CHAMPAIGN — An ongoing request by Laura Huth for a court order of protection against Champaign Mayor Don Gerard came within arm's reach of a conclusion on Tuesday when Gerard's attorney said he was ready to concede the case.
Judge Holly Clemons did not enter a final ruling after Huth's attorney, Michael Antoline, asked that he first be allowed to speak with his client about attorney Bruce Ratcliffe's surprise announcement. Another hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, when Clemons could enter a judgment on the order of protection.
Ratcliffe told Clemons that Gerard is ready to bring the case to a close by agreeing to make no contact and stay away from Huth, a former Urbana City Council member and his ex-girlfriend.
"Mr. Gerard wishes to end this matter and move on," Ratcliffe said.
The complaint is now in its ninth month; in October, Huth asked for a no-contact order against Gerard after she alleged the mayor harassed her and her business after they ended their dating relationship last year. Antoline said Gerard's behavior which is alleged to have been causing Huth emotional distress has stopped since the petition was filed.
The two sides have been trying to settle the matter out of court, but talks have broken down during the past month.
The two attorneys still do not see eye-to-eye on what Clemons' order should say. Ratcliffe said Gerard would agree to make no contact and stay away from Huth.
Antoline, however, said the order should bar Gerard from attacking her consulting business for nonprofits. Huth had requested that term be included in the settlement, on which the two sides ultimately never agreed.
"We need a legally enforceable document preventing him from doing these things," Antoline told Clemons.
If Clemons were to enter a judgment during the next hearing on Thursday, the two parties would still have a small claims case pending. Huth claims that Gerard owes her $3,233.75 for consulting work she did while they were dating last year.
Gerard's concession in the order of protection case on Tuesday, however, was "a total surprise," Antoline said.
"This was a surprise, and I will be talking to her (Huth) about it," Antoline said. "Ending this case is going to be good for everybody."