Galveston business owners accuse city marshal of citing them for violating ordinances that don't exist

The business owners tell FOX 26, the bulk of the violations is due to golf carts.

"I won't lie to you, I'm afraid. This is a guy with a gun, and he's a bully and I don't know what's going to happen next," said Bert Dagnon, manager of Saltwater Gift Shop.

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Back in 2020, Dagnon says he took the tickets Galveston City Marshall Butch Stroud wrote him to court.

"I went to court on the pretrial date, described what happened to the prosecutor, and he immediately dismissed the ticket," he said.

Since then, Dagnon says Stroud has harassed him with more code violations.

"The bigger problem is not the citations because those you can go fight," Dagnon said. "But it's when he shows up and storms in here with his hand on his gun, and he tells your employees they have to do this or they have to do that."

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"That's false. I enforce the ordinances equally to everyone," said Galveston City Marshall Butch Stroud.

"Literally him coming up, positioning his hand on his gun. He's got a bulletproof vest on. It's intimidating, and he's threatened me specifically. I have this documented as he will come every day and ticket me for the exact same thing," said Tiffany Gibson, co-owner of Beach'in Rides.

Gibson says Stroud's interpretation of the law varies from day to day.

"We are following the laws. We are following the ordinances, we read the ordinances. I know what's there. But basically, at this point, I'm following 'Butch's law,'" she said.

"I'm not sure why they call it 'Butch's law,' I don't have an answer for that?" Stroud said.

"A lot of people are intimidated to say anything. They're scared to say anything but I'm standing up for my rights," said Jason Reuter, owner of Aunt Margie's Bait Camp and Darlene's Shrimp Shack.

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In one video, Reuter is getting arrested for driving a golf cart without a permit.

"He didn't have a driver's license. I asked him to exit the golf cart, and he didn't want to comply, so we had to physically restrain him when he began to fight us," Stroud said.

"For law enforcement to do that for a golf cart permit, and for me asking a question, that's just not right," Reuter said.

While these business owners accuse Stroud of making up laws, Stroud said he's just doing his job.

"They have no reason to be intimidated by me," Stroud said. "I've got a job to do, and I do my job as fairly as anyone can do a job like this."