A fight between an umpire and the Moncks Corner mayor that started because of a controversial call in a kickball game has gone into extra innings.
Mayor Michael Locklier is accused of slander, inflicting emotional distress, interfering with a contract and conspiring with town officials to get the umpire reassigned to other games after he called the politician's son out at the plate during a game in August.
The official, Graylnn Moran, made about $25 a game and a total of about $3,600. He was not added to the referee rotation for the remainder of the season.
The dispute is detailed in a civil lawsuit filed Friday in Berkeley County. His lawyer is asking for punitive damages and a jury trial.
Tom Fernandez, the attorney for the umpire, has sent a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster and Attorney General Alan Wilson asking them to investigate the mayor of the small Berkeley County town for "misconduct in office."
Named alongside Locklier in the lawsuit is Town Recreation Director Becky Ellison, Charleston Officials SC CEO William Hamm and the town of Moncks Corner.
News of the kickball dispute was first reported by The Post and Courier in late August. The incident happened on the evening of Aug. 6 when the Recreational Hazard — a team on which Lockliear and his adult son play — took on the Toe Jammers.
At the bottom of the eighth inning, the mayor's son was running past third base toward home plate. A player from the opposite team tagged the mayor's son with the ball in the back of the leg.
That's when trouble began.
Locklier came out of the dugout and began to yell at the umpire.
"He was passed (cq) the plate. Are you stupid?" the mayor said, according to the lawsuit. “That’s ridiculous. You don’t need to be getting $25. You should be paying us $25!"
Moran tried to diffuse the situation.
“You’re a player for The Town of Moncks Corner," Moran said, according to the lawsuit. "Calm down. You’re representing the town.”
The mayor responded, "I own this town! You won't have to worry about representing this town anymore because you won't be back out here," the lawsuit states.
After the incident, Ellison called Charleston Officials SC and asked that Moran be assigned to other games and not the town's. Two days later, Moran received a text message from Hamm saying the town need a break from his officiating.
"It's important because it shows that there is this ongoing behavior with our local politicians that they believe they can bully any private citizen and get away with it," Fernandez said.
In a subsequent interview with The Post and Courier following the game, Locklier admitted to his part in the dispute.
“I’m very competitive, and I would have argued that call even if it wasn’t my son,” Lockliear said in August. “In my position, I probably should have let it go. But I wanted to win the game.”
Locklier didn't respond to a request for comment Friday.
Moran told The Post and Courier he didn't want it to come down to a lawsuit, but he still hasn't heard anything from the mayor. He hasn't been reassigned for the fall baseball season in Moncks Corner, either.
"I didn't think it would go this far," Moran said. "I haven't heard anything from the mayor, not an apology or anything. If he can't be a man and approach me and talk about it, then he doesn't deserve to be mayor."
Moran said his minister tried to get the two men to make amends. It was unsuccessful.