Meister v. Conaway: The Altercation
Local bail bondsman Mark Adams called this afternoon to relate a story he says he heard from Circuit Court Clerk Frank Conaway. In Adams’ telling, blogger Adam Meister went to the Conaway residence on Liberty Heights Avenue. Frank Conaway (Sr.) heard someone pounding on the door, grabbed his gun (supposedly the family lost two big flat screens to burglars recently) and went to answer.
By this time, Meister was at the front gate, maybe 25 feet from the porch. Meister was calling Frank an SOB and he knows Belinda doesn’t live there and he’s gonna get her, according to what Adams says he heard from Conaway.
So Conaway ran after him. After 30 yards or so, Meister turns and throws a karate kick in his direction. Frank draws his gun, Meister flees. Undercover cops nearby see it and interview Conaway before chasing after Meister.
Adams says Conaway told him he is glad he didn’t shoot Meister.
The scenario, if true, raises obvious questions, of course, beginning with WTF? Belinda Conaway lost her bid for reelection and dropped her ill-conceived lawsuit against Meister. Why would Meister be out there snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?
As Adams was relating the story, the Sun’s Justin Fenton was tweeting his own blog post on the incident, confirming some of the details (like, that Conaway had a gun) but very much not confirming others, particularly the claim that Meister knocked on the door. In Fenton’s telling, from police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the most that can be said is Meister may have been on Conaway’s property “and refusing to leave.” Conaway at first declined to talk to Fenton about a matter “in litigation” but in an update he apparently did:
Conaway, 78, said police were watching the entire incident from inside a cruiser parked nearby. He denied that he “brandished” a firearm but did not dispute that he was carrying one, and said he has a permit from the state to carry a concealed weapon.
Meister, an avid jogger, said he was running home from the supermarket at 10:30 a.m. when he saw Conaway walking in the street. “I wondered why he was not at work – he makes $100,000 a year, doesn’t he?” Meister told The Sun. “I expressed myself about what his daughter did to me; I was yelling at him, he was yelling at me.”
Meister, meanwhile, published his own version of the incident on the Sun-hosted blog.
In his telling, Conaway “took a swing” at him (which Conaway denies), but it all started when Meister just happened to be jogging past Conaway’s house after making a trip to the grocery store for some “salmon, tuna, and beans.”
Adams emails, 11/22:
I had some time to speak at length with Frank last night.
He said that he heard a disturbance in front of his house and went to the door. He doesn’t specifically recall what the noise was, but it was enough to make him go to the front door and open it. His house is very big, 4,000± square feet. When he is upstairs he can’t always hear knocks on the door. He can’t remember specifics, but he said there was enough of a noise to cause him to come to his door. He said it was like the noise that the Sunpapers’ delivery guy makes when he throws the paper and it hits the door.
He carries a gun on a regular basis, with a permit, and was ready to leave for the courthouse. He didn’t specifically get the gun in response to the noise, but had it on his person as he ordinarily would.
He said that when he got to the door, Adam Meister was standing at his gate, with the gate open. They keep their gate shut and usually enter and leave their house from the rear, where there is a driveway. No person inside the house is likely to have opened the gate and left it open. Visitors come in through the back entry, because that’s where the parking pad is.
When he opened the door, Meister started yelling at him and said he knew Frank’s daughter doesn’t live at the house (I know for a fact that she does) and that he was going to “get her.” He started yelling about the lawsuit.
At this point, Frank took off after him to chase him away from his property. He said Meister runs really fast and that he stopped and gave some type of karate kick in Frank’s direction. Frank said he never threw a punch at Meister. He just wanted him off his property. Frank had his gun, but did not pull it. As he told me, “You don’t pull a gun on someone unless you intend to use it.” Frank was a boxer in the Army and knows a bit about punches and using guns.
(It goes on from there about how Conaway thinks Meister is “unbalanced” and that his behavior is “borderline stalking, cyber-bullying situation.”)