Sunday, March 18, 2001

State appoints guardian for evangelist's wife

        COLUMBUS, Ohio — A woman who married an evangelist nine days following the death of her first husband has been found to be legally incompetent.

        Franklin County Probate Judge Lawrence Belskis also appointed state Sen. Ben Espy, D-Columbus, as guardian for Eloise Thomas Jenkins, 76, and asked the county prosecutor to investigate large withdrawals from her bank accounts.

        Judge Belskis' declaration, written Friday, suggested that evangelist Leroy Jenkins has attempted to take advantage of his wife. The couple married Jan. 12 in Las Vegas.

        Mrs. Jenkins and her late husband, who had no children, won $6.9 million in the Ohio Super Lotto in 1992 and split the money. The exact amount of her wealth has not been revealed, but is thought to be at least $2 million.

        The judge ordered information presented at Mrs. Jenkins' competency hearing this week to be turned over to the prosecutor for investigation.

        Judge Belskis also revoked the power of attorney that Mrs. Jenkins had granted in November to Mr. Jenkins, 64, and to her sister, Mary Drakeford of Cincinnati.

        In addition, he rejected guardianship applications from Mr. Jenkins, Ms. Drakeford and Columbus lawyer Brewster Randall II, guardian for Mrs. Jenkins' previous husband, Roy Thomas, in the last few months of his life.

        Mr. Thomas died Dec. 27.

        Mrs. Jenkins' attorney, Charles Lease, was disappointed with the decision.

        Mr. Espy said he still is familiarizing himself with the case and that it would be “premature to talk about any course of action.”


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- State appoints guardian for evangelist's wife
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