News Column

Billie Sol Estes, Famed Texas Con Man, Dies

May 14, 2013

Billie Sol Estes, a West Texas millionaire, con man and friend to politicians and mobsters, was found dead Tuesday morning at his home in Granbury, his daughter, Pamela Padget, said.

Estes was 88.

Padget wrote a book about her father titled Billie Sol: King of Texas Wheeler-Dealers,

Estes grew up in Pecos in West Texas and was a millionaire at 21 and a multimillionaire before he was 30 and an inmate in the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan., before he was 40.

In a 2002 article in the Star-Telegram, Padget recalled sitting with LBJ's daughters, Luci and Lynda Bird Johnson, when Marilyn Monroe serenaded President Kennedy at his memorable 45th birthday gala in Madison Square Garden. That was in May 1962, the year before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It was also shortly before Billie Sol's first felony conviction, the one stemming from phantom fertilizer tanks he used as collateral to obtain millions in loans.

In that same article, on his prison stints in Leavenworth, La Tuna and Big Spring, which totaled 11 years, Billie Sol said: "I would rather be in jail in this country than free anywhere else in the world."


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Source: Copyright Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) 2013

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