Police search offices of Texas millionaire artist
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Police have searched the offices of Amarillo millionaire and eccentric artist Stanley Marsh 3, but investigators and his attorney declined to say Thursday what prompted the criminal search warrant.
No charges have been filed against Marsh, the son of an oil tycoon who is probably best known for planting 10 brightly painted Cadillacs nose down along a Panhandle highway in the 1970s. His attorney, Kelly Utsinger, said police searched Marsh's downtown office late Wednesday and that he and Marsh "cooperated fully with law enforcement and intend to do that."
Police wouldn't say whether their search was related to three lawsuits recently filed against Marsh alleging that he paid four teenagers for sexual acts in his office. Utsinger denied the lawsuits' claims, saying Marsh would fight them in court.
Investigators said no arrests were made during the four-hour search, though some items were seized.
Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell said he was appointed special prosecutor to the case last month and that a criminal investigation was ongoing. He declined further comment. The search warrant wasn't available Thursday at the Potter County Courthouse, where the clerk said it would be filed when police return an affidavit explaining what was found.
The lawsuits claim that Marsh paid four teenage boys ranging in age from 15 to 16 for sexual acts. The teens weren't named in the suits, which were filed in the last month. One claimed that Marsh provided him drugs and alcohol, bought him two cars, and paid him at several points during a year in sums of as much as $10,000.
The teens' Houston-based attorney, Anthony Buzbee, said two of the teens went to police in late summer before the lawsuits were filed, but the other two didn't speak with investigators until this week. One teen's mother sought out a civil attorney when she didn't hear back from police, according to the lawsuits.
The suits say Marsh was known for helping troubled young men, some with artistic talent.
Marsh, 74, is an Amarillo native and philanthropist who along with his wife has donated to local art and education causes. After he suffered a series of strokes, his wife was appointed his guardian.
Marsh was indicted on charges of indecency with a child in 1996, but the charges were eventually dismissed. That same year Marsh acknowledged no wrongdoing in a settlement with a youth who claimed Marsh sexually abused him.
In 2001, parties in four lawsuits that alleged imprisonment, sexual misconduct and harassment of teens were settled. Marsh apologized but no other details were made public.