Roof-bound Ravens fan a deadbeat, ex-wife says

The Baltimore Sun

With each interview that her former husband gave to television and newspapers about his obsession with the Baltimore Ravens, Kelly Stach's frustration grew.

For more than two weeks, the Dundalk woman stood on the sidelines as Ronald Stach - dubbed the "Goof on the Roof" - became a celebrity for camping out atop a Southeast Baltimore bar until the hometown football team snapped its losing streak.

Kelly Stach was determined to expose her former husband, a part-time construction worker, whom she calls a deadbeat dad.

"I just think it's horrible that everyone out there thought he was this great supporter of the Ravens, and he hasn't supported his own kid in the last 18 years," Kelly Stach said in an interview yesterday.

On Wednesday, Kelly Stach said, she called Baltimore police to let them know that her former husband was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court in connection with a child support case, in which court documents say he owes her $34,465. That figure is as of 2004, and Kelly Stach said the amount now is about $43,000.

Police didn't find the 41-year-old Stach on the roof - he came down on Christmas Day for unexplained reasons, according to the bar's owner - but arrested him at a house in Southeast Baltimore.

Police turned Stach over to Baltimore County police, who then handed him over to the county sheriff's department, which served the warrant on him, authorities said. Bail was set yesterday at $42,065, and he was expected to have a bail review today, according to a Baltimore County Detention Center official.

Stach perched on the roof of Canton Station at Conking and O'Donnell streets on Dec. 11, saying he was frustrated with the Ravens' losing ways. He quickly became a novelty in a city whose football team remains trapped in a spell of defeats.

He vowed to not come down until either the Ravens won a game, or coach Brian Billick got fired. Neither has happened yet.

Bar staff and others visited him, took pictures with him and drank with him. The bar owner, Darren Petty, set him up with a tent, two heaters, five meals a day and all the beer he could drink.

"I tell you what: Any goof who wants to go on this roof, we're going to do a background check from now on," Petty said after learning about the charges yesterday.

Petty said he grew up with Stach in Highlandtown and knew him from the neighborhood.

Petty said he had no idea that Stach had had trouble with his former wife over child support payments. He was surprised to learn yesterday that Stach spelled his name differently than the way the media had published it - as "Stack."

Kelly Stach said she thought the misspelling was to deter reporters and others from reviewing his court record on the Internet.

Stach's presence was a publicity boon for the bar. Petty became accustomed to the sight of television reporters traipsing up to the roof with video cameras and microphones to hear Stach pontificate about the Ravens. A television news crew came from as far as Texas to interview Stach, he said.

"I'm trying to drum up support because a lot of fans are ticked off right now," Stach told a Sun reporter in mid-December.

Petty said he knew that Stach had a teenage son with another woman, but he didn't know about the 18-year-old son he had with Kelly Stach. He said the younger son - and his mother - had come by the bar on several occasions to spend time with Stach on the roof, with no problems.

Petty said he was saddened by Stach's arrest and said Kelly Stach had called him on Wednesday to question him about her former husband.

After speaking with her, he said he called Stach and asked him about the allegations, which he said Stach denied.

"He said, 'Darren, if I was in trouble, I'd never sit up on the roof and have all this media attention,'" Petty said.

"He was probably getting treated up there better than he is now," Petty added. "He got five square meals up there. At the jail, he's probably only getting three."

Kelly Clayton married Ronald Stach in 1990, and they had a son together, she said. They split up when their son was about 7 months old. She said she left him because he refused to work. Warrants for his arrest had been issued three times in the 1990s, charging him with failing to show up in court for hearings on child support payments, Baltimore County court records show. He was sentenced to six months in jail in 1996 for contempt of court, records show.

The latest warrant was issued June 6, the records show. Warrants were also issued for him the previous two years charging him with owing another woman roughly $12,000 in child support payments for their 14-year-old son.

Kelly Stach said her son, who is now 18, is attending college full-time now, and has "huge, huge, huge" expenses.

That's why when she saw her former husband talking about how he had spent $500 on Ravens memorabilia and clothing, she said to herself in frustration: "He can pay all that money for Ravens stuff, but he can't pay $50 a week for child support?"

Sun reporter Julie Scharper contributed to this article.

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