, is suing to regain control of three dealerships. Dick Poe regained control of the dealerships following a stock issuance just 10 days nefore his death in 2015.
Poe II is suing his father's former employee, an attorney and an accountant as he seeks to regain control of the estate. Witness for the defense testified last week the late Poe feared his son would not be able to run the estate because he was on drugs.
Castro, who said she was very close to Dick Poe she was named a trustee of his estate, was asked about a conversation she had with Dick Poe the night before he died May 15, 2015.
Castro choked back tears on the stand as she recalled asking the 81-year-old Poe if he knew how much she loved him. She said her former boss told her he loved her too.
"Why do you think (Dick Poe) designated you to be a trustee of his estate," a defense attorney asked.
"I believe because Mr. Poe trusted me. He knew what my ethics were. I believe he believed if he left me a job, I would fulfill it to the best of my abilities," Castro answered.
Castro testified Poe II was not at his father's death bed because he was in San Antonio for a dental procedure. The defense claims Poe II suffered from a condition known as "meth mouth" due to meth use.
The attorney representing Poe II, Rob Millimet, quickly asked Castro if she had ever sold a car or was qualified to run a dealership, to which she responded "no."
Millimet later called on the expert witness for the plaintiff, David Bones of Phoenix, who testified about the fair market valuation of the dealerships.
While in the hospital two years ago, Dick Poe signed a $3.2 million dollar check, delivered to him by Castro, in order to secure 1,100 shares, or 52 percent of his estate back from Richard Poe II.
Bones said that was based on book value of Poe Management Inc. but not fair market value. Bones concluded Dick Poe paid just over half of what he should have paid to regain majority interest in PMI.
"Is it your opinion that $5.6 million is what Dick Poe should have paid," Millimet asked Bones.
"Yes," Bones replied.
Bones is expected to be the final witness for the plaintiff before the defense is asked to present its case. The civil case resumes Tuesday morning.