COUNTRYSIDE IMPRESARIO UNDER HOUSE ARREST
A civil action brought in Worcester Superior Count by a member of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield federation of insurance companies threatens to upseat countryside rock 'n' roll impresario, Gil Markle.
Markle, perhaps best remembered for bringing The Rolling Stones to Central Massachusetts in 1981 for secret rehearsals at his Long View Farm recording studio in North Brookfield, is fighting for his house and home, surrounded by guards and specially trained dogs as his attorneys argue his case in court.
Access America, Inc. is Markle's nemesis, and made headlines earlier this summer (July 12, 1991) as it took control of the student travel company Markle created in 1966, The American Leadership Study Groups, now based in Spencer, Massachusetts. Markle had borrowed money from Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1987, during the terrorism scare, in order to keep his company afloat, and had pledged his real estate properties, including the recording studio Long View Farm, as collateral.
Now the insurance company has sold off the travel firm, and wants Markle's properties, and wants Markle off them for a start, but Markle won't budge. "Fair is fair, but these guys didn't so much as ask me to leave. I come back here one night and find guards in my home, and a letter from a Judge. This is my home. I've been here for a quarter of a century. This place is mine."
Tell that to your switchboard operator, Gil. Phone calls made to Markle's home in North Brookfield can no longer be put through. "Mr. Markle is no longer taking calls at this number," a sweet-voiced secretary informs the caller. However, Markle is indeed on the premises, under the careful watch of ex-marines and dogs.
A man in a crew cut and a ski parka stumbles out of the barn, in which Markle lives, carrying a heavy green metal box of wires and electronic paraphernalia a professional security guard under contract to Blue Cross and Blue Shield to keep track of Markle.
A phone call to the heavyweight Boston law firm, Ropes and Grey, which represents the Blue Cross group in its action against Markle, produced the following explanation: "It's mainly him. He won't leave the premises, and the suddenness of our recent action left some of us wondering if we hadn't best protect ourselves. We weren't sure what he might do."
Markle says he doesn't have to leave the premises, and that he owns most of things in them. Markle claims that Access America has misappropriated his possessions, has interfered with his business relationships, and has intentionally inflicted distress upon him and the members of his family. A compromise order from the Superior Court Judge recently gave Markle interim rights to his apartment located in the Long View barn, where he is effectively confined by the terms of a Temporary Restraining Order, while Markle prepares for his day in court.
Markle, according to several witnesses who have successfully penetrated his barnboard bunker in the farming town of North Brookfield, dubbed "The Rock 'n' Roll capital of the world" during the visit of the Rolling Stones in 1981, report that
the show-biz impresario is surrounded by computers and phone lines, organizing his defense and taking calls from well-wishers.
And writing philosophy. Markle, a former Clark University philosophy professor, still finds time to take the "long view" of things. "I've had this virtual reality stuff swimming around in my mind for years now. That's what Long View was first about, if the truth be known reality simulation and this has not been a bad time to get it out to write it all down, I mean. It beats battling with dogs and ex-nam guys. They look at me as though I'm going to blow the place up. How did you get in here, anyway?"
Outside two men in crew cuts meet in a garage, confer over a clipboard, nod, and walk in opposite directions, eyeing Markle's apartment in the barn.