Ex-alderwoman Huth seeks order of protection against Gerard

CHAMPAIGN— A former Urbana alderwoman is asking the Champaign County Circuit Court for an order of protection against Champaign Mayor Don Gerard.

On Thursday, Laura Huth filed a petition asking for an emergency stalking no contact order against Gerard, accusing him of bullying her, threatening the use of taxpayer resources to intimidate her from collecting money she says Gerard owes her, and causing her "to suffer emotional distress, mental suffering, anxiety and alarm."

Huth is asking that Gerard have no contact with her and remain at least 100 yards from her home and her place of business, Do Good Consulting, 201 W. Green St., U.

While Judge Arnold Blockman denied the emergency stalking no contact order on Friday, a hearing on the petition was set for Nov. 13.

"This is a personal dispute between two people who used to date and broke up," said Champaign attorney Bruce Ratcliffe, who spoke to The News-Gazette on Gerard's behalf.

"Don absolutely denies all the allegations. He hasn't done anything along those lines. They had a previous business relationship, but that is in dispute. I'm not really sure what her motivation is."

According to Huth's petition, Gerard and Huth were involved in a relationship between April 2011 and July 2012, with Gerard providing Huth with the keys to his home and car, and Huth keeping furniture, clothing and other possessions at the mayor's home on West Green Street in Champaign.

After the relationship ended, Huth said, Gerard made disparaging remarks about her, causing mental suffering and leading her to lose about 20 pounds.

Huth also accuses Gerard of suggesting that she harm herself and commit suicide, so he could avoid paying money that Huth alleges he owes her company for professional consulting services for his campaign committee, Friends of Don Gerard.

According to court documents, after Huth removed her furnishings and possessions from Gerard's home on July 30, Gerard sent her a text message stating, "House ransacked, items missing. Calling police." A screenshot of the text message is included in the court file.

The Champaign Police Department told The News-Gazette on Friday night that it has no records of any burglaries in the 1400 block of West Green Street on July 30.

When Huth continued to ask Gerard to pay the money for consulting work, Gerard allegedly sent a voice mail threatening to cut off Huth's phone, used for her business:

"I will make sure to reach out personally and contact all of your clients and let them know why you don't have a phone and the circumstances as such."

The court file also includes a transcript of a voice mail in which Gerard allegedly said, "You might want to call (Champaign City Attorney) Fred Stavins because apparently it's a prosecutable offense to use an elected official's image for profit."

Huth said Gerard threatened "the use of taxpayer resources to intimidate" her from collecting the money he owes her.

Huth said Gerard sent her a voice mail on Sept. 13 threatening to press burglary charges against her and sent her an email on Oct. 16, inviting her to attend the Champaign-Urbana Community Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The event took place last weekend at Crystal Lake Park.

Huth said she has been seeing a counselor as a result of Gerard's actions.

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