Really? How about that?
To review, Ron Angle's father, Fred, passed away in May. Ron presented one Will for probate. His sister-in-law, Joanie Place, presented another, earlier, Will. Register of Wills Dorothy Cole had to decide which one is valid.
Dorothy's decision, which went against Ron, was splattered all over a local hate blog before it was ever publicly released. The privacy afforded to John Karoly, an Allentown lawyer who actually did forge his brother's Will, was denied to Angle. Karoly's caveat proceedings remained confidential until the matter went to Court. To this day, I have no idea how the Register of Wills ruled on the matter, if at all. But in Ron's case, a decision made Monday was being shopped to the media as early as Wednesday night.
So who's responsible for this leak?
Certainly not the Register of Wills. She may have decided against Ron, but I suspect that had a lot to do with the advice she got. Dorothy herself is one of the County's finest Department heads and did everything in her power to keep this matter quiet. Those were her wishes, and they were based on her concerns for the family's privacy, as she told me herself last week. I'll add that Dorothy's very professional staff is both apolitical and very loyal to her.
So how about Angle's lawyer? Why would he release information that places his client in a poor light?
The other side? Angle's sister-in-law is in Florida, and the lawyer representing her is from Honesdale. It's unlikely he knows a thing about the local blogosphere, even if he were inclined to leak this decision.
That leaves the Northampton County Solicitor's office, which wrote this opinion. The attorney assigned to the matter - Chris Spadoni - recently told a Sharon Angle (Sharon is Ron's wife) friend to stay away from her. The Solicitor himself, Karl Longenbach, has a lengthy and unpleasant history with Ron. Both Spadoni and Longenbach are Reibman holdovers. While I have deep respect for them both, they must realize this sure looks bad for them. Unless they find the leak, they should resign. Their client is Northampton County, not the Northampton County Democratic party. Angle, who happens to preside over Northampton County Council, will never believe a word they say, and justifiably so.
I've already told you that Fred Angle had no use for Joanie Place. She refused to let him attend her wedding to his son, or the subsequent funeral when he mysteriously passed away. She never showed at Fred's funeral or viewing. Not exactly the loving daughter-in-law. In contrast, Ron was good to his father, visiting him nearly every day, if only to say hi. He's like that, you know. If he passes by Radiator Ralph Stampone's shop, he'll often stop in to say hi. He does that to me at the courthouse, too.
Joanie only came up here from Florida when she heard Fred was sick. Suddenly, she cared, at least enough to take him to her own lawyer and prepare a Will giving something to the one son who lives with her. Fred obviously was having second thoughts about that because he refused to get out of the car when she drove him to Stroudsburg to sign the Will. The lawyer actually had to come out to the car, and have Fred sign through the window. He also incorrectly told Fred that he had to see him if he wanted to revoke the Will.
The very next day, Fred acknowledged he had "messed up" and decided to do his own Will, much as he had done for other members of the Angle family in the past.
This weekend, I discovered a few additional details about the Angle Will controversy.
1) Fred Angle prepared a Will in 2007, naming Ron as his sole beneficiary. That Will was prepared by an attorney, witnessed and duly notarized. So the Will presented by Ron is actually consistent with the wishes that Fred Angle presented just two years earlier.
2) Ron Angle's sister-in-law, Joanie Place, never attended the hearings or testified in support of the Will prepared by her own attorney. Was she afraid what questions might be asked?
3) Ron's brother, Fred, Jr, mysteriously died in his sleep at age 41. To this day, nobody knows how that happened. Joanie not only barred Fred from the funeral, but refused to allow an autopsy. Fred, Sr., had pleaded for that, and always suspected something was amiss. When people talk about starting investigations, they might want to start by finding out how Fred, Jr., died. And why would the then Coroner refuse to do an autopsy?
4) Joanie Place and Fred (Jr.) had three children. But Fred (Sr.) always suspected their paternity and believed they were three children through three different guys. I do not like airing this dirty laundry about what should really be a family matter, but to those of you questioning why he would not provide for these grandchildren, this might be why.
5) The Will being urged by Joanie Place only makes provision for one of these three children. He just happens to be the only child living with her.
6) Fred, Sr, prepared several Wills for members of the Angle family, and often probated them himself before the Northampton County Register of Wills.
7) Several years ago, Fred, Sr., divested himself of most of his assets, funding trusts for his two grandchildren through Ron and Sharon. He would have no reason to bequeath anything to them because there's practically nothing left in his estate.
Fred Angle was no ordinary person. Ron's no ordinary person, so that should be no surprise. Here's what someone who obviously knew Fred, posted here on Saturday night.
"Just for the record, Fred W was not an atheist. I think he liked the wild discussions it provoked. I also believe Ron is probably in the right in this situation. Fred W was very ill in his final year and lonely. He liked when people would stop in and would love to be taken out for a ride. This Joan situation seems very odd. Almost as odd as Fred Jr's untimely death. Ron is right this time. I don't think it's about money, Ron has plenty. It's about how it all went down. I can totally see Fred W copying Rev Amanda's will. That would so totally be Fred. Wicked good. Fred W would love this! Go Ron!"
It's been a rough few days for Sharon and Ron, but they cracked up when I read this comment to them today. Ron agrees his father, who loved to torment him, is chuckling somewhere.
It's becoming more and more clear that, contrary to the fondest wishes of his detractors, Ron is on the right side of this Will controversy. Ghouls smeared not only Ron, but his wife and one of his sons, in favor of an obvious gold digger. They intruded into a private family matter and made sure the word got out, long before it was scheduled to hit the public domain. They suggest forgery and fraud, and want the DA to investigate.
I think DAs investigate mysterious deaths, too.