Mortuary partner claims majority holder embezzled

Kelly Holleran Oct. 31, 2008, 7:17am

A St. Clair County man has filed suit against ME Officer and Sons Mortuary in East St. Louis and one of its managing partners, alleging the company and partner engaged in numerous acts of embezzlement and deceptive practices.

Markes K. Pruitt, who owns 49 percent of the shares in ME Officer and Sons, claims Marion Officer, Jr., the partner who holds 51 percent of the shares in the company, has illegally misapplied the assets of the company.

"Marion Officer, Jr., has and is using corporate assets for his personal benefit, writing numerous bad checks, failing to pay vendors and creditors in a timely manner, failing to pay sales taxes and/or file tax returns on behalf of the corporation, failing to pay employees, and failing to provide any return to the Plaintiff on his investment," the suit filed Oct. 24 in St. Clair County Circuit Court states.

Numerous reports and documents regarding the company's bank accounts show a number of overdraft charges, insufficient funds charges, checks written to Officer and his family members and checks written to Officer's personal creditors, according to the complaint.

In the two-count suit, Pruitt is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000, the purchase of Officer's shares for their fair value and other relief the court deems just.

Misty L. Wuebbels of Blake and Allen in Belleville will be representing him.

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