UPDATE: Jury finds Don Marsh guilty of fraud, breach of employment agreement

UPDATE: A jury found Don Marsh guilty of fraud and breach of his employment agreement late Friday night, after more than six hours of deliberation.

Marsh was ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution, in a civil lawsuit brought on by the company’s new owners. The jury found the former CEO made false statements to the company about money, committed fraud and caused damage to the company.

Marsh countered, saying the company submitted false income forms, but the jury denied his counterclaim.

The new owners of the supermarket chain wanted the former CEO to repay $7 million to the company.

Jury to decide Don Marsh’s fate Saturday

The civil trial of former Marsh Supermarkets CEO Don Marsh was expected to wrap up Friday, Feb. 15, but now the court proceedings have been postponed until Feb. 16.

Don and Marilyn Marsh walked out the door and down the steps of the federal courthouse.  Their next step will be waiting for a jury of nine to deliver its verdict in the former CEO’s civil case. That wait got a little longer.

The jury was given its instructions, then given the case around 5 p.m.  Late in the day Friday, federal judge Sarah Evans Barker continued the trial until Saturday.

During closing arguments, attorneys for the supermarket chain itemized Don Marsh’s alleged misuse of company money.  The attorneys said Marsh Supermarkets is owed $5.6 million.
Attorney for Marsh Supermarkets, David Herzog told jurors, “Mr. Marsh can’t be honest with himself, because the truth is too hard for him to swallow.”

The money includes trips on the company’s private jet to New York and Tennessee.  Flights to see two of his five mistresses, officials argue.  Marsh was in the air a lot:

“Is it a fact that you traveled so much you didn’t have time for real work?,” asked Herzog during the trial.

Marsh said no, “I worked that much.”

Marsh’s legal team contends he did not do anything wrong.  Attorney Andrew McNeil said flight records appeared in financial statements, and the money spent was approved. McNeil said Marsh was not hiding anything.

“It’s not even close,” McNeil told the jury.

The company says it wants its money back from the supermarket chain’s namesake.

“Mr. Marsh broke his contract,” said Herzog.  “He took what didn’t belong to him, and he took a lot.”

A jury will decide how much, if anything, gets paid back.  Along with the civil trial is a counter-suit.  Don Marsh wants $2 million paid back to him.  It’s money Marsh said the company never paid him after he was let go.

A decision on the counter-suit will come after the verdict in the civil case, expected first thing Saturday morning.


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