To: Honorable Judge Randy M. Clapp
329th Judicial District Court
100 S. Fulton, Suite 200
Wharton, TX 77488
Via email: Cassie Ritter, Court Administrator
Re: Nikki Araguz
I am Nikki Araguz’s mother. It is with great distress that we learned FROM A TRUSTED REPORTER IN THE MEDIA about your judgment in the lawsuits against our daughter, Nikki Araguz – on Monday night, BEFORE you officially announced your decision. The Plaintiff’s attorney, FRANK MANN, continued his historical mal-practice of malicious, devious, and vindictive actions by releasing press releases in advance of court proceedings – his obvious motivation was to emotionally hurt Nikki and our family. Again.
Was he permitted to release this information prior to court proceedings on Tuesday? If not, will you, as Judge, find him in Contempt of Court, and sanction him for this abhorrent behavior? Are you aware that Mr. Mann had – while our beloved son-in-law was alive – maliciously released personal and HIPPA information about Nikki and Thomas to the general public that was politically and personally motivated? That Mr. Mann, while hired by Heather Delgado, had conflict of interest, as he had been an attorney for Nikki and Emilio Mata in a bankruptcy proceeding case, therefore had client/attorney knowledge which he used in distributing this harassing and hurtful email last year – intending to cause emotional, financial, psychological, professional and relationship harm to THOMAS and NIKKI. Heather Delgado obtained private, personal documents while seeking more MONEY – Thomas had NO income, as he had just finished 2 years of college, while Nikki paid child support for his two children, and her income supported Thomas and herself.
You never met my husband and I, although we wished we could have been with our daughter every time there was a court hearing. I am a stroke survivor, paralyzed in a wheelchair, diabetic, have seizures, and a colostomy. My husband has had 3 heart attacks, quintuple-bypass surgery last year, mini-strokes since Thomas died, and has COPD on oxygen. We are unable to travel, and I receive home nursing care. THOMAS WAS AN IMPORTANT MEMBER OF OUR FAMILY, WHO LOVED US AS PARENTS, was always here to help us, and we have suffered immeasurable grief and loss. THOMAS took my husband – his father-in-law – to the hospital on Feb. 1, 2010, the morning of bypass surgery. THOMAS and Nikki were with me in the ER of Methodist Hospital on June 3, 2010, when I had a seizure, and was taken unconscious to the Stroke Center with another traumatic brain injury. THOMAS stayed with me on June 21, 2010 – the day AFTER Father’s Day – with his two boys, our grandsons – while Nikki took her Dad to the doctor. (Yes, I have pictures of that day, of Thomas and the boys on my sofa.)
I do not understand WHY you could render a judgment that would dishonor our son-in-law’s love and commitment for Nikki when he proposed to her, and married her, lived as husband and wife with her until his tragic death. I cannot comprehend how you could conclude that their marriage was “invalid” when CLEARLY Thomas Araguz III knowingly, willingly, and without any reservations or conditions, married Nikki and held out with pride to EVERYONE that she was his wife. His parents had NO questions or issues with Nikki until 1. Frank Mann unethically violated their privacy with his venomous emails, 2. Heather in her attempt to squeeze more child support from Thomas (who had NO earned income) viciously shared Nikki’s HIPPA-protected and private information with Thomas’ family and 3. after Thomas’ death, when I SUSPECT attorneys (Frank Mann?) suggested to Heather Delgado and Simona Longoria that they could BENEFIT from HURTING NIKKI and DISHONORING THOMAS with these “frivolous” lawsuits. Apparently, their “idea” worked – they didn’t care about the children, or Thomas! They only wanted MONEY. And you ruled in their favor. I do not understand that.
Our daughter was born with a birth defect. I am her mother. I cannot control what a doctor erroneously “checked” on a birth certificate form in 1975. Her biological father was in the military, and he received orders to go overseas on the day she was born. We moved from California to Texas so I could be near my parents – Nikki was only a few weeks old. Her brother was 2. Her father was a decorated Army Veteran, when he was killed in a car accident at age 21. That very day, I had called Fort Hood to discuss a birth defect that my baby had – Nikki. She was an infant.
It is beyond my comprehension why you, Sir, would find her marriage to Thomas “invalid” when Nikki had been married to Emilio Mata for ten years, and divorced him in Wharton, Texas – whose court granted that divorce? I ask, Your Honor, because obviously that means Nikki and Emilio’s marriage was legally recognized as “Valid” – in order for there to be a divorce to be granted.
Again, I find it interesting that the plaintiff attorney, FRANK MANN, had represented Nikki and Emilio Mata in their bankruptcy while THEY WERE MARRIED! Mr. Mann took their money for legal fees, never questioned whether Mr. and Mrs. Mata’s MARRIAGE was “valid” – so yet, he represents plaintiff in this lawsuit against our daughter, when she married Thomas, and he died? Besides Mr. Mann’s conflict of interest, and questionable motives, it seems a double-standard on his part to recognize Nikki’s marriage to Emilio Mata, but try to invalidate her marriage to Thomas Araguz. Money… Nikki did not file ANY actions – the plaintiffs brought this devastation on her, and ALL OF US with hurtful allegations and these lawsuits.
So please don’t tell me, Sir, who my child is – or that her marriage to Thomas Araguz III should be found “invalid”. She is and always has been affectionate, beautiful, ambitious, thoughtful, compassionate, proactive, and loving.
Besides the actual marriage ceremony, which should be recognized considering Nikki had already been married and divorced in Texas without legal entities questioning validity, Nikki and Thomas lived together, had joint bank accounts and jointly was known as husband and wife for almost two years, which in any other situation would be “common law” marriage – requiring a divorce if there were a conflict between two individuals in such a relationship.
I wish I could have been in your courtroom, Sir, to express my thoughts. I trust Nikki’s legal counsel will appeal your decision, as our entire family feel Nikki has been treated with disrespect, dehumanized, discriminated against, and used as a punching bag for others’ self-serving motivations.
Sheri Taylor Bockelman