Toke of the Town blogger Steve Elliott was arrested and charged with Assault 4 - DV (shorthand for misdemeanor assault in the fourth degree for domestic violence), and booked at 8 pm at Kitsap County Jail in Washington on Jan. 14. He was released on $5,000 bond on Jan. 16. (Kitsap County is across the Puget Sound, west of Seattle.)
Journalist Sharon Letts was at Elliott's house in Kingston one day prior to the incident. She tells CelebStoner that Elliott had recently split up with his wife of 10 years, Viki, after having an affair with an activist named Maggie Slighte (nee Margaret Wawrinofsky). Viki moved out of their apartment in mid-November and on Dec. 1, Slighte moved in. "He cheated on his wife," says Letts. "It became a fatal attraction.After the second week he knew he was in trouble and began asking her to leave. In the police report, Maggie said he shoved her. I think she's lying. She told me he never laid a hand on her when they fought - that he was not physically abusive."
Slighte begs to differ. She tells CelebStoner that Elliot began pushing her around soon after she moved into his apartment. The argument which became a physical leading to Slighte's 911 call was sparked by a Facebook post Elliott didn't like, she says. They had met online last year, sending each other, Slighte estimates, 35,000 messages.
"It became a fatal attraction.After the second week he knew he was in trouble and began asking her to leave. In the police report, Maggie said he shoved her. I think she's lying. She told me he never laid a hand on her when they fought - that he was not physically abusive."
Here's Slighte's account of her confrontation with Elliot on Jan. 14: "At about 1 pm he came in our room, where I was laying down, yelling at me about a Facebook post where I had stated that I was going to move on down the road. Then he grabbed my phone from my hands. At that point, I got up, and he shoved me backwards. Then he went back into his office. I went into the living room, feeling powerless due to my phone being taken from me, and after he shoved me backwards (he did that the first time on Dec. 24) I was scared for my safety, so I went for the home phone and dialed 911. He grabbed the phone from my hands and hung it up. They called back, of course. While he was handling the call back, I got my phone from where he had laid it, and went into the bedroom, locking the door behind me. Then I redialed 911. Everything that came next was caught on tape. He knew they were coming and he got VERY upset. Busted open the bedroom door, pushed me onto the bed and while on top of me with all his weight, began yelling directly into my right ear. My PTSD is going insane right now. I loved him with all my heart and soul. I don't understand the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde that I moved in with."
Slighte says when the police came the apartment was strewn with pot and paraphernalia. Elliot, who suffers from Asperger's, told them that he and Slighte are both patients. "They really couldn't care less," she says. "It's ironic. The law we fought so hard not to pass ended up helping us out."
Before Slighte, Elliot had a six-month relationship with Shari Goen, all the while still married to Viki. She says he told her "the usual divorce lies. He found his live-in now (Slighte) would let him have his cake and eat it too. His wife dealt with it for a short while after I told her everything. I guess she grew tired of it in November." Goen says Elliott never physically abused her.
Elliott was previously arrested in 2005, when during a fight with gang members in Los Angeles, he assaulted a 17-year-old with a broken beer bottle. Elliott spent a year in county jail. He finished probation in November.
The 52-year-old Alabama native has exhibited a brash style during his three years at the helm of Toke of the Town, which is owned by Village Voice Media Holdings. Elliott regularly attacks readers (and even one well-known marijuana reform leader) with obscenity-laced comments. His growing reputation took a hit when he opposed legalizing marijuana in Washington.
Letts, who lives in Humboldt County and writes for Toke of the Town, High Times and Skunk, says Elliott is "quiet, private, soft-spoken. He has some hostility issues, but he's not stupid."
Updates: On Jan. 18, Elliott was fired by Village Voice Media.
On Feb. 12, Elliott was arrested again for violating the terms of his release.
Slighte tells CelebStoner: "He was notified at his pre-trial hearing that he had violated the conditions of his release. (He subscribed to a new YouTube account of mine 10 days ago, notifying me that he was still stalking me, in violation of the order of protection.) He was rearrested, then released on bail. I hesitated to report the violation, as I was not interested in the energy of his followers having something additional to come after me for, but the prosecuting attorney requested that I report it to law enforcement.
Goen adds: "It took me MONTHS to get him to stop liking, commenting or trying to contact me. And still, about a month ago, he tried to contact me again. He needs help. Some people never learn."