I read J.F. Pirro’s article about Waterloo Gardens and its quick death (“Dead Flowers,” April 2014). Many untruths were told. I worked there for 15 years, so I watched it both up close and from a distance. The death of Waterloo came about solely from the bad decisions made by Bobby, Lucy and Zelinda [LeBoutillier].
The first wrong decision: placing Bobby in charge. Right before his death in 2001, my mother [Zelinda] forced my dad to give more power to Bobby. It wasn’t even two years after Dad died that Bobby and Lucy forced my other two sisters out of the business with terrible lies and deceit, because they dared to question some of his horrible decisions. It was a very hostile and sad situation, pitting daughters against their mother, with Bobby and Lucy claiming they were just trying to do what was best for the company.
My dad knew Bobby couldn’t handle many business decisions. Bobby would enter the room, sit down, and say he had an idea. Dad would listen and say, “You can’t do that.” Bobby would then get up and storm out of the room.
Bobby’s knowledge base was building maintenance and mowing the fields. He spent most of his first four decades on a tractor while all the sisters worked in the business end of Waterloo Gardens. He never viewed a financial statement, and he certainly didn’t understand one prior to Dad’s death.
My mother would call me and tell me she hired yet another consultant to help Bobby deal with making business decisions, and each consultant—after a year or so—would say the same thing to her: My sister, Susan, should be running the business. Zelinda would promptly fire that consultant and hire another one. We had to watch as Lucy told Zelinda how wonderful Bobby was and how great he was for Waterloo. Lucy got her way: Zelinda let Bobby and Lucy run the business the way they wanted; they made all the decisions.
As sisters, we know that Bobby and Lucy lost everything we all worked for. They can blame it on the weather, the economy, the stars not aligned, the sun rising wrong, but it was their unending greed to have it all to themselves. Waterloo Gardens was plenty big enough for four siblings to share.
As Zelinda’s children, we’ve requested an accounting of where all the money went [in the settlement of the personal estate], and we still haven’t received any documentation. The lawyer/executor says it will be many, many years before we get that information. This “family” is hateful and self-centered, while also being so self-righteous. They can pretend they care about others, but it’s all about greed.
For this family, it’s never enough. Sad but so true. —René LeBoutillier, Mount Vernon, Mo.
I stand by my facts and the way I cast the story. This letter makes the LeBoutilliers’ damaging division even clearer. The family—and Waterloo Gardens—deserved better.