Mayor, ex-girlfriend's lawyers say talks at impasse
URBANA — Lawyers for Champaign Mayor Don Gerard and his ex-girlfriend, Laura Huth, who has asked a judge for an order of protection, made it clear during a hearing on Wednesday that there has been little information exchanged between the two parties and efforts toward a settlement have stagnated.
The two lawyers were in the Champaign County Courthouse on Wednesday before Judge Holly Clemons. Bruce Ratcliffe, Gerard's attorney, has asked for a new judge in the proceedings just a few weeks after Clemons dismissed another request for a no-contact order against the mayor.
In that case, where Champaign musician Jim Bean alleged that Gerard harassed him in a park, Clemons found that the one incident did not meet the pattern of harassment required before she can issue a no-contact order. But in her dismissal, she commented that Gerard was "guilty of poor judgment and ill-advised behaviors" and probably has "anger control issues."
The case is next scheduled for a hearing on Gerard's request for a new judge on June 18.
In the meantime, lawyers for both sides say there has been little cooperation between the two parties, and neither has made a good faith effort toward a settlement.
Huth, a former Urbana City Council member and president of do good Consulting for Non-Profits, has asked for an order of protection and claims that Gerard harassed her both personally and professionally following their breakup in July 2012. Gerard denies claims of harassment.
Michael Antoline, Huth's attorney, said on Wednesday that all they want is an apology and for Gerard to sign a binding contract agreeing to leave Huth and her business alone.
Antoline said he extended that offer to Ratcliffe weeks ago.
"We received absolutely no response, no comment, no suggestion of rewording," Antoline said.
He claimed that Ratcliffe's request for a new judge is an attempt to bring the case to a "grinding halt."
Huth also has a $3,233.75 claim pending against Gerard, with whom she had a personal relationship between April 2011 and July 2012. She says Gerard owes her money for consulting work she did for him.
Ratcliffe said Huth and Antoline will not budge on that figure, and Gerard did write a letter of apology to Huth.
Reading from that letter, Ratcliffe said Gerard wrote to Huth that "change is never easy, and I regret now if I caused you pain."
Gerard also wrote that it was "never my intent to cause harm," and he plans to be "far more prudent" in the future while discussing their personal relationship.
Ratcliffe said it was not received well by Huth's attorney.
"They rejected that, wanted more," Ratcliffe said.