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Case against former Monarch Fire Protection District chief dismissed

By: Jim Erickson

The Monarch Fire Protection District board will meet in closed session Tuesday, March 13 to determine what comes next after the dismissal of felony theft charges against former Chief Wayne C. “Chuck” Marsonette.

Marsonette was arrested in August 2016 for allegedly misusing a business credit card from Reliant Care Management Co., a Maryland Heights firm that employed him before he joined Monarch.

Last summer, additional charges were filed alleging Marsonette had committed forgery and tampered with an airplane or boat, in addition to two more counts of fraudulent use of a credit card.

According to a spokesman for the county prosecutor’s office, Reliant asked that the charges be dropped because it no longer wanted the case to be criminally prosecuted.

The company and The Big Blessing, LLC, which also employed Marsonette, are pursuing their complaints in a civil lawsuit.

Marsonette has denied all the charges.

The Monarch board suspended Marsonette after his 2016 arrest and ordered a forensic audit to examine various expenditures by the chief during his tenure with the district. The audit found no evidence of theft, abuse or fraud.

Although the board initially determined Marsonette would be suspended without pay, the chief’s attorney challenged that conclusion and Monarch directors reversed the decision. Marsonette also has received benefits during the suspension, including reimbursement for costs he incurred while taking college classes.

Monarch’s transparency portal shows Marsonette received $186,492 in salary and $33,370 in benefits during the period from Sept. 1, 2016, until Aug. 31, 2017.

The fire district originally hired Marsonette under terms of a three-year contract and the board opted not to renew the agreement when it expired at the end of 2017.

Instead, the board named Cary Spiegel and Les Crews as chief and assistant chief, respectively, positions they had held on an acting basis since Marsonette’s suspension.

Marsonette has received no salary or benefits since his contract expired, according to Rick Gans, Monarch board president.

When originally announcing Marsonette’s suspension, Gans said that if the chief were found not guilty or if charges were dropped, he would be brought back. However, the termination of the employment contract and subsequent appointments of Spiegel and Crews appear to make Marsonette’s rejoining the district problematic.

“The issue will be on the Tuesday closed meeting agenda, and if a vote is taken it will be announced,” Gans said. The session is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

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