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Root beer heirs battle over finances

A Mississippi family famous for its role in Gulf Coast soft drink history is now involved in a $1 million legal battle.

Lou Ella Barq claims in a lawsuit that she is in financial straits because her son and his wife siphoned off more than $1 million she inherited from her husband. She is the widow of William Adolph Barq, the third and final family president of Barq’s root beer — now owned by the Coca-Cola Company. The lawsuit, filed in Mississippi Chancery Court, is detailed in a story in The Sun Herald.

A chancery court judge last month temporarily froze the assets of her son, Barry Barq, and his wife, Veronika Barq. The couple filed papers denying any wrongdoing and objecting to having their assets frozen.

Lou Ella Barq, 90, claims her son used a power of attorney she granted him after her husband’s death to gain access to her assets and take almost $1.3 million from her. She wants the couple to repay almost $1.5 million, which includes income from interest lost as the principal was depleted, the lawsuit says.

Barry Barq says he has “clean hands” in the management of his mother’s finances and took on the responsibility at her request.

The Barqs have been very much a part of the Biloxi business and social scene since Edward C. Barq Sr. moved to the city in 1897 and bottled his first Barq’s.

The great-grandson of Barq’s founder, Barry Barq was king of the Mardi Gras Krewe of Neptune in 2014 and commodore of the Biloxi Yacht Club in 2013.

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