In the first place, I was not even supposed to be the subject of the story. The original article was supposed to be focused on the Florida entertainment industry as a whole and the issues surrounding it. Instead it was turned into a sometimes harsh exposé of one of its players. Your writer, Roger Williams, told me via e-mail after publication " that State Film Commissioner Rebecca Mattingly and state bureaucracy stuff got taken out. They say it's a separate story and they promised to let me get another go at her and the system ." I was completely misled and hoodwinked into participating in an article that was misrepresented from the start.
In regard to the article itself, it is full of lies, misrepresentations, and extreme creative license at work. I have always lived by a golden rule with the press: Tell them everything so nothing gets misconstrued. I say and do enough things to rile up people; I don't need any additional help.
Mr. Williams spent large amounts of time both in my office and on the phone with me for research on this story. He also had about a month in which to write it. From the almost laughable "additions" he decided to insert: the [Steven] Seagal arriving via FedEx (it was faxed days before), the wooden stand my baseball sits on (doesn't exist), the date heading on my project board (no such heading), to the now infamous speakerphone on which he claimed to have heard these conversations from (my phone does not have a speakerphone).
We also counted no less than seven misquotes and six blatant errors of information. This should have been expected considering the only times Mr. Williams brandished an effort to take notes was for a phone number or name he wanted to contact. It makes sense why he would be so confused.
I take personal offense to the patchwork editing done that paints me as a womanizer by putting two completely unrelated comments together (" Marquardo likes women. Some dance in the local strip clubs "), then follows up by combining comments about two different women disparagingly, insulting them both.
I am completely confused as to how you structured the information on my past. You mention I played baseball, then follow it up with doubting comments, only to finish by confirming photos of my playing days. This continues for other areas as well. What was the purpose of casting doubt in the first place then? Further, in the article he states that records of social services couldn't substantiate my claim. Yet via e-mail, Mr. Williams says, "You had very limited contact with the system." Again, misrepresenting the facts. Either I was or was not in the system. There is no halfway.
What possessed him to portray my father as my "teacher" (something I never insinuated), someone I have not been in contact with for over 13 years, I have no idea. This all without complaining about the characterizations of my "wannabe" status and my "ego big enough to reach California."
While grateful for the occasional praise and accepting of the more common character barbs, it is completely unnecessary that journalistic integrity was sacrificed in lieu of good copy. I am an entrepreneur who knows that my industry opens me up to intense scrutiny and public conjecture, but allowing such inaccurate information to go unchallenged is unacceptable. Both myself and my company have been completely forthright in both our professional and personal dealings. In short, we have no secrets and welcome any inquiries.
We do thank you for the diligent efforts you made to put this article together. Who knows -- maybe next time you'll get it right.
Craig R. Marquardo, President
Fathom Motion Picture Company
Roger Williams responds: Craig Marquardo's claims that I distorted reality or exaggerated in describing him are untrue. So is his claim that he was duped, since I told him I would write a profile of him and also introduce his criticisms of the state's film commission. I did that.
Mr. Marquardo did receive a letter with a signature that read "Steven Seagal" and a package delivered by one-day mail from Seagal's company. I saw them. He did have a baseball on a stand on his desk, which I observed -- a ball he claims he threw in the major leagues while pitching for the Red Sox. (The team has no record of Marquardo.) He told me the picture on his wall showing him wearing a Red Sox uniform with other players was taken some years after he played, when he asked if he could join former teammates on the field for a picture. He did invite me to listen to his speakerphone. I did take extensive notes in a notebook while sitting on the other side of his desk.
The story offered readers what Mr. Marquardo told me about himself -- that he played professional baseball, that he helped produce such well-known films as Die Hard II and End of Days, that he worked in California for Warner Brothers. My story also revealed that none of these claims could be verified. I stand by the story and by my characterization of Craig Marquardo.