Stanley Marsh III – Headlines The New York Times

The latest accusations brought against Amarillo millionaire Stanley Marsh III have landed in the pages of The New York Times.

An Eccentric Texas Millionaire Is Accused of Abusing Teenagers

photo by David Bowser for The New York Times

By MANNY FERNANDEZ | The New York Times

AMARILLO, Tex. — For years, it has been hard to tell what has fascinated and shocked residents of this conservative Texas Panhandle city more: the 10 vintage Cadillacs buried nose-down in a wheat field off Interstate 40 like some automotive Stonehenge, or the project’s landlord and patron, Stanley Marsh 3.

Mr. Marsh — who prefers to use “3” instead of “III,” because he finds the Roman numerals too pretentious — does not mind the stream of tourists who deface the Cadillac Ranch with graffiti scribblings. At an event to mark its 30th anniversary in 2004, the man known as the P.T. Barnum of Amarillo spray-painted one of the tail-finned relics himself.

At 74, he is the only rancher in town whose windmill wears a bow tie and who has used his land and wealth as a kind of canvas for thought-provoking art. At his offices in Amarillo’s tallest building, the Chase Tower, there were no buried cars, but a visiting reporter once noted the sign by the elevator doors: “The People’s Republic of the 12th Floor.”

Now, Mr. Marsh — and his 12th floor headquarters — have become embroiled in legal turmoil in which he is accused of behavior far beyond his well-known eccentricities. Eight teenage boys have sued him in recent weeks, alleging in a series of lawsuits that he supplied them with cash, cars and alcohol in return for sexual favors and performances at his office and at his home. The lawsuits claimed the boys, identified in court documents as John Does, were 15, 16 and 17 at the time.

The suits accuse Mr. Marsh of being a “serial abuser” of boys and young men, allegations that Mr. Marsh’s lawyer said he planned on fighting in court. Papers filed in the lawsuits allege that those close to Mr. Marsh, including his wife, Wendy Marsh, and business associate, David L. Weir, were aware of the abuse and at times facilitated it. Mr. Weir, the lawsuits claim, required the teenagers to sign a document that waived any liability for Mr. Marsh while they were his employees or guests.

Mr. Weir, Mrs. Marsh and the Marshes’ adopted son, Stanley Marsh IV, were also named in the suits, as well as the company that manages the Chase Tower and the firm that handles building security. The boys are charging sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, suing Mr. Marsh for unspecified monetary damages, and the other defendants are being sued for negligence, among other allegations.

The Amarillo police have begun a criminal investigation, and the district attorney in Lubbock County has been appointed a special prosecutor. Police detectives served a search warrant at Mr. Marsh’s offices and removed a number of items, and Anthony G. Buzbee, the Houston lawyer who filed the lawsuits, said that so far, six teenagers had been interviewed by detectives.

A spokesman for the Amarillo police, Cpl. Jerry Neufeld, said the search warrant had been served as part of a criminal investigation, but he declined to describe the nature of that investigation or the items seized. He said the department did not reveal the identities of suspects of continuing investigations, though he added that no one has been arrested or charged.

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