LAKE DIVERSION, TX (KPLR) – "Stan stole my home." That's what Lake Diversion, TX resident Annette McNeil was written in a suicide note left by her husband, Rick Ellis. Ellis and McNeil are among a group of people who live on a portion on the Waggoner Ranch in Texas purchased by Stan Kroenke in February 2016. The Wichita County Sheriff's Office tells KFDX that the body of Rick Ellis was found Wednesday morning in a remote area on the Wichita River.
For decades, Lake Diversion residents lived on the Waggoner Ranch under an unusual agreement. They owned their homes, but leased the land where their homes stood. In August, Kroenke's legal team sent the residents of Lake Diversion a letter informing them the lot lease program would be ending. They'd be evicted from the property, effective February 1, 2017.
The circumstances surrounding Ellis' death are not fully known at this time. Annette McNeil tells FOX 2's Mike Colombo her husband was deeply troubled that they will have to abandon their family home on Lake Diversion this winter. While the property problems weighed heavy on Ellis' mind, McNeil acknowledges other factors may have played a role in her husband's death. Nonetheless, she considers his suicide a total shock.
Ellis family created an online fund in Rick's memory. There are also funds created to support the other Lake Diversion residents.
What’s happening in Texas comes straight from the Stan Kroenke playbook and St. Louisans know it all too well. Kroenke used one of the most owner-friendly lease agreements in the history of professional sports to rip the Rams from St. Louis. A clause in the lease agreement allowed the franchise to leave for another city if the Edward Jones Dome dropped below the top tier of NFL stadiums. It was a scenario no one thought much about it until Kroenke took sole ownership of the Rams in 2010.
In 2010, Kroenke said, "It’s not our desire to ever lead the charge out of St. Louis, so if that’s the implication, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to work very hard and be very successful in St. Louis.”
Six years later, Kroenke relocated the team to Los Angeles.