Devine Injustice

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Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine and his wife are being accused of taking financial advantage of an elderly woman who is incapacitated – stricken with dementia. Her family says the judge on the state’s highest court refuses to let them see her, or even tell them where she is living. And the judge and his wife won’t explain what they’re doing with her millions of dollars. We’re calling it a case of (John) DEVINE INJUSTICE, and the political fallout has already begun.

When Ted Cruz first won the senate twelve years ago it was the Tea Party that fueled the victory.

So many Republicans have counted on their political warriors.

And the queen of the Texas Tea Party women’s movement was a woman named Elvie Kingston, photographed here with all the top conservative politicians in the state.

Her last public post on Facebook was June of 2019. Tells you everything about her political passions.

“Keep America Great” wrote Kingston.

This is a happy looking Elvie two years later, 2021. Posing in sombreros with her niece Michele Hartman.

Just before she got sick with dementia.

“It was during those pictures that you saw with the sombreros that was pretty much the last time I saw her face to face,” said Michele Hartman.

It has been almost two years since Michele has been allowed to even be in the same room with her aunt.

“Do you know where she is today,” asked Wayne Dolcefino.

“I do not,” said Michele Hartman.

Where is Elvie Kingston? And what has happened to all her money?

Is she here? Inside a three-acre gated house in Marble Falls?

Her every move, her money, both controlled by the same couple with a history of financial problems.

“It’s infuriating. And what’s most infuriating is I feel that the court failed her,” expressed Hartman.

Checks for tens of thousands of dollars in mineral royalties arrive here every month in the mail, but her family has no idea how the money is being spent.

It is a guardianship investigation with explosive political consequences.

You know who lives here? A justice on the state’s highest court, the Texas Supreme Court.

“I’m committing to restoring the values that made this country great. Otherwise, we won’t survive,” said John Devine in a speech.

John Devine is running for reelection in the March primary, and he’s been avoiding us. He’s also been avoiding his job to hear oral arguments, missing 28 out of 50 cases this term.

Justice Devine says he’s been busy campaigning, but our questions are not about judicial campaign. They’re about the Devine family and their control over Elvie Kingston.

“So, they completely control her body and her money. They are in control of the entire estate, the trust, and my aunt,” said Hartman.

Nubia Devine was now appointed the guardian of Elvie and Justice Devine is the current trustee of Elvie’s family trust. Michele is one of the beneficiaries of that trust.

We’ve tracked a history of financial issues. There are four court judgments in Montgomery, Dallas, and Williamson Counties for nearly 70 thousand dollars in unpaid credit card bills.

Before his run for Supreme Court, Devine’s house was foreclosed on.

His latest financial disclosure shows hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans on a judge’s salary.

A lawyer appointed as guardian ad litem for Elvie protested.

“Nubia Devine is not suitable to serve as the proposed wards guardian,” read the document.

Judge Michael Newman was on the bench, he appointed Nubia anyway.

Devine’s lawyers had provided thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the judge.

Niece Michele, one of the beneficiaries of Elvie’s estate, wasn’t even served with notice of the hearing.

Wayne Dolcefino asked, “You believe the Devine’s took advantage of her?”

Michele responded, “I do. I keep saying I have a lot of whys. Why? Why did this happen to her?”

Michele had Elvie’s power of attorney in 2021 when she got sick, but she lived in Kansas. The family had tried to find a facility to handle her medical condition and her increasing behavioral problems.

“When everything happened when she was in the hospital was, she was in assisted living. I stayed in contract with everyone,” said Michele Hartman.

And text messages we’ve seen confirm that, but something strange happened in January of 2022.

What smacks of an orchestrated effort to remove Elvie from the Spring Branch Transitional Hospital without her family’s knowledge or permission.

As you can see the next day, Michele’s power of attorney was revoked with the help of Houston attorney Susan Norman.

“I think you’re being truly gaslighted. You’re being fed false information that sounds real,” said Susan Norman.

“My client Nubia Devine declines to be interviewed in any manner and has instructed me to discuss the case with you,” said Susan Norman.

Methodist psychologist, Richard Barrett, declared Elvie mentally incapacitated.

But here’s the thing, Elvie was apparently capable days earlier of reading and signing these legal documents. The condition of her signatures should raise alarm bells about her knowledge of what she was signing.

“How could she be of sound mind to be able to sign legal documents that day,” said Michele Hartman.

We think it’s a good question. Listen to this. Dr.Barrett said Elvie was mentally incapacitated, but with one exception. She was capable of saying who she does and does not want in control of her finances.

Elvie had reportedly become convinced (according to this email) that some in her family were really out to kill her.

“So, she was capacitated enough to revoke my power of attorney and she was capacitated enough to say I don’t trust my family I don’t want nothing to do with them. Not for anything else. Because now she needs a guardian,” said Michele Hartman.

But this consequential medical evaluation occurred over a Televisit, not even in person. We think in-person examinations should be required before someone loses their rights.  

“I’ve never tried to kill her. I’ve done nothing but love her. It was actually in Seguin where she was actually doing well. She wasn’t having any behavioral outbreaks,” recalls Michele Hartman.

In September of 2022, a judge declared Nubia Devine would be the permanent guardian of Elvie, even though a court investigator sent to check on her condition could never get the Devine family to give them access. Even a visit over Zoom.

Wayne Dolcefino asked, “You believe because he is a justice of the Texas Supreme Court, he is getting favorable treatment?

“That’s how it appeared because again, it was seamless. Everything was seamless,” responded Michele Hartman.

And the family complains the wife of Justice Devine has now failed to file a required annual report due on Elvie’s welfare and whereabouts.

“I had some anxiety. I couldn’t sleep I kept asking God why you my aunt is a child of God,” expressed Michele Hartman.

Ms. Devine isn’t bound by the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, but her husband is.

So how is this supreme court justice being allowed to control the Kingston’s money? Look at judicial ethics.

A judge shall not serve as executor, administrator, or trustee, unless the  person of a member of the judges family.

And only then if it won’t interfere with his duties. While fighting to gain legal control of Elvie Kingston and her money in 2022, Devine missed another 20 oral arguments.

“I don’t think he should be in charge of any of what my aunt has,” expressed Michele.

“I kept asking the court is Judge Newman going to report this to the Texas Judicial Code of Conduct and I was told no,” continued Michele.

And lawyers for Justice Devine and the trust said he wouldn’t talk to us either.

So, we made a surprise visit to Austin. Where Justice Devine was holding a campaign fundraiser sponsored by some of the state’s biggest law firms.

“I’m not going to speak to you about that case I can’t do it,” said Devine to Wayne Dolcefino.

But the justice did answer a few questions before security showed up. And we wanted to know first where is Elvie Kingston today?

“She’s staying at your house,” asked Wayne Dolcefino.

John Devine answered, “Yes, she is.”

Wayne asked, “How she’s doing?”

Devine said, “She’s doing great.”

Dolcefino asked, “Isn’t that a violation of the ethics rule?”

Devine claimed, “No because I’m family.”

Elvie had no children, and it is true she often called John Devine her son. But he isn’t a blood or real family relative.

“Well, she’s not a member of your family,” said Dolcefino.

“She’s held me out to be her son for 30 years,” said Devine.

When she dies, Elvie will award half her money to church and the other half to Michele and her brother. That is what’s left after the Devine’s handle her money now.

And we know from an email that at least two lawyers appointed by a judge to represent Elvie and her multimillion dollar estate wanted Justice Devine to resign as trustee for an independent watchdog over Elvie’s money. But he clearly hasn’t.

Dolcefino asked Michele, “You think what the judge did was unethical?”

Michele responded, “Yes.”

Michele has filed her own complaint with the Judicial Conduct Commission, way back in August of 2022. There’s a hearing scheduled in April to see if justice Devine will face sanctions.

But it’s after voters cast their ballot in the March primary. It’s why we tell this story before you vote.

“And it looks so terribly wrong,” said Brian Walker.

Devine’s opponent in the Republican Primary is Fort Worth appeals court judge Brian Walker. Michele reached out to him with her story.

And he’s now reacting to our investigation and Devine’s refusal to give up control of Elvie’s huge financial trust.

“It is just vile in my opinion. It just reeks of just so many wrongs,” expressed Brian Walker.

This has become the latest in a series of ethical lapses in Justice Devine’s career. He was rebuked by the judicial conduct commission when he used his court chambers as a district judge for a political event.

And just a few days ago the Texas Tribune questioned why Devine didn’t recuse himself from a sex abuse case involving a law firm he worked with for years.

“He’s had a history of violating judicial ethics rules violates the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct Commission been sanctioned for ethics violations and now we have him doing it once more,” said Brian Walker.

Wayne Asked Devine, “Why can’t her family see her?”

Devine responded, “Because she doesn’t want to see them. They tried to kill her.

His hand violently shaking, Devine then showed us a picture of Elvis when she was in the nursing home as proof her family was doing it to try and kill her.

“Wayne, that’s something that millions of people unfortunately have to do every day. And if John Devine is saying that trying to kill somebody then there’s a lot of people in this country, that are good people, that apparent have blood on their hands,” said Brian Walker.

When Dolcefino asked Michele, “You would like to see a full accounting of what happened to the money.”

“Absolutely,” said Michele.

“You know, the finances are on thing but the fact that a poor family doesn’t know where their aunt is. The fact they’ve been asking for two years and a supreme court judge and his wife refuses. Refuses to tell the family anything. It’s disgusting and it’s absolutely unacceptable,” said Brian Walker.

Lawyers for Justice Devine say telling us anything about the trust would be against the law. That’s fine, but the supreme court justice has refused to let the family see the numbers unless they spend more money on lawyers to try and fight him.

But we know some of what’s happened to some of Elvie’s money from court records.

In Nubia Devine’s application back in March 2022, to be temporary guardian, it appears the estate assets were valued 2 million dollars. The trust at 1.4 million dollars.

By November of 2023 this report says the total value of the estate has dropped significantly, now just 378,830 dollars.

“What are you doing with her finances? And what are you doing with the money in the trust? That’s the perfect situation for somebody who’s trying to do no good,” said Brian Walker.

We know a lot of Elvie’s guns, furniture, and jewelry were sold for at least $90,000. Court records show 14 pieces of Elvie’s jewelry and six fur coats were awarded to Nubia Devine.

“I don’t need her money,” said Michele Hartman.

But for now, Michele has moved back to Texas and has a simple request for Justice Devine and his wife. Let her visit with her aunt. Even though she knows her once happy relationship may be ruined forever.

“Oh my gosh I’d want to tell her how much we love her and miss her. And if she what was happening, if she knew today, if she was aware of it she would ask why she was in the position she’s in,” said Michele Hartman.

“So, the question I have is this, where is Mrs. Kingston? What is her welfare? What is her well-being? And what are the Devine’s doing with her millions,” said Brian Walker.

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