Hancock County

Man who scuffled with councilman plans to sue Bay St. Louis

Aerial view of Bay St. Louis harbor.
Aerial view of Bay St. Louis harbor. jmitchell@sunherald.com File

A man accused of attacking a city councilman in January is preparing to sue the city, claiming the councilman used his political position to slander the man’s name and interfere with his construction business.

Keith Marquar and his family’s business, L&L Construction Services, filed an official notice of claim against the city last week. A notice of claim is the first step one takes before filing a lawsuit against a government entity.

According to the notice, a resident hired Marquar and L&L to build a bulkhead and pier at a home on Elaine Drive. The notice states Ward 6 Councilman Lonnie Falgout, who owns the adjacent property, opposed the project and filed objections to halt it with the state Department of Marine Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Marquar claims Falgout tried to “strong-arm” him and “threatened” to use his position as a councilman “to destroy Mr. Marquar and his business, L&L Construction Services, LLC,” the notice says.

It says Falgout “intentionally interfered” with Marquar’s business relationships by contacting several clients and urging them to fire L&L and file complaints with the city’s building department.

Marquar also claims Falgout assaulted him in a Jan. 23 altercation, which Falgout said began when he and three other city officials went to inspect construction work that several residents had complained about.

“Falgout has repeatedly misused his public position, acting under the color of law, to cause significant and irreparable damage to Marquar and L&L Construction Services, LLC,” the notice says.

The notice alleges Falgout “slandered” Marquar and his business by “falsely stating” several customers have filed complaints against him. It contends no complaints have been filed against him or L&L regarding construction work.

However, the Mississippi State Board of Contractors lists a violation against Marquar and L&L for “unlicensed residential remodeling,” which resulted in a $5,000 fine on April 8, 2015.

Neither Marquar nor L&L is licensed to perform residential or commercial construction work, according to the board of contractors. According to the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, Marquar is not listed as a company owner or manager in L&L’s articles of incorporation. Rather, it lists Brandy Marquar as the owner.

Marquar and L&L are seeking $2.5 million in damages. So far only the city — not Falgout — has been named as a defendant.

When contacted Tuesday, Falgout said he was aware of the notice and has been advised by city attorney Trent Favre to not comment on the matter.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller