|Bill Upton, president of Vulcan Steel Products|
William D. "Bill" Upton Jr. is president of Vulcan Steel Products, which is based in the Birmingham suburb of Pelham. Upton sued his wife, Linda S. Upton, for divorce in 2010 and received a stunningly favorable judgment, even though he admits in court papers to having sex with Gincie Walker, a young woman the Uptons had helped raise for roughly a decade and who called Bill Upton "daddy" for years.
Bill Upton and Gincie Walker now are married and live in Mountain Brook. Linda Upton also has remarried and lives in the Shook Hill home she and Bill Upton shared for more 30 years, as he (along with significant help from Linda and her parents) built a business empire.
It's common for a wife/mother and children to receive the marital residence in a divorce, especially where the husband/father has admitted to flagrant marital misconduct. But Linda Upton lost custody of all her non-adult children--all have special needs, and she raised them from early ages--even though we can find nothing in the record to indicate she was found to be an unfit mother. Linda also wound up paying Bill Upton for his share of the marital home, even though he was the party in the much stronger financial decision--and he was the party who admitted to marital misconduct.
Why did a court, headed by private judge Gary Pate, look favorably upon Bill Upton, even though he admitted to behavior that comes close to meeting the definition of incest? Court documents describe Bill Upton as a multimillionaire, and that might have been one factor in his favor. Also, George R. Fernambucq, of the Birmingham firm Boyd Fernambucq and Dunn, represented Bill Upton. Fernambucq's name has been prominently mentioned in at least two lawsuits that allege widespread "hunting-club corruption" in Alabama divorce courts.
Did Bill Upton's association with Fernambucq help him in Jefferson County court, no matter what Upton had admitted to? It almost certainly didn't hurt.
|Gincie Walker Upton|
Bill Upton filed for divorce, but court documents show it was his own egregious behavior that precipitated the breakdown of the Upton marriage. A Motion for Relief from Judgement, dated March 1, 2013, includes the following language under "4. Gincie Walker is William D. Upton's girlfriend." The Q and A is taken from "Defendant's Exhibit 4, William D. Upton's Deposition, p. 64." (The Motion for Relief from Judgment can be read at the end of this post.)
Q: Is Gincie Walker the only time you've had sexual intercourse with anyone during your marriage other than Linda [Upton]?
A: [William D. Upton Jr.] Yes.
Linda Upton's Motion to Alter or Amend, filed on December 17, 2012, contains the following language. (The motion can be read at the end of this post.)
1. The Husband openly admits his infidelity with a mental patient/former sibling of the minor children, who are now constantly exposed to their father's romantic relationship with the woman and who are clearly suffering as a result of this Court's Order awarding primary custody to the husband; who has never been the primary care-giver of the children.
Why does the document refer to Gincie Walker as a "mental patient." Here's how we explained it in an earlier post:
Gincie Walker had grown up in an abusive home in Shelby County before settling into the Upton family when she was in her mid to late teens. Linda and Bill Upton have one biological son and had adopted or fostered a number of special-needs children over about a 20-year period. Court records state that Gincie Walker has multiple-personality disorder, and she was in her mid to late 20s when the affair with Bill Upton started; she now is in her early 30s.
The Uptons never officially adopted Walker, but they parented her throughout adolescence and well into early adulthood. Sources state that she was treated as, and seen as, the Uptons' daughter.
A reasonable person could conclude that Bill Upton preyed on a young female family member who had a severe mental disability. And yet, an Alabama court granted him custody of other children.
How could this happen? What were its repercussions?
We will address those questions in upcoming posts.