The ongoing court dispute involving some Terre Du Lac board members came to a head Thursday afternoon leading to three arrests at the association office and new court filings made Friday.
An affidavit and petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) were filed Friday on behalf of association board member Michael Tilley by his attorney Vonne Karraker.
The respondents named in the newest TRO petition, which is yet to be signed by the judge, are board member Cary Combs, and Terre Du Lac residents, Sharon Cathcart and Constance Cathcart.
Combs was a respondent in a previous TRO filed April 29 on behalf of Tilley. Board member Gary Keithley was also a respondent but that TRO has expired and a hearing is set for July 26 in the case.
Sharon and Constance were added to the new petition by Tilley’s counsel after an incident that reportedly occurred Thursday at the association office.
According to Tilley’s affidavit, at approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sharon and Constance Cathcart, Suzi Kwon, and Deb Whitener were seen through association office windows exiting Combs’ business office, which is located across the street.
The four women entered the association offices reportedly to hold a Community Events Committee meeting.
Kwon told the Daily Journal that the committee would regularly meet in the board room located inside the association office but had recently been meeting at the country club pending the outcome of the original TRO.
Kwon also said she was under the impression that the TRO had expired so the committee decided to hold their meetings in the office’s meeting room again. The original TRO had, in fact, expired according to court documents.
According to Tilley’s affidavit, the staff believed the TRO was still in full force and that the women were considered associates of Combs and subsequently not allowed to be in the office. As a result of this assumption, staff members contacted the police.
Tilley's affidavit goes on to state that Officer Josh Sadler with the Terre Du Lac Police Department arrived from the lower floor of the association office and approached the four women asking them to leave. The affidavit states that the women were verbally abusive to the officer and refused to leave.
The affidavit then states that because the women refused to vacate the premises, Sadler called for assistance and Captain Chris Callender responded. Sadler and Callender repeatedly asked the women to leave and warned them that they would be charged with trespassing if they did not comply.
Whitener reportedly stated that she wished to leave without being arrested and exited the offices.
The officers then directed the other three women to stand up before placing each of them in handcuffs and under arrest. The three women were transported to the St. Francois County Jail.
Kwon’s recall of the events differs from what is stated in Tilley’s affidavit.
“When we arrived at the association office, I let the office staff know we were having an events committee meeting and asked if it was OK if we used the board room, where the meeting is always held,” said Kwon. “Tammy Reeves approved and said, ‘let me just remove some paper on the table.’
“The two ladies in the office were pleasant in greeting the committee members,” Kwon said. “We began planning the 4th of July parade and after about 30 minutes, Herman Reiser opened the door and came into the room.”
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Rieser is a resident of the association and was the original petitioner of the TRO shortly before Tilley was added to the petition.
“He began to tell us we were not supposed to be in the building behind locked doors where there was financial information,” said Kwon. “He said if we did not leave, they were going to call the police.
“At some point, Officer Sadler entered the room,” recalled Kwon. “I asked Officer Sadler if the door was locked. He said, ‘no ma'am, it was not.’
“Reiser continued saying the TRO was in place and directing his stern gaze at Connie Cathcart while saying she was a ‘volunteer agent’ of Combs,” Kwon continued. “He said, he was not leaving the room.”
Kwon went on to say that Callender entered the room and said they all had to leave the building.
“A few people tried to ask why, as we were there having an events committee meeting," Kwon told the Daily Journal. “He said, it does not matter why and refused to give an explanation.”
According to Kwon, the conversation then got heated.
“Three of the four committee members present were then forcefully handcuffed and arrested,” said Kwon. “One volunteer was injured with both wrists bleeding from the cuffs."
Kwon said the woman was trying to tell the officers she was leaving. She said another woman had just had major shoulder surgery and being handcuffed caused her pain.
Also stated in the affidavit is the claim that Combs was observed standing outside the office attempting to record the exchange through the windows before entering the building and demanding to know what was going on. After being advised by the staff that it was a police matter, Combs remained there until Callender came up to speak with him. He then exited but remained outside the door and cussed at Reiser as he left.
Tilley’s affidavit and the petition for TRO were filed on Friday, according to the court.
The petition is similar to April’s filings in that it requests that Combs, along with any known associates or anyone acting on his behalf, be prohibited from entering the premises of the association office, gaining access to any association financial records, and to be prohibited from further acting as officers or members of the board of directors.
The petition also asks that the respondents be ordered to reimburse Tilley $3,000 for attorney fees incurred thus far.
Additionally, the petition states the Thursday incident at the association office provides demonstration that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result if the court does not grant the TRO. The petition also states that the respondents have engaged in a pattern of harassment, attempted property destruction, and intimidation directed toward association property.
As of Friday afternoon, the new petition for a TRO had not been signed by the judge.
According to a source, more filings in this matter are expected in the coming days.