The story, according to Mark Inglin, is a kind of Grisham-esque thriller set in Milwaukee, with Inglin battling villainous lawyers and judges across three continents in the name of truth, justice and his long-lost son. It’s hard to shake the image of Tom Cruise running from Wilford Brimley in The Firm.
But mention Inglin to any area lawyer and you’re sure to be met with groans and eye rolls. The ex-Milwaukeean has adroitly used databases like the Wisconsin Bar Association’s Web site to bury hundreds of lawyers with e-mailed and faxed versions of his attacks – all sent from Inglin’s current home in Switzerland.
In 36 e-mails sent to this writer, Inglin went into excruciating detail about the conspiracy against him, claiming he was given an unfair trial here in 1995 after being accused of taking his then-4-year-old son to Canada in violation of a child custody agreement.
Inglin hired Martin Kohler, considered one of Milwaukee’s best defense attorneys, to represent him. But Inglin was found guilty, sentenced to a year in jail, and ordered not to see his son until the boy turned 18.
From here, the story stretches. Upon being released from prison, Inglin began distributing a series of booklets accusing Kohler of misconduct, prompting Kohler to sue Inglin for libel (he won the case in 2001 and was awarded $617,178 in damages). As payment, Kohler had Inglin’s wages garnished and seized a house in Utah for $100,000.
In response, Inglin fled to Switzerland, where, protected by international law, he’s continued his attacks. In 2005, Kohler again sued Inglin for libel, and was awarded $1,433,858, one of the largest libel rulings in state history. But Inglin isn’t paying – and won’t stop the attacks.
“Ironically, it was not possible for me to expose this corruption in the USA,” Inglin wrote in a January e-mail he spammed to area lawyers. “Protected now by Swiss law, I have the right to print and speak the truth. Over 9,000 miles away [actually, Mark, it’s just over 4,300], I have few weapons left beside my pen.”
Inglin plans to continue his attacks on local legal elites (he’s dragged U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic and others into the story) in hopes of sparking an international incident that will result in a trial in a Swiss court. In this neutral setting, Inglin believes he can present his case and finally smite the whole firm of villains.
Milwaukee attorney Robert Elliott represented Kohler in the libel suits. Now a frequent target of Inglin’s blasts, Elliott describes Inglin as “psychotic.”
“He’s dangerous,” Elliott says. “If he walked into my office, I’d have him arrested on the spot. I’m serious.”
Inglin cites experts like Dr. Anthony Kuchan, former chairman of Marquette University’s psychology department, as someone who can back up his claims. But while Kuchan was originally involved with Inglin’s case, he now wants nothing to do with him. “I’m trying to distance myself from him,” he says, declining to elaborate.
What complicates Inglin’s story is that he’s a talented and very intelligent man: When he’s not harassing jurists, he’s a translator of science journals. Meanwhile, he claims to have written a book on his case – soon to appear, we’d guess, as spam on a computer near you.