Did everyone catch that local businessman Keith Marquar was arrested back on the 24th by the Hancock County Sheriff’s office? When I was told about it I immediately checked the Echo’s website but had no luck because, online at least, the story was buried. Luckily a good Samaritan sent me the link to the most popular story on the Sea Coast Echo’s website and that despite the fact it never appeared on the front page of the website that I could tell.
Even more interesting is the social media chatter locally, with public opinion seemingly split with a healthy percentage of those commenting thinking the arrest is retaliation against Marquar for filing a 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 lawsuit against the City of Bay St Louis, Mayor Mike Favre and former Councilman Lonnie Falgout. Such is a reasonable conclusion from reading Stacey Cato’s story because about two thirds of it rehashes Marquar’s civil suit against the City, which was filed last month in Federal court. The story also did not name the person who swore the complaint against Marquar, ostensibly because Don Bass of HCSO refused to name the lady, whose name did appear on Facebook.
Let’s imagine for a second that the Echo’s story were limited to Marquar’s arrest and included the name of his alleged victim. One naturally wonders if the peanut gallery would draw a different conclusion, especially armed with the knowledge that Falgout and alleged victim Lorie Elchos likely do not even know each other.*
There is a second theme in the chatter however, one that maintains that the first criminal complaint sworn against Mr. Marquar will not be the last and that line of thought is interesting if it should actually come to pass. A good defense attorney, for example, could make mince meat of Mr. Marquar’s state common law torts of libel and slander should any of the criminal allegations against Mr. Marquar actually stick. A multiplicity of victims would increase the chances of that a good bit IMHO.
And then there is a political theme that people paying very close attention certainly understand is there. It is implied by who is missing as a made defendant and that would be the Mayor of Bay St Louis when the retaliation under the color of law that Mr. Marquar alleges occurred. There may be a legal calculus that I am unaware by Team Marquar in not including former Mayor Les Fillingame as a defendant but that omission appears to be glaring to me.
This is prime popcorn popping type of story with lots of potential for all manner of muck to bubble up. We’ll be keeping an eye on it. For those of you with PACER access it is case number 18cv146. Here is a link to Mr. Marquar’s complaint and Lonnie Falgout’s answer. We are still waiting to hear from the City, Mayor Mike Favre and Mr. Falgout in his capacity as Councilman.
* – In the interest of full disclosure I do personally know Mr. and Mrs Elchos, thus my conclusion above.