Lafayette board pursues legal action against clockmaker

OXFORD – Lafayette County supervisors voted last week to pursue court action against Lloyd Larish, the Minnesota clockmaker who was supposed to have completed repairs on the courthouse clock nearly three years ago.
Board of Supervisors Attorney David O’Donnell has tried repeatedly – and unsuccessfully – to contact Larish in recent weeks by phone, after the latest in a succession of deadlines set by the board came and went. O’Donnell had warned Larish in a recent letter that the board was ready to sue him to recover the parts that he took to his Minnesota workshop.
“We have not heard one thing from him,” said Board President Lloyd Oliphant. “Larish had quit taking phone calls from anyone from Lafayette County.”
The repair job was to have restored the four-faced clock that reportedly had been in the courthouse since the building’s construction in 1872. The current courthouse was built to replace the one destroyed during the Civil War when Union Gen. A. J. “Whisky” Smith’s troops set fire to much of Oxford.
Oliphant said the previous board, three of whose members who left office in 2008, contracted directly with the House of Clocks, Larish’s business and that their agreement was never part of the overall renovation contract.
“The architect, Howorth Associates, and Panola Construction had absolutely nothing to do with this situation,” Oliphant said.
Supervisors recently have visited with clock repair experts from Atlanta and the Jackson area about overseeing the repairs if sufficient parts are recovered.
Board members have said, though, that they are willing to sacrifice historical accuracy for a new clock that keeps accurate time if renovating the original clock cannot be completed soon.
“We all want the clock working again,” said District Five Supervisor Ray Sockwell Jr. “It’s time to move forward.”

Errol Castens / Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

Click video to hear audio