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Marsh pilot says he flew former CEO to see mistresses

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Don Marsh’s personal pilot told jurors Monday morning that he ferried the former CEO of Marsh Supermarkets Inc. to New York City at least twice a month in a year’s span to visit one of his mistresses.

Pat Boggs began working for Marsh Supermarkets on a contract basis in 1995 and became the locally based supermarket chain’s chief pilot in August 2000, the same year he says he frequently flew Don Marsh to New York City.

Marsh’s trips, many of them via the company jet, are at the crux of a civil lawsuit brought by the supermarket chain. It accuses him of using company funds to pay more than $3 million in personal expenses. Marsh, 75, spent 38 years leading the public company before it was purchased by Florida-based Sun Capital in September 2006.

Don Marsh has testified that he put Nadia Kovarskaya up in a New York City apartment as he considered whether Marsh Supermarkets should sponsor a U.S. tour of her Russian ice ballet.

Boggs told jurors that he flew Marsh to see Kovarskaya at least twice a month during 2000, and shuttled her to Indianapolis once. Kovarskaya is listed among the dozens of witnesses expected to testify, either in person or by written deposition, in the trial expected to conclude at the end of the week. The federal court proceedings began Feb. 4.

The pilot also testified that he flew Marsh to Smyrna, Tenn., about five times. Though Boggs said he didn’t know the reason for the trips, Marsh has testified he frequently visited an old high school friend there with whom he also had an affair. He also has admitted to at least two other flings.

Becky Foxworthy, Don Marsh’s former travel manager, also testified Monday morning. She left the company in September 2006, after the sale to Sun Capital.

Sun Capital terminated Don Marsh’s contract “without cause” when it took over, then stopped paying his severance in 2008, after it claims it discovered the extent of personal expenses charged to the company.

Don Marsh is countersuing Marsh Supermarkets, asserting the company improperly halted his post-retirement payouts in 2008 and owes him more than $2 million.

Also testifying Monday morning was Patricia Allen, a current Marsh employee who once served as the administrative assistant to Marsh’s son David. He worked under his father as president.

Marsh Supermarkets launched a legal fight against David in 2006 after he sued the company, alleging it shorted him $102,000 on his $2.1 million severance package. The company shot back that he had used the company “as his personal checkbook,” submitting expenses from family trips, and must repay more than $750,000. The parties reached a confidential settlement in 2007.

Monday morning’s proceedings followed testimony from a key witness Friday.

Stephen Huse, an owner of St. Elmo Steakhouse and former director of Marsh Supermarkets, said Friday that he recalled that Don Marsh had resisted a sale to Sun Capital, even though the company was in serious financial trouble.

“We couldn’t get his focus on the sale as much as we wanted to, and his travel was too much,” Huse said. “We needed him there seven days a week, 13 to 14 hours a day.”

As the sale of the company neared, directors attempted to reel in Marsh’s extensive travel by only reimbursing him for trips within Indiana and to Illinois and Ohio, where Marsh had stores.

During his testimony, Huse said he has the utmost respect for Marsh and trusted him to reimburse the company for personal expenses. He said directors were more concerned about company revenue and profits and left management to oversee expenses.

Huse told the jury that most every trip Marsh took included some element of business.

“Don didn’t lay around beaches or go to bars,” Huse said. “Don can’t relax. It’s not in his DNA. That’s just the way he is.”

Originially published in the IBJ Daily, a sister publication to Indiana Lawyer.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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