Ex-husband of Meijer scion gets 12 years for blackmail

The Detroit News
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The ex-husband of a scion of the Meijer family has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for trying to blackmail the family by posting intimate photos online.


James Casbolt, who was married to Haley Meijer, tried to extort $3.1 million from the family whose supermarket chain carries their name.

Casbolt, 38, of Cornwall, England, was sentenced Tuesday in a British court, according to British media reports.

He was angry at Meijer after the end of their two-year marriage in 2013, according to trial testimony.

He took explicit photos that Meijer had sent him during their marriage and posted them on a pornographic website last year, the Daily Mail.com reported.

He said he would stop posting the pictures if she gave him the money.

“If my terms are not met, I can tickle the public interest for years, until the Meijers are so infamous in the world they will not be able to walk down the streets safely,” he wrote to her in an email.

He pleaded guilty to blackmail, stalking and sending threatening and offensive messages.

A spokesman for the supermarket chain declined to comment.


The couple met through Facebook in 2009 and met face to face the following year, according to testimony.

They got married in 2011 against the wishes of Meijer’s father, Hank, who is chief executive of Meijer Inc., according to testimony. They signed a prenuptial agreement that gave Casbolt $72,000.

The couple first lived at Casbolt’s mother’s home in England, and then in Michigan. After moving to the U.S., Casbolt joined the U.S. Army and was based in Texas. It was during that time that Meijer had sent intimate photos.

The marriage soured after Casbolt became violent, according to trial testimony.

Casbolt moved back to England and the separation turned increasingly bitter as he wasn’t able to see the couple’s son.

“He told her he would dedicate his life to destroying her,” prosecutor Philip Lee told the judge.

In 2014, Meijer obtained a restraining order to stop Casbolt from continuing to send threatening emails, but the messages continued, and later that year, he posted the explicit photos online.

She got the photos removed but not before thousands of people had viewed them, said Lee.

Hank Meijer and his brother, Doug, co-chairman of the grocery chain, were named the richest people in Michigan this year by Forbes, which tabbed their wealth at $10.7 billion.

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