KINGMAN – From the onset of his current election campaign, mayoral candidate Les Byram has vowed to fight developers. On Monday, Byram’s war of words became a literal fistfight.
According to a Kingman Police report, Byram and former developer, Charles Orr, exchanged punches Monday morning in the parking lot of the Silver Spoon Restaurant at the 2000 block of E. Andy Devine Avenue.
According to Kingman Police Officer Dave Reif, Byram said the incident was not a big deal but wanted it reported.
Orr said he was leaving the restaurant around 10:30 a.m. when he confronted Byram.
According to Byram’s account to police, Orr criticized his campaign and former performance as mayor. Byram walked away after exchanging words and sat in his truck.
Byram told the Miner that Orr called him a “lying so-and-so.” He then told Orr that he wasn’t going to discuss the matter and Orr hit him on the left side of the head, Byram said.
Reif said Byram stood up and simultaneously pushed and hit Orr, causing him to stumble backward and fall down.
“It was over in a matter of seconds. I think he regrets it,” Byram said.
Orr drove off at that point and Byram went into the restaurant. After he calmed down, Byram drove to the Kingman Police Department to report the incident.
Orr denied that account to police. Orr told police that Byram struck him several times in the back of the head and that the confrontation began over a friend of his, Jack Kessler, a former city employee. According to Reif, Orr said Kessler was forced to resign during Byram’s administration over an alleged harassment incident. On Tuesday, Orr told the Miner that Kessler retired for medical reasons.
Orr said his confrontation with Byram was a “gross misunderstanding.”
“There was nothing mentioned about the campaign or what I thought of him as mayor,” he said. “It was a certain individual who is a very good friend of mine.”
Orr retired as a general contractor but has two sons that run a building development company. Orr said that he and Byram were never very close, but over the years, had “drifted way apart.”
“It was one of those that happened,” he said. “But then we went our separate ways again.” No charges have been filed and Reif said the investigation is finished.
Miner Reporter Lorin McLain contributed to this story.