Wow...Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Latest news on Larry Michael Nixon, who had the boat crash in Galveston Bay last August. His body was never found. Amazing,,,,,,
Jan. 16, 2004, 10:38PM
King of the Lake's crown is tarnished
Friends deal with playboy's otherside
By RON NISSIMOV
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
Some of Larry Michael Nixon's friends are disappointed that he didn't die.
They wanted to remember him as the "King of the Lake," a lovable, middle-age playboy who brought joy to the local boating community with his all-night yacht parties and entourages of bikini-clad women.
Instead, they are grappling with the possibility that they befriended a con artist who faked his own death in a bizarre boating accident to run off with millions of dollars.
Known as "Mike" to his friends and family, Nixon, 54, was arrested Jan. 9 after he was caught hiding in a rural guest house in Parker County, near Fort Worth. He had been missing since Aug. 27, when his 40-foot speedboat "Living Extra Fast" collided with a barge near Redfish Island in the Houston Ship Channel.
Despite an intense two-day search led by the U.S. Coast Guard, Nixon's body was never found. But what did surface were doubts about his apparent death.
Months before Nixon was found, lawsuits accused him of staging the death after fraudulently obtaining about $7 million in loans for a phony crane-repair business. A few weeks before the accident, Nixon's largest creditor, MinnWest Bank Central of Montevideo, Minn., had demanded payment after he defaulted on a $4 million loan.
Nixon was arrested on a criminal fraud warrant from Parkersburg, W.Va., which accuses him of the same scam there in 1997 to a tune of $480,000. Nixon also is being investigated by the FBI, and it is unclear if he first will be tried in Texas or West Virginia. His Dallas lawyer, E.E. Taylor, did not return Chronicle calls.
"The man I knew died in the bay that night," said Daryl Turner, one of Nixon's friends who helped to search for his body. "The man in jail -- I don't know that man."
Turner and several other of Nixon's friends said they knew nothing about his questionable finances.
Lance Stephens, owner of Lance's Turtle Club, a waterfront bar in Seabrook that Nixon used to frequent, said that soon after the accident, many of Nixon's friends "were disappointed because they felt he staged his death."
"I never believed it was an accident because he was on the boat by himself when it happened," Stephens said. "Mike couldn't be alone. He always had to have people around him."
Nixon often would dock his 50-foot yacht at Lance's and the nearby Seabrook Beach Club, where he would throw boisterous parties.
"He was the party, he was the party on the lake, that was it," said Jennifer Woods, 30, a bartender at Lance's. "It was all-night parties on the boat, with little skinny girls. ... There was dancing and partying and lots of drinking. There was all kinds of stuff going on."
She said Nixon would spend "hundreds and hundreds of dollars a night" at the bar buying drinks for himself and his friends.
"He was a good person, but a lot of people didn't like his lifestyle," added Turner. "People either loved it or hated it. There was no in-between."
Turner said he was a former president of the Clear Lake chapter of the Texas Offshore Performance Powerboat Squadron, an organization to which Nixon once belonged.
Turner said even though Nixon was the largest donor to TOPPS charity events, he quit in 2001 because many members resented his wild parties.
Despite the heavy partying, Nixon typically stayed in control, according to friends.
"A lot of times everybody in his group was pretty toasted and Mike wasn't, because Mike would pace himself," said Alan Franks, general manager of the Seabrook Beach Club. "He was even famous a lot of times for buying everybody a round of drinks, but he would tell the bartender, `Fix me a Coke' because he didn't want to get too drunk."
Stephens said he suspects that Nixon's flamboyant lifestyle was a way of masking his loneliness from his divorce and the accidental death of his 13-year-old son about 15 years ago.
"I just know that either on the anniversary of the boy's death or his birthday, Mike would always get depressed," Stephens said. "Mike was always very much in control of his faculties, but on that day he would drink so much that he would fall asleep by midday. He used the combination of drinking and sleeping to make the day go away."
Stephens said Nixon surprised many with his recent engagement to Tina Stafford, a 20-something dental hygienist.
"He stopped me one day in the parking lot and told me he finally decided he was going to settle down and stop chasing other girls," Stephens recalled. "He said, `Man, it's so expensive.' "
Stafford could not be reached for comment.
Her twin sister, Gina Stafford, said, "She thought he was dead for the last months.
"She's devastated," Stafford said about her sister. "She's going through a hard time; she's hurt and that's all I can tell you.
"We all love Mikey; he got caught up in something he couldn't get out of," she added. "Our family has been going through a whole bunch. The FBI showed up at my mother's home in Florida."
Franks said Nixon told him that he felt comfortable marrying Stafford because "she agreed to understand that he had a lot of friends and that he was around a lot of other women."
Nixon's ex-wife, Elizabeth Reader, and her husband, Bradley Reader, who worked for Nixon's company, L&D Interest Inc., did not return calls for comment.
According to an involuntary bankruptcy filed against Nixon by his creditors in September in Houston federal court, Elizabeth Reader had been using funds from L&D Interests to "pay bills" after the boating accident in late August.
Donald Gould, a Houston attorney representing MinnWest, said that as a condition of the $4 million loan, Nixon was required to take out life insurance to pay it off in case he died. He said it was "out of the ordinary" that Nixon also took out additional life insurance that would have gone to his ex-wife.
Gould said Nixon worked for the crane division of a large engineering firm before starting his own company. He told creditors that he needed loans to buy used cranes, refurbish them and then resell them.
Nixon apparently never bought any of the cranes, which were supposed to be used as collateral. Gould said Nixon tricked creditors by getting brokers to sign statements that they were overseeing the transactions, and the money would then be wired to the brokers, who would give it to Nixon after taking a commission.
Gould said Nixon told the brokers he needed them because he had a buyer and seller who did not like each other.
Nixon was indicted for felony fraud in September in Parkersburg, W.Va., accused of scamming creditors out of $480,000 in a similar scheme, said Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Jinny Conley.
She said she will seek to have Nixon extradited to West Virginia.
Lowell Moss, spokesman for the Parker County Sheriff's Office, said Nixon is in custody in the north Texas county on a first-degree felony charge. Deputies said they found what they believe are steroids in Nixon's guesthouse Friday, leading them to charge him with the possession of steroids.
Chronicle reporter Rosanna Ruiz contributed to this story.
Wow...Live by the sword, die by the sword.
It's amazing what a fool will do for some strange *****. Middle aged playboy.... more like Middle aged con-man. Dummy.
If you didn't know "Mikey" then you would truly think him all a bad man. I just spent 9 months in jail and am on 2 years parole for messing with that man. I live here, on the lake.....(Clear Lake). I fell into his trap, but many think it was only about the money. Sorry to hurt yall's pride. The man was owned, and in a way he couldn't get out from under. I'm not here to justify what he did,(out of all the people I should HATE him ) but he did what he had to do in order to protect what he had left. Those of you who had your hands in his pocket and took freely, and to FH, you know who you are..... I'm out and I will find you and I want whats owed.
Holy Chit WetDream!! You better hope that your parole officer doesn't frequent OSO!! With an attitude (and lack of better judgement) like that, you should probably keep your soap-on-a-rope handy!!Originally Posted by WetDream2002
Nothing like being descrete!
This guy's pissed!
And this week on the Sopranos......
Hmmm, very interesting.
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