Unveiling the Truth: A Historic Book Signing Event of ‘Robert’s Story’ Reveals a Tale of Injustice and Fortitude

Acclaimed author, Stephen G. Michaud's book signing event at the Kelsey Bass Museum and Event Center, wasn't just about a new book; it was the start of something big. Robert East's story, filled with big dreams and bravery, made people in South Texas think and talk more. Everyone could see that Robert's Story was starting to make significant changes in people’s minds. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
Acclaimed author, Stephen G. Michaud’s book signing event at the Kelsey Bass Museum and Event Center, wasn’t just about a new book; it was the start of something big. Robert East’s story, filled with big dreams and bravery, made people in South Texas think and talk more. Everyone could see that Robert’s Story was starting to make significant changes in people’s minds. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

Texas Border Business

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By Roberto Hugo González

On June 21, 2023, a crowd gathered at the Kelsey Bass Museum and Event Center in the heart of Rio Grande City, Starr County, for the historic book signing of ‘Robert’s Story.’ The work is an exceptional narrative of ambition, deception, and the struggle for justice by the acclaimed author, Mr. Stephen G. Michaud. The event featured a special guest, Mike East, nephew of the book’s protagonist, Robert East, and an essential figure in the real-life drama depicted in the book.

Rancher Robert East in his last days. Photo credit Ramiro Palacios and courtesy of the East family.
This photo captures the heart-wrenching image of Robert East, once a robust and successful Texas cowboy, reduced to a mere shadow of his former self. Bedridden and frail, his once strong and rugged frame became emaciated and weak. The despair in his eyes told a story of neglect and unimaginable suffering, as he was subjected to elder abuse by those entrusted with his care.
Elder abuse is a horrifying and illegal act that preys on the vulnerability of older individuals. It can take various forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or even neglect. In Robert East’s case, he had amassed considerable wealth from his thriving cattle ranch that spanned thousands of acres, which also later produced a massive amount of oil and gas. At the height of his success, he was receiving an astounding twelve million dollars a month. However, his life took a tragic turn when he fell victim to elder abuse. 
The once self-sufficient multimillionaire was left without proper medical attention and care, which led to his slow and agonizing decline. The shocking photo of Robert’s suffering is a testament to the devastating consequences of such abuse.
Stephen G. Michaud’s book, Robert’s Story: A Texas Cowboy’s Troubled Life and Horrifying Death, delves into the harrowing tale of Robert East’s life and his tragic end. The photo, which also appears in the book, serves as a stark reminder of the darker side of humanity and the importance of protecting our elderly from such abuse. Texas Tech law professor Gerry W. Beyer commented in his review of the book stated, “Stephen Michaud, does an excellent job of sifting through the many years of Robert’s personal life and hurt, Robert’s back stabbing betrayal by those he trusted, and the offensive overreaching legal system, all backed by evidence, to take the reader on a journey of disbelief, heartache, and the knowledge that it could happen to anyone of us.”
Elder abuse is not only morally reprehensible but also illegal. Perpetrators can face severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines, as well as civil liability. As a society, we must be vigilant in our efforts to identify, report, and prevent elder abuse, ensuring that vulnerable seniors like Robert East are protected from such heinous acts.
Photo caption by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez”

The Kelsey Bass Museum was packed with excited attendees from Rio Grande City and neighboring regions, including Alice in South Texas. The museum’s curator, Kathy Escobar Rubio, welcomed the crowd with an excited speech emphasizing the venue’s rustic charm and historical significance.

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Mike East, a central figure in this narrative, passionately dedicates and signs copies of ‘Robert’s Story.’ Mike’s pivotal role in the saga is emphasized by his relentless efforts to safeguard his uncle, Robert East. Alongside Robert’s caregiver Ramiro Palacios, Mike was spurred into action, exhaustively seeking every possible avenue to protect his uncle. The narrative celebrates numerous heroes, and Mike certainly stands among them. His profound affection for his uncle, empathetic nature, and indomitable spirit persists in shedding light on the inhumane treatment suffered by the elderly. Photo by Roberto Hugo González 

The hot afternoon unfolded with stories, revelations, and heartfelt discussions about Robert East, a cowboy stripped of his extensive cattle ranch and million-dollar fortune from his gas and oil-producing wells. Mr. James “Jimmy” Nixon, Jr., a lifelong friend of the East family, was among the key figures present at the event, offering firsthand insights into Robert East’s life and the controversial oil and gas deals.

James “Jimmy” Nixon, a dear friend associate of the East family. He provided valuable information to writer Stephen G. Michaud. Additionally, he took part in the book signing ceremony of Robert East, expressing his thoughts to those present. His input was crucial. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez.

Michaud spent six years meticulously researching and writing the story. In his address, he emphasized that the event was not just to honor the book but, more importantly, to honor the East family and the town that shaped them. He particularly recognized Ramiro, Robert’s caretaker, who took tremendous risks to expose the injustice done to Robert.

Throughout the event, audience members engaged in a Q&A session, eager to delve into the depths of Robert East’s story. Questions ranged from the history of the East family and their relation to the King Ranch to the puzzling lack of justice for the wrongs done to Robert. Michaud’s responses were enlightening, indicating that his next book would only unveil some secrets.

Some attendees expressed their intent to take action, inspired by Richard Jankovsky’s call to investigate the potential elder abuse that led to Robert East’s downfall. It was apparent that Robert’s story had hit a nerve with the people of Rio Grande City and beyond. The tale of a humble cowboy robbed of his fortune was now part of the public consciousness, echoing within the rustic walls of the Kelsey Bass Museum and reverberating throughout the city.

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Richard Jankovsky articulated, with utmost clarity and conviction, demanding to scrutinize the suspected elder exploitation leading to Robert East’s decline culminating in his death. The saga of a simple cowboy stripped of his wealth had now entered the collective consciousness, resonating within the confines of the Kelsey Bass Museum and the entire Rio Grande City in Starr County. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzale

Jankovsky expressed the East family’s gratitude to the attendees. He reminded the audience that June was Elder Abuse Awareness Month and urged them to contact the local district attorney, Mr. Gocha Ramirez, to investigate the possible abuse leading to Robert East’s death.

The historic book signing event was more than just a promotion for Michaud’s new work; it was a plea for justice, a call to action, and an attempt to unravel the shrouded truth of Robert East’s life and legacy. As attendees left with their signed copies of ‘Robert’s Story,’ they carried with them the emotional tale of a humble Texas cowboy and the unfinished quest for justice that still haunts the extensive plains of South Texas.

The buzz, conversation, and intrigue filled the air as the audience marched out of the Kelsey Bass Museum and Event Center. Everyone had a piece of the book and, more importantly, a part of Robert East’s legacy in their hands. The event had unraveled his story of misfortune and resilience and left attendees responsible for seeing justice served.

The book’s impact extended beyond Rio Grande City’s boundaries, reaching people from various backgrounds who found common ground in their desire for justice for Robert East.

This reporter welcomes ‘Robert’s Story’ for its detailed investigative work, the masterful storytelling of Stephen G. Michaud, and its fearless exposure to a grave injustice. The legacy of Robert East, once a humble Texas cowboy, had become a rallying cry for justice. The book is now a beacon of truth and a symbol of resistance against elder abuse, prompting communities to come together and push for changes in eldercare laws and regulations.

The book signing event at the Kelsey Bass Museum and Event Center was more than a celebration of a new book; it was the start of a movement. Robert East’s tale of ambition, deception, and fortitude had stirred a South Texas and, in doing so, had set the stage for a broader conversation. It was evident that Robert’s Story book had begun to make a significant change, and the beginning to unfold one page at a time.

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