Judge rules former State Sen. Marionneaux must repay former law partner $1M

A 19th Judicial District Court Judge has ruled that former State Sen. Rob Marionneaux must repay more than $1 million he wrongfully took from his former law partner Lewis Unglesby, with whom he was in practice from 2003 until 2012.

The ruling comes as part of a civil suit over the dissolution of the former partners’ law firm, Unglesby & Marionneaux, and does not ascribe any criminal wrongdoing to Marionneaux, who served in the Louisiana Senate from 1996 to 2012. However, during a three-day hearing last summer, Unglesby’s attorney, Jerry Dodson, accused Marionneaux of misappropriating more than $1 million from the firm without Unglesby’s knowledge.

According to court documents, Marionneaux, who was the firm’s managing partner, never  denied taking the money from the firm. However, he says it was owed to him by virtue of an amended partnership agreement with Unglesby. His attorneys argued that the original 75-25 partnership agreement between the two, which gave Unglesby a larger share of firm proceeds, was amended in 2009 to a 50-50 deal.

However, Judge Mike Caldwell ruled that Marionneaux’s story “kept changing,” that he was “not credible” and that “there was no change in the 75% to Unglesby 25% to Marionneaux fee agreement.”

Unglesby’s attorney says his client will not refer the matter to the federal or state authorities for possible prosecution. He adds: “From the outset of my involvement in this matter, improprieties by Rob were apparent to me. Lewis has been most patient and gracious in his approach and handling of the many issues involved in this regrettable matter.” —Stephanie Riegel

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