Mayor, ex-girlfriend's lawyers say talks at impasse

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.

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rsp wrote on June 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

I was shocked by the judge's remarks when I read them the first time. She was assuming things without evidence and then to remark on someone's character based on that is so unprofessional. I wouldn't want Clemons on there either. 

ames wrote on June 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm

With all due respect rsp, one does not become a judge by making assumptions. 

rsp wrote on June 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm

The case I have before her she spends all her time wondering out loud what she should do. She is literally waiting for someone to tell her. 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on June 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm
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That's what judges do. They take pleadings from parties. They hear motions from parties.  In family law court, it's a lot like being a mediator.



rsp wrote on June 13, 2013 at 11:06 pm

What if there isn't any mediating, all parties are in agreement, and the judge still isn't sure what she should do? Why should I have to pay for a lawyer and waste time going back and forth trying to get something done that she is uneducated about? Isn't that her responsibility? Isn't she supposed to have some familiarity with the laws?

selguy wrote on June 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Do you think Judge Clemons would be more effecive as a judge if she did not wear tennis shoes undrneath her robe ??

Trapper wrote on June 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

And you folks voted out a good mayor for this CLOWN! What a joke. YOU deserve all this mayor brings you!

mark taylor's ghost wrote on June 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

The conspiracy theorist national embarrassment was in no way preferable.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on June 13, 2013 at 10:06 am
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Good lord, they're still fighting about this?  Time to start taking bets to see if their petty court battle lasts longer than their relationship did.....

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 13, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Actually, Laura did accept the letter of apology from Gerard. The mayor is refusing to sign the agreement agreeing to leave her alone. This is not a lovers spat. When Laura broke it off with Gerard he took it upon himself to harass her and contact her clients. Gerard also contacted the employer of an individual who showed support for Laura on facebook, and it shows what kind of vindictive person he really can be.

Now, if this side of Gerard had come out during the election, we would be stuck with the clown that preceded him in office. Instead we just exchanged one village idiot for another. It's probably a good thing that Champaign runs under a city manager, and that Don's power is limited.

Below I've pasted what Laura has posted on facebook regarding this story.....

Today’s story in the News-Gazette regarding my court-related issues with Don Gerard may have left readers with the impression that I rejected Don's letter of apology. That is not true. Considering my treatment by Don in the past year, I had my attorney inform Don’s attorney that to settle 2 things were needed: a letter of apology AND a binding settlement agreement. This was my stated position from the very beginning. Based on Don's past behavior, I need a legally enforceable settlement agreement or a court order requiring him to stop. That is why I am in court today.

The letter of apology was received AND I accepted. Don’s attorney was informed of that fact. We then provided a settlement agreement that required Don to agree to stop attacking me personally and professionally, to disavow his ridiculous allegations of criminal conduct against me, and finally to pay moneys owed. All this agreement called for was for him to stop doing what he has been doing to me and do what he was legally obligated to do.

Don refused to enter into this agreement or to negotiate from it. I can only conclude that by refusing enter into a binding agreement to stop, he wants the freedom to continue in this behavior that is destroying my personal and professional life. This is why I feel I need a binding agreement from him or an order from the court telling him to stop.

While a letter of apology was received and accepted, it does not carry with it a binding way to enforce that Don keep his pledge to stop attacking me and my business. Case in point: I was contacted this weekend by a friend who wrote a public statement of support for me on my Friday Facebook post. In turn, Don contacted one of her superiors with threats regarding her position for simply saying something nice to me publicly on Facebook. I hardly call that being ‘"far more prudent" in the future’ as he promised in his letter of apology, when just 5 days ago Don was caught, in writing, threatening my friend for their friendship with me.

Don’s behavior will not change. He cannot self-regulate and as such, I need a binding agreement or a court order.


read the DI wrote on June 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Sounds like Huth is the one with anger management issues. She wants not only to publicly shame her ex, she wants to dictate what he can and can't say to third parties. Sorry, for a stupid little breakup, that's excessive.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 13, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I've read the court records and have seen the emails and transcripts of the messages that Don left after the breakup. He deliberately contacted her clients and has tried to ruin her professionally. Later, he tried to have James Bean arrested and made false allegations against him publically. When that case went to court, a park district employee testified that Don was the aggressor in that conflict. In the police report that was filed, it was revealed that the officer who responded to the call that Don made also recommended that Bean file an order of protection against the mayor. It's pretty bad when even members of law enforcement finds the mayors actions to be childish and ridiculous. I got the copy of the actual police report via FOIA and I have a copy of the court records that pertain to the Huth case. 

I think any person has the right to criticize the mayor and not be concerned that he will retaliate by contacting that individuals employer. I know of two people who Don tried to get his own brand of revenge against by trying to interfere with their volunteer work and jobs. Putting it another way, no one is calling Don's boss at the university and trying to have him fired for what he posts on social media sites. The only person who is shaming Don is himself, and he is accomplishing that through his own actions. Schweighart was stupid enough to allow his idiocy to be captured on video, and Gerard's stupidity has been captured in emails, voice mail, and text messages. At least Huth was willing to settle out of court, and it's Gerard and his attorney who keep dragging this case out. My guess is they are hoping that Huth and her attorney will give up and throw in the towel. 


rsp wrote on June 13, 2013 at 11:06 pm

It's pretty routine for the police to advice people to seek an order of protection if there are any allegations by either party of ongoing problems. To suggest that means they think someone is childish is silly. You aren't a mindreader and I doubt they wrote any such thing in their report. 

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 14, 2013 at 1:06 am

The officer did describe the incident at the park as 'childish' and referred to Don's behavior as being 'ridiculous', and it's in the police report. I put in a FOIA request and got a copy of the actual police report. If I had the talent to be a mindreader, I would certainly have found some way to have utlized that in my career choices :D

What is silly is defending a public official who has used his office to abuse his former girlfriend, try to have another person arrested, and who has called the employers and volunteer collegues of individuals who have either criticized him or shown support for his former girlfriend. If this had happened to your sister, your daughter, or your mother, would you be so quick to jump to his defense?

Furthermore, Laura chose to remain silent about what has gone down, and only recently chose to disclose on facebook the strain that this situation has caused her. I made the decision to paste her last comment here, because the article implied that she wasn't willing to accept the letter of apology. Also, the readers have been very quick to judge her and treat Don like he is the poor little victim here. Seriously, if anyone actually bothered to look at the court filings, they would see a specific pattern of conduct that is not becoming in an elected official. 

Meanwhile, we have a mayor who lied to the media when he claimed to WCIA last October that he had not been in contact with Laura for three months. The voice mail transcripts, the text messages, and the emails show that he lied. When Bean filed his court case, Don also told the News-Gazette that Bean was a 'sociopath' and that local law enforcement was investigating him. Once again, that is not true. You may choose to criticize Laura for speaking up on her facebook page, and you are welcome to criticize me for making the decision to paste her comments here. However, I think it's only fair to hold the mayor accountable for the lies he has been telling since this situation came about. I believe the residents of Champaign deserve much better behavior from their elected officials. 

I have a friend who is a very strong supporter of the mayor, and that is because he helped her out when she needed it. I can also respect the fact that he has done some positive things for the community, and I do understand why there are some people who will support him because of some of the positive things they have seen. That being said, as another friend of mine pointed out, a person can do many good things, but that doesn't give the individual a free ticket to engage in reprehensible behavior. 


read the DI wrote on June 14, 2013 at 11:06 am

Seems like Gerard should ask for the restraining order. Against you. Stalk much?

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I've commented on the court case and based my opinions on factual information. By asking me if I'm a stalker, you are basically choosing to attack my character, instead of using facts to make an argument.

Gerard is not a private citizen, he is an elected official, and should be held accountable for how he has chosen to conduct himself. He has used his office to both harass his former girlfriend, and to interfere with her professionally. The court records clearly outline this, and I have the right as a constituent to be critical of his actions. I am aware of two incidents where Gerard has targeted his critics and he abused his office in his attempts to retaliate. His behavior is beyond the pale.

Gerards conduct is something that can't be defended. This may be why his 'supporters' have resorted to petty character attacks.

rsp wrote on June 13, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Did she ask you to fan the flames for her? Make sure to get her message out there that  she's not the one trying to cause any trouble by posting anything? Oh, wait a minute, she is posting about the case. That's usually seen as a big no no. 

Bulldogmojo wrote on June 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Gerard and his jugheaded lawyer need to both go away and stop repeatedly wasting the court's time with his inability to control his behavior. Gerard should conduct himself like someone holding the position of mayor is expected to.

rsp wrote on June 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

He didn't file these cases and so far the rulings have been on his side. So are you saying he shouldn't defend himself in court? Just not show up?

C in Champaign wrote on June 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Sounds like the Mayor could put all of this behind him if he would simply agree to not talk to her, or about her, and pay her what she says he owes her. It would probably cost him less in the long run than the fees he is paying his attorney, and he wouldn't have to worry about his dirty laundry being aired in public every few weeks for the foreseeable future.

C-U Townie wrote on June 15, 2013 at 1:06 am


Laura is a big girl. She can post responses on the N-G website just like anyone else. Defending her seems a bit high school-ish. And the extent to which you continue to amp  up the negativity of the situation is borderline obsessive. You lose credibility the more you harp on things. The more you repeat yourself. You haven't shared new information, outside of Laura's Facebook post. When you lose credibility because you come off sounding obsessed with making the mayor look bad to others you aren't helping your friend in her quest to prove her side.

There is a tactful way to argue your case. And for her to argue hers... hence why she hasn't been on the N-G site or on her Facebook page inundating the public with post after post trying to bad mouth Don. If you say that he's the one who's shaming himself then you don't need to do anything else. He'll garner all the negative publicity on his own. In regard to Jim Bean, again he didn't make himself look good for the very same reasons you aren't making yourself look good.

A friend of mine who is friends with Jim Bean through Facebook said that Jim Bean posted EVERY single day about the situation with Don Gerard. If he has to talk about it that much people may get sick of hearing about it or will question the validity of his story. Otherwise why would he need to talk about it non-stop? Being a broken record doesn't help anyone's case. It makes him look obsessed, too. 

This, sadly, is like a bad reality tv show. People are tired of hearing about it. Don may be removed soon enough if any one of the others who plan to run against him for the position of mayor end up winning. Hopefully we'll get some reprieve from this story before then... and won't have to hear about anymore stories that are attached to him. 

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 15, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Most of the comments that I have posted in regards to this story, have been in response to what other people have posted to me. My posting patterns reflect that, and it occurred to me that if I chose to not respond that it may come across as being either cowardly or rude. If you don't want me to respond to your posts, then don't direct any comments towards me. Of course, I can also choose to not respond to anyone who responds to my original posts. So, I guess that I'm left with two choices. One is to respond to the people who choose to post comments towards me, and be accused of being obsessive. The second choice is to not respond, and be accused of being a coward or of being rude.

I also try to be direct in my writing style because I'm aware that body language, vocal tones, and facial expressions aren't something that can be recorded. I don't beat around the bush, and at least people know where I stand on a given issue. I've also posted on other topics published by the News-Gazette, so it's not as if I'm only concerned about the current story. I also take into consideration that most of the people who post here hide behind anonymous handles and I respond accordingly. I have no idea if I'm talking to a mature adult, or someone who needs to have things spelled out clearly.

One of the reasons why people perceive this to be a lovers spat, or comparable to a bad reality show, is because the local media hasn't bothered to do anything more than surface reporting. The one thing that I've said several times is that our mayor has shown a pattern of abusing his office to bully private citizens, and the people of Champaign deserve better. As a constituent, I have the right to criticize my elected officials and public servants and the US Supreme Court has ruled that public figures don't have the same libel protections that are given to private citizens. If the writers at the News-Gazette and other media outlets really wanted to do some real investigating, they can take the statements that the mayor has made, match it up to the court records, and prove that he has been lying to the people.

For anyone who is friends of the mayor here is some free advice for him. Just sign the binding settlement agreement that Laura wants. All Don needs to do is sign the dotted line and then this story will go away. Both Don, and his attorney, are the ones responsible for dragging this story out. From a public relations standpoint, Don can simply say that he chose to sign the paperwork, so that he can better focus on representing the people of Champaign.

rsp wrote on June 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Legal documents have legal ramifications. He's following the advice of his lawyer who understands the consequences of signing what amounts to a substitute "no contact order" in place of the one that the judge hasn't felt was necessary. It's not a PR issue. Free advice is worth what you pay for it.

Nobody else is so caught up in this case except you. You spent money to get copies of everything and you've been researching everything looking into what you could find out and then posting it. Maybe you should step back and ask yourself why. It's not your job, so why? 

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 16, 2013 at 2:06 am

Hi rsp:  I haven't spent any money in doing my research, and it hasn't been a particularly time consuming process. It's pretty amazing what an individual can accomplish with a few well placed emails. The information that I have shared is something that can be also be found through making FOIA requests and I have referenced using FOIA in my research.

It really was the filing of the second case that motivated me to go back and research the first case and that is when I found out much of the information that I chose to share. Don has the right to due process in the court systems, and I have never said that he should go to court without representation. One order of protection in the system can be seen as a negative, but having a second court filing, by another individual is a red flag.

Many of his friends and supporters who have taken to commenting on this, have done so without knowing the facts, and by engaging in character attacks. If you really want to look at my posts, you will find that most of what I have posted about the case has often been in response to other individuals like yourself. If you don't care for what I have to say, then don't read it.

You seem to make a great deal of assumptions in regards to my own actions, yet you don't know how I have obtained my information. For the record: Part of what I found out came from the city of Champaign (FOIA), and my other sources I will not disclose. Having a media related background comes in really handy for doing a little detective work. FOIA requests can be emailed directly to the city of Champaign.

Let me ask you these questions: Are you Gerards legal representative? Have you spoken to his attorney? Have you even bothered to read anything outside of the News-Gazette? You've made a certain amount of noise about the legal system, so are you an expert on the law? Since you seem comfortable in questioning my actions think it's only fair that I respond in kind. Perhaps you and other individuals really need to ask yourselves why are you continuing to support a public official who has used his office to bully and harass people?

When I looked at the police report in the second case, I was doing so to make absolutely sure that what James Bean had shared matched up with what he had chosen to share publicly. I didn't want to put myself in the position of defending a friend, only to find the documentation didn't jibe with the story. That would have been grossly unfair to both men.

I'm also a firm believer in doing what my conscious tells me what is fair and what is right. I protested the death of Kiwane Carrington, even though that stance resulted in people believing that I hate the police. I've publicly advocated for a review of the use of force policy and requiring members of law enforcement to live in the communities that they swear to protect and serve. Personally, I don't envy what members of law enforcement deal with on a daily basis, and I have a lot of respect for what they go through. That being said, I also know that my opinions haven't always been popular or well received in regards to where that subject matter is concerned. I guess that if I saw my job to include being popular and well liked, then I'm in real trouble here.

There are limits in terms of what people can do in regards to politicians who work on the state or federal levels, but our local representatives are the people we should be able to approach and engage on a one on one basis. When anyone in that situation can't handle criticism, or have his girlfriend break it off with him without using his perceived power to engage in petty acts of revenge, then I think members of the community have the right to question this. When any public official uses his position to bully and harass people, that strikes me as being fundamentally unfair and unjust. What I'm doing is standing up for what I believe in, and if people want to call me crazy and obsessed, then so be it. I have a lot of respect for the late Martin Luther King Jr, and he once said that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


rsp wrote on June 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Is there any city investigation against the mayor? Any criminal investigation? Because over and over you are accusing him of basically committing a crime. You post pages on here and if anyone opposes you they are a supporter or a friend of the mayor. I've never met him. You now are talking about being on a crusade for justice, to make everything right in the world. Just for the record, he doesn't have any op orders against him. Never has had any. Anyone can file against anyone, even just to harrass or embarrass.

read the DI wrote on June 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Marti, your entire essay -- and it is an essay -- is one big character attack.

I don't know Gerard from a hole in the wall, but anytime the guy is mentioned, yo come out of the woodwork and detail what you consider to be every last transgression. We get the point  -- you think he has anger management issues. Guess what? These are personal relationship issues, and no one else cares. So if you want to lay into his character, don't whine when people lay into yours.

I'd suggest you leave the reporting to the reporters, and concentrate on, oh, I don't know, whether Kanye was cheating on Kim while she was in labor.

read the DI wrote on June 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Marti, your entire essay -- and it is an essay -- is one big character attack.

I don't know Gerard from a hole in the wall, but anytime the guy is mentioned, yo come out of the woodwork and detail what you consider to be every last transgression. We get the point  -- you think he has anger management issues. Guess what? These are personal relationship issues, and no one else cares. So if you want to lay into his character, don't whine when people lay into yours.

I'd suggest you leave the reporting to the reporters, and concentrate on, oh, I don't know, whether Kanye was cheating on Kim while she was in labor.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm

As I have stated before, most of my posts about the mayor have usually been in response to other folks. He is a public figure and anyone can post a paragragh and an entire essay criticizing his actions and his character. I'm actually a very quick writer, and it doesn't take a great deal of time or effort for me to produce the essay's you have referred to. That's one of the benefits (or drawbacks) to journalism training.

What I choose to post may not be popular speech, but it's protected speech. I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. I know that I put myself in a position where I will take a lot of heat for what I post, and I'm willing to put myself out there. I've done that with local civil rights issues and other topics. As I stated in my response to rsp, if being well liked or popular was something I considered to be my job, then I would be in big trouble.

However, I do hope that Gerard does not take it upon himself to try to file restraining orders against anyone who criticizes him publicly, and I doubt that he is that stupid. I think the ACLU might have an issue with a poltician who uses domestic laws to kill the speech of his/her critics. It's bad enough that I have had people tell me that he is contacting the employers and volunteer organizations of his critics to try to hurt them. That is where his anger management issues have also spilled over into his abusing his position as mayor.

I understand that most people here think this is strictly a personal matter. If Gerard had refrained from abusing his office to intimidate and harass other folks, then I would have kept my fingers off the keyboard. That has been the sticking point for me, and the one that I have kept bringing up.

As for leaving the reporting to the reporters, if they had been doing their jobs to begin with, we would not be having this conversation. It's the lack of in depth reporting that has left people with the impression that this is just simply a messy personal matter.

I've also been contacted by someone who is investigating Gerard over a separate matter, but I'm not at liberty to disclose the details.

At this point I think the horse has been dead long enough, and I have no desire to waste any more bullets on this topic. While I consider it to be respectful to respond to anyone who posts directly to me, I can also see where it is counterproductive. So if I choose to not respond to additional postings here, it's not intended in any way to be disrespectful.

I hope everyone here enjoys the rest of their weekend.

Peace, Marti

rsp wrote on June 16, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Well, you're up to 5 pages. Never fails. Now it's the reporter's fault. You make a decision to type what you want to type. Research what you want to. You even copy things off of Laura's facebook page and post them here. Since she hasn't complained I'll assume you had her permission to do so, given how her page isn't open to the public. You made a claim of reading the court documents and having copies but didn't have to pay for them. Did Laura share them with you so you could publish things on her behalf?

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm

rsp + jumping to conclusions + making assumptions = wrong analysis 

For me to answer your questions would be to lend dignity to your wild speculations. I refuse to do so.

At this point, I see no purpose in continuing to engage with the supporters of the mayor on this topic. For someone who claims to have no friendship with the mayor, methinks the individual doth protest too much. I've obviously wasted way too much bandwith engaging with the Donnie G. Mayor Fan Club on this site, and I freely acknowledge it. I suppose you might be able to include a word count along with the pages. Microsoft word can be a beautiful tool.

That being said, I do appreciate your ability to brainstorm and come up with ideas. In the right situation, and applied in a constructive manner, that talent can truly be an asset. My own ability to do research and find information is also something that can also be applied to much better outlets as well.  Toodles.

Jsmith68 wrote on June 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Since Robb has never spent an actual day in court, he would know. 

person wrote on June 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Laura burns many bridges personally and professionally herself.  Seems like she met her match.

Danno wrote on June 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Might this be a corral of 'jilted lovers' on parade?

Sid Saltfork wrote on June 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

This on-going saga would be a good story line for a sitcom, or reality show.  "The Bachelor Mayor", or "The Over-the-Hill Feuding Hipsters".  When is the National Enquirer, or Yahoo News going to jump on this?

auntsonyas wrote on June 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I'm acquainted with them both. I suggest we vote them both off the island. 

sweet caroline wrote on June 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Wait!  Did Kanye really cheat on Kim while she was in labor?  I hadn't heard that.  Because that'd be a heck of a lot more intriguing than this ongoing he-said-she-said saga. 

Marti Wilkinson wrote on June 20, 2013 at 12:06 am

I read on CNN that Kanye was with Kim when she gave birth to their daughter. If memory serves me correct there was some speculation that her legal ties to her now ex-husband could have complicated things in regards to her pregnancy. Apparently some states do allow a man to claim legal rights to a child that is born during a marriage, even if there is no biological relation. Historically, a woman who had an unplanned pregnancy had limited options, and that sometimes included marrying a man who had no biological connection to the child. Plus, some marriages that were formed to forge familial or political ties involved a woman having the pre-requisite heir and spare, and the rest of the nest would wind up feathered with cuckoos. I could probably write a few essays on the topic, but God forbid anyone accuse me of stalking the Kardasians...tee hee.